Pin It

A Light That Never Goes Out 

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF SAFE HARBORS OF THE HUDSON
  • Photo courtesy of Safe Harbors of the Hudson

There's an imbalance when it comes to the people who live in the City of Newburgh and those that hear about it from afar. From the outside, the city seems to be crawling with crime and economically slumping. Yet step inside the city limits and there's a quiet—but exciting—hustle, one where abandoned warehouses are turned into art galleries and empty houses are restored to life. The spirit of Newburgh is quickly transforming, especially with the influx of Brooklyn-based artists traveling up the Hudson to stay. While this shift has been happening for years, it just hasn't been loud enough. "We need something to change the energy of the city," says Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy.

Enter Newburgh Illuminated Festival—a coming-out party, if you will. Though in its third year, this summer's bash will trump the rest as Newburgh celebrates its 150th year as a city. From 11am to midnight Saturday, June 20, the family-friendly, free fest will show off the city's resurgence and one of its most prized assets: diversity. Blocking off historic downtown's Broadway and Liberty Street, the mayor says she expects thousands to attend to sample the city's eclectic offerings.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF SAFE HARBORS OF THE HUDSON
  • Photo courtesy of Safe Harbors of the Hudson

Quite the mix of activities and vendors will showcase the best of Newburgh as well as surrounding Hudson Valley communities. First, there's the World of Food, with ethnic treats ranging from Jamaican and Spanish to Greek and Ecuadorian, not to mention the farm-to-table tastes from Hudson Valley purveyors. There's something for everyone with the countless local vendors and small businesses, like Middletown's Beyond the Picket Fence (all-natural bath and body works), Newburgh's La Maison du Bien-Etre (yoga/dance/massage therapy wellness house), and Cornwall's Stylo Furniture & Design (handmade, contemporary furniture). In conjunction with Newburgh's birthday celebration, Mid Valley Medallions, a commemorative coins company, will display a Newburgh 150th anniversary coin.

A Newburgh trolley tour will visit historic sites around the city, stopping at Washington's Headquarters, the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and Highlands, and the Ritz Theater, which has featured notable stars like Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. The festival will also host its first Chalk Artist Expo, vintage car show, book readings by local authors, and an Indian Holi Celebration of Color. The streets will be flooded with art, including pop-up art shows with light installations, and open-studio visits. Carnival games, bouncy houses, horseshoe competitions, and beanbag tosses will be ready for the kids.

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF SAFE HARBORS OF THE HUDSON
  • Photo courtesy of Safe Harbors of the Hudson

And don't forget about the music, which ranges everywhere from rap to classical to acoustic to punk. Hip hop artist and poet Saul Williams, a Newburgh native, will headline along with Living Colour frontman Corey Glover. Rapper and artist Decora, owner of Space Create, a 24-hour collaborative creative space at 115 Broadway, takes the stage midway through the festival. Decora, who's lived in Newburgh the past nine years, has noticed a significant increase in the number of artists working in the city. "We want to showcase that change, showing people this is not staged," says Decora.

There's so much to do and almost too much to see at Newburgh Illuminated, but that's the point the city and the festival's committee are trying to get across. Newburgh is a city that needs to be revisited again and again. "This is just our first go-around at highlighting not only the fact that there's a lot going on here in Newburgh, but that it's the center of the Hudson Valley," says Eric Jarmann, chair of the Newburgh Illuminated Vendor Committee and owner of the Newburgh Gift Shop at 75 Broadway. "It's time that we get comfortable with that and start being in the spotlight for the right reasons."

The Newburgh Illuminated Festival takes place on Saturday, June 20, from 11am to midnight on Liberty Street and Broadway in Newburgh. Newburghilluminatedfestival.com.

Speaking of...

  • Newburgh & Cornwall: Setting the Stage for Success
  • Newburgh & Cornwall: Setting the Stage for Success

    If you've never been there, or haven't been lately, you owe yourself a ramble around the northeastern part of Orange County.
    • Apr 1, 2016
  • Making the Cut: Decora
  • Making the Cut: Decora

    A more serious and committed Hudson Valley musical figure than Decora does not come to mind. Everything the 32-year-old does and says comes with a breathtaking level of locked-down, unwaveringly intense focus.
    • Nov 1, 2015
  • A Little Shellfish
  • A Little Shellfish

    Eco Shrimp Garden
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Hefestus Iron Pour

    The second annual Hefestus festival is returning on May 23 for a full day of iron casting, sculpting, and metalwork, with live music, food, and drinks.
    • May 1, 2015
  • Percussive Effect: Drum Boogie at Andy Lee Field

    Drum Boogie will take place at Andy Lee Field in Woodstock on September 12 from 11am to 8pm. Admission is free.
    • Sep 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Close Look: How does climate change affect YOU? @ The Williams College Museum of Art

Close Look: How does climate change affect YOU?

Thu., Sept. 29, 4 p.m. — Think tanks in Indonesia and Morocco await your response. Curator Sonnet Coggins...

Big Upstate Balkan Dance Party

Thu., Sept. 29, 7 p.m.

View all of today's events

Latest in Festivals

  • Brick Alley Block Party, September 24 – Rain or Shine
  • Brick Alley Block Party, September 24 – Rain or Shine

    Celebrate GARNER Arts Center’s Exhibition, Transposing Perception, wandering through site specific art, music & dance installations throughout connecting 19th Century warehouses and alleyways, ending with a DJ set in a starlit Brick Alleyway. Food trucks, craft beer, wine & cider.
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Summer Hoot
  • Summer Hoot

    • Aug 1, 2016
  • Experience the 7th Annual Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice
  • Experience the 7th Annual Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice

    The world’s best vocal talent in opera, Broadway and beyond gather for four unforgettable days of performances and events in Phoenicia, New York. Join us on August 4-7 as we celebrate Shakespeare and the British Isles through music. ​
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • More »

Related to Festivals

  • La Guelaguetza Festival
  • La Guelaguetza Festival

    For the eighth year this August, Grupo Folclórico de Poughkeepsie is bringing La Guelaguetza to Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie, to share the tradition with locals.
    • Aug 1, 2016
  • Hudson’s Gateway for Music and Art Lovers
  • Hudson’s Gateway for Music and Art Lovers

    With a broad range of programming like experimental film screenings, unconventional art events, and community gatherings, Basilica Hudson draws crowds. And their antifestival, Basilica SoundScape, offers families a chance to get in on the action on September 13th.
    • Aug 31, 2015
  • Beacon  Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • Beacon Tree Lighting Ceremony

    The City of Beacon and BeaconArts put a different spin on the holidays
    • Dec 12, 2014
  • Sinterklaas Festival in Rhinebeck
  • Sinterklaas Festival in Rhinebeck

    The 300 year Dutch tradition of Kinterklaas is celebrated in Rhinebeck.
    • Dec 6, 2014
  • More »

More by Zan Strumfeld

Hudson Valley Tweets