Fun in the Sun- and Under the Stars

Summer’s here and the cultural offerings are springing up faster than the grass. Here are more than 60 diversions- from Shakespeare to street fairs, Bach to lobster boil- that beat the heck out of mowing the lawn.

Fun in the Sun and Under the Stars


What’s your pleasure? Shakespeare on the lawn, or a mountain film festival? Opera, jazz, or organ music? A lobster dinner, or a corn dog on the
midway? Our list of summer fairs and festivals reflects the diversity of the Valley itself — from cutting-edge theater, music, and art to down-home country fun, it’s all here.

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by Polly Sparling


Chamber Arts Festival of Marbletown June 3-5. If you hurry, you can catch the last three programs of this brand-new music festival. The Vega String Quartet performs on the 3rd, Verdehr Trio plays contemporary works on the 4th, and pianist Alexander Korsantia takes the stage on the 5th. Call for times. $27, $22 seniors, $10 students. Marbletown Reformed Church. 3750 Rte. 209, Stone Ridge. 845-687-2687 or Ulster.

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SummerStar Theatre June 3-4, 10-12; July 15-17, 22-24, 30-31. Two very different works are on tap in Middletown. First up: Intimate Apparel, which depicts the life of an African-American female clothing designer at the turn of the 20th century. In July, the multiple Tony Award–winning musical Annie rollicks onto the stage. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. $15, $10 seniors & students; one child 6-14 admitted free with each $15 ticket. Orange County Community College, Middletown. 845-341-4789 or


Garnerville Gallery Arts Festival June 4-5. This fest includes Via: Beacon at GAGA, an art exhibit of works created by artists from both Beacon and Garnerville. Visit the open studios of more than 50 artists — painters, metalsmiths, custom woodworkers, even a guitar maker — while enjoying live music, performance art, and interactive children’s activities. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center. 55 W. Railroad Ave., Garnerville. 845-947-7108 or Rockland.


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National Trails Day Celebration June 4-5. Don your hiking shoes, or leave them home — either way, you’ll enjoy this event in the Catskills. On Saturday, the Mountain Top Historical Society (Rte. 23A, Haines Falls, 518-734-6357) welcomes Robert Gildersleeve, author of Catskill Mountain House Trail Guide, a new book that rediscovers trails frequented by
the 19th-century Hudson River School painters. Visit painter Thomas Cole’s home, Cedar Grove (218 Spring St., Catskill, 518-943-7465), on Sunday for the official launch of the new Hudson River School Art Trail. Each location also features guest speakers, a related art exhibit, and (naturally) guided hikes in the area. Greene.


Pine Bush Farmer’s Market June 4-Aug. 27. More than just fruits and veggies, this weekly market has homemade ice cream, a children’s activity tent, and tours of Pine Bush in a horse-drawn wagon. The market also hosts five special events, including a Strawberry Festival (June 11) and the Tomato-Me-Crazy Contest (Aug. 27). Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Main & New St., Pine Bush. 845-658-3002 or Orange.


Strawberry Festivals June 5 & 18. The berries are ripe on the vine, and two local-history groups are celebrating. On the 5th, enjoy food and fun at Sherwood House (340 Tuckahoe Rd., Yonkers, 914-961-8940), a pre-Revolutionary War farmhouse now owned by the Yonkers Historical Society. The Historic Tompkins Corners United Methodist Church (729 Peekskill Hollow Rd., Putnam Valley, 914-528-5076) welcomes summer with fresh-picked fruit, a flea market, and homemade strawberry shortcake on the 18th. Yum! Westchester/Putnam.


Hits-on-the-Hudson Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship June 8-12. Riders from throughout the U.S. — as well as Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Central America — gather for three days of top-notch equestrian competition (there’s  an equine art exhibit, refreshments, and boutique shopping as well). Sunday is Ladies Day; wear your best hat and maybe win a prize. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. $5 admission Sat.-Sun. only, children free. 454 Washington Ave. Extension, Saugerties. 845-246-8833. Ulster.


