On Saturday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 8 pm, Hudson Hall’s annual holiday celebration will kick off with the 21st anniversary of Winter Walk, one of Hudson’s largest, liveliest and most colorful events of the year.
Hudson’s mile-long historic main street will be decorated and will host music, performance, food, holiday shopping, and family fun. Voted “Best Community Winter Event of the Year,” in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Winter Walk attracts upwards of 20,000 visitors to the City to kick off the holiday season.
Winter Walk 2017 begins at 5 pm outside Hudson Hall with Harmony Project Hudson choristers welcoming Santa Claus in his horse-drawn sleigh, before helping him to settle into his new spot in Hudson Hall’s West Room. Santa’s elves will distribute a free, gift-wrapped book to every child. While waiting to meet Santa, families can view SEE ME LIKE THIS, an exhibition of photographic portraits created by Valerie Shaff with the young women of Perfect 10 Hudson, on view in the Center Hall Gallery until January 21. The current and presumptive future Mayor of Hudson, Tiffany Martin Hamilton and Rick Rector, will also be in attendance to welcome Santa and his elves.
On stage at Hudson Hall, American author Washington Irving conspires with Prussia’s E.T.A. Hoffman in choreographer Adam Weinert’s RIP THE NUT, a raucous, Hudson Valley-inspired mash up of the Rip Van Winkle story and The Nutcracker suite. Weinert is joined by dancers Logan Kruger, Brett Perry and Emma Sandall, and a host of community partners organized by Elena Mosley of Operation Unite.
Back on Warren Street, Santa’s reindeer will be available for pictures, and kept amused by the cast of roving performers, costumed characters and Zuumba flash mobbers who charm revelers along the full length of the street. Musicians and dancers entertain holiday shoppers with in-store performances. Returning favorites include Sax-o-Claus, Crazy Christine the Balloon Queen, The Spinstress, Shook Gals, Holly Andy Ivy, the Orcapelicans (Bard College’s acapella sensations), miniature horses, carriage rides, and face-painting at The Bees Knees. Seano the Shakespearean Clown and the students of Montgomery C. Smith Middle School will put on a performance that is part poetry, puppetry, parade, and play – developed through an after school workshop presented by Hudson Hall.
New to Winter Walk this year is the Where’s George the Gingerbread Man? scavenger hunt through the shops and galleries of Warren Street’s Below 3rd district, and a stunning traditional Ukrainian Winter Star sculpture/installation by Ukrainian-born, Hudson-based artist Maryna Bilak Haughton. The brightly lit and colorful star-shaped wooden structure will stand eight feet tall with eight rays emanating from the center, an ancient symbol of balance, harmony and equilibrium.
Up at the 7th Street Park, tiny homes will feature festive scenes and characters. This year, the village has welcomed three new cottages to the neighborhood thanks to the City of Hudson. The new structures are the result of the building skills of the high school students at Questar III with materials provided by Lowe’s, and the decorative handiwork of the young people of Operation Unite NY, Alison Fox’s workshop for kids at Hudson Hall, and volunteers from Hudson’s Congregation Anshe Emeth.
At 8 pm, fireworks will light up the winter sky from Promenade Hill, marking the official conclusion of Winter Walk. Many businesses will be open for late night food, drink and entertainment.
For more information and an updated list of events, click here.
Hudson Hall is also now accepting applications for live performance hosts and volunteers. To register your interest in hosting a musician or performer in your space, or joining the team of costumed characters, production volunteers, audience greeters, or book gift-wrappers, contact Hudson Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Winter Walk 2016, courtesy Dan Region.