Kids’ Almanac (October 4-11)

(Photo by Dion Ogust )

The genuine apple-eater comforts himself with an apple in their season as others with a pipe or cigar. When he has nothing else to do, or is bored, he eats an apple. While he is waiting for the train he eats an apple, sometimes several of them. When he takes a walk, he arms himself with apples. His traveling bag is full of apples. He offers an apple to his companion, and takes one himself. They are his chief solace when on the road. He sows their seed all along the route. He tosses the core from the car-window and from the top of the stage-coach. He would, in time, make the land one vast orchard. He dispenses with a knife. He prefers that his teeth shall have the first taste. Then he knows the best flavor is immediately beneath the skin, and that in a pared apple this is lost. If you will stew the apple, he says, instead of baking it, by all means leave the skin on. It improves the color and vastly heightens the flavor of the dish.
– John Burroughs


Celebration of the Arts in New Paltz this Saturday

Have you been to COTA before? It’s the fantastic Celebration of the Arts festival in New Paltz inspired by a homeschooled teen six years ago, and it has continued to grow. I am positively giddy about this year’s lineup and barely know where to begin.

This year’s theme for the children’s activities is Famous Artists. For example, in honor of Michelangelo, kids will be able to lie underneath a table and draw on the paper “ceiling” with crayons, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Another activity will be Monet-inspired watercolor paintings. Children will also be creating a large abstract 3-D collage mural in the style of Picasso.

This year’s COTA’s writer readings are all by children’s and Young Adult authors, including Jennifer Castle, who wrote The Beginning of After; Stefan Bolz, whose book is called The Three Feathers; Jacky Davis and David Soman of the Ladybug Girl series; and many more.

Music performances range from the loveable sing-and-dance-along children’s band Fuzzy Lollipop to the awesome Rhett Miller, whose fabulous and independently produced album The Dreamer just came out this year. You really need a copy – or buy two and give one to a friend in support of independent artists!

And of course, there will be lots of art from established artists as well as youth who are just starting out. COTA takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hasbrouck Park in New Paltz, between Mohonk and Hasbrouck Avenues. For more information, call (845) 417-8593 or visit


Apple Festival on Huguenot Street in New Paltz this Saturday

I strongly agree with John Burroughs’ sentiments about apples quoted at the beginning of this week’s Kids’ Almanac, but he left one essential piece out: apple fritters. I like to think of myself as generous, but when you run into me at the 23rd annual Apple Festival clutching my brown paper bag with a mouth dusted with powdered sugar, please do not ask me to share the contents.

Anyway, yes, the apple fritters are a must; but there are a lot of other highlights at this event, too. I suggest doing the pumpkin-painting early on so that your child’s creation can dry on the table while you walk around (ask me how I know this). I like the variety of vendors, the live music and the hometown feel of the festivities overall. The size of the Apple Festival really works for our family, because there is a lot to see and do, but my kids don’t feel overwhelmed.

The Apple Festival takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Huguenot Street in New Paltz (you should go well before 4 p.m. if you want any of the wildly popular homemade apple pies, though). For more information, call (845) 255-6340 or visit


Here are some more festivals worth checking out this weekend:


Heart of the Hudson Valley Bounty Festival in Milton this Saturday

Talk about wide appeal! I think that the Heart of the Hudson Valley Bounty Festival has something for everyone, with its theme of “Sip, Taste and Discover the Valley’s Bounty.” In addition to raising awareness about local farms and businesses, this event helps to raise money for non-profit organizations who serve locally. Kids’ activities include an all-ages talent show, bounce houses, a magic show, puppet show, sports demonstrations and live music; and the day ends with a fireworks display at 7 p.m.

The Bounty Festival takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Cluett Schantz Memorial Park, located at 1801-1805 Route 9W in Milton. For more information, call (845) 616-7824 or visit


18th-Century Autumn Festival at Senate House State in Kingston this Saturday

If you like history, and you like fall festivals, you should know about the 18th-Century Autumn Festival at the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston. I love the mix of activities, from demonstrations of meat-smoking, apple-cider-pressing, making apple butter and blacksmithing to hands-on crafts: making cornhusk dolls and action figures; dipping candles; and making dried apple wreaths. The First Ulster Militia will be camped around the grounds and there will be live music reflective of the era.

I think that helping our families connect with Senate House history, which holds the beginnings of our state government, is especially relevant during election season. The Festival takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The outside events are free, and if you want a guided tour of the inside of the Senate House, tickets cost $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and are free for children aged 12 years and under. The Senate House is located at 296 Fair Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 338-2786 or visit the State Parks website at


Harvest Fest at Adams Fairacre Farms

Adams Fairacre Farms puts on an adorable Harvest Fest every year at each of their stores in Wappinger (October 7), Kingston (October 8), Newburgh (October 13) and Poughkeepsie (October 14). It’s free, and there are great activities for kids. The ones that we have attended in the past had bounce houses and face-painting, which are two of my kids’ favorite things. For more information, visit


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  1. What a great job in describing the “Octoberfest”
    month offerings! You are a superb ambassador for the Hudson Valley

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