Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ulster County's June events

Here's news from the Ulster County Quadricentennial Arts Celebration Committee about Quad-related activities in Ulster County during June:

On the evening of June 10, a flotilla of heritage ships en route from New York City to Albany will sail up the Rondout Creek, approximately 90 miles north of Manhattan, and dock along the Kingston waterfront. The ships, which include replicas of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon and a Dutch 17th-century sloop, will retrace the English navigator’s epoch-making voyage 400 years ago up the river that bears his name.

Two tugboats and a World War II PT boat will escort the ships, whose entrance will be greeted by booming cannon and clanging church bells. A vintage trolley will convey viewers out to a riverside park. Later in the evening, renowned old-time folk musicians Jay Unger and Molly Mason will perform at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, resurrecting the sounds of a lost era. The free performance will be broadcast live on public radio station WAMC. The next morning, the ships will depart, continuing their voyage north in a retracing of Hudson’s voyage.

Three days later, on June 13, the Senate House State Historic Site, located in Kingston’s Stockade district, will host a colonial Dutch festival. Here and at other historic venues, there will be exhibits of documents in the original Dutch and other memorabilia form the colonial period and displays of Native American implements dating back hundreds of years. Visitors can also tour historic stone houses and observe encampments from the Civil and Revolutionary wars.

But it’s not just history that will celebrated. Ulster County is also home to one of the nation’s most vibrant arts community, which will be contributing playful and provocative interpretations of Hudson's voyage and the river he made famous in numerous art exhibits and outdoor sculpture shows. Opening on Saturday, June 13 and running through October, is a display of “memorials” to the English navigator at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild entitled “Ahoy! Where Lies Henry Hudson?” They are being crafted by 12 selected architects out of environmentally sensitive materials and refer to a mystery: after 1609 on a subsequent voyage, Hudson was set adrift in a rowboat off the coast of Labrador after his men mutinied and was never seen again. The works will be displayed on the forested grounds of the historic art colony, whose rusticated buildings were built at the turn of the last century on a mountainside overlooking Woodstock.

A 20-minute drive away, in the village of Saugerties, visitors will discover a delightful surprise in the classic retro American downtown: 45 carousel horses, each painted and decorated by a different artist, perched along the sidewalks. While the flotilla of ships leaving Kingston June 11 will not stop in Saugerties, they’ll get a welcome anyway, with representatives of the village planning to canoe out into the river to wave “hello.”

For complete information, visit the website at While visiting the site enter the TomTom giveaway for a GPS device that will help you find your way around, and check out the list of participating restaurants and lodgings offering Quad specials. The Ulster County Quadricentennial Arts Celebration Committee, which is overseeing the marketing of Quad events, received funding for its efforts from the Cultural Tourism Initiative, a project of the Arts and Business Council of New York and the New York State Council on the Arts.

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