Sinterklaas is comin’ to town (Kingston, that is) on Saturday, November 24. His arrival kicks off the five-week-long Sinterklaas Rhinebeck celebration, with Festival Day slated this year for Saturday, December 1. Based on the holiday traditions of the Dutch who settled the Hudson Valley over 300 years ago, the annual event that now encompasses Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff and Kingston is a Mardi Grasesque panoply of parades, puppets, pageantry and community camaraderie that spans multiple venues and generates a multitude of activities.
So it’s a given that a celebration on this scale requires some preparations. Organizers are hosting a benefit craft fair to help fund the event, along with several workshops in the next few weeks to create puppets and for children to make “crowns and branches” to parade with (more on that in a moment).
A benefit craft fair to help put on Sinterklaas 2012 will be held on Sunday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rhinebeck Town Hall. The craft fair will feature handmade local crafts and art, plus live music. Door prizes will be awarded hourly, and admission is free. Early holiday shoppers can expect to find a selection of jewelry, weaving, knitting, painting, ceramics, photography, woodworking and more.
A “Crowns & Branches” workshop for children has been set for Friday, November 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Maritime Museum in Kingston at the Rondout Landing. Another “Crowns & Branches” workshop will be held the following day in Kingston, on Saturday, November 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rondout Center at 105 Broadway.
What are the crowns and branches about? Since Sinterklaas loves children, the festivities include a parade at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 1 in which children (who, as the story relates, are at all other times the least powerful of people) are honored as the most powerful for one day: kings and queens who need crowns and scepters. At the workshops, kids and the adults who accompany them can create royal headpieces and turn branches into scepters, adorning them with lots of glittery and crafty ribbons, streamers, lace and jewels.
In Rhinebeck, puppet-building workshops for the parade and “Crowns & Branches” workshops will be held every Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout November at 20 West Market Street in Rhinebeck. Volunteers are also being sought for a number of other functions to help bring the festivities to fruition, including selling stars for the children’s parade, animating the puppets and directing visitors and answering questions at various venues. More information is available at www.sinterklaasrhinebeck.com.
Organizers say that the festivities are intended to move the holidays away from the commercial Santa Claus and back to the underlying beliefs that began the legend: “the Good King or Noble Soul who brings light out of darkness, befriends the children and creatures and inspires our souls.” Sinterklaas Rhinebeck is a touchstone to put aside that which divides and focus instead on what brings us together.
A craft fair to benefit the organization of Sinterklaas Rhinebeck 2012 will be held on Sunday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rhinebeck Town Hall, located at 80 Market Street across from the municipal parking lot. Admission is free. “Crowns & Branches” workshops for children will be held in Kingston on Friday, November 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Maritime Museum at the Rondout Landing, and on Saturday, November 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rondout Center at 105 Broadway. Sinterklaas arrives on the same day. In Rhinebeck, puppet-building workshops for the parade and “Crowns & Branches” workshops will be held every Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 20 West Market Street in Rhinebeck throughout November. For more information, visit www.sinterklaasrhinebeck.com.