Kids’ Almanac (Jan. 30-Feb. 6)

Giving on game day

The big football game takes place on Sunday, February 2 at 6:30 p.m.; and whether you are rooting for Seattle or Denver or just in it for the commercials, you can inspire your family and friends to make a difference by including a Souperbowl food drive in your game-related festivities. The Souperbowl of Caring is simply your collection of canned goods and dollar bills donated to area food pantries: “Vision: Transform the time around [the big game] into the nation’s largest celebration of giving.”

Food pantries are serving record numbers of families, and they need our help to replenish supplies after the holidays, including Family of Woodstock with offices throughout Ulster County; Caring Hands Soup Pantry in Kingston; Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie, and more. For more information, visit


Groundhog Day festivities

The midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox has been celebrated for centuries as the Feast of Lights, Imbolc, Candlemas, Hedgehog Day and Punxsutawney Phil’s Groundhog Day. This year, Groundhog Day falls on Sunday, February 2. If the skies are cloudy when Phil emerges from his burrow, it means that spring weather will arrive early. If sun creates a shadow, he runs back into his burrow, which means longer winter weather.


One of my favorite parts of Groundhog Day is telling people that groundhogs are the same animal as woodchucks. You’re welcome. I learned that one from environmental educator Julie Noble in Kingston (thank you, Julie!). Want to take your family’s enjoyment of Groundhog Day to a new level? Here are two events taking place this weekend that might interest you:

Bear Mountain Groundhog Day, Sunday, February 2: Meet at the Merry-Go-Round. Kid-friendly crafts and games begin at 11 a.m., and the groundhog appears at 11:30 a.m. Enjoy skating at the rink afterwards, or strolling through the Trailside Zoo. There is a parking fee of $8 per car, or use your Empire Passport sticker. For more information, call (845) 786-2701, extension 242, or visit

Cary Institute Groundhog Day Ecology Walk, Sunday, February 2 at 1 p.m.: Meet at the Main Campus parking lot. During this family-friendly walk, the group will observe weather conditions, look for shadows and learn about winter adaptations. The Cary Institute is located at 2801 Sharon Turnpike in Millbrook. For more information or to register, call (845) 677-5343 or visit


Croonin’ Kids Cabaret in Poughkeepsie

Croonin’ Kids Cabaret highlights the musical talents of young singers from all over the Hudson Valley. The performances take place on Saturday, February 1 at 2 and 5 p.m., and on Sunday, February 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $12; children 5 and younger may sit on an adult’s lap at no charge.

The shows are held at the Half Moon Theatre’s Black Box Theatre at 2515 South Road in Poughkeepsie, behind Red Robin. For tickets or more information, call (845) 235-9885 or visit


Stringendo concert at the Bardavon

Stringendo presents the Vivace and Chaconne Orchestras and Strawberry Hill Fiddlers and Raspberries for an evening of orchestral and fiddle music and a silent auction on Saturday, February 1 at 7 p.m. at the Bardavon. Admission to this fundraiser costs $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors.

The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets, call (845) 473-2072. For more information about the music programs, call (845) 264-1206 or visit



Dr. Marmalade Puppet Show, Saturday, February 1, 11 a.m.: Puppet friends include: “a gorilla with a bellyache, a singing dinosaur, a snake that wants to be a kitty, a giraffe, crow, rabbit and many others.” Tickets cost $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors. The show takes place at the Center for the Performing Arts at Rhinebeck at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit

American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Course for Adult, Child & Infant, Sunday, February 2, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Know any teens interested in child care or being a camp counselor this summer? Give them an employment edge by completing this course. I took this class a couple of months ago, and I feel so much more confident with my ability to help my kids – or anyone – until emergency services arrive. I can’t believe how long I waited to do it.

“This course covers basic first aid, CPR techniques, maneuvers for choking victims and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator.” Instruction is provided for adult, child and infant. Course completion results in a certification card valid for two years from the American Heart Association. Preregistration and payment are required; textbook and materials are included. The cost is $100.

Northern Dutchess Hospital is located at 6511 Springbrook Avenue in Rhinebeck. To register or for more information, call (845) 475-9742 or visit

Erica Chase-Salerno is up to a 120-second plank. She lives in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at