Kids’ Almanac (August 30-September 6)

Photo by Lucia O’Corozine

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

– Winston Churchill


As an import to the Hudson Valley, I always appreciate this area’s mix of folks who were born and raised here like my husband, and those who moved here like I did. It’s the moving away part that I have a harder time with. This summer, I’m eating my feelings (Google “Nutella s’moreos”) and adjusting to a new daily landscape where hikes at Black Creek Preserve, princess playdates, Minecraft mania and high-fives will feel different now, because some very special families are moving to new (very lucky) communities outside of our 845 area code. I’d also like to welcome those of you who just moved here and now call the Hudson Valley home. So raise a glass of local cider with me, whether you are coming or going, saying, “Here’s to the end of the beginning! And here’s to many more fantastic adventures ahead!”


Hire college students through Job X at SUNY-New Paltz

Whether you are new to the neighborhood or you know three different ways to say Shawangunk, here is a fantastic resource that I think everyone should know about: Job X. Job X is a free online service for students and the community provided by SUNY-New Paltz. Off-campus employers (like you and me) list non-career-oriented jobs that students can do while attending school, such as childcare, housecleaning or odd jobs. You simply provide the contact information, job description and requirements, pay range, job duration and amount of time that you want your ad to remain posted. Students peruse the site looking for work in which they’re interested, then they connect with those employers.

Dan Sistarenik, director of Financial Aid at SUNY-New Paltz, says, “It’s a win/win situation for both students and the community: The students get to earn some money for their personal expenses, and it’s a free service for the community for employers, businesses and individuals just to hire our students, whether it be babysitting, raking leaves, working in grocery stores or restaurants.”

Our family loves the babysitters whom we’ve met through Job X, and like I said, it’s free! Now is a great time to post, because the fall semester just started and students are back on campus looking for work. For more information or to list a job, call Cynthia Harkins at (845) 257-3247 or visit and click on Post a Job.


Library Card Sign-up Month is here!

One fantastic way to connect with other families is at libraries (not that I’m encouraging you actually to talk in the library, so I guess what I’m saying is to connect quietly). I always knew that they had knowledgeable librarians, interesting books and convenient computer access; but it’s their programming that always gets my attention. Libraries host some incredible free and low-cost programs for all ages year-round, from karate classes to sleepovers to craft projects to animal demonstrations to concerts and much more. Our family’s favorites are storytime and chess club.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and according to the American Library Association, it’s considered the most important school supply of all: “The observance was launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of then-secretary of education William J. Bennett, who said, ‘Let’s have a national campaign…every child should obtain a library card – and use it.’ Since then, thousands of public and school libraries join each fall in a national effort to ensure every child does just that.”

So get over to your local library and register yourself and your kids. Our kids love the independence of approaching the front desk and checking out materials on their own, using their own cards. While you’re there, learn about your library’s offerings through flyers and announcements, as well as its website and Facebook. For more information, visit, or just go to your local library.


International Festival in Newburgh this weekend

Everyone in my family enjoys an international festival, but for different reasons. My daughter and I really enjoy the food. She loves sampling any and all ethnic sweets, while I tend to lean toward the savory. My first childhood memory of an international festival involved the life-changing taste of moussaka in the Greek tent, and that dish is still a favorite of mine. While she and I munch away, her brother enjoys hearing the different types of music and checking out any and all carnival games and rides.

Give your family a chance to think globally and act locally by doing all of these things and attending the 24th annual International Festival in Newburgh, from Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3. “The theme behind this Festival is to give something back to the community, and have the community be involved, whether by performing onstage, selling their wares or cooking. It is community-oriented,” said deputy mayor Regina Angelo.

Live performances include Arm-of-the-Sea Theater’s bilingual Criss-Crossing Borders: The Panama Suitcase Show, the Midnite Image Band and Gospel Fest. Midway rides and early-bird vendors will begin on Friday afternoon, and the entire festival is underway on Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 11 p.m. into Monday from 12 noon until 10 p.m. The Festival goes on rain or shine, the live performances are free and it takes place at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center located at 321-393 South William Street in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 565-5429 or visit



Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck hosts Audience Participation Magic Show this Saturday

Whether you are looking for something easy and fun to do with company visiting for the weekend, or you’re looking for a special way to spend Saturday morning with your crew, the Great All-American Audience Participation Magic Show is sure to please. You know that back-to-school magic trick where your kids suddenly need new pants and shoes on September 1, when you could have sworn that those items fit them last week? Surprise! Magician Andy Weintraub leads a show that’s full of surprises too, but his performance is fun for the whole family.

The show takes place at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck on Saturday, September 1 at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors. For tickets or for more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit


Fresh Air Music Festival showcases teen bands at Hurd’s Farm this Saturday

The Beatles were teenagers when they started revolutionizing the world of music. What are today’s teen bands up to? You can hear for yourself at the Fresh Air Music Festival at Hurd’s Family Farm. Inspire your own budding musicians, or reignite your inner musician from your own teen years by listening to up-and-coming teen bands performing every half-hour. The concert is free, and attendees can pay $7 to enjoy additional farm activities. There will also be a family scavenger hunt, and pony rides are available for a separate fee.

Our son looks forward to spending plenty of time at the apple launcher this year, and our daughter can’t get enough of the cow train. Oh, and there are apples to pick and purchase, too. The Fresh Air Music Festival takes place on Saturday, September 1 at 11 a.m. Hurd’s Farm is located at 2187 Route 32 in Modena. For more information, call (845) 883-7825 or visit


“Make Your Own Animal Track” at Minnewaska State Park this Sunday

When we’re at the beach, our kids love making footprints in the sand, watching them disappear along the shoreline, then doing it over and over again. Here’s a chance for families to create something a little more permanent and educational, through the “Make Your Own Animal Track” workshop at Minnewaska State Park Preserve. After the casts are poured, the group will take a one-mile walk on the Beacon Hill Carriage Road in search of animal activity.

This program takes place on Sunday, September 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon and is recommended for children ages 7 to 10 years, accompanied by a parent. Younger siblings are welcome with parental support. The event is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required, and there is an $8 parking fee per car. Early arrival for parking is recommended due to the high volume of visitors this weekend.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Gardiner. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit


Turtle workshop next Tuesday at Forsyth Nature Center in Kingston

“Painted, wood, snapping and box/Learning about turtles really rocks!” chant the folks at the Forsyth Nature Center, home to a variety of animals, including turtles. The Center’s “Turtle Talk” session will help acquaint attendees with the anatomy, habitat and behaviors of these different turtle types. Did you know that turtles were around before dinosaurs came along?

Remember to bring some carrots and greens, because after the presentation, your family will want to visit and feed some of the other animals at the Center. Turtle Talk takes place on Tuesday, September 4 at 3:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, for all ages. The Forsyth Nature Center is located at 157 Lucas Avenue in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 481-7336 or visit




Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves, laughs and cries in New Paltz, deeply appreciating this quote from Henry David Thoreau right now: “Nothing makes the Earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” She can be reached at [email protected]

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