19 Ways to Spend August in the Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley Events Round-Ups | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

From county fair season to live music shows, festivals, and artist open studios, the Hudson Valley cultural scene is in full bloom in August. Here are our top picks for what to do in the Hudson Valley in August.

Ulster County Fair

August 1-6 in New Paltz

Summertime wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a county fair! The century-and-a-half-old Ulster County Fair will return to New Paltz with amusement park rides, exhibits, pig racing, horse shows, live entertainment, food your cardiologist warned you not to eat, and carnival games. Musical acts include Thunder Ridge, Lee Greenwood, Kentucky Headhunters, Thompson Square, and others. This year, the Ulster County Agricultural Society will be introducing “The Sensory Safe Space” for children with autism, or any individual with sensory sensitivity, as a quiet retreat from the loud noises, large crowds, and bright lights of the fair. $20.

Phoenicia Festival of the Arts

August 4-6 on Phoenicia’s Main Street

An event 20 years in the making for artist Christina Varga of Varga Gallery, the Phoenicia Festival of the Arts will take over Main Street with diverse and inclusive activities for the whole family. Outdoor live music, poetry readings, open mics, and artist demonstrations will provide entertainment for visitors, as well as artisanal gifts, ceramics, sculpture, and more. The event will also include two exhibitions curated by Varga Galleries and three days of performances at the Phoenicia Playhouse.

Fantastic Negrito

August 5 at Bearsville Theater

Grammy-winning, socially conscious blues rocker Fantastic Negrito (born Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz in 1968) has overcome some head-spinning adversities: strict religious parents, teenage drug dealing, a fraught 1990s record deal, and a car crash that put him in a coma for three weeks. This intimate hit at the Bearsville Theater presents a screening of the companion film to his 2022 album White Jesus Black Problems, along with a Q&A and a live acoustic performance. (Matishyahu and G. Love and Special Sauce marinate August 11; Third World blesses up September 1.) 7pm. $44.50-$49.50.

The Hold Steady’s Positive Jam

August 5 at Arrowood Farms

Naming the event for a track off Almost Killed Me, their 2004 debut album, indie giants the Hold Steady are celebrating their 20th year by jumping into the music-festival game with their inaugural Positive Jam Festival in Accord. Besides the host band, the ace lineup includes Guided by Voices, The Tallest Man on Earth (AKA Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson), Laura Stevenson, Brooklyn-based Talking Heads cover band I Get Wild, and Oceanator. (The “Positive Jams Prelims” pool party at Inness has storytellers, lawn games, and DJ sets by Hold Steady members August 4.) Noon. From $140.

Hudson Valley Craft Beverage Festival

August 5 at Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz

Celebrating the region as a world-class destination for artisanal beverages, the second annual Hudson Valley Craft Beverage Festival will be held at Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz. The event will center two-hour tastings of craft beverages from over 20 makers of local cider, beer, mead, wine, and spirits. Drinks will be served alongside wood-fired pizza, burgers, and barbecue, with live music from 12pm to 6pm. Guests must be 21 or over to participate in tastings or purchase alcoholic beverages. Tastings at 1pm and 3:30pm. $20.

La Guelaguetza of Poughkeepsie

August 6 at Waryas Park

The festivities of La Guelaguetza, an indigenous and pre-Hispanic festival, originated in Oaxaca, Mexico and were brought to Poughkeepsie 16 years ago when a group of Oaxacan immigrants felt inspired to share the cultural tradition. Since then, the event has grown to attract thousands of visitors to celebrate the offering to the corn goddess, Centeótl. At this year’s celebration, audiences will enjoy performances from Grupo Folklórico de Poughkeepsie, Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York, and others. There will be Oaxacan cuisine including tacos, tamales, aguas frescas, elotes, and more. 1pm. Free.

