According to Ed Blundell, one of the event organizers, the theme of this year's event is "Reconnect with Old Friends - and Make New Ones." Says Blundell, "The day is a chance for people to connect in the regular analogue world." The day begins with flea markets, vendors and food of all types in the center of town. In addition, civic organizations - such as the PTA, the Friends of the Red Hook Library and neighborhood environmental organizations - put together booths and activities for the event. Youth groups, fire companies and local nursery schools also have a presence, as will the Hudson Valley Blood Services, which will be running a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
On the Key Bank lawn, "Kidscrabble" will take place. It's a chance for kids to stay fit and have fun with sample kids' yoga classes, crafts, games, contra dancing, music provided by Rosie's Irregulars and the Kidz on the Go traveling fitness course on wheels. For the tweens and teens, a rock-climbing wall and mountain bike fitness experience will be on offer at Red Hook High School. "Scrabble Scrabble" will take place in the library, where enthusiasts of the Scrabble board game from throughout the Northeast will gather and compete. Music will be performed all day long on the main stage, including a 1:15 p.m. performance by the Aaron Hobson Compact.
Most of the history-focused elements of the event take place at the Elmendorph Inn Historic Site. There, Revolutionary War reenactors from the Ulster Militia will be on hand and in costume; in addition, sheep-shearing, wool-spinning and farm animal demonstrations will take place there throughout the day. At night, the Inn will host a rollicking old-time tavern experience.
At 4 p.m., groups and floats will assemble for a Harvest Parade through the village center; it leaves from Red Hook Middle School and ends at Memorial Park. After the parade, the booths close up shop, and the attention of the town shifts to music, sports and entertainment. The tunes will be provided by the Dave Mason Band. Mason was a founding member of the band Traffic, and he will be releasing a new album of original material this October. His performance begins at 5:30 p.m. at the main stage in town. The Hardscrabble Day event occurs alongside the Red Hook School District's Welcome Home Week; as part of the double celebration, the Red Hook High School football team will play under the lights at 7 p.m. After the game, the sky will light up with fireworks.
Red Hook's Hardscrabble Day takes place on Saturday, September 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the center of the village of Red Hook. The Harvest Parade is on Linden Avenue and steps off at 4 p.m.; the music and the fireworks follow thereafter. The event is free and open to all. For more information and to see photos from prior years' events, go to www.hardscrabbleday.org.