Kids’ Almanac: Maple festivals, model trains and magic shows

(Lady Dragonfly)

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.”

– Pablo Neruda


Agricultural scholarships

With tax season underway, are you fervently looking for scholarship opportunities for your kids? Our local county fair organizations have some to offer!

The Dutchess County Agricultural Society awards a scholarship of up to $8,000 to a student seeking an undergraduate degree in agriculture, horticulture, human ecology or a career related to those fields. The application deadline is May 12 at 4 p.m. For more information, additional scholarship opportunities or to donate, visit


The Ulster County Agricultural Society Erica Bell Memorial Scholarship offers two $500 scholarships to any student who participates in any Ulster County Fair departments, activities or operations, from a senior in high school to a junior in college. The application deadline is June 15. For more information, visit

Queer Family Brunch

Pack up your favorite dish and enjoy a meal with your family while meeting new folks at the Queer Family Brunch taking place next Sunday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at Camphill Solaris! Children, babies, gay uncles and aunties, trans brothers and sisters, straight allies – all are welcome to this gathering for good conversation, kid crafts and yummy food.  Camphill Solaris is located at 360 Warren Street in Hudson. For more information, visit or


Dress donations

Remember when you said Yes to the dress all of those years ago for a prom or wedding, but it’s No to the return after you’ve worn them? No problem! If any of those frocks are in great shape and ready to pass along, just drop them off at the Dietz Stadium Diner through Friday, March 31. In addition to dresses, special-occasion shoes, jewelry and handbags are needed for the Junior League of Kingston’s Cinderella’s Closet to provide outfits to area teens for prom season. Can they break last year’s record, when over 100 young women went home with dresses?

The Cinderella’s Closet event takes place at the Business Resource Center (BRC) on Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1. The Dietz Stadium Diner is located at 127 North Front Street in Kingston. The BRC is located at 1 Development Court in Kingston. For more information, visit


Busing reminder

The wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round, but if your little one needs to go all ‘round the town – meaning to or from a licensed daycare center – during the 2017/18 school year, those bus requests are usually due to your school districts by April 1. Busing can be arranged to and/or from licensed daycare, but it must be for five days per week: before school, after school or both. Here are some area district busing forms:



Red Hook:


Rondout Valley:




Cookie Ceili at Tivoli Free Library

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so in addition to building leprechaun traps to catch those miniature mischievous munchkins and eating corned beef and cabbage and wearing green, you and your cairde could attend a Cookie Ceili! This Friday, March 17 from 4 to 5 p.m., stop over at the Tivoli Free Library to decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles. It’s for all ages, and it’s all free. Your kids will have as much fun as you do belting out verses of “Whiskey in the Jar”!

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

St. Patrick’s Day Magic Show

Enough about breakfast being magically delicious: Where can I find some Irish enchantment? Right here! On Friday, March 17 from 4 to 5 p.m., the NorthEast-Millerton Library presents a St. Patrick’s Day Magic Show. Not only will your lads and lassies ooh and aah over some terrific illusions, but they’ll also pick up some new knowledge about the Emerald Isle, including Irish history, language, social customs, music and more! This St. Patrick’s Day Magic Show is geared for children in kindergarten through eighth grade, and it is free and open to the public of all ages.

The NorthEast-Millerton Library is located at 75 Main Street in Millerton. For more information, call (518) 789-3340 or visit


Kingston Library presents Merdwin the Mediocre

Could you use some silliness right about now? Maybe a little whimsy? Well, get ready for lots of fun for the whole family with “Merdwin the Mediocre: A Program of Magical Merriment and Wondrous Wizardry” this Saturday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the Kingston Library. Merdwin will captivate your kids with lots of humor, not-true facts and plenty of audience participation. Free and open to the public of all ages, this show is geared toward school-aged children.

The Kingston Library is located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-0507, extension 7, or visit To learn more about the performer, visit

Berger’s & Frank’s Magic Show at Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck

Here’s a mathematical magic trick for you: Think of a number. Double it. Add 10. Halve it. Subtract your original number. Is your answer 5?

Now, here’s another terrific number in magic: 2. Why, you ask? Because two magicians mean more illusions, more comedy and more audience participation! And you and your crew can see the dynamic duo, Berger’s and Frank’s Magic Show, this Saturday, March 18 at 11 a.m. at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Derrin Berger and Frank Monaco have over 60 years of combined magic experience, and you have years of being wowed by wizardry: It’s a perfect match! Tickets cost $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors.

The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit To learn more about the performers, visit and

Saturday Writing Workshops at SUNY-New Paltz

What if your writing life when you were growing up included workshops like these: “Toe-Tapping Fun” and “Finding the Big Idea through Poetry,” for kids; “An Invitation to Notice and Write” and “Sense-able Writing,” for tweens and teens; and “Mining Wisdom,” for adults? Would you be curious? Interested? Engaged? Inspired? Because those are among the goals of the Hudson Valley Writing Project, and you can be a part of it.

On Saturday, March 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon, join Saturday Writing Workshops in Room 1907 of the Old Main Building at SUNY-New Paltz for a morning of writing and sharing in a comfortable, supportive setting. Sessions are organized according to age: 7 to 10, 11 to 17 and adult, and the schedule includes two workshops and a snack break. The cost is $25 for the student workshop; $20 for the adult workshop and $40 for a student-and-adult combined fee. SUNY-New Paltz is located at 1 Hawk Drive in New Paltz. For more information or to register, call (845) 257-2836 or e-mail; for complete workshop descriptions, visit

Rondout Valley hosts Vanaver Caravan’s DanceFest 2017

Myriad styles. Nine dance studios. Two performances. One day. Yes, the Vanaver Caravan’s DanceFest is here! On Saturday, March 18 at the Rondout Valley Central High School theater, watch these stunning dances infused with genres ranging from world dance to ballet to modern, and more. Performances take place at 3 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and children under 12.

