The best time of year to visit the Hudson Valley is spring and summer. Well, fall and winter are pretty great, too. But when the weather is warm, there are a lot of family-friendly events taking place every weekend. We’ve marked these three upcoming outdoor happenings on our calendar:
A ticket to LIGHTSCAPES was my first request for Mother’s Day. This new event taking place on the grounds of the historic Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., is described as a walk-through, land-art experience. It’s produced by Historic Hudson Valley, a preservation organization which has had great success with a similar type of event, the “Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze,” for the past several years.
Held at night, LIGHTSCAPES will include displays of light, sound, special effects, and original sculpture designed and handmade on site, including fairies, butterflies, an enormous caterpillar, and giant birdhouse. LIGHTSCAPES takes place Friday and Saturday evenings in May and the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend: May 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-25, 30-31.
The Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, connects the Town of Highland to the City of Poughkeepsie. It’s an amazing linear public park, 1.25 miles long and 212 feet high at midpoint above the Hudson River. On Sunday, June 1st, the park is organizing an attempt to break the record for the World’s Longest Handshake Relay. The plan is to form a line more than a mile long. At least 1,239 participants will be needed to break the record. Each person will shake hands with the next person “down the line.”
For the past two years, world-record attempts have been made on the Walkway, and my family has participated in both. In 2012, we helped break the world record for the world’s longest “Hokey Pokey” dance line; an achievement my daughter is pretty proud of!
There are several events happening in Dutchess County over the Independence Day weekend. On July 5th, the first annual Dutchess Dragon Boat Race and Festival will bring a fleet of specialized, 40-foot canoes to the Hudson River for competitive racing. Dragon boat racing has a 2,000-year history, beginning in southern China. It’s also the fastest-growing international team water sport, and is seeking entry into the summer Olympic Games. Teams of 20 paddlers row together to the rhythmic beat of the onboard drummer, while someone steers in the back. The races start at HRRA Community Boathouse in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
–Traci L. Suppa
Traci L. Suppa drags her small-town family to see a quirky array of the world’s largest, longest, or tallest things, and blogs about it at Go BIG or Go Home.