The Newburgh Illuminated Festival on Saturday, June 1 from noon to 10 p.m. will be the seventh iteration of an event that, in a relatively short time, has become a popular festival in the region, with at least 14,000 festivalgoers expected to attend. A free shuttle bus operates between the festival and the Beacon Metro-North train station, coordinating with train arrivals, making it easy to meet up with friends coming up from the City for the day. For those driving, there is plenty of free parking.
Portions of Broadway and Liberty Streets in Newburgh will be blocked off to traffic for Newburgh Illuminated and turned into pedestrian walkways, with four stages for music and another for dance performances offering continuous entertainment against a backdrop of the Hudson River. Admission to the ten-hour festival is free.
Festivities kick off at noon with the arrival of more than 100 motorcyclists at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Park at 84 Liberty Street. Anyone who wishes to take part in the ride should gather at Motorcyclepedia at 250 Lake Street in Newburgh – kickstands up at 11:15 a.m. – for a 45-minute ride (escorted by police) down through New Windsor, past the Purple Heart Museum and back into Newburgh to start the party.
Children’s activities will be held on the lawn of Washington’s Headquarters from noon to 4 p.m., and the site will be open with costumed interpreters doing their regular tours of the house and museum. The parking lot at the site will be open, but visitors should keep in mind that the historic property closes at 5 p.m. and the parking lot along with it.
The Broadway Main Stage will host nine different musical acts on a schedule running from noon to 9 p.m. Two more stages, Broadway West and Liberty Street, will each host eight acts from noon to 7 p.m. And a fourth stage in front of the Wherehouse pub at 119 Liberty Street – which features vegetarian-friendly bar food and craft beer in an 1860s storefront with a 1960s theme – will offer up six musical performances from 1 to 6 p.m. There are no repeat performances between stages, so each of the 31 acts is unique to that stage and time slot. The festival is designed to showcase the diversity of Newburgh, so the entertainment will range across genres, including children’s performers as well as seasoned musicians.
The Ritz Dance Stage at the center of the festival, in the park at Safe Harbors Green next to the Ritz Theater at 111 Broadway, will highlight short dance performances between noon and 6 p.m. Most will feature professional dancers, but expect some high-level student work as well.
Craft vendors and food trucks will be plentiful, as will not-for-profits with information and advice to offer. Look for a fashion show and a variety of street performers, and poetry and the visual arts will also be represented.
The Newburgh Illuminated Festival originated with then-Newburgh mayor Judy Kennedy, who passed away last year shortly before the sixth festival went on. Her intention in developing the event was to create something to “shine a light” on the City of Newburgh, in order to increase tourism, attract new residents and businesses and offer a positive perception of the area. The “Illuminated” part of the title references Newburgh’s status in history as the second municipality in the country wired for electricity. The power originated at a generating plant built by Thomas Edison at a cost of $41,000 – a considerable sum in 1884. A year prior to that, Edison built the Pearl Street Station in lower Manhattan.
The original Newburgh power plant still stands at 59-69 Montgomery Street, where it has been used by Central Hudson as a switching station since 1984.
Newburgh Illuminated Festival, Saturday, June 1, noon-10 p.m., free, Broadway & Liberty Streets, Newburgh; www.newburghilluminatedfestival.com.