“…just a smile away from Whoville with a hint of It’s a Wonderful Life.”
—Huffington Post
Sinterklaas Send-Off Celebration, Kingston, New York
Sinterklaas Festival Day, Rhinebeck, New York

What’s Sinterklaas?

Every year brings new events and characters to dazzle our community, honor our children and bring light to this darkest time of the year.

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.”


Saturday, November 29: Sinterklaas Send-Off Celebration in Kingston

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.

Saturday, December 6: Sinterklaas Festival Day in 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…

What’s Happening?

Sinterklaas 2014-photo-Kyle-Adams-River-Chronicle | sinterklaashudsonvalley.com

photo: Kyle Adams/River Chronicle

‘Yes, Virginia … there is a Sinterklaas’

River Chronicle Editorial, December 2014

It’s understood, of course, that the opinions shared on this page are not agreed upon with all who read what we’ve got to say week-to-week.

But it’s safe to assume, maybe, that this week’s declaration might fall into the category of a statement that everyone will agree with universally.

And that would be the Sinterklaas organizers and the participants – including the thousands of community members who donned raincoats and clutched umbrellas in order to be there this year – deserve resounding kudos for putting on an awesome and amazing seasonal event for all to enjoy.

For those of us who missed it, there are plenty of photographs in this week’s issue documenting the festivities.

Beyond totally enveloping the community in the spirit of the season, Sinterklaas should be lauded and celebrated for also serving as an example that in this modern world —where often slick marketing creates an anticipation that falls flat with disappointment upon the delivery of an event, a thing, a performance — that true authenticity still exists.

Through months and months of preparation, dogged dedication and original creation, as
opposed to hyping a mirage of doing so, Sinterklaas is so totally unique in its authenticity. One might say the fantastical and mythical theme of the day-long festival is the “real deal” in what it promises and what it delivers.

Children made their own whimsical crowns and accoutrements. Costumes of the various characters are handmade. Everything about Sinterklaas is so rugged in its originality; down to the hand-painted and constructed signs that announce the coming festivities in the Village of Rhinebeck.

How many things are there really nowadays, outside of personal moments with family and friends, that simultaneously instigate goose bumps, put a smile on your face and maybe bring a slight sentimental tear to the eye?

Think about it….those really are the ingredients for a special holiday season moment.

So, thank you, to the organizers for another outstanding Sinterklaas. As stated above, without a doubt, we’re not the only ones singing your praises for gifting this amazing event to the community, once again.


Meet the Performers

Sinterklaas brings over 100 performers to town for its days of celebration. Meet some of them here.

How Can It Be Free?

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.


It Takes a Village! Become a Volunteer!

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.

Rhinebeck Rotary, Kirchoff-Consigli Construction Management, and New York State — what do they have in common? They all SUPPORT Sinterklaas!

Recently, these early Sinterklaas supporters stepped up in big ways to help make this year’s Sinterklaas the best year yet!

The Rhinebeck Rotary, who honored Jeanne Fleming and Pat Sexton as 2014 Citizens of the Year for their community service, continues to honor Sinterklaas through their “Light Up Rotary” program! The Rotary has made a substantial financial contribution and pledged the service of their members and members of the local youth Interact Club to lend valuable assistance to the Starlight Parade! Rotary members will work together to support all aspects of the Parade — help with set up and line up of the Parade, as Parade Marshals, as Puppet Animators, right through to our onstage Pageant at the end of the Parade. They will be with us all the way! Thank you, Rhinebeck Rotary, Interact Club, Kiki Steele, and Phillip Meltzer for giving so much to so many!

Our hard hats are off to Kirchoff- Consigli Construction Management who donated funds to help the Village of Rhinebeck meet the costs of managing the traffic flow on Sinterklaas Day.

Two community grants to Kingston and Rhinebeck were supported by our newly re-elected Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill. Wonderful that the economic development Sinterklaas contributes to our area is being recognized by our leaders! The arts keep our towns alive! Viva Sinterklaas!

Meet all our supporters.