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...
Carry a star in the parade! It is part of the tradition. Why? Read more about the story behind the Sinterklaas stars by clicking the button below. 2016 stars will go on sale next fall. To be notified make sure to join our email list!
Sinterklaas is donation driven — 75% of our funding is from folks like you. We all love Sinterklaas — our own, hand-made, home-grown, truly one-of-a-kind holiday tradition!
Sinterklaas brings our community together — with joy, magic, creativity, spectacular sights and sounds. And it REALLY all begins with YOU.
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.
Sinterklaas brings over 250 performers to town for its days of celebration.
Meet some of them here.
The 2014 Sinterklaas Celebration was “adopted” by the Rhinebeck Rotary Club as part of the international organization’s worldwide initiative called “Light Up Rotary.”