Community Holiday Festivals and Tree Lighting Events

Ready to ring in the 2016 holiday season? For most people, Thanksgiving marks the ‘unofficial’ opening of the holiday season, but things really start to get festive when our small hamlets and towns light up with holiday cheer! Many communities host their own Christmas and Holiday events to kick off the celebrations-  where the night is usually capped off with a Christmas tree lighting, attended by the big man in red himself! Hit up your town’s holiday kick off celebrations, or to truly get in the Christmas spirit, catch as many as you can! 

Holiday on Huguenot Street and Community Tree Lighting

December 2nd, 2016, 4:00pm-9:00pm; Tree lighting at 7:00pm

Historic Huguenot Street, New Paltz

Come for a holiday tour of Historic Huguenot Street, join in the church’s Christmas Fair, visit pop up shops from Lagusta’s Luscious vegan handmade chocolates and participate in a paper lantern parade before the tree lighting at 7:00pm. Don’t forget the horse drawn carriage rides and photos with Santa! 

Kingston Snowflake Festival

December 2nd 2016, 5:00pm-8:00pm

North Front Street and Wall Street, Kingston

Uptown Kingston’s Stockade District bursts with holiday spirit, featuring performances on the main stage, ‘HeatMiser’ fire twirlers, ice sculptors creating a snowy winter wonderland, horse drawn carriage rides and don’t miss Santa’s appearance to light the tree.

 Town of Gardiner Annual Caroling through Town and Christmas Tree Lighting

December 2nd, 2016, 7:00pm, 8:30pm

Main Street, Gardiner

Fire trucks lead carolers down Main Street at 7:00pm, singing all the way to the town hall, where the Got Rhythm Rockettes help to light up the town Christmas Tree. Santa and The Grinch will be there for photos with children of all ages as well.

 Electric Fire Truck Parade and Tree Lighting

December 3rd, 2016 5:00pm-6:00pm

Liberty Square, Ellenville

Follow the Joshua Peters Memorial Fire Truck Parade down Canal Street for the village tree lighting and Santa’s arrival to Ellenville.

 High Falls Tree Lighting

December 3rd, 2016, 5:30p-7:00pm

Corner of Route 213 and Second Street

Come out for some caroling, hot soup and a visit from Santa at the annual holiday tree lighting. Toys for Tots will be collecting donations and refreshments will be available after the event at the Community Church of High Falls.

 35th Annual Woodstock Holiday Open House

December 3rd, 2016 3:00pm-9:00pm

Village Green, Woodstock

This free event takes place on the village green in Woodstock to get you in the holiday spirit! With live music from WDST, pictures with Santa, face painting, carolers, ice sculpting and more, no one could be a Grinch or Scrooge at this event!

 Saugerties Holiday in the Village

December 4th, 2016, 12:00pm-6:00pm

Village of Saugerties

The market on Main and Partition Streets will feature crafts, vendors, music, free carriage rides, entertainment and lots more. Santa himself will be at the petting zoo in front of the Kiersted House on Main Street and the Fireman's Parade and Village Tree Lighting will cap the night off at Seamon Park at dusk.

 Light Up the Hamlet of Highland

December 9th, 2016, 5:30pm-8:30pm

Vineyard Avenue, Highland

Visit Santa’s workshop, enjoy caroling, live entertainment and festive holiday drinks and treats. Toys for Tots will be accepting donations and stick around to catch the lighting of the tree in the center of the hamlet.

 Winter Wonderland Parade & Tree Lighting

December 10th, 2016, 5:30pm

Old Route 9W, West Stout Street & Broadway, Port Ewen

A quick celebration featuring caroling, a parade and visit with Santa after the tree lighting!


Holiday Shopping Events

While some people live for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals put on by many big box retailers, others find it hard to keep up Christmas spirits in crowded malls filled with frantic holiday shoppers. Luckily, here in the Hudson Valley, and of course beyond, there's more of a focus to shop local, be it at Small Business Saturday events or at other fairs and shows throughout the season. Shopping local supports local artists, craftspeople and small businesses right here in our backyards and these events and craft fairs connect people within the community. Stay far from the malls this holiday season and get all your gift shopping done locally at some of these festive shopping events!

 Holiday Shopping Boutique

December 1st, 2016, 6:00pm- 10:00pm

Congregation Emanuel, Albany Avenue Kingston

Explore the offerings of more than 26 vendors selling crafts, cookware, clothes and more to check off everyone on your holiday gift list.

