The world only spins forward.
– Angels in America, Tony Kushner
Sure, our entire country is celebrating Independence Day; but this holiday has plenty of local roots right here in the Hudson Valley and is part of our local history, too. Key players like George Washington spent time at his headquarters in Newburgh, which also became America’s first historic landmark. The very documents that helped to create New York State were drawn up at the Senate House right in Kingston. The US has much to celebrate, but how great is it to spend time with our families in the actual places where this history happened?
Three-Day Independence Celebration in Kingston
Kingston, New York State’s first capital, presents its Three-Day Independence Celebration, a full schedule of free events for all ages. The festivities begin at the Rondout on Thursday, July 4 at 5 p.m. with the fun rock ‘n’ roll sound of Mister Kick, plus special children’s activities, craft vendors and discounts at local restaurants and shops. The Cagneys take the stage at 7 p.m. with a mix of classics to which we all know the words, from the ‘60s through the ‘90s and beyond. Then the Patriotic Celebration and fireworks take place at 9 p.m.
Come back down to the Rondout on Friday, July 5 at 7:30 p.m. for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic (HVP) Pops and Classical Concert, including special guests Broadway vocalists Rob Evan and Mandy Gonzalez, along with the Woodstock Community Chorale and Phoenicia Community Choir. Lawn seating for this concert opens at 6 p.m. at Abeel Street right off Broadway, next to Mahoney’s.
On Saturday, July 6th, the events span from the Rondout all the way to Uptown Kingston. In the Uptown area from 1 to 5 p.m., stop by the Senate House at 296 Fair Street for free tours, while Rich Hines & the Hillbilly Drifters play their bluegrass tunes. Down the hill, take a free ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad at 149 Aaron Court and wave your free miniature American flag as the Blue Mountain Boys with Bob Stump and Tom White perform original Americana, bluegrass and folk music. Trains depart on the hour from 1 to 4 p.m., and rides last for 40 minutes.
On the Rondout from 2 to 5 p.m., listen to more music with performances by the Wild Swans, Rose Ann Fino and the Lindsey Webster Band, among others. I just heard the Lindsey Webster Band at the United Way’s recent Hope’s Fund benefit, and their music is terrific. Then from 5 to 9 p.m., dance and clap along as the Raya Brass Band strolls the area with its “exuberant Balkan music.” Guitarist Jeff Armstrong will play at the Arts Society of Kingston gallery opening.
Coolers are not permitted during these events, but food and drink are available for purchase from local vendors. Remember to bring your blankets and lawn chairs. Transportation and parking information: Parking is available on the Rondout, but on July 5 all Kingston City buses that go to the Rondout will operate free of charge. In addition, beginning at 5 p.m., additional parking with free round-trip bus shuttle to the HVP venue will be available at the Cornell Street parking lot in Midtown, just off Broadway, and at Kingston Point in the Rondout, on Delaware Street just off the Strand.
For more information about the Three-Day Independence Celebration, call (845) 473-5288, extension 101, or visit www.bardavon.org.
Free July 4 admission to Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh
July 4 holds significance for the US as Independence Day, but Washington’s Headquarters has one more reason to celebrate: The date marks its 162nd birthday as America’s first publicly preserved historic site. But get this: You receive the gifts! On Thursday, July 4, admission to the Headquarters and Museum is free for the day. Doors open at 10 a.m.; the first tour is at 10:30 a.m., the last at 4:30 p.m., with tours offered every half-hour. Plus, in the museum, you will dip your own candle as a take-home craft to remember this special birthday event.
Washington’s Headquarters is located at 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 562-1195 or visit www.facebook.com/washingtonsheadquarters.