‘Tis the season for cooking Thanksgiving dinner, cutting down your Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, and taking out the Mkeka! From November to December, the Hudson Valley offers plenty of events for all to enjoy this joyful season. The region has many opportunities for holiday excursions, including seasonal markets, live performances, and fireworks shows that are guaranteed to bring cheer to all. Carry on a family tradition or let this year be the start of something new!
Annual Holiday Pottery Sale
The Garrison Art Center's Annual Holiday Pottery Sale is back this year from November 17-26. Shop locally while supporting ceramic artists and the pottery program at Garrison Art Center. The pieces range from whimsical to highly sophisticated and include sculptural works as well as some items for children. Proceeds from the sale benefit the artists and the Art Center's education programming. Garrisonartcenter.org
Basilica Farm & Flea Holiday Market
Get a jumpstart on your seasonal shopping at this post-Thanksgiving market at Basilica Hudson. The market will take place from November 24-26 and will feature a diverse group of regional vendors selling their handmade and vintage goods farm-fresh food. General admission for the whole weekend is only $5 and free for children under 12. Basilicahudson.org
Pajama-clad passengers will see their favorite characters come to life aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad's Polar Express, as they are whisked away on a magical trip to the North Pole from Kingston Plaza. During the journey, the conductor will punch tickets while chefs serve hot chocolate, to the music of the motion picture soundtrack. At the North Pole, Santa will board the train to greet the children and give special sleighbells to all those who believe. November 17- December 2. Adult tickets are $39, and children under 12 are $32.
Celebration of Lights Parade & Fireworks
Voted by Dutchess County Tourism as the "Best Event" of the holiday season, the Celebration of Lights Parade and Fireworks will take place in Poughkeepsie on December 1 at 6:30pm. The first Christmas tree lighting and parade lineup will take place at the corner of Garden and Main streets. The parade will then process to Dongan Park, where the second tree lighting will occur, followed by the area's only winter fireworks show along the Poughkeepsie Waterfront. After the show, there will be an 8pm screening of The Princess Bride at the Bardavon. Bardavon.org.
Winter Walk on Warren Street
Bundle up the tots on December 2 and head to Warren Street from 5-8pm for a magical evening as holiday cheer transforms Hudson's mile-long main street. You'll be walking in a winter wonderland with illuminated storefront displays worthy of A Christmas Story; roaming carolers; and Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their real-life reindeer. Cap it off with a magical fireworks display over the Hudson River. Hudsonoperahouse.org.
Rhinebeck connects with its Dutch roots through this Christmas tradition, when Bishop Nicholas Sinterklaas, the patron saint of children, parades down the street on a white horse with an entourage of kings and queens, animals, and celestial bodies. The Hudson Valley event fuses old customs with new interpretations for an inclusive, cross-cultural celebration. Sinterklaashudsonvalley.com.
Community Chanukah Party
Join the Beacon Hebrew Alliance on December 17 from 11am-1pm for a joyous celebration of Chanukah. This event is geared towards children, but all are welcome to join in the songs, skits, dreidel playing, arts and crafts, and wonderful food, including delicious latkes. Beaconhebrewalliance.org.
Come together through George Frederic Handel's beautiful Messiah on December 17 from 4-5:30pm. Let your voice soar accompanied by a string ensemble and vocal soloists. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and free for students 18 and under. Hudsonhall.org.
Beacon Bicycle Menorah
Sculptor Ed Benavente conceived and designed a giant menorah out of bicycle parts. On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, one of the wheels will be illuminated. The bicycle menorah will be lit at approximately 5:30pm each evening at the Beacon Visitor Center in Polhill Park. Beaconarts.org.
The Wilderstein Historic Site will be hosting this festive holiday event featuring a variety of teas paired with finger sandwiches, homemade cakes, and cookies on December 9 at 1pm. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 per child. Admission includes a tour of the decorated Queen Anne mansion. Wilderstein.org.
Main Street Rosendale hosts the Frozendale Festival on December 9 from 10am-6pm. Rosendale's quaint array of shops and galleries will be open as well as an outdoor Winter Gift Sale. Events and activities will take place throughout the day, including a free 11am screening of The Wizard of Oz at The Rosendale Theatre. Townofrosendale.com.
Kwanzaa Umoja Community Celebration
Join the Umoja Community Celebration on December 16 at 3:30pm for an immersive afternoon of arts and crafts for children, dancing, drumming, a candle-lighting ceremony, and the sharing of Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Come celebrate African-American culture and unity with friends and family at this free and open-to-the-public event. Hudsonhall.org.
A Frosty Fest
The creative minds behind Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses focus their festive faculties on the holiday season for a sensational seasonal light show in Ulster Park. Snuggle up on a hayride through Frosty's Enchanted Forest, visit the Glistening Gardens, or pop into the Magical Mansion. A word to the wise: Santa will be visiting from the North Pole. November 24-December 23. Afrostyfest.com.
Nutcracker Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy
Go on a journey through the Land of Sweets in Act 2 of "The Nutcracker" ballet featuring the Warwick Dance Collective and students from the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts as Clara, Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Following the performance will be an elegant tea party and meet-and-greet with the Sugar Plum Fairy and dancers. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for guests ages 6-12, and $5 for children five and under. Warwickperformingarts.com.