Where to Celebrate Holidays in the Hudson Valley

Independence Day

Independence Day Celebration at Clermont

Have an old-fashioned Independence Day this year with 18th-century crafts, music, and games for kids, such as riding wooden hobbyhorses and stilt-walking. There’s fireworks, to boot. (July 4, Clermont Ave, Germantown; 518.537.4240; www.friendsofclermont.org)


West Point Fireworks and Band 

The highlight of its summer concert series, the West Point Band’s Independence Day free show (above) is legendary for its unique choreography of live music and spectacular fireworks. (July 8 [raindate July 9], United States Military Academy, West Point; 845.938.2617; www.militaryacademyband.army.mil)


Halloween Howl

Visitors in Halloween costumes (Little Red Riding Hood is especially appropriate) learn about wolf history, biology, and ecology, then check out the wolves in their natural, wooded enclosures. Howling together ensues, followed by treats for wolves and children alike. (Late October, Wolf Conservation Center, South Salem; 914.763.2373; www.nywolf.org)

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Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses

This local gem (above) boasts a 65-acre scream campus, which encompasses seven haunted houses and a hayride. It’s staffed by more than 350 performers and crew members, including horror film makeup artists. Allow at least two and a half hours to explore all the attractions, including a circus-style sideshow with illusionists performing nightly. The venue is recommended for age 13 and up, but small fry can enjoy a “tiny taste of terror” on a pre-designated Children’s Day. (Mid-September through early November; 778 Broadway, Ulster Park; 845.339.2666; www.headlesshorseman.com)


Goblins Hollow/TerrorDome

Two attractions with separate admissions offer double the fun. Goblins Hollow gives you your chainsaw fix, scary woods, and a hair-raising hospital. TerrorDome is actually a trio of haunted houses populated by creepy creatures. (Late September through October 30; Fearless Farms, 84 Lakeside Rd, Newburgh; 845.402.8899; www.goblinshollow.com)


Historic Hudson Valley Shows

This not-for-profit puts on spectacular shows in two towns. Head to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze for a hand-carved, illuminated pumpkin extravaganza (South Riverside Avenue off Route 9, Croton-on-Hudson; 914.366.6900; www.hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze), or hightail it to Sleepy Hollow, where you can catch Irving’s Legend, a dramatic performance of Washington Irving’s classic tale. Then go across the street to Horseman’s Hollow, where imagined scenes from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow take terrifying shape along a haunted trail. Extreme makeup and breathtaking costumes make this a first-rate theatrical outing. (Recommended for ages 10 and up; early October through Halloween; 381 North Broadway/100 Continental St, Sleepy Hollow; 914.366.6900; www.hudsonvalley.org/events/horsemans-hollow)

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Christmas & More

Wreath Fineries at the Wineries

Grown-ups, it’s your turn to have a blast! Embark on a self-guided wine-tasting tour: You’ll receive a tasting glass and handmade grapevine wreath at the first vintner you visit, then travel along the wine trail to visit other participating wineries, all decked out in holiday trimmings. At each stop, you’ll taste special holiday food and wines and receive an ornament to decorate your wreath. (Late November and early December weekends; various locations along the Shawangunk Wine Trail; 845.256.8456; www.shawangunkwinetrail.com)


Holiday Lights in Bloom

Garden-themed light displays in the forms of flowers, animals, and insects charm children and adults alike. Visit the 9/11 Memorial Garden decorated in patriotic splendor and gaze upon a pond created in lights. While at this free event, shop for handmade ornaments, wreaths, garlands, fresh centerpieces, miniature trees, hand-knitted hats and scarves, birdhouses, holiday linens, and honey collected from the arboretum’s own beehives.(Weekends from late November through December 31; Orange County Arboretum, Thomas Bull Memorial Park, 211 State Route 416, Montgomery; 845.615.3828; www.orangecountyarboretum.org)


Sparkle! At Boscobel House & Gardens

The seasonal celebration showcases the mansion decorated in its holiday best, with lighting displays in the gardens and grounds (above). Guided tours by candlelight and a variety of holiday attractions, including ice carving demos and illuminated dancing and magic shows, add to the merriment. (Weekends in December; 1601 Route 9D, Garrison; 845.265.3638; www.boscobel.org/events/sparkle)


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A Frosty Fest

Drive through or take a hayride tour of Candy Cane Lane and Frosty’s Enchanted Forest, illuminated with thousands of sparkling lights. Along the way, dozens of costumed characters and jolly Saint Nick himself are on hand to meet and greet.  (Weekends from late November through December 23; 778 Broadway, Ulster Park; 845.339.2666; www.afrostyfest.com)


Sinterklaas Send-off Celebration & Festival

A Mardi-Gras-style re-creation of an old Dutch legend, these twin events tell the story of Sinterklaas leaving Spain by boat for Holland (in this case, Kingston to Rhinebeck via the Hudson). Attractions on both sides of the river at this family-friendly event include puppets, street performers, musicians, and holiday food and drink.  (Send-off Celebration: Kingston, Nov 25, 2017; Festival Day: Rhinebeck, Dec 2, 2017; 845.339.4280; www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com)


Winter Walk

Holiday revelers ride in horse-drawn carriages on Hudson’s Warren Street, while Victorian-garbed carolers sing, musicians play, and dancers perform in and around festive shops (above). Local eateries offer lunch, dinner, and beverage specials. (First Saturday in December, Hudson Opera House and Warren Street; 518.822.1438; www.hudsonoperahouse.org)


Capital Holiday Lights in the Park

There’s oohing and aahing aplenty at this favorite holiday destination for 100,000 annual visitors, offering some 130 constantly changing scenes, all made of lights. A Victorian village,  twinkling paddleboat,  heraldic castles, sleigh-packing elves, and other seasonal sights populate a 50-acre landscape. With extras like horse and carriage rides and visiting live reindeer, it’s a must-see spectacle. Proceeds go to Police Athletic League. (Black Friday to Jan 2; Washington Park, Madison Ave, Albany; 518.435.0392; www.capitalholidaylights.com)


Troy Victorian Stroll

For 35 years, this cherished event, put on by the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, has attracted crowds even in the coldest weather.  Billed as the Northeast’s largest free holiday festival with more than 100 live performances throughout the day, this event also offers antique fire engine rides, brunch with Santa, and a festive greens show — along with oodles of tempting shopping and cafes. (Dec 3, 2017; downtown Troy; 518.274.7020; www.victorianstroll.com)


Westchester’s Winter Wonderland

Celebrate the season with more than two million twinkling lights, visits with Santa, rides, artisan crafts, ice skating, and live entertainment. Plus great food trucks and dining under a heated tent. (Late November through early January; Kensico Dam Plaza; 1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla; 914.231.4600; www.wwinterwonderland.com)

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