“…just a smile away from Whoville with a hint of It’s a Wonderful Life.”
—Huffington Post

What’s Sinterklaas?

Every year brings new events and characters to dazzle our community, honor our children and bring light to this darkest time of the year.

The Sinterklaas Festivities draw on the Hudson Valley’s Dutch heritage, but with some modern day twists.

Children are the focus — becoming kings and queens for the day, turning the switches of the original story into royal scepters. Children make scepters and crowns for themselves at the Crowns and Branches workshops.
“But it can’t be about the wanting and having, either.” says creator Jeanne Fleming, “They each have to tie wishes into their branch — one for the community, one for the family, one for the world. They understand their responsibility to be a good king or queen.”

Sinterklaas Festival Day in Rhinebeck

The day features performances at venues throughout the village: dance, music and theatrics, tightrope walking, even fire juggling! Strolling musicians, dancing Grumpuses and a variety of colorful characters wander the streets of the village to delight children with stories and treats.

Astride his white steed, Sinterklaas leads the Children’s starlight Parade, which culminates in the center of town with the Sinterklaas pageant, honoring the children and ending with a stirring wish for peace.
At the start, Sinterklaas was a real person. He was born in the 4th century in Myra, Asia Minor, where he became a bishop. Little else is known about him—except that he loved children.. Read on…

Watch the Movie

Remember the promise of 2020! SINTERKLAAS MOVIE 2020: Leap Year!

Our movie was made for the Covid year, but its promise is everlasting! Make sure the children see it now so they know Sinterklaas is coming back…because some wishes DO come true!

The 10-minute movie tells the compelling story of Frog’s invitation to lead the Sinterklaas Parade, but his appearance had to be postponed by the cancellation of the 2020 event. Undaunted and committed to the children of Rhinebeck’s joy, the Frog, through magic of a stellar sort, makes his way into Rhinebeck to gift Sinterklaas Stars and let the children know that Sinterklaas will be back.

Based on a story by Sinterklaas creator, Jeanne Fleming, Grumpus choreographer Martha Tobias, and artist Sarah Bissonnette-Adler, the animation was created by artist Liz Howls with music by Dan Dukich. This movie was funded in part by Rhinebeck Responds.

The Honored Animal for 2022 is The Porcupine!!!

Needless to say, the last two and half years have been difficult —— and we think you might agree that it has left some, if not all, of us a little bit “prickly.”

Let’s meet that reality head on this year and EMBRACE the PORCUPINE (ouch!)!!
YES!! The PORCUPINE will be the Sinterklaas Honored Animal!
Did you know that a gathering of Porcupines is called a PRICKLE?*
And this year, as we EMBRACE the PORCUPINE, all who gather at Sinterklaas will become part of our Prickle! Come and join us!


Our stars feed both the soul and the body!

Not only are they needed for the final Star Ceremony at the Pageant following the Parade, but In the true spirit of Sinterklaas, a portion of every STAR you buy will be donated to the food pantries in Rhinebeck to help those most in need in our community!
N.B.: 2022 Illuminated Sinterklaas stars featuring the Honored Animal— the PORCUPINE— can be purchased right here online and shipped to your home until November 27th. After that we can ship stars, but they will not reach you in time for Sinterklaas. 
You can pre-order stars online here until they become available on October 1 and after that you can order them here or you can buy them at local stores like Winter Sun, Williams Lumber, Paper Trail, Sunflower, and Hummingbird. See a complete list at the following link!


See the program

Join us for a full day of great performances and surprises all over town.


Meet the Performers

Sinterklaas brings over 250 performers to town for its days of celebration. Meet some of them here.


For a Visual Treat!




Join Sinterklaas puppeteers Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles for workday sessions to create a grove of walking trees and glowing porcupines, and to restore beloved favorites for the Starlight Parade!  Workshops are geared towards adults and teens, and older children working with an adult are welcome!”



Each year we begin the preparations for Sinterklaas Festival Day with fun activities for all. Crowns & Branches as well as the Puppet Workshops begin on November 1 and are open to the community. Children & adults welcome. Lots of fun.


Sinterklaas Counts on YOU!

Sinterklaas is donation driven — 75% of our funding is from folks like you. We all love Sinterklaas — our own, hand-made, home-grown, truly one-of-a-kind holiday tradition!

Sinterklaas brings our community together — with joy, magic, creativity, spectacular sights and sounds. And it REALLY all begins with YOU.

How Can It Be Free?

We rely on donations from community members, businesses, and institutions —see who has donated! Your support is critical to keeping Sinterklaas a ticket-free event! Consider a donation now.



Many thanks to Mary Beth Cale and Cale Communications for providing their extraordinary services to help spread the word about Sinterklaas.


Secret Helpmates Revealed

Since 2014 the Sinterklaas Celebration was “adopted” by the Rhinebeck Rotary Club as part of the international organization’s worldwide initiative called “Light Up Rotary.” Read more…