Annually in June, several thousand jazz fans shimmy, shake and bear witness to the annual international cultural fair that this year, marked the 25th year of sponsorship by Freihofer’s.
In 1997 – while still a regional bakery – Freihofer’s Baking Company became the leading sponsor of the Saratoga Jazz Festival.
Two and a half decades later, Freihofer’s and its parent company Bimbo Bakeries USA, remain important patrons of jazz and the brand recently renewed its sponsorship commitment for five more years.
The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is hallowed ground for jazz lovers, who flock year after year to one of North America’s longest running jazz fests, created in 1978 by legendary jazz impresario George Wein, who also created the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
For 48 hours, the beautiful outdoor amphitheatre – a short train ride from New York City and a stone’s throw from the six million acres of Adirondack parklands – plays host to a legion of the some of the greatest jazz musicians in history, who bebop, riff, lick, improv and blow remarkable tunes.
Freihofer’s support has proven to be incredibly important for SPAC and the festival, which, according to festival producer Danny Melnick, is colloquially known in jazz circles simply as Freihofer’s.
Beyond the fest, though, Freihofer’s has long been a partner for the communities it serves. Community engagement has been baked into the fabric of Freihofer’s culture since the company’s earliest days, even before it opened its commercial baking plant in Troy, New York, around 1913.
For the past 110 years, it has become a vital part of the community in New York’s Capital Region, not only supplying bread and baked goods, but as a staunch supporter of community events like the Freihofer’s Run for Women and the Melodies of Christmas.
We chat to Lorraine Hale, VP and general manager of BBU and festival producer Danny Melnick about the unique relationship.