Have you ever walked down a crowded street where every man, woman and child smiled? Actually, that’s what happened in Rhinebeck Dec. 7 when the entire community came together to celebrate Sinterklaas, a merry festival that ushers in the holiday season.
Thousands flocked to our village from the Hudson Valley, Albany, Manhattan, and as far as our nation’s capitol. Now in its sixth year, the Sinterklaas tradition harks back to the Dutch settlers who arrived in Rhinebeck 300 years ago.
This all-inclusive, non-denominational festival provides a plethora of activities. There are puppet shows, magicians, storytellers, dancers, musicians, choral groups, circus performers, fire-eaters, live theater, the Stilted Band, dancing Grumpuses and Wild Women, the Pocket Lady, the Snow King and Queen, and, of course, Sinterklaas himself. A big hit with the kids is decorating branches and creating crowns to become Kings and Queens.
Once a year, Rhinebeck is transformed into a place where pure magic happens, culminating in a gloriously colorful parade at night, where the children join with their crowns, branches and lit stars.
Sinterklaas is a joyful gift bestowed upon our village!
Deserving special thanks are its brilliantly imaginative creator, Jeanne Flemming, assisted by Pat Sexton, Lila Pague, Martha Tobias, Abby Saxon, Aida Wilder, George and Phebe Banta, Dorna Schroeter, Richard Prouse, Elena Erber, Suzy Morris, Joanne Gelb, Jill Lundquist, Johanna Bard, Lindy Wright, Mary Yankajtis, Tricia Reed and over 500 talented volunteers who work tirelessly for months to create this fantastic celebration.