It’s hard to believe it, but it feels that somehow summer has slipped through our fingers and we’re sitting here looking at the calendar in disbelief- ‘How could Labor Day weekend have come so quickly once again?’
It’s easy to see how the end of summer could have snuck up on us this year. The Hudson Valley’s extreme heat and humidity throughout August has had us in a permanent summer state of mind, yet with the first full week of September and the start of school only days away, we’ll all soon be trading in bathing suits and popsicles for pencils and pumpkin spice, whether we are ready or not!
If you’re not headed out of town or to the beach this Labor Day weekend, there’s still plenty to do right here to enjoy one final blast of summer and have an amazingly fun filled holiday weekend. The weather forecast is looking promising, so take the family to New Paltz for a hike in the Minnewaska or Mohonk Preserves, and catch a late summer dip in the Split Rock watering hole (although, we suggest waking up early to do these, you can bet that on a holiday weekend, finding trailhead parking for these attractions could pose a bit of a dilemma). Foodies will enjoy visiting Smorgasburg Upstate, the new upstate off-shoot of Brooklyn Flea, now open every Saturday at the Hutton Brickyards in Kingston. People are already raving about the artisanal food and craft products that they are finding there and we have a feeling the hype surrounding this market is only going to get bigger in the coming weeks and years. On the other hand, if you’re feeling more low-key, maybe you’d like to spend one final weekend of summer relaxing before your calendar is filled with school events, sports practices and more. If that’s the case, catch a free Yoga class Saturday morning at 9:00am at Forsyth Park in Kingston and then head on uptown to the farmer’s market for a morning of relaxation and healthy lifestyle choices. Of course, if you aren’t going to be in the Kingston area, there are lots of local farm markets and farm stands that will be open, bringing out the finest late summer crops and starting to showcase some early fall farm offerings. Our Farm Fresh Ulster County Guide has a long list of local markets and farms to visit to get the freshest produce this holiday weekend, or, if you’d rather make a day at the farm, grab the kids and head over to Arrowwood, Kelders, or Wright's Farms; all of which have activities and things to keep the kids happy and busy.
Whether it’s fitting in that last summer BBQ with friends, or taking a ride and exploring some local communities, we bet you’ll find some cool things to do on Labor Day weekend, but if you still need a little help planning, here are 5 awesome festivals and events taking place in and around Ulster County this Labor Day weekend that we think are totally worth fitting into your itinerary…
2016 Hooley on the Hudson
Sunday, September 4th, 2016, 11:30am-9:00pm
T.R. Gallo Park, Broadway, Kingston, NY
This will be the 15th Annual Hooley on the Hudson, a celtic celebration that will transport you from Kingston’s Rondout waterfront to the rolling Hills of Ireland. Sections of Broadway will be closed off to traffic so that thousands can come out to enjoy Ulster County’s first and largest Irish festival. Enjoy live music from three different stages around the park, and performances from bagpipers, step-dances and more. In addition to all the live entertainment, specialty vendor booths will line the streets with crafts and other goodies and all the shops and restaurants on the strand will be open for business as well. The party goes until sundown at 9:00pm!
Also, for those who are feeling ambitious or want to get in a little exercise before filling up on Guinness, for the second year in a row, the Hooley on the Hoof 5K run will take place at 10:00am, just prior to the festival, with the route traveling along the Rondout Creek and ending in the heart of the festival.
Woodstock-New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair
September 3rd-5th, 2016, 10:00am-5:30pm (or until 4:00pm on Labor Day Monday)
Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz, NY
It comes to New Paltz twice a year, but the crowds never tire of this event, because with over 300 vendors of artisans and craftsmen, there’s always something new and exciting brought to this craft fair. Whether it’s jewelry, housewares, food, or furniture, the handmade offerings span a range of categories, and attendees and vendors travel from near and far to partake in the fun. We’ve featured the Woodstock- New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair before on our blog, but think it always deserves another trip!
