Sinterklaas

What is a kid-friendly event leading up to Christmas? What event would anyone feel comfortable at? It combines traditions of multiple cultures and appeals to all age groups? It is Sinterklaas.

The original tradition of Sinterklaas was imported by Dutch settlers to the Hudson Valley over 300 years ago. Rhinebeck and Kingston, NY, which both had Dutch settlers back in the day have modern takes on the festival that are nondenominational and inclusive. All are welcome.

When

Both Kingston and Rhinebeck, NY have this festival and parade. In 2019 Kingston’s festival and parade is on Saturday, November 24th from 12 to after dark. Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas festival is on Saturday, December 7th. They close down Market Street most of the day in Rhinebeck for this event.

They sell a variety of items in tents along the street including luminaries and head wreaths.
Events

Activities abound throughout the day. There are many events for children at both locations. Some involve crafts. In Rhinebeck they had story time, The Pocket Lady, the Snow Queen and King, and other activities. I attended the event in Rhinebeck in 2018. There were events happening simultaneously at different locations around Rhinebeck so I could not catch everything. That gives you options to choose from. Check the calendar of events when it comes out.

Batala performing in front of Beekman Arms, America’s oldest operating inn.

They also had a variety of music events in churches around town and outside along Route 9 and other locations.

Performers in front of Beekman Arms on Route 9.
One of the performances held inside a church
Food
Gigi Trattoria’s food table on the street. This restaurant has great gluten-free pizza.

Rhinebeck has some nice restaurants that are open all day to stop in. Last year an Italian restaurant on Route 9, Gigi Trattoria, had some amazing hot chocolate. Another restaurant, Foster’s , had a food truck with London Broil sandwiches, clam chowder and other items. I had no issues eating a late lunch at an Indian restaurant on Market Street. There were tables available.

Parade

Everything culminates after dark with a parade. Many objects are illuminated. Different cultures and traditions are represented.

Chinelos Dancing from Mexico- This is event is multicultural and inclusive.
Dressing for the occasion

This event is worth driving to and seeing as much as you can. I was there most of the day in Rhinebeck. If you have children, its a can’t miss event. I highly recommend it for people from NYC and elsewhere looking to have a day or weekend escape from the rat race in the country.

Sinterklaas in the Dutch tradition. He wears bishop like clothing.
More Information

For more information check these websites out or search for another closer to the event. As of when I posted this only the dates were listed not the schedule of events for 2019.

For Kingston’s Sinterklaas: http://www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com/sinterklaas-kingston/

For Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas: http://www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com or check out their Facebook page.

Hooley on the Hudson

A hooley is a party or an evening of traditional music and dance. The word originates in Ireland and Scotland. Kingston, New York has a day and night of modern and traditional Irish music and dance. They call it the Hooley on the Hudson.

This event takes place every year on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It starts around mid-day and ends in early evening. It takes place in the area around lower Broadway in the downtown area along the creek.

Because the Hooley is right on the creek that empties into the Hudson River, people from other states arrange to park their boats for the weekend and watch the events from their decks. Kingston has spaces for visiting boaters at their marina. Cabin cruisers from upstate, New Jersey and Long Island were parked there this weekend. If you are a boater, this is an option for next year’s Hooley, but I am sure you would have to arrange this well in advance.

The streets are blocked off near the event and some restaurants put tables on the street. You can eat from the vendors or dine in one of the restaurants. They have vendors selling items from Ireland. Kingston has a paved path next to the creek that is lovely to stroll on. There are antique shops on lower Broadway a short walk from the celebration. This event is both dog and kid-friendly.

I was not in a good spot for this shot, but I could not get where I wanted to be. It was packed around the dance floor.

Unfortunately I did not have a lot of time at this event. Too busy catching up on other things in life. Here are some of the bands and dancers that performed on two of the stages. I never saw the third stage.

Happiness is playing Irish music.

Why an Irish celebration in September? They think of it as around half-way to St. Patty’s Day. The weather in NY is usually a lot nice in September as well. Its a fun event. It mixes more modern with traditional and it is in a lovely setting. If you are looking for something to do next Labor Day weekend head up to Kingston, NY and join the fun at the Hooley.

Lone bagpiper
Irish Setter at this dog-friendly event.

Cinco de Mayo at Casa Villa

On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish for a day. Another ethnic holiday that is starting to be celebrated by many, not just those who are from where it originates, is Cinco de Mayo. At Casa Villa everyone is invited to experience the food and culture of Mexico.

Besides food they have live music, folk dancing, bouncy houses for the kids, and vendors. I was only there for about 40 minutes and it was back to back entertainment.

I was able to see a more contemporary Mexican music group when I arrived.

Then, Folklorica of Poughkeepsie performed four dances from Oaxaca, Mexico. First, a man and a woman performed a dance known as Mixteco.

Mixteco
Dancing the Oaxaca Dance the Mixteca. At this point he had a rose in his mouth.

Next, the Folklorica of Poughkeepsie performed a dance with puppets called Chinas Oaxaquenas.

Chinas Oaxaquenas

A group of girls from the same group then performed a folkloric dance.

Lastly, a dance called El Torito, with a bull puppet, was performed.

El Torito

The food was delicious. They had food and drinks being sold outside, but during the celebrations a limited menu was offered indoors if you preferred less action.

The party started around lunchtime and went into the night. Some stay most of the day, while others stop in for a short visit. Again, I was only there for about 40 minutes. I understand I missed other performances before I arrived and I am sure others went on after I left.

I wish I could have stayed longer. From what I experienced I highly recommend stopping by Casa Villa around Cinco de Mayo. You can experience the food and culture of Mexico.

Check out their Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Tex-Mex-Restaurant/Casa-Villa-Mexican-Restaurant-1442301769167523/

NYC Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

When is a parade not a parade? When you think of a parade what usually comes to mind is people marching in groups on a planned route with floats and bands playing. The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival does not fit into that definition.

The Easter parade is more of a mingle. Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th Streets becomes filled with not only parade participants, but also spectators. The participants wearing bonnets amble this way and that stopping for long stretches to pose for selfies with spectators and photographs. Spectators have short conversations with participants about their bonnets and where they are from.

Ladies from the Milliner’s Guild

It is not just locals who participate, but tourists from around the world join in. I met a group of women from Australia, I believe they said they were from Brisbane. There was a family group from Norway that also joined in. Some people even bring their canines with hats. You will see all ages participating, young children through seniors.

Part of the group from Norway?
Ladies from Australia
Attire

One can see a variety of bonnets during this parade. Some fall under traditional Sunday best hats, while other bonnets were constructed with a hot glue gun or even screws. You will see many spring or Easter themed bonnets, but not all fall under those categories.

If you plan to visit New York City during the Easter holidays join in or be a spectator to this long held NYC tradition. Just head to 5th Avenue near St. Patrick’s on Easter morning. It’s an Easter treat!

NYPD cop wanted a selfie.