HUDSON — One of the area’s biggest events of the holiday season hits a milestone Saturday night when Winter Walk in Hudson celebrates 25 years.

Assemblywoman Didi Barrett will present a special citation to Hudson Hall to honor the 25th anniversary of Winter Walk on Saturday, at 5 p.m. at 7th Street Park.

This year’s walk returns to normal, following the 2020 Winter Walk, that was spread out over a month, with many of their events talking place online, and split up into different weekends, all due to concerns about the surging COVID-19 outbreak.

Crowds, estimated to be near 20,000, have flocked to Hudson in past years.

The festive holiday event, which now covers the entire length of Warren Street and many side streets, was first held in 1997 and barely covered two blocks, said Ellen Thurston, who has helped plan all 25 Winter Walks.

The first year was planned to coincide with the antique shops that had opened in Hudson. Organizers thought it would be a successful event if shops would stay open late one night, and offer refreshments and entertainment, Thurston said.

Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera played Santa Claus that night.

The first Winter Walk took place mostly in the 500 and 600 block, where it was called “A Winter Walk on Warren Street,” Thurston said.

Over the years, the event has grown to include all of Warren Street, many of its side streets, and part of Front Street. They will be included in Saturday night’s celebration.

Winter Walk has always been produced by Hudson Hall, but when the event began, Hudson Hall was known as the Hudson Opera House.

Winter Walk has had its share of weather extremes over the past 25 years. Temperatures have ranged from the teens to the 60s. Some years have had clear skies, a couple years have had rain showers and there have been a few years with light or moderate snow.

The only year the event had to be postponed was 2003, when a massive nor’easter dropped 1 to 2 feet of snow on Hudson. The 2003 Winter Walk was scheduled to be held Dec. 12.

Some of the talent scheduled to perform on Saturday night include: Aly’s Ponies & Barnyard Friends, Arcadia Rae, Beautiful Racket, Canaan Chorale, Circus Theatricks with Seano, Crazy Christine Balloons, Diata Diata Drumming, Harmony Project Hudson, Hi-Beam, Holly Andy Ivy, Hudson City School District Band Program, Hudson Festival Orchestra Holiday Sing, Hudson High Marching Band, Ice Yacht: The Vixen, Key of Q, Krampus, Living Large Draft Horse & Carriage Rides, Orcapelicans, Roger the Jester, Sax O’Claus, Sean The Prankster Magician, and St. Julian’s Jugglers.

Santa Claus will appear at City Hall, 520 Warren St., and will be available for one-on-one, socially distanced visits with all the children, whether they’ve been naughty or nice. Each child will receive a free, age-specific, book from Santa.

Winter Walk runs from 5-8 p.m., and begins with the ringing of the bells at the First Presbyterian Church. The bells will ring 25 times to honor the event’s Silver Anniversary, and to honor pioneering Hudson antiques dealer Vincent Mulford, who died in October. The holiday tree lighting then takes place at 7th St. Park.

The night will end with fireworks launched from the Hudson River.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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