Monday, December 7, 2015


When we were building our house in the Hudson Valley last year, I noticed little signs around one of the villages with Winter and Christmas scenes. I observed the same star in all of the businesses windows. I soon figured out the town was preparing to celebrate Sinterklaas. Coming from a Dutch tradition, a few towns in the area celebrate Sinterklaas 2 weekends in a row, presumably because they were settled by Dutch immigrants.

2015 was year of the honeybee--see the bee's? Also, each star lights up.

Our first exposure to Sinterklaas came this past weekend.  Though there were rolling events all day long, we joined the festivities around 3 pm.

Miraculously, we found a very close parking spot.  As we were driving away when all the festivities were coming to an end, we noticed cars parked mile(s) away.  

The afternoon included milling about the town in and out of shops, receiving some free hot cider, supporting bake sales of boy scouts and churches.  We saw bands and costumed folks walking around the sidewalks and families in good holidays spirits.

We began at the Town Hall making crowns and wands (a tradition, I haven't TOTALLY figured out what they are for, but EVERYONE was there) and making a wish.  It was crowded. Jason kept telling me if he closed his eyes he could transport himself somewhere other than HERE.

It was THAT crowded and crazy.

Once we finished our crafts we happened upon a Photo Booth where we took what I think is one of our best attempts at a Photo Booth photo!

Every time it was time for a click, Pickle would say: HAPPY FACE! And look--she totally did it!

We saw a one-man-show clown act that was very entertaining.  After that we watched a Live Nativity.  I love that church communities are stilling doing that---the costumes looked so old and wrinkly like they had JUSt been taken out of the box. The church was white and beautiful and apparently was one of the first buildings built hundreds of years ago by the Dutch.  I was REALLY expecting live animals, so I was a bit disappointed, but just LOVED singing Angels we have Heard on High with those attending.

Finally it was time to gather for the parade.  This was no Disney Electric Fantasy Whatever parade, but it was still a parade of lights. We all LOVED it. There was beautiful art work and lanterns and a dancing polar bear and Snow King and Queen and more and more and more and of course Sinterklaas.  Even live alpacas marching in that parade!  One was covered in electric lights --cool or not cool? I voted cool.

What we learned: plan for snacks/dinner/food ahead of time....maybe bring it with us somehow, as all the restaurants are packed at dinner time and all the food for sale is TREATS. Also, wear two pairs of socks and long johns as the parade gets cold.  Finally, don't miss it next year!

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