The Sinterklaas Festivities draw on the Hudson Valley’s Dutch heritage, but with some modern day twists. Children are the focus — becoming kings and queens for the day, turning the switches of the original story into royal scepters. Children make scepters and crowns for themselves at the Crowns and Branches workshops. “But it can’t be about the wanting and having, either.” says creator Jeanne Flemming, “They each have to tie wishes into their branch — one for the community, one for the family, one for the world. They understand their responsibility to be a good king or queen.”
Mirroring the original Dutch legend in which Sinterklaas leaves Spain by boat for Holland, our Hudson Valley re-creation provides a day of fun-filled activities in Kingston ending with a parade to escort Sinterklaas to his boat for the week-long ride across the Hudson River to Rhinebeck.
The day features performances at venues throughout the village: dance, music and theatrics, tightrope walking, even fire juggling! Strolling musicians, dancing Grumpuses and a variety of colorful characters wander the streets of the village to delight children with stories and treats. Astride his white steed, Sinterklaas leads the Children’s starlight Parade, which culminates in the center of town with the Sinterklass pagent, honoring the children and ending with a stirring wish for peace.
At the start, Sinterklaas was a real person. He was born in the 4th century in Myra, Asia Minor, where he became a bishop. Little else is known about him—except that he loved children.. Read on…
We are happy to report that Sinterklaas has received a grant, funded from Dutchess Tourism, Inc. and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson, for creating a lively art scene in Dutchess County and in recognition of our excellent and diverse programming.
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We rely on donations from community members, businesses, and institutions —see who has donated! Your support is critical to keeping Sinterklaas a ticket-free event! Consider a donation now.
Do you know how all the puppets will come alive to dance their way down the road parading for all to see? Through the help of many volunteers. Ready for an extra good time?
SIGN UP to animate a Puppet. Come alone. Come with friends. Come as a family with teens (not appropriate for younger kids). Easy and fun! Sign up here.
Sinterklaas brings over 250 performers to town for its days of celebration.
Meet some of them here.
Sinterklaas in April? “Yes, it’s that time again,” says Jeanne Fleming, director of Hudson Valley Community Productions and the Sinterklaas celebration. “It takes a village, that’s for sure, and nearly an entire year to bring all the elements together – and that starts with the people who make it all happen!”
And just who is it that makes it all happen? That has been a question that has been shrouded in mystery since the very first Sinterklaas celebration in 2008. “That’s a big question to answer,” quips Fleming.
The short answer — Sinterklaas happens because of the efforts of hundreds and hundreds of people in the Hudson Valley. People from everywhere — Individual volunteers, community organizations, artists, teachers, students, parents, business leaders, religious institutions, local funders, as well as local, county and state lawmakers — all play a role in bringing Sinterklaas to life each year. Since the first Sinterklaas in 2008, Fleming has amassed a wide array of talent and resources and charmed them all into providing the necessary services and taking on a variety of tasks.
“So many people help, but this past year, the stand-up, stand-out organization was the Rhinebeck Rotary Club. They have been with us from the very beginning, providing both financial support and incredible people power. And last year, they went all out to make sure Sinterklaas was the best ever, even though we had some mighty challenges,” said Fleming.Read more…