On Saturday, December 7 the Hudson Opera House plays host to the 17th  annual Winter Walk, a not-to-be-missed kick-off event of the holiday season and  a night well-known for its quirky take on the holidays and for the diversity of  entertainment provided.  At Winter Walk, Warren Street, Hudson’s mile-long commercial district  transforms into a festive thoroughfare with twinkling lights, brightly  decorated shops, horse-drawn wagons, live reindeer,   stilt walkers, African drummers, carolers, hula hoopers and ballroom dancers,  as well as a legion of other characters and  performers.

The festive evening starts at 5 pm with the ringing of the carillon atop the  First Presbyterian Church and the sound of a trumpet fanfare, along with the  Santa Parade, organized by the Hudson Department  of Youth, who usher Mr. & Mrs. Claus from the Hudson Opera House to City  Hall where the popular couple listen to children’s wishes and hand out free  gifts. Winter Walk is very kid friendly, from Santa and Mrs. Claus, live  reindeer and miniature horses to the wagon rides around Seventh Street Park as  well as face painting stations, the ever-popular Tots the Clown, making balloon  animals, and the always entertaining Roger the Jester will also be out on town.

The  holiday frolicking continues throughout the evening, with activities and  performances both inside shops and on the street.  A variety of music has  always been the hallmark of Winter Walk.  From jazz to classical, from  harp to banjo, music is everywhere.  As part of the tradition is the  Coxsackie-Athens Community Band annual concert at the First Presbyterian Church  just after the formal kick-off.  The Band  concert is followed by the 15-strong Capital Area Flute Club.   Sax-o-Clause, a perennial favorite.

There’s something for everyone, from belly dancers and the Can Can Girl to the  Hudson Valley Performing Arts Center’s ballet troupe, Hip Hop, and the Kuumba  Dance & Drum ensemble to delicious food vendors.                  The evening culminates in a fireworks display, launched from Promenade Hill at  the foot of Warren Street at 8:15, marking the “official” end of Winter Walk,  but many businesses—especially restaurants–stay open long after the event.
Snow date: December 14.

Winter  Walk is produced and presented by the Hudson Opera House, a multi-arts center  and major downtown anchor, housed in an 1855 building that was once City Hall.