Starry Starry Night gala is back

Andrew Beers, Director of the Empire State Trail system, receives a Great Connector Award from Dr. Lucy Waletzky as Elizabeth Waldstein, Walkway’s Executive Director applauds.

By Mark Reynolds / Times Hudson Valley Media

After last year’s forced hiatus due to the pandemic, the Walkway Over the Hudson’s 11th Starry, Starry Night Gala returned on Friday evening. This year the fundraising event was held at the Upper Landing Park, off Water Street on the Poughkeepsie side of the Walkway.

Walkway’s Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein has been involved in every Gala since the first one in 2010.

“It was called ‘Experience the Wonder’ and we pulled it off on the gravel on the west side of the Walkway,” she said. “Then the committee invented Starry, Starry Night and here we are these many years later.”

Initially, Waldstein underestimated, “how much people wanted to come to something that was different. It’s outside, we’ve had fireworks, you get to walk on the bridge and it’s not always the same and people like to go to something like this. Everybody loves the Walkway so the combination has been a real winner.”

Waldstein said this is the second time the event has been held of the western side, “and we loved it, It was by the river and we’ve evolved into Walktoberfest, which is our big Farmers and Makers Market on Saturday and Sunday.” She said they have received “a ton of help” from the area’s elected officials and volunteers for both the Gala and Walktoberfest.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the Hudson Valley,” she said.
Waldstein said the next project is to create brackets that will hold a series of white solar lights on the northern side of the Walkway’s railing. A second phase will install color-changing LED lights in the belvedere, or bump out areas, of the Walkway. The 16th century word belvedere means ‘beautiful view’. Waldstein is hoping the solar lights will be operational by November.

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