Kids’ Almanac (June 12-19)

“Live from the heart of yourself. Seek to be whole, not perfect.”
– Oprah Winfrey


Make a Fathers’ Day of it at Orange County Choppers in Newburgh

Instead of focusing on Fathers’ Day, make it a Fathers’ Day weekend! There are lots of activities all weekend long for all interests!

One special spot to check out any time of year, but especially Fathers’ Day, is Orange County Choppers. Now, whether you happen know Paul Teutul, Sr., personally, or you’ve been a fan since the eponymous reality television show, or you just like motorcycles, or you’ve simply been wondering about that cool storefront that you can see near the Newburgh Thruway exit, this place is worth a visit.

I was in its previous showroom years ago, so I hadn’t made plans to visit the new space, since I figured that I’d basically seen it already. Then a friend recently mentioned how delightful it was to relax with a drink while her children were bowling at Orange County Choppers. It didn’t even make sense to me. Drink? Bowling? I thought that it was just a motorcycle showroom.

Last week, I checked it out for myself, and now I hope that everyone goes! The Orange County Choppers (OCC) building includes a café, a four-lane, regulation-sized bowling alley and a large retail area that features a number of custom-themed bikes, including the FDNY and POW-MIA designs, as seen on the show. Some of them have signs that point out the more intricate and symbolic details on the bikes, such as a bolt from 9/11 that adorns the gas tank on the FDNY bike, or the barbed-wire spokes on the POW-MIA chopper. I was absolutely fascinated by what I read and saw, including moving memorabilia that people have left by the bikes.

The café includes a children’s “Mini-Bikers’ Menu” with activities on the back, complete with a coloring sketch of “Senior.” And the apple pie that they serve is his wife’s own recipe.

The bowling alley is open every day during regular café hours, is completely modern and can even be programmed to deploy bumpers for specific players. OCC would love to see leagues come play there. In the meantime, it makes for a terrific family outing for children (and adults!) who enjoy bowling, families looking for a casual eatery with friendly staff, folks interested in choppers or simply US history and culture or a combination of all of the above.

Oh, and they have a parts and service department for choppers and motorcycles, too. Let me know what you think! Orange County Choppers is located at 14 Crossroads Court in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 522-5250 or visit



Open House for Mohonk’s Junior Ranger Program

In the woods, my mind can wander as I put one foot in front of the other; but eventually, I find my way to a place of feeling more settled about a challenging question or confronting something that is troubling me. How would it be for you to offer that same gift of time and space for your teen? To provide your child or grandchild with instruction and experience in the outdoors like rangers or naturalists? What kind of foundation could they build for their futures by participating in a monthly outdoor skills program that culminates in a four-to-five-day backpacking trip to the Adirondacks?

On Thursday, June 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the Mohonk Preserve hosts an Open House for families about its new Junior Ranger Program. Designed for teens from 13 to 16 years, the program consists of monthly sessions from September to May, with a backpack trip to the Adirondacks in July. Skills include guided climbing instruction, wilderness first aid training, leave-no-trace instruction and wilderness leadership skill development.

The Open House takes place at the Mohonk Preserve Visitors’ Center, located at 3197 Route 44/55 in Gardiner. For more information, call (845) 255-0919, extension 1239, or visit



Renegades launch home season at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls

As regular readers know, I love attending ball games of our local minor league team: the Hudson Valley Renegades, an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Ulster Publishing’s Brian Hollander (editor of Woodstock Times) did a great write-up about them in the recent Explore Hudson Valley: Summer Edition. If you’ve come out to cheer them on before, then you know why it’s such fun for families. And if you haven’t checked out this community treasure yet, you’ve got some fresh incentives this week, including being among the first spectators to see Dutchess Stadium’s new sign, as well as the field’s new turf.

The first Renegades home game of the season takes place on Friday, June 13 at 7:05 p.m. against the Aberdeen IronBirds, followed by fireworks. At Sunday’s Fathers’ Day game on June 15 at 5:05 p.m., Dads get in free with the purchase of another ticket (use promo FATHER online, or mention it at the ticket office). The first 1,000 fathers receive a complete barbecue set, and the family will enjoy seeing the Renegades’ mascots strolling around as part of Sunday Family Funday.

Your kids can attend home games for free on Mondays and Tuesdays if they’re registered with the Be Your Own Fans Junior Kids’ Club, plus they can run the bases after the games; so sign them up on the Renegades’ website, and get your own tickets for the Monday-night game on June 16 at 6:05 p.m. against Aberdeen. Wednesday, June 18 is Scout Night, with special packages for scout troops attending the 6:05 p.m. game against the Brooklyn Cyclones.

At the Renegades, you’ll have great views from any seat, which range in price from $6 to $15. On-field diversions between innings amuse fans of all ages and keep the energy up, and Rick Zolzer ties it all together as the Renegades’ announcer. Bring $5 for parking, plus extra money for concessions as well as children’s bouncy-house activities.

Dutchess Stadium is located at 1500 Route 9D in Wappingers Falls. For tickets or more information, call (845) 838-0094 or visit


Strawberryfests in Hopewell Junction and Beacon

Strawberries! For newbies, that translates to mean, “It’s that time of year when the Hudson Valley celebrates the end of spring and the beginning of summer with the arrival of strawberries!” Here are two festivals to check out this weekend:

On Saturday, June 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., pull out your best attempts at strawberry costumes, dancing shoes and a big appetite, and head over to Fishkill Farms for its Strawberry Jammin’ Festival. Highlights include a strawberry costume contest, reggae music by the Big Takeover, strawberry shortcake and pick-your-own strawberries.

Fishkill Farms is located at 9 Fishkill Farm Road in Hopewell Junction. For more information, call (845) 897-4377 or visit

Sunday Strawberries! On Sunday, June 15 from 12 noon to 5 p.m., head over to Beacon Riverfront Park for the annual Beacon Sloop Club Strawberry Festival. Here’s why: free admission, plus homemade strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream (which my friend who attends every year strongly emphasized in her recommendation for families to attend). Strawberry smoothies and chocolate-dipped strawberries will be available as well.

Live music will be heard all day. But the biggest family draw, in my opinion, is the children’s entertainment. Check out this fantastic lineup: the wonderful and captivating Jonathan Kruk and his Hudson River Lore; the engaging and enormously talented Bindlestick Bill; and excellent performances by Sarah Underhill, Lydia Adams Davis and the Young Kangaroo Republic.

Children’s activities include face-painting, candlestick-making and hooping. Families can take deck tours on the Clearwater sloop, too. This is a great way to bring in summer and celebrate the richness of the Hudson Valley.

Beacon Riverfront Park is located off Red Flynn Drive in Beacon, near the train station. For more information, call (845) 463-4660 or visit




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