Kids’ Almanac (May 9-16)

Hudson Valley MayFaire at County Fairgrounds

Best-selling author Neil Gaiman shared this exchange that he had with a journalist who sought deeper meaning from Gaiman’s book Stardust: “‘What’s it for?’ he had asked, which is not a question you expect to be asked when you write fiction for a living. ‘ It’s a fairytale,’ I told him. ‘It’s like an ice cream. It’s to make you feel happy when you finish it.’”

Fairytales are often considered the realm of children, but their roots are stories aimed for an adult audience; as C. S. Lewis quipped, “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.” This weekend, you and your family of all ages can go beyond books and feel good (and even eat some ice cream) with an escape to the fairy fantasy world of Arcadia at the sixth annual Hudson Valley MayFaire.

Activities include performances and live music; faerie folk just strolling the grounds; a Gaming Glen complete with a fairy princess tea party and crossbow and catapults target play; a craft tent; face-painting; a petting zoo and more. This festival is also a source for fairy food such as fairy fluff (cotton candy); a chance to meet a dragon that eats ice cream instead of people; and heartier fare sold by the Queens Galley Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, the charity recipient of this year’s MayFaire.


The Hudson Valley MayFaire is an all-ages event and takes place at the Ulster County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and children over age 12; $6 for seniors, veterans and children aged 7 to 12 years; and is free for children under age 7. In honor of Mothers’ Day, Moms get in free plus receive a free gift on Sunday, May 12.

The Ulster County Fairgrounds are located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 443-3744 or visit or To learn more about the charity, visit


Intergenerational Ikebana workshop at Sky Lake in Rosendale

When I heard that Sky Lake was hosting an Intergenerational Ikebana workshop this weekend, I looked online for more information about ikebana. You know that quote about music being the space between the notes? That’s basically how ikebana sounds to me: utilizing space and asymmetrical design to enable the viewer to complete the whole, resulting in a piece that feels engaging and vibrant while stimulating the imagination.

Ikebana literally means “flowers kept alive.” I feel like I had my own version of ikebana this week, when my poor Battenfeld Farm anemones had to sit in the hot car while I did errands all afternoon. I finally got them into some water when I got home, and voilà! still alive.

Intergenerational Ikebana takes place on Saturday, May 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. Teens and up are welcome to come independently, and younger children are invited to participate with a parent. Attendees must bring a vase, a “frog” and scissors to class. The cost is $15 per person, $25 for a child/parent pair or free with a bed-and-breakfast stay of two nights.

Sky Lake is located at 22 Hillcrest Lane in Rosendale. For more information or to register, call (845) 658-8556 or visit


Mommy & Me classes at A Night in Bloom in Kingston

First of all, if you happen to be reading this sentence on a Friday, I suggest that you pause for a moment and dash over to A Night in Bloom’s Facebook page to enter the weekly Free Flower Friday (FFF) contest. You simply leave a comment below the FFF post and hope that you win this awesome bouquet.

All set? Here’s another “win” at A Night in Bloom: this weekend’s Mommy & Me classes for children ages 3 and up. On Saturday, May 11, choose from a fresh floral arrangement or a dinosaur terrarium and select your preferred class time: 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12 noon or 2 p.m. Space is limited and reservations are required; remember that refunds are not possible in the event of a cancellation. The cost is $30 per project, and delivery options are available for an additional fee. Would this make a fantastic gift, or what?

A Night in Bloom is located at 77 Cornell Street, Suite 113, in Kingston. For reservations or more information, call (845) 802-0750 or visit


Wild Earth’s Papermaking Workshop at Women’s Studio Workshop, Forest & Farm Day at Phillies Bridge Farm

Wild Earth is involved in two creative collaborations for families this weekend: a Mothers’ Day Weekend Papermaking Workshop with Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW) and Forest and Farm Day with Phillies Bridge Farm. These are terrific offerings; but sorry, you can choose only one, since both workshops take place on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost for each event $50 per person.

The Mothers’ Day Weekend Papermaking Workshop is a great way to connect with kids about the process of paper. Kids know about recycling, but when is the last time they actually created something brand-new out of recyclable materials themselves? How cool will it be for you and your child to make special, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind paper from scratch while caring for the environment?

Ann Kalmbach, executive director of Women’s Studio Workshop, elaborated: “At WSW, we believe that learning about how to provide artists with sustainable materials is crucial. We are pleased to work with Wild Earth to teach people more about this exciting ‘new’ way of working with plant material.”

Participants will learn the basics of sheet-pulling, as well as making envelopes and embedding plant materials into the papers. Families are encouraged to bring newspapers, notes, photos and flowers from home to use in the project. The recommended age is 6 years and up, and space is limited to 14 participants, so reserve early.

Women’s Studio Workshop is located at 722 Binnewater Lane in Kingston. For reservations or for more information, call (845) 323-1374 or visit

Forest and Farm Day is a drop-off workshop for children ages 4 to 7 years that takes place at Phillies Bridge Farm. I asked Amie Baracks, education director at Phillies Bridge Farm Project, about the event: “Forest and Farm Day started as an exciting partnership between two local environmental/educational organizations that are working towards the same goals through two different paths…This day is especially exciting because it will allow children to explore the similarities between a ‘wild forest’ and a ‘cultivated farm.’ So often, people view the two spaces as very separate spaces. However, nature does not make such clear distinctions! This day will highlight the ways that plants and animals migrate between the two spaces freely. For example, children will have the opportunity to visit the wild birds in the forest and the domesticated chickens on the farm. We will also taste delicious wild edibles in the forest and also experience how similar they are to many of the cultivated vegetables that we are used to getting from our local farmers.”