Art on Lark June 11. Painters, photographers, ceramicists, jewelers — more than 80 artists display their work at this unique sidewalk show. Strollers can watch a screening of film shorts, listen to live music, play with the kids in the crafts area, and vote for their favorite artwork in the “People’s Choice” art show. 12-5 p.m. Lark St., Albany. 518-434-3861 or


Washington Park Lobster Festival June 11. Savor a lobster or Angus steak dinner, cooked on-site, while tapping your toes to the sounds of bands like Alex Torres and the Latin Kings. Enjoy local beers and ales at the Microbrewery Festival, let the kids loose in the special activities area, and check out food and crafts vendors. 12-8 p.m. $25-$35 (advance purchase recommended); $20 for the Microbrewery Festival. Washington Park, Albany. 518-867-4100 or


House & Garden Tours June 12 & 16. Get a look-see at private homes and gardens located at opposite ends of the Valley. The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands sponsors “A Sunday Drive,” a tour of Orange and Ulster county properties, on June 12 (12-5 p.m., $20, 845-561-2585). Albany’s Hidden City House & Garden Tour takes in the Center Square/Hudson-Park Historic District on June 16 (5-8 p.m., $15, 518-436-7630 or Orange/Albany.


Scarborough Faire June 12. Picturesque Staatsburgh State Historic Site hosts this annual garden and horticultural festival. Taste locally produced foods and wines; attend lectures and demos on gardening and culinary topics; and browse through the vendor’s market. $10, $9 seniors, under 13 free. Old Post Rd., Staatsburg. 845-889-8851. Dutchess.


Music Under the Stars at Trophy Point June 12-Sept. 3. West Point’s Concert Band, Jazz Knights, and Hellcats entertain picnickers every summer Sunday evening in the outdoor Trophy Point Amphitheater. From pop to classical,  swing and jazz: the music is first-class, the view spectacular. 845-938-2617 or Orange.


Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival June 15-Aug. 6. The Bard’s tales of love — both magical and complicated — take center stage when this annual outdoor theater fest arrives at Boscobel Restoration. The troupe opens its 19th season with The Tempest (June 15-Aug. 6), followed by The Two Gentlemen of Verona (July 20-Sept. 4). Call for complete schedule and ticket information. Rte. 9D, Garrison. 845-265-7858 or Putnam.


Clearwater Music & Environmental Festival June 18-19. “The festival that saved a river” is the country’s oldest and largest environmental shindig. Attractions include live music from folk to funk, a dance tent, storytellers, arts and crafts, vendors, and activities for kids. 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Call for fees. Croton Point Park. Rte. 9, Croton-on-Hudson. 845-454-7673 or Westchester.


Garden Club of Peekskill Flower Show June 18-19. Admire summer’s bounty at this fragrant fest, which showcases both fresh and dried arrangements. Local gardeners bring their biggest blooms and ripest veggies for the horticultural competition. Sat. 12-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Paramount Center for the Arts. Brown St., Peekskill. 914-736-7282. Westchester.


Old Songs Festival June 24-26. Celebrating its 25th year, this event features over 30 bands and artists performing folk, traditional, Celtic, and world music. Along with the tunes, there’ll be over 120 workshops and interactive sessions, instrument makers, food, and a juried crafts show. Fri. 5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m. Call for fees. Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont. 518-765-2815 or Albany.


Powerhouse Theater June 23-July 31. This always-popular series pairs new plays with marquee actors and directors. At press time, performances of Love Child by Dan Jenkins and Robert Stanton, and Anna and Me by Randle Mell, were set for July. A series of play readings, workshops, and free outdoor performances — including Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing — round out the schedule. Call for further information. Vassar College. 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie. 845-437-5599 or Dutchess.


Chatham Arts Showcase June 24-26. This fine arts and crafts show at the Columbia County Fairgrounds hosts nearly 200 artisans displaying hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, wood and leather items, glassware, and paintings. Other perks: live music, crafts demonstrations, and great food prepared by local gourmet restaurants and caterers. Fri. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $7, $3.50 children. 845-246-9038 or Columbia.


