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8 Holiday Shopping and Storytelling Fests in the Valley



Ugly Sweater Weekend

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz
December 14-16

Ugly Sweater Weekend returns to Mohonk this Friday for a family fun fest designed to bring out the holiday vibes in everyone. Sign up as a guest, then get ready to rock your favorite, ahem, unique knitwear for the ugly sweater contest and dance party. There will be prizes for the best (worst?) sweater, so don’t be afraid to go all out. Throughout the Friday to Sunday stretch, seasonal to-dos like tea and cookies, cocktails, and even a photo session with Santa enliven the occasion.



Paper Quilling Workshop

Staatsburgh State Historic Site, Staatsburg​
December 14, 6-8 p.m.

Is your tree feeling a little ho-hum? Jazz it up with a handcrafted ornament, courtesy of Staatsburgh State Historic Site. On Friday night, the mansion hosts a paper quilling workshop that teaches attendees how to make their very own quilled ornament. A holiday tour precedes the event, while refreshments are served during the craft session. Tickets cost $15, and everyone gets to take home a quilling tool and the skills to go along with it.


A Christmas Carol by Jonathan Kruk

Tompkins Corners Cultural Center, Putnam Valley
December 14, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Jonathan Kruk, the Hudson Valley’s very own master storyteller, makes a scene at the Tomkins Corners Cultural Center on Friday when he brings the classic Dickens tale to life. Kruk personifies more than 30 characters as he weaves a story that defines the holiday season. If you’ve never seen a Kruk spectacle before, there’s no better time than December to lose yourself in a story.


A Christmas Carol in Rhinebeck

The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck​
December 14-23; Fri and Sat 8 p.m.; Sat and Sun 3 p.m.

Returning for its 13th year, “A Christmas Carol” lights up The Center’s stage for a holiday spectacular that delves into the true meaning of Christmas. Diana di Grandi directs, while a number of the Center’s favorite actors return for the festive show, which is suitable for audiences of all ages. This Friday is opening day; after that, the play runs every weekend until Christmas.



Holiday Craft Fair

Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie
December 15, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

On Saturday, the Mid-Hudson Civic Center opens its doors to the crafters of the Valley for its free, annual holiday fair. Dozens of vendors will be in attendance, and parking is free across the street from the center. In other words, it’s the perfect place to visit if you have more than a few people left on your gift list and less time than you’d like to get all your shopping done.


Holiday Market

Angry Orchard, Walden
December 15, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Expect only the strongest of holiday vibes at Angry Orchard’s second annual seasonal market. Head to the Cider Garden during the day to shop from local vendors, then swing on over to the Stone Barn to grab some cider to go. Live music from Mark Von Em kicks off in the afternoon, while BBQ favorites from 3 Mamas and Mike will be available all day. For onsite sipping, don’t forget to hit the Main Cider House for a complimentary tasting flight of three ciders. Of course, you can always score a glass of your favorite for seasonal sipping by the fire pit.


Kwanzaa Celebration

Hudson Hall, Hudson
December 15, 3:30-5 p.m.

Bring the family to Hudson Hall on Saturday for a free community festival that celebrates and teaches the principles of Kwanzaa. Throughout the afternoon, kids can participate in arts and crafts, while everyone can look forward to the dancing and drumming performances. A candle-light ceremony and the sharing of Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of the tradition, round out the event.



Ugly Sweater Party

Cousins Ale Works, Wappingers Falls
December 15, 8 p.m.

Time to break out your ugliest sweaters! Cousins Ale Works wants to see your most appalling eyesores on Saturday for its seasonal fest. In addition to the sweater competition (the uglier, the better), the brewery will also offer holiday drink specials and foodie treats, courtesy of Chef Stef. As for tunes, the ESC Band with Erica Sandra Colón will keep the party going in Wappingers.

Related: Here’s Where to Spend New Year’s Eve in the Hudson Valley

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