Kids’ Almanac (May 2-9)

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Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?
– C. S. Lewis


I Love My Park Day

This year’s second annual I Love My Park Day event takes place on Saturday, May 4 at more than 70 parks and historic sites throughout New York State. Fourteen of them are right here in the Hudson Valley, and your family is invited to participate: “Volunteers will celebrate New York’s park system by cleaning up parklands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species and working on various site improvement projects.”

Our park experiences are as varied as we are, right? Sometimes we seek groundedness from a forest walk, recalling these words from David Wagoner’s poem “Lost”: “No two trees are the same to Raven./No two branches are the same to Wren.” Other times we may feel more festive, like we’re channeling Steve Karmen’s state song refrain, “I love New York.”

Whether you want to pull invasive plants at Minnewaska State Park or help set a new record for the World’s Longest Chorus Line at Walkway over the Hudson, this day is a terrific chance for families to give back to our parks. For more information or to volunteer for an I Love My Park Day event, visit To learn the dance for the Walkway record attempt, search for the “Break a World Record on the Walkway” video with Livia Vanaver.


Open House with Fuzzy Lollipop at the new Highland Cultural Arts Studio

If you know a youngster yearning to weave storytelling with yoga, or you have been known to insert a flamencolike flourish into a conversation, or you are a captive audience to bedtime-busting improv routines, or you parent an insatiable sketcher and doodler, or your little explorer is looking for more out of foreign language than yelling out “Backpack” or “Map,” then I would like to introduce you to a vibrant new area resource: the Highland Cultural Arts Studio.

Studio founder Leyla Cadabal explains: “My main goal is to create an atmosphere of diversity. I want children to be able to come in and express themselves through all kinds of media, whether it is music, drama, yoga, creative writing, foreign language or art. My community needs it, and I am excited to create it for them.”

Kingston native Cadabal knows children: She has three of her own, Iden (4), Maeve (6) and Aria (8), and she has Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Education: “I have always enjoyed teaching and enriching the lives of others,” and she’s a photographer, too.

Since 2009, Cadabal has been running her own successful photography business, and as it grew, she knew that it was time to move into her own studio: “When I started planning the space, I immediately thought there was more I could do with it. It seemed that joining my photography business with my love of teaching was something tangible now. I wanted to share my passion for language and culture with the community, so I started plugging away at making connections with local artists and teachers.”

On Sunday, your family is invited to experience this environment and its motto, “Create – Grow – Learn,” at the studio’s Open House this Sunday, May 5 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. In addition to doing crafts, seeing the space and learning about the class offerings, the local family music band Fuzzy Lollipop performs at 2 p.m. Fuzzy Lollipop pairs perfectly with the philosophy of the Studio; check out how it describes its music: “Catchy melodies and lyrics that capture the experience of childhood – expressing wonder, humor and irrepressible fun.”

From musicians to dancers to artists to actors to linguists and more, Cadabal sounds so appreciative: “Throughout this process, I have met the most amazing people. I am taken aback by the talent and artistry that is right here in our community. The fact that these people are willing to share their passion with us is something that I am humbled by.”

The Highland Cultural Arts Studio is located at 437 New Paltz Road at Pancake Hollow, second floor, in Highland. For more information, call (845) 706-5748 or visit To learn more about the musicians, visit


New Paltz Regatta & Rubber Ducky Race

The New Paltz Regatta takes place on Sunday, May 5 and is an event that our family looks forward to every year. The parade kicks things off at 1 p.m. We love seeing all of the homemade boats ride down Main Street, and we determine our picks for the contest categories of Most Original, Fastest and Most Likely to Sink. At 1:30 p.m., we stand along the shores of the Wallkill River and root for our yellow floating friends in the Rubber Ducky Race, hoping ours will win one of the fantastic prizes for us. Then the boat race begins between 2 and 2:30 p.m., where we watch the parade participants navigate their vessels in the water.

We enjoy lounging on the lawn listening to music, this year performed by Soñando and Snow Bear. In between bouts of standing in line for the bouncy house, we munch on refreshments and admire our kids’ facepaint designs, all provided by the Woodcrest Community.

The New Paltz Regatta parade marches down Main Street, ending by the Carmine Liberta Bridge in New Paltz, which is a great place to watch the races that follow. Tickets for the Family of New Paltz Rubber Duck Race cost $5 for one duck, $20 to enter five ducks.

For more information or to volunteer, visit or e-mail Deb Rausch at [email protected] or Theresa Fall at [email protected].


Fishkill Cupcake Festival

Cupcakes are awesome, and Judianna Castle’s “Cuppycake Song” is a great example of how cupcakes can elicit feelings of all things sweet and good, whether we’re talking about people or carbs: “You’re my Cuppycake, Gumdrop, Snoogums-Boogums/You’re the apple of my eye…”

This Sunday, May 5, K104 and the Village of Fishkill present the second annual Cupcake Festival. Families will see who wins the Cupcake Wars contest, as well as sample cupcakes, enjoy the inflatables area and activities tent and shop local vendors. The Festival runs from 1 to 5 p.m. and takes place on Main Street in Fishkill, from Church Street to Bedford Avenue. For more information, call (845) 838-6037 or visit




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