Red Hook to celebrate Hardscrabble Day

Red Hook, 1911 postcard

The Town of Red Hook is said by local historians to have received its name from early Dutch navigators charting the Hudson River, who came upon Cruger’s Island – a peninsula or “hoek” – when it was turning red with sumac and Virginia creeper in early autumn, and named the town “Red Hoek.” When the Rhinebeck precinct of Dutchess County was established in 1737 in order to define political jurisdiction, Red Hook was included, becoming a separate township in 1812.

The area occupied today by the Village of Red Hook was then little more than a crossroads with an inn and a few houses; but someone must have tried to farm it, because it became known in the region as “Hardscrabble.” Given that Red Hook is thriving today, the Village doesn’t seem to mind naming its annual festival after its unyielding origins in the annual Hardscrabble Day on Saturday, September 21 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., which will be all about plenitude.

Village trustee Jennifer Norris says that the day will feature scores of vendors, kids’ activities and food. Products available include crafts, jewelry, hand-knit items, homemade pet food, primitive furniture and more. Norris says that there will also be an “all-ages-and-sizes clothing swap,” for visitors to bring gently used clothing and exchange it for something “new.” Visitors can speak with nonprofits at their information booths, and the children’s area will include crafts, theater and interactive events.

The Hardscrabble Parade of local community groups, sports teams, elected officials, theater groups, the library and marching bands will kick off at 4 p.m. Live music will follow the parade, provided by Colonel Bruce Hampton & Friends and Jim Weider & Project Percolator with Rodney Holmes on drums, Jesse Gress on guitar and Jess Y. Murphy on bass.

Hardscrabble Day will take place throughout the Village of Red Hook at Routes 9 and 199. The Kidscrabble family area will be located on the Key Bank Lawn on Route 199. All activities and entertainment are free of charge.

Hardscrabble Day, Saturday, September 21, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., free, Routes 9 & 199, Red Hook; https://www.hardscrabbleday.org.

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