NYS Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation The Children of Dahomey, Ensemble Congeros, TMI-Black Stories Matter, Melody Africa, Lavada Nahon

Rensselaer, N.Y. –On May 26, 2018, Crailo State Historic Site will host a Pinkster celebration featuring musical performances and educational experiences. Once a Dutch holiday commemorating Pentecost, Pinkster became a distinctly African American holiday in the Hudson River Valley during the colonial era.  During the 17th and 18th centuries, enslaved and free African Americans transformed Pinkster from a Dutch religious observance into a spring festival and a celebration of African cultural traditions.  All along the Hudson River and on Albany’s “Pinkster Hill” (the current site of the NYS Capitol), enslaved African Americans reunited with family and friends and celebrated Pinkster with storytelling, food, music, and dance.  Other Pinkster traditions, like the selection of the Pinkster King, created opportunities for enslaved African Americans to honor respected members of the community and to subtly mock their white enslavers.

Please join us at Crailo State Historic Site in celebrating and commemorating the historic Pinkster holiday from 11 AM to 4 PM on May 26th.  Festivities include presentations and demonstrations by The Children of Dahomey, an educational and performance group specializing in the historical experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans in colonial New York.  Visitors can participate in The Children of Dahomey’s traditional Pinkster dances and theatrical demonstrations, and listen in on a storytelling session. The group TMI – Black Stories Matter will share stories that connect the past to the present.  Melody Africa, a traditional dance and drum troupe will perform.  Ensemble Congeros will share musical traditions from the African Diaspora, combining Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian music and tying new world rhythms to their African roots. In Crailo’s kitchen cellar, culinary historian and hearth cooking specialist Lavada Nahon will be preparing food over the open hearth and interpreting historic African and African-American foodways.  Other family-friendly activities will include crafts, games, music, and refreshments.  The museum will be open for self-guided tours of the historic rooms and exhibits, including the featured exhibit A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World, currently on display in the upstairs galleries. 

Once the Van Rensselaer family’s fortified home, Crailo State Historic Site is the museum of the colonial Dutch in the Hudson River Valley.  For information on this season’s special events, programs, exhibits and this year’s Saratoga-Capital District Regional Geocache Challenge please find Crailo on the New York State Parks website at www.nysparks.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CrailoStateHistoricSite or by calling (518)463-8738.


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.




Date & Time: May 26, 2018, 11 AM to 4 PM


Where: Crailo State Historic Site

9 ½ Riverside Avenue

Rensselaer, NY 12144



Admission:     This event is free and open to the public.



Sam Huntington

Crailo State Historic Site

9 ½ Riverside Ave, Rensselaer, New York 12144