Food Fair Celebrates Farmers

Gianna Volpe
“North Meets South” festival creators Monique Cutone and Vanessa Rebentisch at Harbes Family Farm ahead of their first annual event. Independent/Gianna Volpe

One of the biggest family and farm-friendly events to hit the Twin Forks, will happen on June 8 and 9, and while it’s anybody’s guess how big a crowd will find its way to the first annual “North Meets South Farms, Food, and Drink Festival” at the Long Island Sports Park in Calverton, one just needs to look at the numbers to see why this isn’t the festival to miss.

A hundred local vendors — including an agricultural market — will be found throughout 80 sprawling acres, with more than 30 options for food, six musical acts, five inflatable rides and games, four eating competitions, three boozy outlets, two corn hole tournaments, a pig-weighing contest, exotic petting zoo, birds of prey show, hay rides, face painting, candle making, and no ticket charge for children under 12.

“It was really important to us to make sure this event was accessible to families,” said North Meets South co-creator, Monique Cutone, a professional face and body artist who joined forces with fellow mom and up-and-coming oyster grower, Vanessa Rebentisch, to make their dream of an affordable festival a reality. “I’ve been to festivals that have charged $20 per kid, and it gets tough to spend any money on the fun stuff inside when you get tapped out at the door. We wanted to make sure this festival wasn’t like that.”

Adults will still need to pay $20 for their pre-sale ticket — or $25 at the door — but parents will only have to pay for whatever games their munchkins want to play.

In addition to free entertainment by Brady Rymer, Jen Kane, Paris Ray, Southbound, Who Are Those Guys, and The Butterfly Cody Experience, everyone who comes through the gate will also get one free guess at how much the Goodale Farms pig-on-hand weighs, which will garner the winner a cool $100 cash prize. Two-hundred bucks will go to the winners of the two eating contests, which will take place on both days.

One contest will reward the person who can shuck and eat 30 Yennicott oysters the fastest, and the other prize will go to the person to most quickly finish an allotted plate of glazed donuts from the North Fork Doughnut Company. The winner of the corn hole contest will get a custom corn hole board set by Wild Child Design in Speonk, and festival sponsor Chief Equipment, a John Deere sales/service outlet in Calverton, will also be giving away a brand-new rideable mower to one lucky event patron, according to Rebentisch, who said families are welcome to bring folding chairs and blankets to enjoy the music.

“We’ll have seating areas available in the food section of the festival, but there’s a nice, big lawn in front of the main stage that would be perfect for people to sit on blankets,” she said. “Long Island Sports Park is a really gorgeous place: think rolling hills, lakes, and trees.”

Rebentisch, 33, is the co-owner of Bantam Creek Oyster Company. She started the North Fork Event Company with Cutone, 34, of Stay Salted after Cutone’s chance meeting with the owner of the Long Island Sports Park last summer led to a rare opportunity for someone local to lease the expansive property, which had previously been dominated by corporations.

The two met through their 10-year-old children and classmates in Southold, Ethan and Molly, but it is organizing this festival that has kept them in constant communication since last fall’s lease signing. “We’ve worked on this thing every day from morning to night, and it has been an incredible challenge to get a first annual event off the ground with a lot of nay-sayers, but we’ve only let that feed our hunger and our drive,” said Rebentisch.

“I think the message here is if you really want something, you can do it. It’s just a lot of work, never giving up and never taking no for an answer,” she added.

The Independent is a media sponsor for the event. Tickets are available at, under “North Meets South.”

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