Maverick Concerts June 25-Sept. 3. For 90 years, top-flight musicians have charmed enthusiastic audiences at this “music in the woods” series, which is held in the 1916 Maverick Concert Hall. Artists on the schedule this season include the Tokyo and Shanghai String Quartets, local folkies Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and Charles Libove and Nina Lugovoy (who give their 41st Maverick recital). MaverickRd., Woodstock. 845-679-8217 or Ulster.


Caramoor International Music Festival June 25-Aug. 13. From Beet­hoven’s Ode to Joy on opening night right through to the Festival Finale (featuring  Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess), this renowned fest presents music sure to please every ear. Classical works, bel canto opera, a jazz festival, chamber performances, and family concerts once again resonate throughout Cara­moor’s two outdoor theaters. Call for complete schedule and ticket information. Girdle Ridge Rd., Katonah. 914-232-1252 or Westchester.


Celebrate History June 26. Rockland County — from Revolutionary times to the present day — is the focus of the county Historical Society’s fest. Along with seeing the current exhibit, African Americans in Rockland, you can tour the 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House, watch traditional crafts and cooking demonstrations, enjoy music, and meet with several local authors. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 20 Zukor Rd., New City. 845-634-9629 or


Independence Days July 1-4. Celebrate our nation’s birthday in grand style! Bear Mountain State Park’s Pre-Fourth Party (July 1, Rte. 9W, Bear Mountain, 845-786-2701) has music, food, and fireworks. “Living history” reenactments — with games, storytelling, and cannon firings — take place at New Windsor Cantonment (Rte. 300, Vails Gate, 845-561-1765) and at nearby Knox’s Headquarters (Forge Hill Rd., Vails Gate, 845-561-5498) on July 2-4. Call for times and fees. Rockland/Orange.


Aston Magna Festival July 1-Aug. 6. This early-music fest has six programs planned, including Bach’s “Art of the Fugue,” and an All-Handel Extravaganza, among other works. Single tickets are $35, call for complete schedule and ticket information. Fridays at Olin Auditorium, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (800-758-7425); Saturdays at Simon’s Rock College, Alford Rd., Great Barrington, MA (800-875-7156); or


Great Hudson River Paddle July 8-17. Skilled paddlers and complete novices join forces in this unique event, which allows you to kayak from Albany to New York City. (There are also shorter paddles for the less ambitious.) Along the way, riverfront festivals showcase local culture, natural resources, and kayaking skills. 518-473-3835 or


SummerScape 2005/Bard Music Festival July 8-Aug. 28. Seven jam-packed weeks of music, dance, opera, theater, film — an arts lover’s delight. These two related series concentrate on American composer Aaron Copland. The Martha Graham Dance Company dances to Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and there’ll be performances of his opera The Tender Land. Other highlights include Rocket to the Moon, a play by Clifford Odets; a concert version of The Golden Apple by Jerome Moross; and interpretations of Copland’s works by the American Symphony Orchestra. Call for schedule and ticket information. Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. 845-758-7900 or bmf. Dutchess.


Countryside Garden Tour July 9. Visit the village of Warwick (which won a 2003 “America in Bloom” contest). Take a self-guided tour of seven of the area’s loveliest gardens, each of which has a different theme. There’ll be a plant sale at the Railroad Green (where you can also pick up tour maps and badges). 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $12. 845-986-0598. Orange.


Mountain Culture Festival July 9-10. Everything a festival-lover could wish for awaits you in the Catskills. Noted local musicians (like Kevin McKrell and Artie Traum), the Great Catskill Mountain Quilt Show, Mountainfilm Festival on Tour, fine crafts and wood products displays — all are featured at this year’s event. 12-6 p.m. $8, $1 children. The Catskill Mountain Foundation. Rte. 23A, Hunter. 518-263-4908 or www.catskill Greene.


PianoSummer Institute July 13-Aug. 5. Now in its tenth year, this program hosts young piano students, who spend the summer studying with Vladimir Feldsman and other pianist/teachers. All student and faculty recitals are open to the public, including a Symphony Gala with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Call for schedule and ticket information. SUNY New Paltz. 75 S. Manheim Blvd., New Paltz. 845-257-3880 or Ulster.


