Red Hook, New York
Body/Soul | Local culture | Soft news
3 September 2020 11:23PM
Emily Sachar


Kids can’t bob for apples. And families won’t be gathering for music in the heart of the Village. But don’t for a moment think Covid has crushed Red Hook’s celebratory spirit.

Hardscrabble Day, in its 45th year, will be happening all the same next Saturday, September 12 — virtual style for workshops and demonstrations and with a drive-by live “reverse” parade.

From critter treasure hunts in the Sawkill Creek to a glassblowing demonstration, from an apple pie demonstration to a tour of the Greek Revival estate and grounds at Staats Hall, a wide assortment of activities will be available to the thousands of “visitors” who have come to love Hardscrabble.

And the reverse parade, for which floats are stationary and passers-by drive or walk to see them, will feature a military encampment by the VFW, a harvest display at the Elmendorph Inn, display of the 1925 Red Hook Fire Department “Buffalo” pumper truck, and a tent tower constructed by local Boy Scouts. The parade, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. is organized by the Red Hook Public Library.

Named for the small intersection in “Red Hoeck” where early residents scraped together or ‘hardscrabbled’ their agricultural living, Hardscrabble Day this year will take place on Facebook Live and via interactive Zoom meetings, some of which participants must register to join.

“Moving the festival online has allowed us to expand beyond the celebrations that annually take place within the Village of Red Hook,” said Elisabeth Harmor, the social media coordinator for Historic Red Hook, the organization hosting Hardscrabble Online. “This year the festival will include the entire Town of Red Hook in the celebrations with original content and entertainment from places in Red Hook that would otherwise be inaccessible to people attending the festival in person.”

The events, demonstrations, and activities, Harmor said, focus on uniquely Red Hook experiences, “as a way of celebrating our small-town pride and sharing it with a larger, virtual community. My hope is that the online festival will boost community spirits and promote our local businesses.”

There will be events in six categories, for all pages: Arts & Crafts, Music, Food, Animals, Arts & Crafts, and History & Heritage.

Highlights include:
–Kids Teaching Kids! A painting tutorial lead by 7-year-old artist Luna
–Glassblowing demonstration by local artist Bryan Raskin of Mirado Glass
–A behind-the-scenes tour of Equis Art Gallery with Juliet Harrison
–Making Heart in Hand Prayer Flags with the Village Fabric Shoppe

–A goat costume contest from Hudson Valley Kinders Farm
–Exploring the critters in the Saw Kill with the Saw Kill Watershed Community

–Apple Pie Baking demo by Tom Greene, owner of Heritage Baking ( filmed at the headquarters of Historic Red Hook, the Elmendorph Inn!)
–A behind-the-scenes tour of the Montgomery Place Orchards Farm stand with owner Talea Finke

–A tour of the Greek Revival estate and grounds at Staats Hall led by renowned Hudson Valley Photographer Pieter Estersohn and his son Elio
–A behind the scenes look at the restoration work being done at the 18th century Pitcher Farmstead with Andre Dupont of of Silver Hammer Restoration

–A Zoom concert with local singer, songwriter, and guitarist Maggie Rothwell

–Zoom Children’s Yoga with Michele Anderson of Inner Light Children’s Yoga
–Zoom Beginner Bollywood Dance lesson with Arobi Hanif and the Tivoli Public Library

The day will kick off on the main Facebook Festival event page at 10 a.m. with welcome messages from Village of Red Hook Mayor Ed Blundell, Village of Tivoli Mayor Joel Griffith, Red Hook Town Supervisor Robert McKeon, and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.

Red Hook’s Hardscrabble Day was born on Jun 21,1975, as a celebration of the 250th birthday of Egbert Benson, an influential figure during the Revolutionary War and a Red Hook resident. Benson later served as New York State’s first attorney general and founded the New York Historical Society. And Historic Red Hook was the product of a merger between the Egbert Benson Historical Society and the Friends of the Elmendorph Inn.

From its roots in local history and culture, Hardscrabble Day has grown into an autumn celebration of Red Hook’s agricultural heritage and modern vitality. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the festival hit its stride, with 10,000 people “jamming Red Hook for Hardscrabble Day,” according to a 1997 Poughkeepsie Journal article. From hot air balloon and helicopter rides to a “Hardscrabble Ball” at Bard College, the festival offered a rich array of experiences.

For the full event schedule, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/224055832044346/

To see the Reverse Parade route and float locations, visit: http://www.redhooklibrary.org

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