From lively chats with local storytellers to always-popular Soup and Chili Nights, Dutch Christmas and other community get-togethers, Historic Red Hook hosts them all at The Elmendorph Inn.
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Sun, Apr 29 • 3:00 - 5:00 pm
What was a Skimelton?
Dr. Thom Wermuth, Associate Professor of History at Marist College, will talk about a uniquely Hudson Valley custom of misrule popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries called the “skimelton.” The skimelton was a raucous, nighttime serenading of a newly married couple by uninvited guests, usually the neighbors of the newlyweds. However, for many years in the 19th century the skimelton was the way Hudson Valley communities regulated the start of new households by mocking and ridiculing unpopular marriages. This presentation will explore the evolution of this ritual that started even earlier, in the 18th century, as a form of vigilantism aimed at adulterers but became over time, a mischievous celebration of new marriages.
Free and open to the public. Refreshments follow the program.
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