This weekend: Winter Hoot at the Ashokan Center

This Friday through Sunday, the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge comes alive with the twang of banjos, the stomp of feet, and the sweet sound of voices lifted in harmony. (And even a little "electrified Americana," in the form of a set by Saugerties' Conner Kennedy.)

The Ashokan Center's Hoot, now in its second year, is a biannual folkfest fundraiser for the center's environmental education activities. Hosted by local folk duo Mike + Ruthy, the son-in-law and daughter of Ashokan Center co-founder Jay Ungar, the fest is quickly earning a devoted following among folkies. The late Pete Seeger made an appearance at the first Summer Hoot last August -- and later sent a postcard to its hosts saying it was "one of the best song gatherings I've seen in all my 94 years." 

The Winter Hoot kicks off Friday, Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. with dinner, followed by a lineup that includes The Stacks, Adrien Reju, Arc Iris, Connor Kennedy, and a midnight square dance with caller Kristin Andreassen. On Saturday, the fest is an all-day affair, with square dances at noon and 11:30  p.m., and sets from Elizabeth Mitchell and Friends, Paul Green's Rock Academy, Rushad Eggleston, the Ashokan Center's Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Gustafer Yellowgold, Heather Masse, Mike + Ruthy, The Sweetback Sisters, Deep Chatham. On Sunday, the fest wraps up with brunch and a farewell jam. 

Throughout the Hoot, there will be a kid's area with movies and games, an all-ages crafts area, nature walks and blacksmithing demos, an indoor farmer's market, and local food and beer for sale. Saturday will feature an environmental fair with tabling by local groups. 

Winter Hoot tickets are $20 for Friday, and $30 for Saturday, or $20 after 7 p.m. The Sunday brunch and singalong concert is free of charge. Hoot-goers may be able to rent a bunk at the Ashokan Center's longhouse for $50 a night; first come, first served.

Winter Hoot. Friday, Feb. 7 through Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Road, Olivebridge. For more information, visit the Hoot online at or check out the Winter Hoot's Facebook page.