Keuka Arts Festival celebrates all aspects of art

Staff Reports

Music, hand-crafted beverages, and food play an important part in Penn Yan's annual celebration of creativity

PENN YAN — The Keuka Arts Festival, scheduled for June 11 and 12 along the Outlet Trail in the historic village of Penn Yan, is a celebration of all manner of the arts – including music and the culinary arts. The organizers of this year’s event are excited about this year’s lineup of musical entertainment as well as the opportunity to welcome some new (and familiar) food vendors.

“There’s more to the Arts Festival than shopping for handcrafted art,” says Festival Committee Co-Chair Karen Morris. “Where else can you find a whole weekend of free musical entertainment and a variety of local and regional food trucks, snacks and sweet treats?” 

This year’s musical lineup has a style for everyone.  On Saturday, the gospel sounds of Rochester’s Mount Vernon Male Chorus and the Anthony Santiago Latin Band will be performing on one stage, while the other end of the festival will host the rock bands John Bolger and Feedback.  On Sunday, local favorite Artistic License will perform jazz covers with Three Stone Fire’s Celtic sounds followed by the ever popular Steve Grills and the Roadmasters, featuring Joe Beard singing the blues. 

Local favorites Artistic License don't play "stuffy jazz."

The Mt. Vernon Male Chorus first performed at the Keuka Arts Festival in 2019 and organizers are delighted to have this soulful group of men of all ages back again with their unique and powerful gospel sound. The Anthony Santiago Band, on the other hand, was a last minute fill-in at last fall’s festival and proved to be so popular that it was obvious they needed to return. Three Stone Fire members describe themselves as “farmers who love to play music together” and they used time during the pandemic to practice their traditional Celtic songs and tunes from Ireland and Scotland in a “large barn” where they could distance but still enjoy the benefits of making music together.  Feedback is new to the Keuka Arts Festival.  A high-energy five-piece band that runs the gamut of classic rock, country, Motown and modern, Feedback features the dynamic lead vocals of Vernette Hill. John Bolger also runs the gamut of musical genres.  Performing on acoustic and electric guitar, John and his band are popular performers around this region. Casey Kowalski of Artistic License says his band does not play “stuffy jazz.” A fixture at the Keuka Arts Festival since 2013, the trio features Casey’s saxophone with a strong rhythm/bass backup and is known for their ability to connect with their audience. The “wrap-up band” for the festival is the ever-popular Steve Grills and the Roadmasters, featuring Rochester Hall of Fame musician Joe Beard – mainstays of the Rochester music scene for over 30 years. Both Steve and Joe have performed with and for some of the biggest names in American blues.

For all of you who have been missing La Cocina here in Penn Yan, do we have news for you! Don and his crew will be bringing the heat to the Keuka Arts Festival again this year. Stop by for the tacos, stay for the art, music, and general festivities.
Thelma's Food Truck is so popular, people tweet about it right away.
KP Kettle Corn making a fresh batch on site.

In addition to the musical entertainment, festival-goers can enjoy food from some of the best food trucks and providers in the area.  This year, perpetual favorite Thelma’s Food Truck, with its large selection of American favorites, will be joined by Greene’s Smokin  Barbecue, the Area 315 truck, and newcomers Hangry Bickering with an offering of flatbread pizzas and more. A variety of tacos will be offered from local favorite La Cocina as well. On the sweet side are local favorite Seneca Farms ice cream, KP Kettle Corn, baked goods from Indian Pines Farm Stand and offerings from newcomers The Sprinkle Starship.  Antler Run Distilling, Krooked Tusker Distillery, Point of the Bluff Vineyards, Ravines Wine Cellars, and Weis Vineyards will also be offering tastings at specially designed sites throughout the festival. 

Local wineries and distilleries will be offering tastings at the Keuka Arts Festival, including Weis Vineyards.
Antler Run Distillery are coming back, too.

“This is a huge undertaking,” says Festival Committee co-chair Cindy Kowalski, “and we welcome new volunteers. We’d also like to thank everyone who’s been working so diligently to organize this great event and our sponsors, including The Yates Endowment, Community Bank, the Chronicle-Express, Ferro Corporation, Howard Hanna Lake Group, 1897 Beekman House B&B and Knapp & Schlappi.”

For more information about the festival visit our website at or call the Arts Center at 315-536-8226.