 Holiday Art Sale

December 3rd, 2016, 12:00pm-4:30pm

Woodstock School of Art, Woodstock

The holiday art fair expands this year, now also featuring an Affordable Art Fair, allowing more local artists to sell their own pieces of work as a vendor and support the local school at one of their most well attended events.

 2nd Annual Holiday Craft Fair

December 3rd, 2016, 10:00am-5:00pm

Huguenot Street Farm, New Paltz

Local artists and crafters come together for an out of the box craft fair. Some of the confirmed vendors will be bringing many one of a kind gifts, including chain mail accessories, upcycled baskets, wooden toys, handmade hula hoops and so much more.

 10th Annual Holiday Craft Fair

December 3rd, 2016, 10:00am-4:00pm

Marbletown Elementary School

 Chanukah Market & Bazaar

December 4th, 2016, 10:00am-3:00pm

Woodstock Jewish Congregation, Woodstock

Vendors will have on hand all sorts of crafts, gifts, baked goods, dreidels, jewelry, candles and much more.

 Kingston Rock N’ Roll Flea Market

December 4th, 2016, 10:00am-4:00pm

Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, Kingston

A rockin’ alternative to traditional holiday shopping, support local artists and businesses selling vintage and new vinyl records, posters, memorabilia, jewelry, guitars and more. This show will feature more than 50 vendors from the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas!  

 St James Artisan Market and Cookie Caper

December 10th, 2016, 9:00am-3:00pm

35 Pearl Street, Kingston

Local artists will bring handcrafted jewelry, soap, paintings, garments and more for an alternative holiday shopping experience. Also enjoy the Christmas cookie bake sale with lots of selections, including gluten-free and nut-free choices. Admission is free for both events.

 Holiday Shopping Expo

December 10th, 2016, 10:00am- 2:00pm

Norbury Hall, Ellenville

Support local business with craft and specialty vendors and free and low cost holiday activities for kids.

 Olive Free Library Holiday Fair & Craft Show

December 10th, 2016, 10:00am-4:00pm

Olive Free Library, West Hurley

 Winter Fair & Outdoor MarketPlace

December 11th, 2016, 11:00am-4:00pm

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, New Paltz

Beautiful gifts made from simple and natural materials and local artisan wares. Outdoor barbecue available, hot cider, puppetry, childrens games, activities and more!


More Ulster County Events to Get You in the Holiday Spirit


A Christmas Story, The Musical

December 2nd- December 11th, 2016

Woodstock Playhouse, Woodstock

Based on the movie classic, the musical adaptation of the Christmas Story takes center stage at the Woodstock Playhouse with Friday and Saturday night shows and Sunday afternoon performances not to be missed.

 Kingston Holly Berry Trail

December 3rd 2016, 10:00am-1:00pm

Stockade District, Uptown Kingston

In their 16th year, the Holly Berry Trail features extended previews of private homes, fully decorated for the holidays (the locations of these homes are kept secret until the day of). Each home features and arrangement made by local florists and samples of some of Ulster County restaurant’s finest offerings.

 Warming Winter One Pot Meals Cooking Class

December 3rd, 2016, 2pm-4pm

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Join Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s chef as she demonstrates how to cook up some vegan one-pot meals for all your holiday gatherings. Tickets are required and must be purchased in advance.

 Kingston Model Railroad Club Open House

December 3rd-4th, 2016, 12:00pm-5:00pm

Model Railroad Club, Susan Street, Kingston

At their annual open house, the Kingston Model Railroad Club shows off their 70 year old O scale train, Thomas the Tank Engine  rail for little ones and Santa’s own special train, as they meander through handmade scenery to replicate our very own Hudson Valley!

 YMCA Reindeer Ramble 5K

December 4th, 2016, 1:00pm

YMCA, Broadway, Kingston

5K Races and Competitive Walking for all activity levels at this Midtown event.

 Historic Ulster County Gingerbread Exhibition

December 8th, 9th and 10th, (Friday: 6:00pm-9:00pm, Saturday & Sunday: 11:00am-4:00pm)

Ulster County Historical Society, Route 209, Stone Ridge

Come take a peek at some of Ulster County’s treasured historical sites- all made from gingerbread!

 Frozendale Festival

December 10th, 2016

Main Street, Rosendale

The village of Rosendale opens their doors for this festive community day, with events taking place all throughout Main Street and beyond. The Rosendale Library will feature a Holiday Booktique from 10:00am-3:00pm and the Rosendale Theatre offers a free 11:00am matinee of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A gift sale will be held in the RosenSpace with plenty of vendors, many shops and restaurants will have special offerings, and musicians and Santa Claus will be roaming Main Street all day. End the night at the Big Cheese’s Mac N’ Cheese Bake Off at 5:00pm.

