Kids’ Almanac (Sept. 19-26)

Maeve Prendergast caught her first small-mouth bass at last year’s Fishing Day on the Rondout Creek.

Maeve Prendergast caught her first small-mouth bass at last year’s Fishing Day on the Rondout Creek.

Don’t let them think that we’ve broken down;
That we’ve cracked up.
We merely dropped leaves,
For a further spring.
– Rumi


Sojourner Truth statue to be installed in Port Ewen

For years now, I have been excitedly anticipating the installation of the Sojourner Truth statue in Port Ewen, and now it’s finally happening this weekend! I always think of slavery as something that occurred in other places, but as you may know, the Hudson Valley has its own history of slavery – including Isabella Baumfree, who later changed her name to Sojourner Truth:


“Sojourner Truth was once a slave in Port Ewen, but she later became a major advocate of blacks’ rights and women’s rights,” explains Carleton Mabee, professor emeritus, Pulitzer Prizewinning author and Gardiner historian. Mabee’s biography of Truth, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend, is so engaging, I recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about this powerful woman in American history.

Truth was born in Ulster County and worked as a slave until her pivotal walk to freedom in 1826, when she left her owner’s house forever. The effects of this bold move to abolish slavery in this country evolved from the local level to a national audience, including at least one meeting with President Abraham Lincoln himself.

The dedication and installment of the statue takes place this Saturday, September 21 at 2 p.m. Nancy Giles, contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning, is the featured speaker, with music by Amadou Diallo and others. This statue depicting Sojourner Truth as a child is believed to be the only one in the world where child slavery is shown while working.

Anne Gordon, Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee chair and Ulster County historian, summarizes, “The point of this memorial statue is to say to people, No matter what limitations or experiences you have had, look at what a person can overcome.’”

The Sojourner Truth Park is located at the corner of Route 9W and Salem Street in Port Ewen. Salem Street will be closed, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. For more information about the event, visit For some background about this small park, visit


Hudson Valley Harvest Festival at County Fairgrounds this weekend

“For a season or two I retired from tilling the dirt just to dream,” sing the Sweet Clementines. Tilling the dirt, farming and harvesting recall fall’s bounty – like this weekend’s Hudson Valley Harvest Festival, where the Sweet Clementines will be performing.

On Saturday, September 21 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday, September 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., stop by the Ulster County Fairgrounds for two days of great music, fun children’s programs and more. I can’t wait to see who wins some of the youth categories in the pie and cake contests.

This terrific outing for your family is also a good value: Tickets cost $5 and children ages 12 and under get in free, and the proceeds of the Festival benefit Family of Woodstock and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County. The Festival takes place at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, located at 249 Libertyville Road in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 340-3990 or (845) 331-7080, or visit