Kids’ Almanac (February 14-21)

Marionettes perform Hansel and Gretel at Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck

What’s not to love about marionettes and classic children’s stories? When’s the last time your kids heard the Hansel and Gretel story, anyway? But it’s a total coincidence that our local Girl Scout cookie season kicks off the same weekend that Hansel and Gretel is being performed, right? You know, the whole edible cookie-and-candy-house thing?

Hansel and Gretel takes place on Saturday, February 16 at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors. The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For reservations or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit To learn more about the performers, visit



Outdoor Gear Demo/Sale & Snowshoe Race at Long Dock Park in Beacon

You know how you mean well, but sometimes the follow-through proves to be a bit challenging? Like that you fully intend to bring your kids or grandkids snowshoeing, but something always gets in the way, like a lack of snow, or you have no idea how to outfit them with snowshoes, or you’re not sure where to go? Well, here’s your big chance, especially post-Nemo: Scenic Hudson’s Outdoor Gear Demo/Sale & Snowshoe Race takes place this Saturday, February 16. Representatives from leading brands of winter gear, including snowshoes, will offer lightly used demo items that you can “try before you buy” at some great prices.

There will also be an adult 5K snowshoe race at 11 a.m., and a shortened kids’ course at 12 noon. The races are free, but registration is required by 10 a.m. that morning.

Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park is located on Long Dock Road in Beacon, near the train station. For more information, call (845) 473-4440, extension 273, or visit To preregister for the race, visit


Celebrate George this Presidents’ Weekend

One perk of writing Kids’ Almanac is that I finally know what a cantonment is, as well as how to pronounce it (can-TONE-ment), thanks to my awesome editor: It’s a camp, but more permanent than just tents. Being Presidents’ Weekend, the New Windsor Cantonment is a great destination to visit with the family because it’s where general George Washington’s soldiers, along with their wives and children, spent the final winter and spring of the Revolutionary War. Interactive exhibits in honor of Washington’s Birthday take place throughout the weekend, including musket firings, military medicine and other army activities, and afterwards the kids enlist in the Continental Army, complete with wooden muskets and paper notes salary.

Washington’s Birthday Celebration takes place on Saturday, February 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, February 17 from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Monday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The New Windsor Cantonment is located at 374 Temple Hill Road in New Windsor. For more information, call (845) 561-1765 or visit, which has a schedule of the musket and cannon firings.

Washington’s Headquarters has plans this weekend for Washington’s Birthday, too. Stop by to see military demonstrations by area regiments, as well as magic shows, storytelling, presentations and candle-dipping for the kids. George Washington reenactor John Koopman will be present each day, and there will be birthday cake, of course!

President’s Weekend activities take place on Saturday through Monday, February 16, 17 and 18, all from 12 noon to 4 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is located at 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 562-1195 or visit


Rosendale Theatre screens Lincoln on Presidents’ Day

Kids are off from school this Monday for Presidents’ Day, and here’s a sweet way to connect them with our presidential history: seeing the Lincoln movie. Almanac Weekly’s movie maven Frances Marion Platt rated Lincoln as her favorite film of 2012, saying, “Top marks must go to this sumptuous and timely epic on the art of politics, which epitomizes the level of filmcraft that will permanently cement Steven Spielberg’s reputation as one of the top directors of our time.”

Lincoln will be shown on Monday, February 18 at 2 and 7:15 p.m. Tickets cost $7 general admission, $5 for Rosendale Theatre members. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-8989 or visit


Parent Survival Night at Little Gym of Kingston

I love going out on dates with my husband, but sometimes finding childcare can be tricky, especially around holidays like Valentine’s Day. I just heard that the Little Gym in Kingston is offering a special four-hour Parent Survival Night this Saturday, February 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. Prices are $32 for members or $38 for non-members, with a 20 percent sibling discount. And the price includes a pizza dinner for the kids! Your children have a great time, and you’re right in Kingston already, which means less time driving and more time dating.

The Little Gym of Kingston is located at 1200 Ulster Avenue in Kings Mall in Kingston. For reservations or more information, call (845) 382-1020 or visit


“Mad Science” at Kingston Library

According to Crazy Days to Celebrate by Bonny Algozzine, Saturday, February 16 is Innovation Day, where we are encouraged to be inventive and creative. Here’s an idea: Take your inventive, creative family over to the Kingston Library for a cool, fun and interactive science program! “Mad Science” takes place on Saturday, February 16 at 10:30 a.m. This event is free and open to the public for all ages.

The Kingston Library is located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-0507 or visit To learn more about the program, visit


Peter Yarrow & Les Braunstein booksigning in Kingston

Wait, what? Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul and Mary) and Les Braunstein (Soft White Underbelly, later known as Blue Öyster Cult) are doing a children’s singing and book-signing event? Here? In Kingston? Yes!

The classic Peter, Paul and Mary song “I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog” just came out in the form of a children’s book-and-CD set. “We cracked up at the clever lyrics, the dry humor and the song’s charm,” recall Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey, “but we were also delighted to have discovered a song that treated what was, to us, an immensely important advocacy effort: the Civil Rights movement.”

I asked Les Braunstein, who wrote the lyrics and music for “Big Blue Frog,” about its remarkable appeal: “People see different things in the song. It’s witty, a children’s song, but it’s also viewed as a song about tolerance.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Peter, Paul and Mary shared a stage with Martin Luther King, Jr. The lyrics of the song convey the perspective of enduring and “normal,” relatable love, despite the dissonance that can arise when people are confronted by difference:


I’m in love with a big blue frog
A big blue frog loves me
It’s not as bad as it appears
He wears glasses and he’s six-foot-three

And on top of a fabulous song with terrific music and lyrics, the illustrations for the book are fantastic. To me, the style of these pictures perfectly echoes the strong, sensitive, nuanced and fun aspects of the song itself. They are an absolute joy to look at.

The I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog singing and book-signing event takes place at Barnes & Noble on Monday, February 18 at 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Since a large turnout is expected for this, I heard that wristbands will be distributed beginning at 12 noon.

Barnes & Noble is located at 1177 Ulster Avenue in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 336-0590 or visit You can also “Like” the page for I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog on


Erica Chase-Salerno, her husband Mike and their two children are among the One Billion Rising. She can be reached at