Kids’ Almanac: Activities for the MLK weekend

David Engel will bring his Pirate School to New Paltz

“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


The three Arrrrrrrrs: Pirate School comes to New Paltz

Know anyone who might be interested in the finer points of mischief? Are you inspired by Charlie Chaplin, Monty Python or brave explorers throughout time sailing into uncharted waters? Because those influences enrich and expand the work of variety performer David Engel, who incorporates slapstick, comedy and adventure into every show!


David performs his Pirate School show as a fundraiser for the New Paltz Amphitheatre at Lenape Elementary School on Saturday, January 28 at New Paltz High School. Forget the frigid temps; become a buccaneer searching for treasure in balmy climes. A Pirate Party begins at 1 p.m. with games, treasures and a photo booth, and the Pirate School show begins at 3 p.m. My kids and I saw Pirate School in Rhinebeck a few years ago, and we had a blast; we can’t wait to see it again, and I strongly encourage families with children of all ages to join us!

To David, it all comes down to community connections: “In my shows, the audience is my partner. I like to get the audience involved, talking to me as well as to each other.” In his 27th season as a full-time entertainer and a clown experienced in the European tradition, David forms part of a long lineage of truth-tellers, like the court jester, delivering information through comedy. The Pirate School show draws from David’s father’s love of sailing on Lake Michigan, interactive street-theater experience, stage combat and swordfighting skills and traditional acting roles. And as a recent transplant to New Paltz with his family, David is thrilled to offer Pirate School to the community. His advice for attending the show? “Come in costume and access the swashbuckler within!”

Tickets for Pirate School cost $12 for adults, $8 for children. New Paltz High School is located at 130 North Putt Corners Road in New Paltz. For tickets or more information, visit You can learn more about the performer and the show here, and remember to check out the Kids’ Page for even more fun at


Craft Fair Youth Scholarship

Is your Hudson Valley high school or college student trying to break into the craft-fair scene? How does a free ten-by-ten-foot tented space at the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair sound? How about some display materials, too? Quail Hollow Events invites your creative young adult to apply for a Craft Fair Youth Scholarship, which can be used at the Memorial Day Weekend Show or Labor Day Weekend Show. The application deadline is February 15, with winners announced on March 1, and there is no fee to apply. For more information and a complete list of guidelines, call (845) 246-3414 or or visit



Meet wild animals at Gardiner Library

Do your kids need a reminder that reindeer aren’t the only animals out in nature? How about taking them to Bill Robinson’s World of Animals at the Gardiner Library this Saturday, January 14 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Families will learn about birds of prey and reptiles, and even get to meet some of these animals during the presentation! Bill Robinson’s World of Animals is free and open to the public of all ages, and no registration is required.

The Gardiner Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike in Gardiner. For more information, call (845) 255-1255 or visit To learn more about the presenter, visit


Reptile show at Tivoli Library

What is a snake’s favorite subject at school? Hiss-tory! Does your family think adders are awesome? Serpents are super? If you are interested in reptiles, make a point to stop by the Tivoli Free Library for a reptile show with Dan Liebel this Saturday, January 14 at 2 p.m. When did your family last encounter a real snake? Was it at a pet store, or out in the wild? Dan has a variety of live animals to display, including snakes, and your crew will learn a lot about how these fascinating creatures get through winters like ours. The reptile show is free and open to the public of all ages.

The Tivoli Free Library is located at 86 Broadway in Tivoli. For more information, call (845) 757-3771 or visit To learn more about the presenter, visit


Bound for Broadway at Poughkeepsie’s Cunneen-Hackett

How can you introduce your child or teen to Broadway musicals without breaking the bank or enduring hours of travel? It’s easy: Just go to Bound for Broadway, presented by the From Stage to Screen Acting Studio at the Cunneen-Hackett Theater this Saturday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 15 at 1 p.m. The performers range in age from 9 to 17 years, and in addition to hearing young people perform Broadway classics, an original storyline pulls it all together. My family and I will see you there! Tickets cost $10 per person.

The Cunneen-Hackett Theater is located at 12 Vassar Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 476-2455 or visit


“Presidential Transition” talk at FDR Library

Craving real information and historical context around the upcoming presidential inauguration? You and your family don’t need to look any further than the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum for a discussion on “Presidential Transition” taking place this Saturday, January 14 at 7 p.m. in the Henry A. Wallace Center. The featured speakers are American political strategist and former presidential advisor Mark McKinnon from The Circus and PBS host and journalist Alexander Heffner, who will share about the transfer of power during presidential transitions from Roosevelt to Trump, as well as the future of US politics. “Presidential Transition” is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The FDR Library is located at 4079 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. To register or for more information, call (845) 486-7770 or visit


MLK Day of Giving at Red Hook Library

Are you and your kin inspired to make a difference in your community, but don’t know how to get started? Try starting at the Red Hook Public Library’s MLK Jr. Day of Giving! On Saturday, January 14 from 1 to 3 p.m., families can participate in charitable crafts and activities, while feeling good about helping others by donating the finished projects. Perfect for all ages, this is one way to enable your kids to make a direct impact with their efforts.

