Kids’ Almanac (Feb. 13-20)

If your family hasn’t seen Black Violin yet, you are in for an amazing experience. Head over to the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston on Tuesday, February 18 at 10 a.m., or the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie on Wednesday, February 19 at 10 a.m. or 12 noon. These guys are fun, fierce, skilled, loud, classically trained and they get the entire place moving!

Rise early, that by habit it may become familiar, agreeable, healthy and profitable.
– George Washington (Letter to George Washington Parke Custis, January 7, 2022)


Valentine’s Day

One sweet way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to participate in the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum Valentine’s Day Cookie Workshop on Friday, February 14 at your preferred time of 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. The cost for the workshop is $5 per participant plus admission to the museum, which is $7.50 for adults and children 1 year and over or free for members, and reservations are required.

I find events like this therapeutic, because I get to witness other kids doing the same things that mine are, whether it’s decorating the cookie and never eating it, or going crazy with decorations and eating it all right there, or something else entirely. Remember to make sure that your phone or camera is charged, so you can take pictures right there at the table before the cookies hit the floor or their mouths. And I suggest bringing a firm disposable container to hold the cookies so they don’t get crushed as you carry them around the museum while the kids play afterwards.

And mark your calendars for 10 a.m. on Monday, February 17 for the Fakoli West African Dance and Drum Performance and Workshop. This celebration is geared for children and includes traditional instruments and costumes, and the cost is $5 per person.

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For cookie reservations or event information, call (845) 471-0589 or visit To learn more about the West African performers, visit


One Billion Rising events

One Billion Rising: Have you heard about it before? It’s inspired by the statistic that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime – approximately one billion women. Flipping that statistic to a place of empowerment means engaging one billion people to dance and claim space in their communities, to rise, as a statement of international solidarity to end violence against women and girls: One Billion Rising for justice. And you and your family can be a part of it.

From the website: “Our stories have been buried, denied, erased, altered and minimized by patriarchal systems that allow impunity to reign. Justice begins when we speak, release and acknowledge the truth in solidarity and community. One Billion Rising for Justice is an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief, pain, humiliation, rage and bondage. The campaign is a recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces. It is a call to bring on revolutionary justice.”


Here are some One Billion Rising events happening locally:

Thursday, February 13, 6 p.m.: One Billion Rising flash mob dance with Safe Homes Orange County at the Galleria at Crystal Run, located at 1 North Galleria Drive in Middletown. Wear red, pink and black. For more information, contact Inaudy Esposito at (845) 562-5365, extension 104, or [email protected] For more information about the organizers, visit To learn the “Break the Chain” dance choreography, visit

Friday, February 14, 9:30 a.m.: Natalie Merchant introduces the premiere public screening of Shelter: A Concert Film to Benefit Victims of Domestic Violence, in Bethany Hall at the Old Dutch Church located at 272 Wall Street in Kingston. “In this short film directed by musician/activist Natalie Merchant, a group of women living in the mid-Hudson region of New York State respond to the crisis of domestic violence in their community with compassion and creativity. Musicians, advocates, criminal prosecutors, victims and survivors all take to the stage, illuminating the darkness surrounding this public health epidemic.” A panel discussion about positive changes since last year’s One Billion Rising Ulster County follows the film, including senator Cecilia Tkaczyk; senator Terry Gipson; Michael P. Hein, Ulster County executive; Marcus Molinaro, Dutchess County executive; Elizabeth A. Culmone, Ulster County senior assistant district attorney, Special Victims’ Bureau; Marjorie Smith, Dutchess County assistant district attorney, bureau chief Special Victims’ Bureau. This event is free and open to the public; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call Beth Bengtson at Hale Advisors at (845) 383-1361. The film will be available for viewing at after the event.

Friday, February 14, 4 p.m.: One Billion Rising speak-out and flash mob dance with New Paltz Rising at SUNY-New Paltz, outside the Atrium Plaza/Administration Building, Route 32 entrance. At 5 p.m. there will be a dance party in the campus Multi-Purpose Room. Parking is available in the lot across the street along Route 32. Wear red. For rehearsal and additional event information, visit To learn the “Break the Chain” dance choreography, visit

Friday, February 14, 4 p.m.: One Billion Rising flash mob dance with the Grace Smith House in front of Family Court at 50 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. No dance experience or skill is required to participate, and signs with statistics are available to hold for those interested in joining but not dancing. For rehearsal and additional event information, visit or contact Himali Pandya at [email protected] or Monica Idema at [email protected], as well as To learn the “Break the Chain” dance choreography, visit


