Kids’ Almanac (4/27-5/3)


(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Beltane Festival in Tillson this Saturday

Every year on the weekend closest to May 1, the Center for Symbolic Studies’ Stone Mountain Farm, at the foot of the Gunks in the hamlet of Tillson near the New Paltz/Rosendale border, serves as the setting for a Beltane Festival. Music, dance, pageantry, giant puppets, jugglers, mummers and masquers celebrate the turn of the seasons, while food and craft vendors hawk their wares. It’s like a small-scale Renaissance Faire, with an emphasis on family-friendly ritual and magical entertainment. Situated at the point on the Wheel of the Year opposite to Samhain (Halloween), Beltane (May Day) is an equally significant feast day for neo-Pagans, and much less somber. Symbolically, it’s the time when Summer overthrows Winter.

The 27th annual Beltane Festival takes place this Saturday, April 29 from 12 noon to 7 p.m. The schedule has been shifted around a bit, with the procession and May Pageant that used to kick off at 1 p.m. now happening at 4 p.m. Dress fancifully if you really want to get into the frolicsome spirit of the gathering.

Admission charges range from $15 per person for the day to $35 if you’re camping. Volunteers not only get in for free, but also can stay for the bonfire and evening songfest. Carpool, hike or bicycle in if you can, as parking is limited. For tickets and more info, visit or call (845) 658-8540. The Center for Symbolic Studies is located 475 River Road Extension in Tillson, just west of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.



Community Celebration Day offers free fun in Midtown Kingston on Saturday

The City of Kingston will host a Community Celebration Day, to be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 at the Collective/Broadway Commons, right next door to the Ulster Performing Arts Center. Along with the municipal government, the Bardavon 1869 Opera House and the Woodcrest Bruderhof are sponsoring the free event, with additional support from Ulster Savings Bank, HealthAlliance Hospitals, the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), Herzog’s and Rondout Savings Bank.

The Community Celebration Day will feature a rich array of family-friendly entertainment on two stages, including the always-popular Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, featuring Paris the Hip-Hop Juggler; the music of Viva Mexico Mariachis, two deejays, Dre Black and E-Bomb; singer Donny Mapes; flaming hula-hoop dancer Miss 360; the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK) with Drew and Energy Dance; and the Mount Academy Gospel Choir. Also on hand throughout the day will be aerialist Alisha Mai McNamara, the Two by Two Petting Zoo, a hands-on fire safety activity, the Midtown Arts District (MAD), Kingston High School students from the Pop Up Gallery Group (PUGG), Bruderhof face-painters and the Hudson Young Jugglers Club. Snacks will be provided by Pakt, Peace Nation, Michelle’s Treats and Chilly Willy ice cream.

Broadway Commons is located at 615 Broadway. There is plenty of free parking on city streets and in the municipal lot on Cornell Street. For more info, visit


Bright Ideas Festival on Saturday at High Meadow in Stone Ridge

Educators who can’t help noticing that the arts are invariably the first thing eliminated from school budgets have started adding an A to STEM (science/technology/engineering/math) to make STEAM. And STEAM-themed learning experiences are the focus of the Bright Ideas Festival, making its second annual appearance this Saturday at the High Meadow School in Stone Ridge.

“Invention, creativity and problem-solving for all ages” is the stated theme of this year’s Bright Ideas Festival. Families from across the Hudson Valley are invited to participate in a wide variety of interactive activities, including, “Robotics and Drones” with the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy; “3-D Printing” with SUNY-New Paltz; “Learn to Solve a Rubik’s Cube” with the Bard College Math Circle; “Solar Telescopes” with the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association; cooperative games; a Geography Challenge, with prizes; and a special performance by Mad Science at 4 p.m.

Throughout the day, a pop-up café will be serving food provided by the Full Moon Resort, Applestone Meats and many local bakers. The hands-on fun goes on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 29. To find out more, call (845) 687-4855 or visit The High Meadow School is located at 3643 Main Street (Route 209) in Stone Ridge.


Kingston grad Tristen Napoli performs jazz on Sunday in Rosendale

The Rosendale Theatre celebrates International Jazz Day on April 30 with a concert featuring a special guest artist: Tristen Napoli on trumpet. Napoli is a professional trumpeter currently living in New York City and a Kingston High School alumnus. He has toured the US with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, performed at the Carnegie Club in New York City and recorded a debut album with a quintet of jazz luminaries. Selected for the All-American Jazz Orchestra, he has performed at major jazz clubs in New York City including Birdland, the Smoke Jazz Club and Small’s Jazz Club.

Napoli will perform at 3 p.m. with the Hudson Valley Youth Orchestra, co-directed by Dan Shaut and Bob Shaut. Admission costs $8 for adults, $5 for children. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, visit


Very Young Composers concert this Sunday in Hudson

Classics on Hudson and the Hudson Opera House present a novel “Very Young Composers” concert on Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m. This family concert features works by the children in Jan Deak’s Very Young Composers Program, ages 6 to 10. Deak was formerly the principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic.

Tickets cost $10 for adults; children age 13 and under are admitted free. For more information, visit The Hudson Opera House is located at 327 Warren Street in Hudson.

Kids’ Almanac columnist Erica Chase-Salerno can be reached at


Broadway stars to perform musical benefit to help Kingston temple

Congregation Emanuel in Kingston looks on the bright side of life with the return of NYC Broadway Voices on the Hudson on Sunday, May 7 at 3 p.m. The musical revue of showtunes of the past and present will feature Broadway performers: Meghann Dreyfuss, from the cast of Mamma Mia!; Gerard Salvador, also from Mamma Mia! as well as the world premiere of Hazel: a Musical Maid in America; Leland Burnett, featured soloist at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center; Leah Zepel, from the cast of Mamma Mia!; and Rob Preuss, musical director of Mamma Mia! and piano one for Phantom of the Opera – but a few of the credits accumulated by the talented group of friends.

Zepel is a California native who moved to New York 16 years ago to join the cast of Mamma Mia! followed soon by her parents, who settled in Kingston and made Congregation Emanuel their home temple. “My father is actually now the president, and my mother is on all these boards. When the temple needed to repave the driveway last year, my dad said, ‘Could we do a concert? Want to grab some of your friends?’ Which we did.

“It’s basically me calling my friends who I’ve loved to perform with, who I’ve done shows with. When the shows close, we want to keep performing together even though the show is closed. This is a great opportunity for me to do that with some of my closest friends. We’re not a touring group at all; this is a one-night-only thing. We’re putting a whole show together just to perform at Congregation Emanuel.”

Preuss, Zepel’s husband, will provide accompaniment for songs from such musicals as Waitress, Beautiful, The Sound of Music, Wicked, The Bridges of Madison County and West Side Story. “I feel like it’s a good kind of mash,” says Zepel. “We’re going to do a whole Les Mis section. We have a beautiful arrangement of Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan. We’re going to do a section from Hair.”

The afternoon of music will benefit the temple’s many community programs, such as political debates, interfaith Thanksgiving services, Italian/American heritage night and others. Tickets cost $50 general admission, $35 for seniors and $25 for students; children under 13 get in free. A special cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception will take place in the lobby following the show, for an additional $25.

– Ann Hutton

NYC Broadway Voices, Sunday, May 7, 3-5 p.m., $50/$35/$25, Congregation Emanuel, 243 Albany Avenue, Kingston; (845) 338-4271,