No plans? No problem. August in the Hudson Valley is full of events for the arts, food, dance, and culture enthusiasts among us. Read on for a curated selection of Hudson Valley events all your friends will be talking about come fall:
Bon Odori Festival
Bon Odori, or Obon, is the 500-year-old Buddhist-Confucian custom of commemorating ancestors. This celebration continues today in Japan, where families pilgrimage to the burial sites of their relatives to clean the graves, make offerings, and dance the Bon Odori. This treasured tradition will be brought to life in Kingston with martial arts demonstrations, dance, and taiko drumming, along with other fun festivities for the family. There will be plenty of locally sourced food and drinks onsite to hydrate you as you move through the day. The event has also expanded its focus to address environmental issues by inviting local farms and clean energy providers to table, and by pushing for denuclearization both in war and industry. The event will take place at the Center for Creative Education in Kingston on August 3. Bonodori.org
Summer Hoot 2019
This biannual Hudson Valley hootenanny returns to The Ashokan Center for three days of local food, craft brews, and live music from August 23 to 25. The country/folk-centered celebration offers up an ideal environment for family-friendly foot-stomping to a fiery fiddle, with a sylvan backdrop. The line-up includes guitarist Courtney Hartman, David Bromberg, and The Mammals, among others. On Friday and Saturday, workshops will be held in performance hall including blacksmithing, dance, and music classes. The surrounding grounds are perfect for hiking if you need to escape all the bustle.
"Meek" at Denizen TheatreThe US premiere of "Meek," a new play by Penelope Skinner, takes place on August 7 at Denizen Theater in New Paltz and will run until September 1. Denizen's 2019 programming includes a slate of fresh, new plays that were picked, in part, because of the dynamic roles they offer women actors. The all-female cast of "Meek" portrays a dystopian reality in which one woman is imprisoned for an unknown crime. In this haunting vision of ruthless state theocracy and tense relationships, the private and personal become political, and freedom of speech is nonexistent. The intimacy of the Denizen's black box theater provides a perfect space for this piece, forcing the audience to confront the unnerving parallels between the play's purported world and our own. Directed by Kelly Kitchens, "Meek" shows how a small act of resistance turns a free-thinker into a political revolutionary and extends a deeply sobering theater experience to audiences. Denizentheatre.com
Saugerties Caribbean Carnival
We don't all have the funds to fly down to the warm beaches of the Caribbean this summer, but you don't have to shell out to enjoy island culture. Bask in the warm Catskills sun and soak up the lively food and music of the Carribean on August 11 from 11am to 6pm at Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex during the second annual Saugerties Caribbean Carnival. Last year's event was a big success: thousands of locals kicked up dust to live island music and dance shows. There will be over 60 food vendors onsite to satisfy your stomach with Carribean specialties like oxtail, while the kids enjoy games and gimmicks for all ages, including face painting and a costume contest with a $250 prize. Seasoneddeliciousfoods.com
Vanaver Caravan's Summer Dance on Tour
This Hudson Valley nonprofit dance troupe has toured the world with their impressive lineup of multicultural dance routines reaching stages from across the US to Southeast Asia. From July 22 to August 11, the company is holding a three-week summer workshop at Stone Mountain Farm to teach young dancers a variety of dance styles from across the globe including Modern, percussive/Irish dance, ballet, and African dance. In the final week of the camp, students will to flex their newfound skills in live performances around the region. SummerDance on Tour will perform at the Bon Odori Festival at the Kingston Point Beach on August 3, at Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz on August 8, Towne Crier Cafe on August 9, and the Rosendale Theatre on August 11. Vanavercaravan.org
Woodstock: The Whole Story
The 1969 Woodstock music festival is one of upstate New York's claims to fame, and arguably one of the most influential cultural events in 20th-century American history. The week of the festival's 50th anniversary, local historian, teacher, and filmmaker Stephen Blauweiss will present an alternative look into the lesser-known impacts of this momentous event with a multimedia lecture at Rosendale Theatre on August 13 at 7pm. The presentation tracks the development of the town of Woodstock and the surrounding area, which eventually led to the festival, with hundreds of images and original footage of the community throughout the years. Through his series of short films, Blauweiss argues that long before the epic Woodstock festival, the namesake town was already deeply rooted in a culture of the arts, inclusivity, and progressivism, paving a path for the event to take place. Before the show, attendees can enjoy live Woodstock-era music.
Arm of the Sea
For the past 20 years, nonprofit mask-and-puppet troupe Arm-of-the-Sea has developed its own powerful style of magical realism through a combination intricate visual art, skilled musicians, nimble performers, and timely themes. Their annual Saugerties residency, Esopus Creek Puppet Suite, will feature larger-than-life puppets, shadow projections, masked dancers, and various low-tech devices of theatrical enchantment in a series of true tall tales inspired by regional history and current events. This year's story, "Keep that Lamp Trimmed and Burnin'" draws from the annals of the 1869 Saugerties Lighthouse, which is celebrating its 150th year. Performances begin at 8pm on August 16-18 at Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park. In the event of inclement weather, the performance will take place at St. Mary's Hall. Armofthesea.org
"I Loved Lucy" at Club HelsinkiHelsinkihudson.com