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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Sinterklaas Festival DayReturns to Rhinebeck on December 7

Dec 01, 2019 01:00PM ● By Marilee Burrell

Sinterklaas Festival. Photo by Doug Baz.

Sinterklaas Festival Day, a celebration featuring children’s workshops, dance, theater and music all over the village of Rhinebeck, will take place December 7, 2019, beginning at 10 a.m. and culminating at 6 p.m. with the Children’s Starlight Parade, which features two-story-tall animated puppets carried by hundreds of volunteers.

Every year since 2008, Rhinebeck has played host to Sinterklaas, an Old Dutch tradition in the Hudson Valley. Now in its 12th year, the festival will give life to a spectacular underwater world replete with starfish, Poseidon, a mermaid offering pearls of wisdom, and fish of all varieties, large and small, in a nod to creatures of mythical lands as well as those of the real world. The honored animal for 2019 is the sturgeon, an ancient fish considered to be “the dinosaur of the Hudson.”

A nondenominational event, Sinterklaas is an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate children, art and the light of the winter season.

“While Sinterklaas is a time for people of every age to explore their creativity, at its heart, it’s meant to teach children that art and imagination can transform the world,” says its producer and coordinator, Jeanne Fleming, who also produces the New York City’s annual Halloween parade.

There will be live performances and entertainment throughout the festival day, including local favorites such as the Vanaver Caravan, storyteller Jonathan Kruk, the Community Music Space Young Performers, the Vassar Devils and 11 brass bands. Sinterklaas is organized by volunteers and funded by local businesses, individuals and foundations.

“This event brings life to our imaginations, and there’s no gift more special than that,” Fleming says. “Sinterklaas is an invitation to be a storyteller, a creator, and then to participate in the magic of that creation. Thanks to all of those who contribute with their time and love; creating alongside everyone is a joy.”

Parking will be available at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck High School, the Rhinebeck Highway Department and Starr Library.

For more info, email [email protected] or visit