The original Sinterklaas came to Holland from Spain. Now Sinterklaas travels to Rhinebeck from Kingston, on the other side of the Hudson River! After much celebration and parading through the streets, he embarks on his boat journey across the river and arrives at the Rhinecliff dock.
The Procession then makes its way from the Rhinecliff Dock to the Center of Rhinecliff ending at The Rhinecliff Hotel where a wonderful reception, including a performance of St. George and the Dragon and other entertainment and festivities, is held.
Typically held in Kingston on the last Saturday in November, with a day of open houses, workshops, musical performances, and a parade to escort Sinterklaas to the waterfront where he embarks on his journey across the Hudson River, sadly this year the Kingston event is cancelled due to the Pandemic.
The main Festival Day usually takes place a week later in Rhinebeck, with festivities all day. Then, beginning at 6pm, the Sinterklaas parade begins. Puppeteers arrive at the Starr Library at 5 pm to be assigned their puppets. Anyone can participate! This year plans are in the works to hold COVID-safe activities.
The usual parade is very special. It is a recreation of the Dutch parades with Sinterklaas on his White Horse, the Grumpuses (crazy sidekicks who carry out Sinterklaas' judgment on the children, either switches for the bad or candies for the good), the Wild Women, Dancing Bears, Grandmother Earth, the Seven Sisters (Stars from the cosmos that look down on us from afar and allow us to look up and dream), Giants, Snow Geese, and more! When the parade reaches the Municipal Parking Lot the stage is filled with celebratory dances by many of these characters, music, The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance performed by the Pokingbrook Morris Dancers, and much more. The conclusion is the appearance of the Peace Dove - a wish for Peace in a world of harmony where we all live in community with each other, enjoying and celebrating our differences.