This weekend, Monticello proves it's the Bagel Capital

Above: "Tie-dye bagels" from the Monticello Bagel Bakery, participating in the village's first annual Bagel Festival this weekend.

Monticello will be transformed this weekend by a big, bodacious blast of Borscht Belt pride, as the very first Bagel Festival is rolled out on Broadway -- with a tasting event entitled “Bagels and Bits on Broadway” that pairs bagels with tidbits from local chefs and farmers, a Giant Peace Sign Bagel paying homage to Woodstock, a chance to make the Guinness Book of World Records, and a Bagel Triathlon.

The Bagel Festival the brainchild of Monticello native and seasoned event promoter Jeff Siegel. With thirty years’ experience in showing large groups a good time as president of Glen Wild-based Spencer Daniels Agency, Siegel seems convinced that he’s happened on something that will put Monticello back on the map with a well-rounded, boiled and baked burst of positive energy.

Local and state officials have delightedly climbed on board the Bagel Bus, passing resolutions certifying that Monticello is in fact the Bagel Capital. Of what? Doesn’t matter, Siegel told the Thompson Town Board last October: We’re just the Bagel Capital. So far, nobody's arguing; State senator John Bonacic got a Bagel Capital resolution passed in Albany back in February.

Siegel’s got a case. It was, after all, our own Louis Wichinsky of Hurleyville who was granted a patent on a “Dough Kneading Machine for the Forming of a Bagel and the Like” in 1968 -- an invention he spent over 20 years perfecting. Broadway is home to the Monticello Bagel Bakery, family-owned for three generations and beloved from Maine to Mississippi. And where else can you sign the Peace Bagel and try your hand at the Bagel Shotput and some Bagel Stacking? Only in Monticello this Saturday.

Bagel Festival. Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17. All events on Broadway in Monticello. VIP party with stand-up comedy and bageltinis under the Big Tent on Friday at 7pm; tickets $50. Saturday's street festival brings together 70 vendors and live entertainment, with a parade at noon and various bagel-related events throughout the day. For more information and a complete schedule, visit the Bagel Festival website or Facebook page.