 Vegan Holiday Cookies Cooking Class

December 10th 2016, 2:00pm-4:00pm

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Join Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s chef as she walks you through classes on how to prepare holiday cookies the vegan way. Classes are $60 per person and must be paid in advance.

 Into the Light Holiday Pageant

December 17th, 2016, 2:00pm-3:30pm

Ellenville High School Auditorium

Live music, dance and puppetry follow the story of many communities holiday traditions, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Sankta Lucia, Winter Solstice and Dewali.

 Byrdcliffe Winter Solstice Concert

December 17th 2016

Woodstock Playhouse, Woodstock

Local musicians gather to play in the spirit of community and creativity at the Woodstock Playhouse to benefit the Byrdcliffe Guild. With many musicians already announced, be sure to get tickets quick, as this event usually always sells out.

 Woodstock Christmas Eve Program

December 24th 2016, 5:00pm-7:00pm

Village Green, Woodstock

Traffic around the Village Green shuts down at 5:00pm for everyone to gather in the streets to welcome Santa to the village shortly after 5:00pm, where he will be handing out stockings to all the children and starting his nightly visits to the homes of all good boys and girls.

 Mohonk Mountain House Christmas Day Buffet

December 25th 2016

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz

Celebrate Christmas Victorian style at Mohonk Mountain House with 15 decorated Christmas trees and the winners of the Hudson Valley Gingerbread Competition, all while enjoying an out-of-this-world dinner buffet, without all the hassle of cooking and cleaning it all yourself. Advance reservations are required for this event, and Mohonk is building a great program of events all holiday season long that locals and out of town visitors alike will enjoy. To see more of Mohonk’s holiday events occurring between now and the new year, like the Big Blue Big Band Dinner, visit

 Community Chanukah Candle Lighting

December 30th 2016, 7:00pm-10:00pm

Temple Emanuel, Kingston

Everyone is welcome to the community Chanukah candle lighting at Temple Emanuel where you can bring your own menorah or share one of theirs. Candle lighting starts at 7:00pm, followed by a brief service and stories and singing to finish the night.

 Uptown Kington's New Year's Eve Celebration

December 31st, 2016, 8:00pm-3:00am

Corner of Wall Street & North Front Street, Kingston

Uptown Kingston will be in full party mode with celebrations taking place throughout many of the local businesses, live music, dancing and drinking and of course, their very own ball drop at midnight. Ring in the New Year with thousands of your closest neighbors and friends! 

Third Annual Saugerties New Years Eve in the Village

December 31st, 2016, 10:00pm-1:00am

Village of Saugerties

Saugerties encourages its residents to stay local and safe this holiday and enjoy New Years in the village. With a midnight ball drop on Main & Partition Street, a main stage of live entertainment, refreshments and hot chocolate, courtesy of local Boy Scout troops, this New Years Eve part is fun for the whole family. 

Hudson Valley Rail Trail WinterFest

January 14th, 2017, 11:00am-2:00pm

Hudson Valley Rail Trail Depot, Highland

In their annual winter event, partake in entertainment for the family, with free activities for children, horse drawn hayrides down the trail, roasted chestnuts and more! Also enjoy more than 20 regional restaurants entries in the annual Chili Cook-Off- try one for $.50 or try all entries for a mere $8!  

20th Annual Shandaken Primitive Biathlon

January 15th, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm

Upper Esopus Fish & Game Club

Test your winter sporting game in this competition to see who is the fastest in show-shoeing and black powder muzzle loading firearms in this 1.25 mile course. Registration is required for this event. 

19th Annual Catskill Ice Festival 

January 27th- 30th,  2017, 9:00am-5:00pm

Rock & Snow, New Paltz

This weekend long program includes multiple clinics that will teach you glacier traveling techniques and how to escape from icy situations, while demoing new gear. A slide show held at Rock & Snow on Saturday January 28th is free to the public, while other clinics cost $150 per person, per event, but include excursions to Mount Tremper and Phoenicia to attain first-hand experiences! 

2017 Winter Folk Weekend in Kerhonkson 

February 10th- 12th, 2017

Hudson Valley Resort  & Spa, Kerhonkson

Take part in this weekend full of informal folk music, dancing, singing and an all-out jam session!  


What are some of your favorite ways to ring in the holiday season here in Ulster County? Is there an event or fun thing to do that you and your family have to do every holiday season? We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!

As always, be sure to follow Taft Street Realty on Facebook, where we will share more great, local Ulster County events and breaking news!



Posted by Dylan Taft on


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