Presidents’ Day Weekend

In the Hudson Valley, Presidents’ Day weekend isn’t just a holiday; it’s a chance to commemorate our history. Did you know that the first director of the FDR Library was a Monuments Man? Here are some highlights of this weekend’s events:

Saturday, February 15, 3 to 5 p.m.: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum, located at 4079 Albany Post Road (Route 9) in Hyde Park, hosts a video presentation and family-friendly activities, as well as a display of Presidential Autographs, “original documents from the Roosevelt Library archives bearing the signatures of many of our nation’s Presidents including: Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. More than 30 signatures will be on display – most of which were collected by Franklin Roosevelt himself.” This event is free and open to the public. For information call (845) 486-7745 or visit

Saturday, February 15 through Monday, February 17 are Free Entrance Days in the National Parks, which means that you can visit the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site for free! The FDR site is located on the same grounds as the FDR Library & Museum, but they are run independently, and they have different addresses: The FDR home is located at 4097 Albany Post Road (Route 9) in Hyde Park. For more information about the FDR site, call (845) 229-9115 or visit To learn more about the parks included in the Free Entrance Days, such as the Vanderbilt Mansion also located in Hyde Park, and additional fee-free dates, visit

Saturday, February 15 through Monday, February 17 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., celebrate our first president’s birthday at Washington’s Headquarters, located at 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. All three days include a chance to meet the general in his office, while crafts, demonstrations and reenactors engage visitors in family-friendly interactive presentations. For a complete schedule and more information, call (845) 562-1195 or visit

Saturday, February 15 and Monday, February 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., experience the challenges faced by the Continental Army during the winter of 1782 to 1783. Witness a reenactment of the troops’ final encampment with musket and cannon firings at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., as well as blacksmithing, medical demonstrations and other aspects of daily life. After the firings, children may “enlist” in the Continental Army, drill with wooden muskets and get “paid” in Continental currency for their service. The New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is co-located with the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor on Route 300, 374 Temple Hill Road, in New Windsor. For more information, call (845) 561-1765, extension 22, or visit

Sunday, February 16, visit Kites over the Winter of 1780 to 1781 at Knox’s Headquarters, located at 289 Forge Hill Road in Vails Gate. Tours of the house are available on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a small cannon firing at 11:45 a.m., 1:45 and 3:45 p.m. For more information, call (845) 561-1765, extension 22, or visit



New Dog on Fleas album due

Congratulations to Grammy Award-winning Dean Jones on his band Dog on Fleas’s newest album release on February 18, Buy One Get One Flea! I can’t wait to check it out and share my impressions with you. In the meantime, you can learn more at


Rachel Loshak & Morgan Taylor at Woodstock’s Kleinert

A special concert with Rachel Loshak and Morgan Taylor means great music for you while supporting an upcoming album of their duets, as well as fundraising for Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley. They perform on Sunday, February 16 at 6 p.m. at the Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, located at 36 Tinker Street in Woodstock. Tickets cost $15 general admission, $10 online advance purchase.

Loshak’s recent album So Bright was produced by Dean Jones (see above), and husband Morgan Taylor is the artist and musician behind the popular Gustafer Yellowgold phenomenon, to which my kids know all the words. For tickets or more information, visit


Saugerties Library screens Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. with live piano accompaniment

Movies with sound have their place, but if you’re looking for an alternative to mini-fig declarations that “Everything is awesome!” or plaintive choruses of “Let It Go,” head over to the Saugerties Library on Monday, February 17 at 6 p.m. for a free viewing of the Buster Keaton silent film Sherlock Jr., accompanied by piano improv by Marta Waterman.

Marta plays the piano for silent film presentations at the Rosendale Theatre and other venues. She watches each movie multiple times beforehand to see the pacing of the action and get ideas about what she will play. At showtime, she watches along with the audience and improvises an accompaniment in real time based on the actions and emotions of the film. It’s a fun, creative challenge for Marta, and you will enjoy it too!

The Saugerties Library is located at 91 Washington Avenue in Saugerties. For more information, call (845) 246-4317 or visit To learn more about the performer, visit


Black Violin plays UPAC & the Bardavon

If your family hasn’t seen Black Violin yet, you are in for an amazing experience. Head over to the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) on Tuesday, February 18 at 10 a.m., or the Bardavon Opera House on Wednesday, February 19 at 10 a.m. or 12 noon. These guys are fun, fierce, skilled, loud, classically trained and they get the entire place moving!

Tickets cost $6 for school groups; $6 for youth; $10 for adults. For tickets or more information, call (845) 473-5288, extension 106, or visit UPAC is located at 601 Broadway in Kingston; the Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. To learn more about the performers, visit


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