Kids’ Almanac: There’s no place like home (July 5-12)

Photo courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Whenever you go somewhere that speaks to your soul, you are going home to yourself.

– Martha Beck


As children, some of us may have felt the need to hide some of our innate gifts, only to rediscover them years later as adults. Coming home to ourselves brings wholeness, and as native New Yorker L. Frank Baum says, “There’s no place like home.” In his famous book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the iconic characters the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion remind us that everything that we seek already exists here inside of ourselves. That spirit of our personal “Home” feels like a recurring theme in this week’s Kids’ Alm@nac.

This weekend, you and your family can reconnect with the quest for a brain, a heart and courage, and Dorothy’s journey home, at two different Wizard of Oz performances. On Friday, July 6 at 8:30 p.m., Kingston Parks’ “Movies under the Stars” present The Wizard of Oz movie at Academy Green Park. Come early to participate in Mudita Yoga’s Yoga in the Park activity at 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, including free popcorn and ice water; just bring a lawn chair or a blanket. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, located at 467 Broadway.

Family-friendly movies will be shown each week through August 17 at different parks in Kingston. Academy Green Park – named after Kingston Academy, New York State’s oldest preparatory school, which was once located on these grounds – is located at 238 Clinton Avenue in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 332-6600 or visit

Then on Saturday, July 7, you and yours can catch a live stage performance of The Wizard of Oz at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Part of the Center’s Saturday-morning family series, this is an interactive production by Hampstead Stage Company that weaves the audience into the show.

Tickets for this performance cost $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors. The Center is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit To learn more about the performers, visit



Young People’s Concert with Simon Powis this Saturday at the Maverick in Woodstock


Woodstock is known for being a town of artists, musicians and spiritual seekers, and it’s also home to the longest-running summer chamber music festival in the US: Maverick Concerts. If you have not been to Hervey White’s rustic 1916 Maverick “music chapel,” you are in for a treat. In addition to Maverick’s afternoon and evening classical and jazz concerts, which include internationally renowned musicians who play in famed venues such as Carnegie Hall, they also offer a terrific series of Young People’s Concerts.

This is such a wonderful way to give children and youth an intimate, age-appropriate, interactive classical, jazz or folk concert experience. Our family has been enjoying Maverick Concerts for years, including the Young People’s Concerts since the kids were babies. Children can sit on the floor in front of the stage, in the regular seats; or, if they get restless, there is outdoor seating, too. Because this venue is in the woods, sounds of nature blend in beautifully with the music. Bug spray is on hand if you need it.

This Saturday’s Young People’s Concert on July 7 at 11 a.m. presents Simon Powis on classical guitar. Powis is a native Australian who has performed and taught internationally. Admission to Young People’s Concerts is free for children and students and $5 for adults. The Maverick is located at 120 Maverick Road in Woodstock. For more information about the Maverick, sponsorships and a schedule of upcoming concerts, call (845) 679-8217 or visit To learn more about the performer, visit



“La Mère Illuminée” workshops this weekend at Waddle n Swaddle in Rhinebeck & Poughkeepsie


If home is where our story begins, then pregnancy or adoption are the routes to those beginnings. And with so much information out there, sometimes it can be challenging to honor our inner voice and discern our own path. Elizabeth Noble writes, “However much we know about birth in general, we know nothing about a particular birth. We must let it unfold with its own uniqueness.” How can we be in touch with that uniqueness? How can we hear our inner voice with clarity? Join us in a gathering for contemplation and personal illumination through self-discovery.

My friend and colleague Marnie McKnight-Favell of Dragonfly Holistic and I are excited to offer a pregnancy workshop called “La Mère Illuminée: Reflecting and Illuminating the Motherhood Experience.” We’ll be looking at concepts of parenting together: insights borne from becoming the parent to a person (not just thinking of our children as babies), loosening stuck points and growing with ease and fluidity. As facilitators, we will provide some elements of our respective healing work, as well as sharing some practices that women can use to support insight and meditation.

Marnie shared some thoughts with me about the workshop: “I feel very grateful to participate in this insightful gathering of women, coming together to look deeply inward to what is both universal knowledge as well as very mysterious. Each of these sessions is unique, based upon the energies of the women gathered, the nature of the questions and answers being shared and even the unique nature of each individual day. I know that I myself will come away with growth and a deeper awareness of my own parenting of my child and of myself, and how I source that from within.”

