Kids’ Almanac (Oct. 31-Nov. 7)

Skywatching at the Zena Cornfield

For decades, all I could find in the night sky were the Moon and the Big Dipper. But now I’m steadily learning from reading Almanac Weekly columnist Bob Berman’s pieces and attending live events. This weekend offers another chance to get out there and ask some astronomy questions. On Saturday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Zena Cornfield, professor Steven Schimmrich will give a hands-on introduction to the night sky. Schimmrich will review names and locations of stars and constellations, along with the Moon and planetary bodies.

This program is free and intended for all ages, and children are encouraged to attend. The Zena Cornfield is located along Route 212 in Woodstock, near Zena Road. Participants are asked to park across the street at the Little Deep Parking Area. For more information, call (845) 679-6480 or visit


Vassar College hosts Fair Trade Bazaar

Interested in guilt-free holiday giving? Have you heard about the annual Fair Trade Bazaar over at Vassar College this weekend? Co-sponsored by the Dutchess Interfaith Council and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie, the Fair Trade Bazaar “is about making people socially and economically aware of the origins of their goods.” Products include “fair trade coffee and chocolate, fine jewelry, carved wooden bowls, woven baskets, pottery, hand-knitted clothing or one-of-a-kind dolls. Importers include Equal Exchange, SERRV, Mayan Hands and Women’s Work.” Homemade treats made with local and/or organic ingredients will be available. The event is kid-friendly with the live music and food and interesting items to look at.


Organizer Pat Lamanna, member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie, says, “I see this work as related to the commitment of all the major religions to justice, to concern for poverty and for stewardship of the Earth. It also helps raise awareness of the effect of our actions on others. For example, when we buy cheap items made by sweatshop labor and shipped from distant countries, we are contributing to exploitation, oppression and environmental degradation. I do believe awareness of fair-trade issues has been growing over time.”

The Fair Trade Bazaar will open at the Aula in Ely Hall at Vassar College, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. It takes place on Saturday, November 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, November 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (845) 452-4013 or visit


Free Family and Youth Summit at Mount Saint Mary College

Aren’t you thrilled when you see something wonderful happening in the community? That’s how I feel about this weekend’s first annual Family and Youth Summit: Your Voice Matters – Together We Make a Difference. Sometimes I feel so hammered by all of the things that are going wrong in the world; how about highlighting the stories where positive change is the name of the game? Well, here you go!

On November 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., families, youth and community members are invited to learn about mental health awareness, advocacy, communication, engagement, wellness and anti-stigma. The keynote speaker is Stacy Pershall of Active Minds, Inc., and the plenary speaker is Joe Anne Hust, who will present, “Just Keep Swimming.” Attendees can participate in interactive Drumming & Storytelling presentations, and have a seat in the “Summit Cinema.”

Professionally staffed activities for children under 12 will be provided in a designated area. A light breakfast and lunch will be served, including child-friendly choices. And it’s free! There is no charge to attend this event, which is co-presented by the Orange County Department of Mental Health; the Orange County System of Care; VoicesUnited4Change, the Orange County Youth Bureau and the Center for Adolescent Research & Development at Mount Saint Mary College.

The first annual Family and Youth Summit takes place at Hudson Hall at Mount Saint Mary College, located at 330 Powell Avenue in Newburgh. To register or for more information, call (845) 360-6717, e-mail or visit