Hudson’s Winter Walk Returns With “Rip The Nut” And More
Rip the Nut photo by Claudia Cinquegrana
Photo by David Lee
Photo by JD Urban
Photo by Quinn Pennea
Hudson’s official kickoff to the holiday season, Winter Walk, brings the city’s creative community together with Warren Street’s independent retailers to transform the mile-long main thoroughfare into a winter wonderland of music, performance, food, holiday shopping and other fun. It’s no wonder that the one-night event, now in its twenty-second year, attracts more than 20,000 visitors, making it the city’s largest annual event.
“We’re very happy and we don’t take it for granted,” says Hudson Hall’s Executive Director Tambra Dillon. “Winter Walk had fairly humble beginnings as a way to animate the 500 and 600 blocks of Warren Street,” says Dillon. “An effort was made to entice people to come and do their holiday shopping in an area that was known to be a rather desolate and dangerous place. It has really grown, and the city works hard and they deserve more credit than they get. Hudson Hall is the spine but it wouldn’t happen if everyone in the community didn’t participate, and that what makes it so special. We’re always blown away by the support from businesses and the city’s creative and artistic people — the window decorating contest is always fierce.”
Beginning with Santa’s arrival at Hudson Hall (every child who visits him there will receive a free, gift-wrapped book), Winter Walk festivities will include pop-up carolers and other musicians in shops and on the street (including guitarist Alex Turnquist, vocalist Lady Moon and young harpist Malachi Cherubini), free horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carver Bill Bywater, a petting zoo with miniature horses and alpacas, clowns, a magician and the return of Sax-o-Claus. At 8 p.m., fireworks will mark the official conclusion of Winter Walk, but many businesses will stay open late for food, drink and entertainment.
Back by popular demand is choreographer Adam H. Weinert’s Rip the Nut, a pantomime-style, Hudson Valley-inspired mash-up of the Rip Van Winkle story and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Dancers Logan Kruger, Brett Perry, Davon Rainey and Emma Sandall will join Weinert for three consecutive performances filled with music, dance, comedy and slapstick. “Last year Adam came up with the idea and put it together in short order,” says Dillon. “We didn’t know what to expect and we were astounded and the audience loved it.”
Weinert and company have been working with the young ladies from Perfect 10 since September, and other community youth groups have been practicing Nutcracker vignettes with help from Shauno the Clown, and Hudson Hall’s dance and drum group, and its hip-hop dance class. Weinert says they’re on track to have more than 100 kids in the show this year.
Last year, famous New York suffragette Susan B. Anthony made an appearance in the show. As for this year’s narrators, they’re a secret, but Weinert says you’ll recognize them, and the cast will be joined by a real dog playing Rip Van Winkle’s pup, Wolf.
Weinert will be directing as well as co-starring in the show. “We’ve all been working together for so long that we share a brain and that allows me to wear multiple hats,” he says. “My company and I are building on what we created last year.”
“My hope is that this show continues to evolve and becomes a Hudson holiday staple,” Weinert says. “One thing that was really fun last year was, because we involved so many community groups —hip-hop dancing, drumming, belly dancing — the audience was a complete cross section, and there were so many different kinds of people having a great time together in the same room. I was really happy to be a part of that.”
Weinert and Lil Deb’s Oasis will co-host an adults-only after-party called Rip the Night, at Second Ward beginning at 9 p.m. ($10 cover). Weinert describes it as “a winter wonderland of queer performance” akin to the events Lil Deb’s periodically hosts in the restaurant. Just make sure you're well rested, because this party goes until 2 a.m.
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