The Wonderland that is Winter Walk
Photograph by Peter Blandori
Come as a clown, a clock, a character from Dickens, or simply as you are. Bring the kids, the dog, grandpa, and your most exacting, hard-to-please friends. Like Hudson itself, Winter Walk, the annual citywide holiday festival that takes place this Saturday, December 6, from 5 to 8, is a unique amalgam of sophistication, nostalgia, inclusiveness, hipness, and anything goes. Now in its 12th year, the event typically draws crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 (depends how cold it is that night) from near and far. “We had folks from North Dakota one year,” says Gary Schiro, Executive Director of the Hudson Opera House, presenters of the festival. “Another time, we got a thank you card from a family who live north of Montreal telling us what a great time they’d had.”
In years past, the action at Winter Walk has been concentrated on and around upper Warren Street. There’s still plenty to do there, including visit Mr. & Mrs. S. Claus, who after arriving in a parade led by mammoth puppets, will set up shop at City Hall, where they have a wrapped gift for every child who divulges his or her wish list. But this year, more activities will be taking place on lower Warren, below 4th Street, where several new shops and restaurants have opened within the past year. In fact, at 4:45, the carillon will ring at the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of 4th Street to announce the beginning of Winter Walk. And Stageworks Salon, at 133 Warren is doing a highly abridged retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Lucile Lichtblau. Described as “a zany, interactive, fun-filled romp” (heartless Scrooge? pathetic little Tiny Tim?), the actors retell this classic holiday tale in 15 minutes flat, come what may. The first show starts at 5:30 and is repeated every half hour through 7:30.
Up and down Warren Street and beyond stores will be serving a little something and/or will have Abby Lappen-choreographed tableaux vivantes in their windows. Activities range from the sedate—Rural Residence‘s wine-and-hors d’oeuvres reception for the photographers Steve Gross and Susan Daley, celebrating their recently-published book, Time Wearing Out Memory: Schoharie County— to other-worldly— the Gingerbread Witch, the elves of all sizes, the live reindeer, the brass quartet, the bagpiper and the stilt-walking toy soldier.
For anyone planning to dine in Hudson this Saturday night, the time to make reservations is now. Ca’Mea, which is tenting and heating its garden for the occasion, is already fully booked from 7 to 9, but, at this writing, still had openings earlier and later (they stop seating at 10). Several other restaurants have special menus, designed to get diners in-and-out quickly. The Hudson Opera House and Time & Space Limited are both hosting chili suppers that night. The dinner at the Opera House, which has a seating capacity of just 60, is a benefit @$75 (remember, it’s a worthy dot org!). TSL is asking a mere $5 for its chili (made from Cashen’s home-grown beef, no less) and $2 for the cornbread, and, as if that weren’t enough, they have several chanteuses lined up to provide entertainment. For those who fail to plan ahead, the hugely popular Red Dot restaurant, just this once, is not accepting reservations. They’ve gone all out with their decor and want to be able to serve as many people as possible that night.
Street scene: a lumbering snowman, a walking grandfather clock, Victorian carolers, Roger the Jester, African drummers. Indoors: a fiddler and some top-notch shopping.
Warren Street and adjacent areas, Hudson
Saturday, December 6, 5 - 8 p.m. (officially)