Shadowland Theatre July 15-Aug. 7. This nonprofit professional theater group presents husband-and-wife stars Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, a drama that explores personal and corporate responsibility in the U.S. during the war years. Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $23, $22 for matinees; $2 discount for seniors and students. 157 Canal St., Ellenville. 845-647-5511 or Ulster.


Rivertowns Antiques Show july 16-17. Dealers by the dozens turn out for this summer event, held at bucolic Lyndhurst, former home of railroad tycoon Jay Gould. From fine artwork to accessories, furniture to ceramics, you’ll find it here. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call for fees. Rte. 9, Tarrytown. 914-273-4667. Westchester.


Screenings Under the Stars july 21 & 28, aug. 11 & 25. As close as you can get to the old drive-in. The Jacob Burns Film Center brings family-friendly outdoor movies to three Westchester locations: Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla (July 21 & Aug. 25), Jack DeVito Field, Yorktown (July 28), and Pleasantville’s Parkway Field (Aug. 11). Showings begin at dusk; check for titles. The center’s other summer programs include a Stanley Kubrick retrospective, and the best of the Marx Brothers films. 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville. 914-747-5555.


Hudson River Day July 22. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum provides this antidote for those “there’s nothing to do” complaints. The canal schooner Lois McClure will be docked nearby; take a tour of the craft and learn to sing sea chanties with Capt. Rick Nestler. A puppet show, tall tales, and hands-on activities should keep everybody entertained for the day. Call for times and ticket information. 75 N. Water St., Poughkeepsie. 845-471-0589 or Dutchess.


Hudson River Museum Weekend Art & Music Festival July 22-24. A variety of concerts (folk, Creole, Tex-Mex) combine with arts workshops for kids, an outdoor painting lesson in nearby JFK Park — even a Saturday-evening barbecue. The museum also offers free music every Friday evening in July. Call for complete schedule and fees. 511 Warburton Ave., Yonkers. 914-963-4550. Westchester.


Car, Truck, Tractor & Motorcycle Show & Flea Market July 24. Be sure to wear sunglasses, since there’s bound to be plenty of gleaming chrome when the Orange County Antique Auto Club hosts its yearly get-together. Activities are family friendly, including dog demonstrations, a model-building contest, live entertainment, and refreshments. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. $3, $1 seniors, children free. Thomas Bull Memorial Park, Montgomery. 845-496-4952 or 845-856-2970.


Empire State Summer Games July 27-31. The Valley hosts this multisport event, which is patterned after the Olympic Games. Over 6,000 amateur athletes vie for gold in everything from archery to wrestling at local college facilities, sports complexes, and other venues. Spectators are admitted free to most competitions. Log on to for a complete schedule. Dutchess/Ulster/Orange.


Arts Alliance of Haverstraw’s Festival of the Arts July 30-31. Celebrate the creative spirit with an afternoon full of arts exhibitions, performances for kids, workshops, and arts and crafts. Live entertainment includes the Big Apple Circus to Go. 12-6 p.m. Haverstraw Bay County Park. Gagan Rd., Haverstraw. 845-786-0253 or Rockland.


Sterling Renaissance Festival Aug. 6-Sept. 25. Spend the day in an English village, circa 1580. Costumed actors help recreate an authentic atmosphere as you watch jousting knights on horseback, try your hand at period games of skill, feast on steak-on-a-stake, and haggle with artisans selling their one-of-a-kind wares. Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Rte. 17A, Tuxedo. 845-351-5171 or Orange.


Peekskill Celebration Aug. 6-7. Join in the fun as a great Valley city celebrates its ongoing renaissance. Festivities include running races, food vendors (offering everything from hot dogs to ethnic delights), music, educational exhibits, boat races, a Latin Cruisers Car Show, and, of course, a closing fireworks extravaganza. Riverfront Green Park. 914-736-2000 or Westchester.