Hudson River Valley Ramble
Multiple Dates/Time/Places in the Hudson Valley throughout September
This annual series of events celebrates the history, culture, landscape and communities of the Hudson River Valley area, with events usually featuring a community’s heritage through recreational activities. The events that make up Hudson River Valley ramble will take place every weekend throughout September and are being held from the Bronx and New York City up to Albany and Saratoga counties. Whether you’re looking for a local event in your backyard, or want to take a short, scenic drive to explore someplace new, September will be filled with lots of local recreational events thanks to the ramble.
You can dive head first into a full list of events here, or if you’re looking for some ramble highlights within Ulster County on Labor Day weekend, we’ve got you covered:
Take a guided tour of Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz
Unveil over 300 years of history in New Paltz as you walk about the 10 acre National Historic Landmark and get to go inside homes and churches dating back to the late 1700s Dutch settlement. Guided tours take place on September 3rd and 4th at 10:00am.
Hudson Valley Sunset Kayak Tour of Saugerties
After a brief kayak lesson (so have no fear if you are a beginner) you’ll be guided down the Esopus Creek to Cantine Falls and then out onto the Hudson River to see the Saugerties Lighthouse, all while learning about the history and natural features of the area. Advanced registration is required for these events, taking place September 2nd, 3rd and 4th at 5:30pm.
Hurds Family Farm Corn Maze, Modena
If your kids have already jumped on the fall bandwagon, then indulge them in the first corn maze of the season! The 2 acre cornfield maze also features a Farm Animal Mystery Tracks game for the kiddos, and over 20 more educational activities for the whole family to make a day at the farm. Hurd’s Farm Corn Maze is open September 3rd and 4th from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
New York Air Show
September 3rd-4th, 2016, 9:00am-5:00pm
Stewart International Airport, New Windsor, Orange County
While this event is located just outside of Ulster County, nearby neighboring Newburgh in Orange County, this event is totally worth the drive for some Ulster residents. The United States Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the air show, with a mix of both flying formation demonstrations and solo routines that highlight the extreme capabilities of modern aircraft technology and the superb Air Force captains who pilot them. Other types of planes will be on hand for demonstrations and fly-overs, including the F/A-18 Hornet (that can travel at twice the speed of sound) and a B-1 Bomber that will be open for attendees to walk through. If this wasn’t enough, the West Point Parachute Team will be there and doing demonstrations and there will be tons more aircraft related activities, food and entertainment. Make sure to time your visit right as well- the flyovers and flight performances will take place daily from 12:00pm-4:00pm and a schedule of these events can be found on the Air Show’s website. Watching these pilots perform these demonstrations and flyovers is truly amazing and astounding, and even if you don’t have a big interest in aviation, you will find a new found appreciation for it all the same.
NY Renaissance Faire
September 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2016, 10:00am- 7:00pm (and weekends until October 2nd)
Sterling Forest, Tuxedo Park, Orange County
Again, we travel just a bit outside of Ulster County, to Orange County, this Labor Day weekend to step back in time to Elizabethan England and the Renaissance era. Totally worth the drive, the New York Renaissance Faire is filled with whimsy, fun characters, live jousts and so much more and Labor Day weekend is “Time Traveller’s Weekend” at the faire. A tudor style marketplace features lots of artisan crafts, food vendors, pubs and even an alley of fortune tellers. There are multiple stages where shows, live musicians and interactive games are held, such as a live action chess match, archery and even a joust in the name of the Queen, as well as animal exhibits, camel rides and paddle boats. As you walk through the faire, you’ll be greeted by many characters, fairies and even maybe Robin Hood himself! A friendly tip- be prepared to walk when you come to this fair! General parking is located in a lot not far from the Main Gates, but you’ll have to trek through the woods on trails to get there, which provides for a ‘Narnia’ like experience when you pass through the woods and come out on the other side where everyone is in full Renaissance gear! (But for those who aren’t up for the extra hike, preferred parking is available for an additional fee).
Do you have a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition or event that happens here in Ulster County? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below! And if you’re looking for even more information about Ulster County events and things to do, make sure to follow us on Facebook and check the blog- we’re always adding more things to love about Ulster County!