Rondout Valley Central High School is located at 122 Kyserike Road in Accord. For tickets or more information, call (845) 256-9300 or visit

“Robot Club: Drag Races” at Phoenicia Library

Know any young people with a need for speed? Calling all 9-to-16-year-olds: Who can build the fastest robot dragster? Someone at the Phoenicia Library sure knows how to make STEM experiments fun! “Robot Club: Drag Races” take place this Saturday, March 18 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Phoenicia Library. Youth will explore various gear configurations to maximize speed, using a base robot. Come focused and ready to work, and instructor Chris Hendry will show you the rest! This program is free and open to the public, and registration is required.

The Phoenicia Library is located at 48 Main Street in Phoenicia. For more information or to register, call (845) 688-7811 or visit


Kingston Model Train Show returns

When it trains, it roars! Or so I’m told – especially when this family favorite comes around again each year. The Kingston Model Train Show takes place Sunday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center. Featured areas include moving train displays, toy train raffles, free door-prize giveaways, a kids’ corner play area, Thomas the Tank Engine trains, real railroad memorabilia and refreshments for sale. I hear that lots of non-train-lovers have a great time, too! Admission costs $6 for adults, $1 for children under 12.


The Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center is located at 467 Broadway in Kingston, next to Rite Aid. For more information, call (845) 616-0931 or visit

Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition at Vassar

This weekend is like March Madness for stringed instruments in the Hudson Valley. Could your budding musician use some inspiration? It’s the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition’s 45th anniversary, and you are invited! On Sunday, March 19 at Vassar College’s Skinner Hall, you and your family can listen to great talent, all vying to win this competition: From 10 a.m. to noon, hear the semi-finalists; from 3 to 5 p.m., listen to the three finalists perform in a recital, followed by a reception. The concerts are free and open to the public.

Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information or a complete list of prior winners, call (845) 473-2072 or visit

Eel Monitoring Training Day at Black Creek Preserve

  1. Q) What did the fisherman say to the magician?
  2. A) Pick a cod, any cod…

Scenic Hudson needs your help: Have you ever counted glass eels before? This Sunday, March 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., you and your family can attend an Eel Monitoring Training Day at the Black Creek Preserve. Wear quick-dry fabrics and warm clothes and bring a towel, because you’ll be learning how to catch, count, weigh and release these critters, whose presence helps us to understand our waterways better. Unfortunately, the eel population has been declining, and your volunteer work could help to answer, “Why?” This program is free and open to the public, and registration is helpful.

The Black Creek Preserve is located at Winding Brook Road in Esopus. For more information or to register, call (845) 473-4440, extension 273, e-mail or visit

Farm Film Fest in Chatham

One minute, you’re doing yet another round of E-I-E-I-O, and the next thing you know, your kid is making videos about farms. The Farm Film Fest screens movies focusing on farms, farming and farming issues, and it takes place this Sunday, March 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Crandell Theatre. Each film lasts between five and 20 minutes; submissions were made by professionals, amateurs and students; and admission costs nothing except a non-perishable food item. After the showings, a moderated panel discussion takes place with area farmers.

The Crandell Theatre is located at 48 Main Street in Chatham. For more information, visit

Maple events

Seeking out some sweet water this weekend? Here’s a roundup of maple events happening here in the Hudson Valley!

  • City of Kingston Parks & Recreation shares maple fun for all ages in this entirely outdoor program on Saturday, March 18. Free. Hasbrouck Park Stone Building, 379 Delaware Avenue in Kingston, next to John F. Kennedy Elementary School. (845) 481-7339,
  • Corey’s Sugar Shack shows you all aspects of maple sugaring. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. 105 Hawley’s Corners Road in Highland. (845) 943-8013,
  • Crown Maple teaches families about sugaring in a 60-minute tour at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m., from tapping trees all the way to table syrup. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. 47 McCourt Road in Dover Plains. (845) 877-0640,
  • Frost Valley celebrates New York State Maple Weekend with an Open House, tours, education and samples. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 2000 Frost Valley Road in Claryville. (845) 985-2291,
  • Mohonk Preserve presents Kids’ Day in the Sugarbush on Sunday, March 19, including a hike, syrup-making and perhaps a syrup-related treat. 1 to 3 p.m. $5. Registration required. Spring Farm, Upper 27 Knolls Road, High Falls. (845) 255-0919,
  • Phillies Bridge Farm hosts its third annual Maple Festival on Saturday, March 18 including identifying maples, drinking sap right from the tree, a maple singalong and a pancake brunch. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $20/family, $7/individual, $5/student. 45 Phillies Bridge Road in New Paltz. (845) 256-9108,
  • Soukup Farms invites you to check out its sugarhouse and learn how syrup is made. Started as a hobby, and now look how far they’ve come. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 271 Halls Corners Road in Dover Plains. (845) 264-3137,
  • The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation announces its 14th annual Sugar Maple Celebration, featuring sugaring demos, crafts, syrup-judging contest, live animals and more. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. 436 Van Wyck Lake Road in Fishkill. (845) 897-4320,

Erica Chase-Salerno can’t wait to taste this year’s local maple syrup! She can be reached at