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Sinterklaas leads the parade through Kingston streets before departing from the Rondout to Rhinebeck. Last year, Sinterklaas took a tugboat to the other side. Anthony M. Puopolo photo

5 can’t-miss holiday hits

Kingston’s Sinterklaas

AMERICANS ARE USED TO SANTA CLAUS in his present-laden flying reindeer sleigh or St. Nick with his sweets and treats left in good children’s shoes. Celebrate the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas starting Nov. 29 at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston.

The Netherlands has celebrated the annual arrival in early December of Sinterklaas by boat from Spain to Holland for centuries. The tradition has taken root with a much shorter journey from the Rondout to Rhinebeck over the last couple of years.

Meet the kindly Sinterklaas, his wild assistant the Grumpus (also known as Zwarte Piet) who tells Sinterklaas who has been good or bad, and the Pocket Lady, who shares small treasures from her pocket-filled coat.

Join in this family-friendly weekend of hands-on crafts, activities, live music, a parade and finally, the exit of Sinterklaas and his white horse on a surprise vessel (last year it was a tugboat) to a continuation of the festivities in Rhinebeck.

SINTERKLAAS SCHEDULE

Nov. 21: 6 p.m. Wreaths, Sweets & Dutch Treats Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction, Old Dutch Church, Wall and Main streets, Uptown Kingston

Nov. 23: Noon-4 p.m. A Night in Bloom Florist in the Shirt Factory, 77 Cornell St.

Nov. 29: 1-4 p.m. Crowns & Branches Workshop, Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, 338-0071

Nov. 30: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. A day of open houses, musical performances, workshops creating crowns and branches, a march down Broadway, a parade of stars and puppets. Kingston sends off Sinterklaas and his white horse on a tugboat across the river to his destination there. After his sendoff, there will be a Sinterklaas soiree, tree lighting ceremony and plenty of specials at all of the local restaurants.

When: Nov. 30

Where: Uptown Kingston

More: 338-0071 or visit hrmm.org; and 339-4280 or visit sinterklaashudson-valley.com.

Andrew Goodsight and his daughter Shai enjoy the holiday lights on Woodstock’s Town Green. File photo by Michael Bloom

Woodstock Holiday Open House

The long-standing tradition of welcoming the holiday season with an open house continues in the heart of Woodstock Dec. 6 along Tinker Street, Rock City Road, Mill Hill Road and Tannery Brook Road in Woodstock.

Wander from store to store, where refreshments are abundant and there are chances to win gift certificates and holiday baskets. Mirabai hosts a Celtic harpist, Candlestock hands out free popcorn, and Big Frosty greets children with treats in front of Topka. Wander over to the book signing at the Golden Notebook or bring the kids to see Mrs. Claus in the window of H. Houst & Son, where she will paint their faces. The town’s holiday tree on the green should be lit early in the evening, and carolers will meander along the streets with extra lyric sheets if you’d like to join in.

A night of great music is usually found in the main gallery of the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, and kids can do crafts in the back room during the performance.

When: 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6

Where: Throughout Woodstock

More: woodstockchamber.com

When: Dec. 28

and 31

Where: Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Road, Olivebridge

More: 657-8333. ashokancenter.org

New Year’s at Ashokan

Enjoy a full weekend of dance and song at the Ashokan Center. The weekend begins Dec. 28 with dance workshops in swing, Cajun, blues, waltzes, contras, squares with live music by Jay & Molly and Swingology from the Hudson Valley and the Revelers from Lafayette, La. Call for fees and to reserve accommodations, with meals by Chef Jill and her staff included. New Year’s Eve begins with a gourmet dinner at 6 p.m. and dancing in both the dance hall and the dining hall of Esopus Lodge from 8 p.m. until the wee hours. Cost for New Year’s Eve is $50 with dinner; $25 dance only.

2014: Party Like It’s 1914 New Year’s Ball Drop

1914 was the year of the first commercial airline flight, Charlie Chaplin’s debut of his Little Tramp character and Babe Ruth’s first pro game. Come in period costume for this 1914 New Year’s Party and Ball Drop.

The night includes live music and entertainment on the street and at Uptown venues throughout the night. Look for a Charlie Chaplin impersonator weaving through the crowds along with street performers and carnival acts. The old-fashioned ball drop, using a metal sculptural ball spiked with Edison-esque lights, drops at midnight in front of Backstage Studio Productions, 323 Wall St. Paul O’Connor, stagecraft instructor at Vassar College, designs the unique light sculptures and plans to incorporate highlights of 1914 into his creation.

Music includes swing bands and vaudeville acts. Aerialists will dance from the ceiling while guests swing dance on the floor below. Some venues flip the calendar back a century with antiques installations for a 1914-era feel. Participating restaurants include the Stockade, Boitson’s, Duo, Elephant, Outdated Cafe, Dominick’s and BSP.

Every building was at capacity last year, so BSP accommodates the overflow crowds out of winter’s chill by opening its theater and bringing in a variety of musical acts, with the lineup unveiled to the revelers that night. Duo will serve breakfast from midnight to 3 a.m. BSP admission is $10-$15. All other events are free.

When: Dec. 31

Where: Uptown Kingston; ball drop at Backstage Studio Productions, 323 Wall St.

More: 338-8700. bspinfo.net

When: 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 7

Where: Wall and North Front streets, Kingston

More: kingston-

uptown.org

Uptown Open House and
Holiday Launch

Kingston Uptown Business Association hosts a tree lighting and holiday open house from 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 7 along Wall and North Front streets in Kingston. KUBA rolls out its new array of lights and holiday snowflakes adding to the seasonal magic in Uptown. Look for the holiday tree at the intersection of Wall and North Front streets. Open houses at shops and specials at participating restaurants boost the holiday spirit.

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