Vanaver Caravan’s “Youthscape”

August 11 at Opus 40

Vanaver Caravan’s “Youthscape” will bring together performance art and sculpture as dancers and audience members alike explore the structures of Opus 40. Created with Vanaver Caravan Dance Company’s artists and faculty, the show will be led by students who will perform site-specific choreography throughout the sculpture park, exploring issues of identity, climate, and freedom of expression through vocal and physical mediums. 5:30pm. $20.

Hudson Film Festival

August 11-13 at three venues in Hudson

From a gory and mysterious coming-of-age horror story to a musical and cultural documentary to a politically charged romantic drama, the new Hudson Film Festival has something for film lovers of all kinds. Over the course of three days, audiences will have the opportunity to watch eight new films including She Came to Me directed by Rebecca Miller and starring Peter Dinklage, Marisa Tomei, and Anne Hathaway as well as a new film by Jennifer Reeder, Perpetrator, starring Alicia Silverstone and rising actor Kiah McKirnan. Tickets can be purchased online. $28.52 for individual screenings, and $95 for an all-access pass.

Blueberry Festival

August 12 in Ellenville

The Shawangunk Mountains have long been a wild blueberry destination, with remnants of blueberry huts where pickers would stay during the season, still scattered throughout the mountains. To celebrate the region’s abundance of blueberries, the Ellenville Blueberry Festival will host craft vendors, including art, pottery, and jewelry, as well as food vendors serving gyros, hot dogs, muffins, and tons of blueberry treats. The event will also include Ellenville’s famous blueberry muffin contest, and live music by Bridge Arts Community Jazz Band, Hudson Valley Bluegrass Express, and the Jazz Pioneers. 9am. Free.

Paula Poundstone

August 12 at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theatre

The famously sharp-witted comedian and regular on NPR’s weekly quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” will take the stage at Peekskill's Paramount for a night of top-tier stand-up. In 1992, Poundstone made history as the first female comic to perform stand-up at the White House Correspondents Dinner. She is the star of several HBO specials, including “Cats, Cops and Stuff” and “Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard,” as well as the author of two books, and the host of a comedy podcast called “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.” 8pm. $37.50, $45, and $55.

Ryan Montbleau Band

August 18 at Infinity Hall

You know it’s summer in our region when contemporary folk singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau is making the rounds. Since he started performing in the early 2000s, the 46-year-old has collaborated with such artists as Martin Sexton, Trombone Shorty, Tall Heights, and Galactic and notched more than 100 million streams on Spotify. Fans of the tender tunesmith best point their Birkenstocks in the direction of Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Connecticut, where he’ll bring his full Ryan Montbleau Band for this evening in support of his new, multi-part album, Wood, Fire, Water, and Air. (Jim Messina jumps by August 2; Tinsley Ellis taps in August 19.) 7pm. $34-$44.

Infinityhall.com

Deep in the Valley Festival

August 19 at From the Ground Brewery

Curated by the music blog Raven Sings the Blues, the Deep in the Valley music festival this month gets its second annual staging at Migliorelli Orchard in Red Hook. This year’s lineup at the open-air celebration of “musical genres with a common thread of experimentation and exploration” features Ryley Walker, 75 Dollar Bill, Garcia Peoples, Sunwatchers, the Weeping Bong Band, Gold Dust, Ned Collette, and Glyders. Added attractions for the day include a food truck from Gracie’s Diner and an on-site record fair by New Jersey vendor Bash and Pop. Tickets are $42.76.

Kingston Artists Soapbox Derby

August 20 in Kingston

From trash cans to flying saucers to gigantic clocks, contestants in the the Kingston Artists Soapbox Derby find no limit to what can be put on wheels. For the 28th year running, crowds will gather to witness a parade of nonmotorized kinetic sculptures capable of rolling down lower Broadway in Kingston. The event will include vendors and live music and will conclude with an award ceremony where onlookers can witness their favorite sculptures receive artist-designed trophies. 1pm. Free.