“La Mère Illuminée” is open to both first-time mothers-to-be and mothers who are expecting or adopting again. There are two sessions of workshops, and both take place from 4 to 6 p.m.: on Saturday, July 7 at Waddle n Swaddle at 41 East Market Street, Suite 4, in Rhinebeck; and Sunday, July 8 at Waddle n Swaddle at 32 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. The cost for each session is $20, and prepaid registration is required via PayPal ( For more information, contact Marnie McKnight-Favell at (845) 242-2979 or; or me, Erica Chase-Salerno at or (845) 255-5896. To learn more about the venues, visit



TMI Project performances this weekend at Rosendale Theatre


To know me is to know how very much I love Starling Productions’ TMI Project: Too Much Information performances. My adoration begins with their simple premise: telling one’s own true, deeply personal stories. These are stories that have been carried for years, often with fear or shame. They are powerful, emotional words that have finally been released, crafted for sharing outside of oneself.

I am moved by the strength and courage of the people who share these aspects of their lives so openly with us. And I relate on some level to every single story: “The personal is universal, and by sharing the parts of stories many of us typically leave out for public consumption, our writers/performers help to reveal common threads in all our lives.” I leave every performance feeling transformed and more connected to myself, as well as to the performer onstage. I honestly believe it’s therapeutic for me to attend TMI performances. A couple of raw pieces in particular have helped me become a better mother, and all of them inspire me to be my fullest self.

I invite every single reader to attend this weekend’s TMI performances. I also encourage you to bring mature young adults, ages 16 or 17 and older, with you. Please know that all of the stories are intense, filled with emotion that leads us in the audience to laughter as well as to tears. And some of the material shared is downright horrifying, including stories of violence and sexual abuse, so just be aware of the content before bringing your teenagers.

Yet to me, what’s important to focus on is the Now. These are stories of survival, of thriving. They come from a place of strength, not shame. We are not asked to help fix the problems or to format solutions; merely to honor, witness and even celebrate the telling of them – to feel them. It is to our benefit to hear them, to ensure that such tragedies don’t get repeated. So much of what shapes our life experiences happens in our youngest years, while we are so dependent on others, before we hold a wider, adult perspective. Many teens are grappling with the same issues that come up in the stories. I believe that gifting an older teen with the knowledge that these questions can be explored – that the worst can happen to us, yet can be overcome, even strengthening – could help them from falling into some of those same situations.

TMI hosts writing workshops and retreats and story slams, as well as its storytelling performances. Executive director Eva Tenuto, Writing Workshop leader Sari Botton and technical director Julie Novak are all brilliant at what they do, and I feel that their TMI Project is changing lives as it continues to grow and ripple outward. But don’t take my word for it; go and experience this phenomenon for yourself.

TMI takes place at the Rosendale Theatre on Friday and Saturday, July 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday, July 8 at 7 p.m. Each of the three performances will be unique, featuring ten to 12 short monologues by three distinct casts of writer/performers. Friday will feature a co-ed cast; Saturday and Sunday’s performances will staged by women only. Tickets cost $15 purchased online in advance at and $20 at the door. For more information, to register for a writing workshop or to make a tax-deductible contribution that advances the work of the TMI team, call (914) 299-2363 or visit



Rosendale Theatre screens Tending Fires next Tuesday


The Rosendale Theatre is the site for another excellent soul-stirring event this week: a screening of Tending Fires. This documentary by local filmmaker Peter Ferland took place in the Hudson Valley and follows seven adolescent boys who experience the rite of passage of tending a fire overnight, alone. It also includes the impressions of the boys’ families, as well as the circle surrounding the boys’ activities.

I asked one of the fathers, Richard Condon, who appears in the movie, for his reflections: “I suspect that my own pursuit of sport – now stemming nearly into my 50s – is due, in part, to an absolute lack of any recognizable rite of passage in my teenage years. Whether or not this is true, I was very glad that my son and the other boys involved had this opportunity. His night on the mountain, coupled with many experiences in the wilderness, solitary and with friends, have given him a mooring that has helped him be true to his integrity in the turbulence of peer pressure and wildly vacillating hormones.”