River Day at Van Cortlandt Manor Aug. 7. Learn about the importance of the Hudson and Croton rivers to early Valley residents. Hands-on activities include traditional fishing, cooking, and brick making, along with boat-building and kayaking demos. You can even take a ride on the river. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call for fees. Rte. 9, Croton-on-Hudson. 914-631-8200 or Westchester.


Colonial Street Fair Aug. 13. Experience a summer afternoon — circa 1750 — on New Paltz’s historic Huguenot Street. This event has period music performances, crafts demonstrations, tours of the famous stone houses — even a fashion show. Bring the kids for old-fashioned games and homemade ice cream. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $10, $8 seniors &students, $5 for ages 6-18, under 6 free. 845-255-1660. Ulster.


Hudson Valley Poets Fest Aug. 13. Wordsmiths and musicians from Manhattan to Albany perform at this event, which is held in the atmospheric Widow Jane Mine. An open mic reading, pot-luck picnic, and arts and crafts booths add to the fun. 12 p.m.-dusk. $4 requested donation. Rte. 213, Rosendale. 914-474-7758. Ulster.


The Great Hudson Valley Pedal Aug. 17-21. Serious cyclists will want to sign up for this inaugural event. Bike from Albany to Manhattan over five days, with stops at historic sites, museums, wineries, and other Valley hotspots. Support vehicles, bike mechanics, most meals, and snacks provided (as are other amenities). Call for further information. 518-434-1583 or www.ptny/hudsontour


Hurley Heritage Society Corn Festival Aug. 20. Corn chowder, corn muffins, and fresh off the cob — our favorite summer vegetable, available in all its forms. They’ll be crafts and antiques, Colonial crafts demos, fresh flowers, and specialty foods, too. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $3, under 12 free. Hurley Reformed Church. Main St., Hurley. 845-338-1661 or Ulster.


Millbrook Horse Trials Aug. 20-21, 27-28. Two weekends’ worth of dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping, featuring both Olympic-level riders (Aug. 20-21) and local competitors. You’ll also find an equestrian-oriented trade fair, silent auction, family activities, and food booths (including the ever-popular ice cream bus). Proceeds benefit the Dutchess Land Conservancy. 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Bangall-Amenia Rd. (Rte. 86), Millbrook. 845-677-3002 or Dutchess.


Artists’ Soapbox Derby Aug. 21. The summer’s raciest event — local artists design an original piece of artwork on wheels, which they then race down Broadway towards the Rondout Creek. May the best sculpture win! 1 p.m. Starting line is  93 Broadway (corner of Spring St.), Kingston. 845-338-8473 or Ulster.


Tour de Goshen Aug. 21. Weekend warriors can choose one of four bike routes — ranging from 11 to 62 miles — around Goshen and other Orange County towns. The tour benefits Winslow Therapeutic Center in Warwick, a horseback riding organization that helps special-needs patients. Call for start times and fees. Goshen Joint Recreation Park. Craigville Rd., Goshen. 845-294-7242 or 845-774-2377. Orange.


Hudson Valley Arts Festival Aug. 26-28. This fine arts and crafts fest attracts 175 North American artisans. Bring the kids — they’ll love the puppet theater and adjacent playground — and you’ll enjoy live music, arts demos, and gourmet eats from local restaurants). 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $7, $3.50 ages 4-12. Kiwanis Ice Arena. Washington Ave. Extension, Saugerties. 845-246-9038 or Ulster.


Shawangunk Mountain Wild Blueberry & Huckleberry Festival/Ellenville Street Fair Aug. 27. Start the day with a Blueberrry Pancake Breakfast, then stick around for the street fair — live music, family fun, rock climbing, and a blueberry pie baking contest. Breakfast 7:30 a.m., street fair 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Canal St., Ellenville. 845-647-4620. Ulster.

Kites Over the Hudson Aug. 27. The first 150 kids under age 15 receive a free kite to send aloft on the river breezes. Could there be a more fitting way to end the summer season? 2-4 p.m. Washington Headquarters State Historic Site, Newburgh. 845-562-1195. Orange.


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