Kids’ Almanac (Jan. 31-Feb. 7)

Winter Hoot this weekend at Ashokan Center

I just love the name Winter Hoot, and I think that any event with such a fun title is definitely worth attending. But don’t take my word for it; check out these details!

Friday, February 1, which I’d recommend to an older crowd, teens and up: dinner by New World Home Cooking followed by the anti-fracking movie Dear Governor Cuomo, with a concert by Natalie Merchant and friends afterwards. On Saturday, February 2, the musical lineup includes Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason and Mike + Ruthy, as well as more bands, a family barn dance, all-day crafting with Fiberflame Studio and outdoor activities. On Sunday, February 3, the festivities continue with a performance by the terrific family music band Ratboy, Jr. I also hear that there’s a homemade pie contest.

Admission to the Hoot is a suggested donation of $30 to $50, more for food and lodging. Proceeds will help area children attend the Ashokan Center’s new educational programs. The Ashokan Center is located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge. For reservations, more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, call (845) 657-8333, e-mail or visit To learn more about the Ashokan Center, visit



Ratboy, Jr. plays Kidtopia in Woodstock this Saturday

This weekend, you’ve got two chances to catch the great family music band Ratboy, Jr.: this Saturday, February 2 at Kidtopia in Woodstock; and Sunday, February 3 at the Winter Hoot at the Ashokan Center. Sing and dance along to the wonderfully creative and upbeat sounds of this popular, witty musical duo, Tim Sutton and Matt Senzatimore, and pick up a copy of their new album, Champions of the Universe.

Kidtopia takes place this Saturday, February 2 at 11 a.m. at the Utopia Soundstage. Tickets cost $9 for adults, $7 for children and $25 for a family four-pack. The Utopia Soundstage is located at 293 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For tickets or more information, call (845) 679-7600 or visit To learn more about the band, visit


MUSET Homeschool Orchestra’s Winter Concert in Lake Katrine this Saturday

At the heart of the MUSET Homeschool Orchestra is the chance for musicians of any age and ability to play in a group. This ensemble rehearses weekly in Ulster County under the direction of Debra Lundgren, who added, “We currently have conductor-in-residence Zach Malavolti, second-year Bard Graduate School conducting student, and Noah Lundgren, previously homeschooled Bard freshman studying Music Composition, conducting and helping me teach.”

This year, the orchestra ranges in age from nine-year-old beginners learning how to play and read music to semi-professional parents and grandparents returning to playing. All homeschoolers who play an orchestra instrument, or desire to learn one, are welcome to participate. These committed musicians are also encouraged to compose their own works or to arrange a piece, customizing the instrumentation to MUSET.

MUSET presents periodic performances of its work, and this weekend, MUSET performs its Winter Concert. This event features new compositions by Noah Lundgren, string quartets, a jazz piece, an old Irish tune and mixed ensembles.

As Debra Lundgren looks ahead, she invites any new interested homeschooling families to contact her as soon as possible: “We are starting to put together music for our next concert, and especially could use cellos and other low instruments.”

The MUSET Winter Concert takes place this Saturday, February 2 at 5 p.m. at the Fountain of Life Church, located at 71 Old Kings Highway in Lake Katrine. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome to help cover the cost of supplies. Refreshments will be available at the concert. For more information, e-mail


Live groundhogs predict the weather at Bear Mountain & Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall

I know that it’s been an entire year since Groundhog Day, but I still delight in telling people what Forsyth Nature Center’s Julie Noble shared with me: A woodchuck and a groundhog are the same animal. Mind blown, right? That’s how I felt the first time that I heard it. Get this: According to Bonny Algozzine on, legend has it that Groundhog Day started out with the Romans as Hedgehog Day. Anyway, February 2 is Groundhog Day, and here are two local events to find out if we can expect an early spring or prolonged winter weather:

Visit the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center this Saturday at 10 a.m. sharp to see what this live groundhog predicts. Activities including crafts, games and a guided walk in search of shadows will follow. Prepaid registration is required for this program, which is open to all ages. Admission costs $8 for adults, $5 for children, with a discount for members.

The Outdoor Discovery Center is located on Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road in Cornwall. For more information or to register, call (845) 534-5506, extension 204, or visit

Bear Mountain’s Groundhog Day festivities feature resident groundhog Trailside Jack. The celebration begins at 11 a.m., and Trailside Jack’s appearance will take place at 11:30 a.m. The park will offer hot chocolate and other refreshments at the Merry-Go-Round and at the Bear Mountain Inn. Skating is available at the park rink, and families can participate in the kid-friendly crafts and games.

Admission to the park costs $8 per vehicle, free for valid Empire Passport holders. The Trailside Museums and Zoo are located at Bear Mountain State Park at 3006 Seven Lakes Drive in Bear Mountain. For more information, call (845) 786-2701, extension 265, or visit


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