Rosendale winter festival features free Wizard of Oz screening

In this photo from Frozendale 2015, Jane Brown of Accord gives an affectionate hug to Santa James Noon of Rosendale. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

How many thousand times have you seen The Wizard of Oz? Okay, maybe not thousands; but a lot, right? Now, consider when was the last time you saw it on a big screen — meaning moviehouse-big, not wall-mounted-mancave-model-big. Decades ago? You can’t remember? Maybe never? That would be a shame; the 1939 fantasy classic is fun on TV, but a whole other experience on a cinematic scale.

Luckily, this is a problem easily remedied: This Saturday, December 9 at 11 a.m., the Rosendale Theatre will be screening The Wizard of Oz — for free, thanks to a corporate contribution from Ulster Savings Bank. One of the ways in which the “little theatre that could” gives back to its home community, the free show is an annual highlight of the Frozendale festival. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street (Route 213).

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Originally sponsored circa 2004/05 by the Rosendale Chamber of Commerce, Frozendale returns year after year thanks to the efforts of many Main Streeters and downtown businesspeople who are dedicated to ensuring that Rosendale retains its crown as the mid-Hudson Valley’s year-round “Festival Town.” This year’s event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with participating shops showcasing the best in local food, art, music and crafts.

As you stroll up and down Main Street, you’ll find yourself serenaded by live performances wafting from the doors of restaurants and watering holes, and perhaps even strutting along to the Big Easy rhythms of the Rosendale Improvement Association Brass Band and Social Club as it marches past you. Many downtown shops will offer special discounts, free snacks or drinks or even hands-on activities for children.

Fun events for the little ones get started early, as the Rosendale Library kicks off the day’s festivities with a program of Holiday Stories for Children with Miss Annie beginning at 10 a.m. (You can hear most of it, grab a cookie baked by the folks at the Woodcrest Bruderhof and still amble downtown in time to catch the movie.) A Holiday Booktique sale of used books, canvas library bags and gifts will go on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at which time the drawing will be held in the Gift Basket Raffle. The Rosendale Public Library is located at 264 Main Street.

Holiday shoppers will want to check out the annual Winter Gift Sale, hosted at RosenSpace (located at 402 Main Street, in the alley behind the Big Cheese) between noon and 6 p.m. Among the locally sourced offerings by this year’s vendors are herbal body care products by Medicine Gardens, custom wood-burned cutting boards and knitted items by Mama Moon Locks, delightful doodles by Karmabee and artful ceramic dishware by Deep Earth Designs and Felicia Flanagan Ceramics.

As usual, the day of fun winds up with Frozendale’s Mac & Cheese Contest, hosted by the Big Cheese at 402 Main Street. “Anyone who can melt cheese can enter this contest,” say the organizers. “There are no age, gender or employee affiliation restrictions.” Indeed, in 2015 the competition was won by a ten-year-old. If you’d like to enter your own secret macaroni-and-cheese recipe, fill out the online form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScBKReHnpK2FOoNmjcWDjfUM1HDq1l6_6D0JBJvT1fwACL6qA/viewform and be sure to drop off your entry (enough for at least four people) at the Big Cheese between 4:30 and 4:50 p.m. on Saturday.

The judging will get underway at 5 p.m. Presiding over the Frozendale Mac & Cheese Contest — unlike TV competition shows — are two real-life judges: Ulster County Surrogate Court judge Sara McGinty and Rosendale town justice William Pape. After the winners have been chosen and awarded their prizes, the general public will be invited to chow down on the remnants of all the competing dishes.

To find out more about Frozendale 2017, visit www.facebook.com/frozendalerosendale.

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