Messer Chups

August 21 at No Fun

With the striking Svetlana “Zombierella” Nagaeva—think Woodstock’s own Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction—on bass, surf rock trio Messer Chups unashamedly embraces the whole spooky, post-Cramps psychobilly vibe. Guitarist and leader Oleg Guitarkin formed the group in his native Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1989 and they went on to release a crypt-ful of albums with titles like Vamp Babes, Black Black Magic, Cocktail Draculina, Surf Riders from the Swamp Lagoon, Taste the Blood of Guitaracula, and, well, you get the idea. With the Ichi-Bons and the Jagaloons at No Fun in Troy. (Cellular Chaos erupts August 15; the 5.6.7.8.’s twang August 21.) 8pm. $12 advance; $16 door.

Dutchess County Fair

August 22-27 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

The 177-year-old Dutchess County Fair will returns with tons of activities and entertainment from live music to magic shows, a petting zoo, aerial and acrobatic shows, amusement park rides, lots of food, and vendors. This county fair includes one-of-a-kind fair experiences such as beautiful gardens with waterfalls and koi ponds, museums with turn-of-the-century displays and storytellers in costume, and a full agricultural fair with farm animals and horse shows. Country rock star Brantley Gilbert headlines on August 23. $13.50.

“Anima”

August 31 and September 2-3 at PS21 in Chatham

click to enlarge 19 Ways to Spend August in the Hudson Valley
Photo by Christoph Reynaud de Lage
Chloe Moglia in a 2022 production of "Anima"

Inspired by their shared interest in the discoveries of paleoclimatologists (historical climate-detectives), artist Noemie Goudal and director Maelle Poésy created “Anima,” a multimedia artistic experience on the history and future of landscapes and ecosystems. Large-scale moving image projections of the continuous metamorphosis of palm trees, rocks, caves, and glaciers, surround the audience as they listen to the recorded sounds of rushing water, wind, and wildlife. The immersive video and audio installation at PS21 will be complemented by a suspended acrobatic performance from circus artist Chloe Moglia. Audiences will be compelled to examine the passage of time, impermanence, and to reconsider climate change within the broader environmental story of the world. 8pm. $45.

Paul Moody

September 1 at Graveside Variety

Paul Moody started working on his album By Your Side when he was living in Nashville. After narrowing down the 40 or so tunes he penned to the 11 that made the cut, he recorded the release “in a small windowless cabin without running water” with help from locals Mikaela Davis, James Felice of the Felice Brothers, and Keith Goodwin of Good Old War. Perhaps they’ll sit in for this show at pop-up venue Graveside Variety in Woodstock. With Margo Ross. (Joan As Policewoman plays August 4 and 5; Zach Djanikan, Chris Maxwell, and Ambrosia Parsley perform August 13.) 7pm. $22.69.

Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

September 1-3 at Tymor Park, Union Vale

Witness a sky filled with majestic hot-air balloons, or take a ride in one ($350 a pop) at the 32nd annual balloon festival. The celebration will also offer opportunities such as helicopter rides, and will include nightly fireworks, amusement rides and games, live music, vendors, a beer and wine tent, and many more classic summer fair activities. $8.50 for mornings, $16.50 for evenings, and $27.95 for an all-weekend pass.

Art Studio Views

September 2-3 at various locations

Take an intimate look at the artistic process of 30 artists throughout northern Dutchess and southern Columbia counties when they open their studio doors for family-friendly, self-guided tours during Art Studio Views. There will be a diverse range of artistic mediums to explore, including painting, photography, sculpture, metal art, and more. Not-to-be-missed: Germantown-based ceramics artist Ramah Commanday. Visitors can explore the work that she created as a result of the wildfire that burned down her home and studio in Napa Valley. Fascinated by the impact that a “second firing” might have had on her work, Commanday recovered and repaired many of her finished pieces from the wreckage, creating something new from the ashes. Free.

Peter Aaron

Peter Aaron is the arts editor for Chronogram.
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