Whether you are raising a son, are a son or know a son, this looks like a film with powerful implications for raising and supporting boys in our culture. After checking out the trailer on the website, consider bringing your son to the movie with you. Tending Fires will be shown on Tuesday, July 10 at 7:15 p.m. Tickets cost $6. To learn more about the film, visit

The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information about TMI or Tending Fires or other upcoming events, to volunteer or to make a tax-deductible donation, call (845) 658-8989 or visit



Balloon Festival 2012 takes off from several Dutchess County sites this weekend


Sometimes we have to leave to find our way home again. So why not in a balloon? “The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon,” we hear in the Fifth Dimension’s 1967 hit song, “Up, Up and Away.” I agree: They do make the world a nicer place, even just watching them. Hot air balloons infuse me with dreamy feelings of weightlessness and peace as they dot the skies with color.

You and your family can watch hot air balloons all weekend at Balloon Festival 2012, from July 6 through 8, organized by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. All scheduled events are weather-permitting. The Festival begins with a dozen evening launches scattered throughout Dutchess County at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 6. The launches are free and open to the public to watch each day from various points around the area, including the Walkway or the Poughkeepsie Galleria flagpole parking lot. If you want to take a hot air balloon ride yourself, the cost is $225 per person, arranged through Blue Sky Balloons at (845) 831-6917.

There are a number of sites participating in Balloon Festival 2012, but one that I’d like to highlight for families is the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. It will provide interactive family activities at the Pavilion on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Admission to the Museum costs $5 from 5 to 8:00 p.m. It is also offering a free drawing for a hot air balloon ride for two for Friday’s launch, which you can enter on the Museum website until the raffle is drawn at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 6. On Saturday, July 7, it is offering hot air balloon tethering rides for $2 before the 6 p.m. evening launch. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 471-0589 or visit

At 6 a.m. on Saturday, July 7, all 17 balloons will dot the sky over the Hudson River, taking off from the docks of the Hudson River Rowing Association. Early birds who plan on attending should bring your camera to catch this remarkable sight. The Walkway over the Hudson will be open for anyone seeking a unique, elevated vantage point. The Walkway can be accessed at 87 Haviland Road in Highland or 61 Parker Avenue in Poughkeepsie.

Another round of 6 p.m. departures will take place on Saturday evening at various sites. On Sunday, July 8 at 6 a.m., a final mass launch at the Hudson River Rowing Association brings the Balloon Festival to a close.

The Poughkeepsie Galleria is Balloon Central. Complete, up-to-the-minute launch information will be available at the Festival booth, and representatives will be able to supply directions to launch sites, answer specific questions and more. The Poughkeepsie Galleria is located at 2001 South Road in Poughkeepsie. For all kinds of information about the Balloon Festival, including launch sites, call (845) 454-1700, extension 1000, or visit



This Sunday is Family Day at Bethel Woods


Do you remember this part in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Woodstock” song, written by Joni Mitchell? Sing it with me: “I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm, going to join in a rock ‘n’ roll band / Got to get back to the land, and set my soul free. / We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion-year-old carbon, / And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

Back to the garden – like coming home again, right? You and your family should head back to the garden at Yasgur’s Farm, site of the famous 1969 Woodstock Festival, which is actually in Bethel. The property is now known as Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and it’s hosting Family Day on Sunday, July 8. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you and your crew can participate in a wide range of activities that explore all of the arts. Design your own Woodstock poster, do some family improv, take a family-friendly scavenger hunt through the Museum and much more.

Activities are geared for children from 5 to 12 years, but all ages and generations are welcome. You are encouraged to make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch. The cost is $5 per person. Bethel Woods is located at 200 Hurd Road in Bethel. For more information, call (866) 781-2922 or visit

Now, while we’re in the Sullivan County area, you should know that I have it on excellent authority that Fiddle’s Dari-King indoor stand has outrageously delicious, fresh-tasting soft ice cream. It is located at the traffic light at Exit 98 on Route 17 in Parksville. I also need to say that the incredible old-school pizza at Len & Jo’s, located at 186 West Main Street in Port Jervis, is worth the detour south before you venture back home. And bring some back for me!


Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at




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