SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> The Fall 2017 Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series kicked off this week with a talk about the legendary local folk venue Caffe Lena.
Titled “The Rebirth of Caffe Lena – Saratoga’s Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse,” the presentation was given by the venue’s executive director Sarah Craig at noon on Thursday in the H. Dutcher Community Room at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, which is adjacent to the downtown Caffe.
The event was the first of this season’s Brown Bag Lunch Series, a free annual educational program meant to highlight the rich history, culture and traditions of Saratoga Springs. The series is a partnership between the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center and the Saratoga Springs Public Library.
At Thursday’s gathering, a large group of attendees learned about Caffe Lena’s history, from its early days in the 1960s to its recent major renovation project.
“It’s really been reborn in the last year,” Craig said.
Throughout the decades, Caffe Lena had a few points when its future was completely uncertain, but through it all “the Caffe hung on by its fingernails,” Craig said.
This was possible, Craig explained, because of the sense that no one person has ever owned Caffe Lena. Even when founder Lena Spencer was alive, she allowed each person who walked through the doors to own a piece of it, Craig said. “That’s how it survived.”
That shared sense of ownership is how Craig credits the venue’s longevity, earning it a label as the oldest continually running…
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