Last month three street festivals drew hundreds of revelers to main street businesses in towns along the Hudson River. Coxsackie’s Historic Reed Street was transformed into it’s annual Christmas by the River. The Village of Athens hosted it's Victorian Stroll, and the longest night of the year was celebrated at the Winter Solstice in Catskill. Each event proved to be a boon for local businesses that joined in the fun with special deals and activities for the whole family.
Christmas by the River – Coxsackie, NY
On Sunday, December 4th, Historic Reed Street from River Street to Mansion Street was cordoned off to make way for over 20 street vendors to display wares, paint faces, and even give pony rides to a steady stream of delighted kids. Che Figata Italian Bistro helped stave off the cold with steaming bowls of Italian wedding soup, and the Yellow Deli featured tasty hot cider. Something a bit stronger drew patrons and browsers to The Reed Street Bottle Shop, as adults lined up for Shai Kessler’s Hudson River Currant cocktails made with Current Cassis.
Craft vendors lined both sides of a street-long tent complete with outdoor dining heaters to make everyone comfortable. Shipwrecked Café and Book Store hosted a chowder cook-off, and Santa & Mrs. Claus posed for pictures in their sleigh. The aforementioned couple also joined over 200 of their old and new friends at The Wire event center for a free concert by the Coxsackie-Athens Community Band – a lovely way to end the day.
The Victorian Stroll – Athens, NY
Less than a week later, on Saturday, December 10th, Second Street in Athens became the center-point for its Victorian Stroll, where many visitors donned period garb to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the season. A holiday trolley shuttled folks to and from the many events of the day including concerts, recitals, craft fairs, and food stalls all around the village.
Both businesses and residents went all out decorating their homes and storefronts to the delight of visitors, and kids of all ages enjoyed a pop-up petting zoo located between the Athens Rooster and Crossroads Brewing Company.
Winter Solstice – Catskill, NY
Wednesday, December 21st marked the first annual Winter Solstice celebration on Main Street in Catskill, which was closed to traffic after 4PM from Water to Bridge Streets. Braziers and firepits led the way down the center of the street as businesses and eateries welcomed patrons until 9PM and beyond. High Rock Home at Joe’s Garage featured a brilliantly curated selection of holiday and home goods as well as live music and revelers gathered around the grand piano at Citiot for a holiday sing-along.
Carolers and pipers strode from business to business, and the pet-friendly Left Bank Ciders had the woodstove fired up to warm those seeking a libation, respite, and good company. The CREATE gallery featured a jazz quartet, while families toasted marshmallows around the woodfired braziers outside.
The success of these three events not only connects our local businesses with the communities we share, but serves as a great showcase for the unique character of our towns and villages.
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