The Red Hook Public Library is located at 7444 South Broadway in Red Hook. For more information, call (845) 758-3241 or visit


Celebrate Ulster County’s volunteers in Rosendale

If you and your kids would enjoy an afternoon of honoring volunteers, watching them receive awards, listening to live music and munching on refreshments, mark your calendars for UlsterCorps’ seventh annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration of Service! The Celebration of Service takes place this Saturday, January 14 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Rosendale Recreation Center. The band lineup includes the Dave Ross Mason Band at 2 p.m., Blind Mice at 3 p.m. and the New Progressive Baptist Church Choir at 4 p.m. This event is free and open to the public; however, registration is required.

The Rosendale Recreation Center is located at 1055 Route 32 in Rosendale. For more information or to register, call (845) 481-0331 or visit

Wish you could jump into some community service? Here are some ideas:

Drop off a donation from the wish list or learn more about volunteering with the Rosendale Food Pantry at 45 James Street in Rosendale, on Monday, January 16 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Help serve a meal at the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen at 122 Clinton Avenue in Kingston from Tuesday through Friday, January 17 to 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Take a shift at the Repair Café at the New Paltz United Methodist Church at 1 Grove Street in New Paltz on Saturday, January 21 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon or from noon to 3:30 p.m.


Hudson Valley Rail Trail WinterFest in Highland

Looking for a chance to vote without a hanging chad or Electoral College? Put on your winter jacket and tune up those tastebuds for the WinterFest at the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Highland this Saturday, January 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the free children’s games and activities, a hayride, a cozy bonfire, marshmallow-toasting and chestnut-roasting, everyone can sample chili and cast ballots for the Best of Fest People’s Choice Award in the meat and vegetarian categories. Admission costs $2, and children aged 6 and under get in free.


The Hudson Valley Rail Trail Depot is located at 101 New Paltz Road in Highland. For more information, call (781) 640-0881 or visit


Weird Science with Professor Sparks at Museum of Firefighting in Hudson

Have you seen the Hidden Figures movie yet? You don’t have to work for NASA to get your science on; you can learn a lot right here through the FASNY Museum of Firefighting’s Weird Science with Professor Sparks! On Saturday, January 14 at 10:30 a.m., kids aged 5 and up will be so enthralled with fascinating facts and information that they will enjoy the discoveries in this interactive show! Professor Sparks will also be accompanied by her robot canine companion, Spot 2000. Admission costs $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 3 and older, $25 for a family of two adults and their two children. It’s free for children under age 3, Museum members, and –since it’s a Super Saturday event – for all residents of Columbia County!

The FASNY Museum of Firefighting is located at 117 Harry Howard Avenue in Hudson. For more information, call (518) 822-1875 or visit



Primitive Biathlon in Shandaken

Have you heard about the Shandaken Primitive Biathlon? Total old-school: Snowshoe your way along a 1.25-mile course with four shooting stations, and only two shots allowed per station. This timed event offers a one-minute reduction for anyone wearing 1800s-era clothing; and if you prefer an untimed woodland walk, that’s an option, too. Tomahawk and sharpshooter competitions are scheduled as well.

The age categories for the Shandaken Primitive Biathlon are 12 to 16 years, 17 to 40, 41 to 59 and 60 and over. The entry fee costs $18, or $12 for the woods walk. The event takes place at the Upper Esopus Fish & Game Club on Little Peck Hollow Road in Oliverea. For more information or to register, call (845) 246-3954 or (845) 688-5560, or visit


Woodstock’s Birthday Tribute to MLK

How do you and your family celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr.? This year, why not attend Woodstock’s 27th annual Birthday Tribute to MLK this Sunday, January 15 at 2 p.m. at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center? Folks gather to sing, teach, learn and honor King’s legacy, as well as to connect with organizations for equality.

The Community Center is located at 56 Rock City Road in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-7320 or visit



 Weekly Dialectical Behavioral Therapy group in New Paltz

I am hearing some promising results from DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, as support for people with mental or emotional challenges, so this new series looks interesting. On Tuesday, January 17 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Wellness Embodied: A Center for Psychotherapy and Healing, the “Embodying DBT: Eight-Session Skills-Based Group” begins, with a focus on deepening essential life skills to manage significant stress and to enhance individual therapy. Group training goals include managing anxiety effectively under stress; enhancing control over emotions; improving problem-solving skills; maintaining and improving relationships with people; improving ability to tolerate and survive crisis situations without making things worse; developing peace of mind; and living mindfully in each moment. The cost for the eight-part series is $200, and scholarships are available.

Wellness Embodied is located at 126 Main Street in New Paltz. For more information or to register, call (845) 532-6064 or visit



Mindful Playshop gets underway at Wellness Embodied in New Paltz

Are you desiring more connection with your kids? How about helping your children learn self-control and develop empathy? Take a look at “Meow like a Lion: Mindful Playshop for Parents and Children 6 to 9 years,” which begins on Wednesday, January 18 from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at Wellness Embodied: A Center for Psychotherapy and Healing. Using the breath to lead to delight, acceptance and more, families can work together to discover the joy deep inside each of us. The cost for this four-part series is $175 per parent/child pair, and $50 for each additional family member. Scholarships are available.

Wellness Embodied is located at 126 Main Street in New Paltz. For more information or to register, call (845) 532-6064 or visit


Erica Chase-Salerno just finished Adriamycin/Cytoxan chemotherapy and now embarks on a new cycle of Doxil. She loves your messages! She can be reached at