Kids’ Almanac: I Love My Park Day and free comics

Mills Mansion in Staatsburgh (photo by Julie O’Connor)

“Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?”
– Mary Oliver, “Such Singing
in the Wild Branches”


I Love My Park Day

If only there were a way to honor your family’s love of local parks, to volunteer and support these special spots you visit. Well, it turns out that there is! Saturday, May 6 is New York State’s sixth annual I Love My Park Day, and it’s your chance to let your favorite park love you back! For more information, to register or explore more park choices, visit:
Historic Huguenot Street, New Paltz,
Hurley Heritage Society, Hurley,
Mills Mansion, Staatsburgh,
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson,
Mount Gulian Historic Site, Beacon,
Riverkeeper Sweep,
Walkway over the Hudson, Highland/Poughkeepsie,




Stefan Bolz & Sean Schenker at Inquiring Minds in New Paltz

When two favorite artists collaborate together, do you just want to break into story and song? Maybe that’s just me? Because this Friday, May 5, author Stefan Bolz and musician Sean Schenker present “Story, Song and Book-Signing” from 7 to 9 p.m. at Inquiring Minds in New Paltz. You can see what I mean before you go: Take a look at Stefan’s writings, grab a listen of Sean’s music and hang out on Friday and enjoy them both live. “Story, Song and Book-Signing” is free and open to the public of all ages – especially young adults on up.

Inquiring Minds is located at 6 Church Street in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 255-8300 or visit To learn more about the performers, visit and



Free Comic Book Day

It’s Free Comic Book Day! It’s Free Comic Book Day! Every year, the first May Saturday is on our annual family calendar because my crew loves free comics, and there are some great stories out there. Emerging readers love Free Comic Book Day because of the fun content, rich illustrations and manageable storyline and page count. Everyone else seems to love Free Comic Book Day because comics are just so awesome! All you do is find your favorite comic book store, and head over there on May 6!

Here are some participating shops in our Kids’ Almanac area: Alterniverse, 1164 Route 9G, Suite 6, Rockledge Plaza in Hyde Park, (845) 233-4234; Dragon’s Den, 2600 South Road, #9A, Poughkeepsie Plaza Mall in Poughkeepsie, (845) 471-1401; October Country Comics, 246 Main Street, Suite #5, Cherry Hill Center in New Paltz, (845) 255-1115; and the Dark Tower Comics, 5186 Route 9W in Newburgh, (845) 565-4449. To learn more about this great day, visit


Hudson Valley ComicCon in Poughkeepsie

Free Comic Book Day is a sweet kickoff to Hudson Valley ComicCon 2017, don’t you think? We attended a small local ComicCon for the first time last year, and my kids have been talking about it excitedly ever since. They enjoyed seeing the cosplay costumes and buying unique, handcrafted comic, anime, sci-fi and gaming craft items, as well as the panel interviews and demos. This one even has an Upgraded Kid Zone! The entire event supports reading, technology and creativity.

Hudson Valley ComicCon 2017 takes place this Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Gold’s Gym in Poughkeepsie. Tickets cost $20 for a single-day adult pass, $30 for a two-day adult pass, $10 for a single-day child pass and $15 for a two-day child pass. Gold’s Gym is located at 258 Titusville Road in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, visit


Kite Festival

Okay, let’s be honest: When is the last time you flew a kite? Are you getting agitated, wondering where yours even is? Nervous about it not flying correctly? Or possibly getting hurt? Maybe we need to get everything out into the open, and fly some kites this Saturday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 2017 Kite Festival at SUNY-Sullivan! Kite Day is free and open to the public of all ages, with activities from ground to sky all day, including professional and amateur kite-flyers, live music, food, bounce houses, craft vendors and free kites for the first 200 children to arrive!

SUNY-Sullivan is located at 112 College Road in Loch Sheldrake. For more information, call (845) 434-5750, extension 4377, or visit


Woodstock Day School Book Fair

An amazing, vast wonderland of story, imagination, food, fun…really, anything you can think of…but what is the theme?? That’s the burning question each year at the Woodstock Day School Book Fair! There’s just no way to know; we simply must go and find out.

The Woodstock Day School Book Fair kicks off this Saturday, May 6 from 12 noon to 3 p.m., and it continues all week long. The scenery is dramatic, the storytellers engaging, the games endearing; and there are so many incredible, hand-chosen books to check out! Bring your family and enter a whole special literary world! The Book Fair is free and open to the public of all ages, with books specially chosen for each age group, and books and refreshments are available for purchase.

The Woodstock Day School is located at 1430 Glasco Turnpike in Saugerties. For more information, call (845) 246-3744, extension 103, or visit for a complete activity schedule.



Young Artists’ benefit concert for Scenic Hudson at Bowdoin Park

How many delightful benefits have you attended, enjoying young people’s performances about a cause that you deeply care about? Now, how many have actually been organized by a teen? This one is! On Sunday, May 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bowdoin Park, Pavilion 5, Poughkeepsie Day School student Aidan Cuite (’18) of New Hamburg presents the third annual Young Artists’ Benefit Concert for Scenic Hudson. This family-friendly event is open to the public of all ages, and it includes solo musicians and groups from youth throughout the area, such as the Poughkeepsie Day School, the Half Moon Theatre School of the Arts Junior Company, vocalists Amelia Rose Allen from the Storm King School and Sam Levin from Cortlandt Manor. All proceeds benefit Scenic Hudson.

Bowdoin Park is located at 85 Sheafe Road in Wappingers Falls. For more information, call (845) 214-0595 or visit To learn more about this fantastic recipient organization, visit


Bird walks at Cary Institute in Millbrook

Hit any hummingbird sightings yet? I did get a rose-breasted grosbeak in my feeder yesterday! If you follow birds, here’s something that I thought you’d like to know about: birding at Cary. All levels of birders are welcome; each of the three walks takes place in a different habitat; and they’re all right at the Cary Institute: Saturday, May 7 takes place at the Gifford-Cary East parking lot and traverses fields, streamsides and forests; the other two walks in the series are scheduled for June 4 and July 2. These walks are free and open to the public. Just remember your binoculars, water and comfortable shoes.

If you happen to like to process and want to learn more, head across the river sometime to Mark DeDea at the Forsyth Nature Center in Kingston or the John Burroughs Natural History Society for one of his walks, because he makes everything so interesting that even I love birds now! For the May 7 walk, get to the Gifford-Cary East Parking Lot, located at 2801 Sharon Turnpike (Route 44) in Millbrook. For more information or to register, call (845) 677-5343 or visit


College/Youth Symphony concert at SUNY-New Paltz

Have you taken your family to a College/Youth Symphony concert at SUNY-New Paltz yet? What a terrific way to share classical music with your crew, performed by a range of teens, college students, adults and elders twice per year! Their next spring concert takes place this Sunday, May 7 at 7 p.m. at the Julien J. Studley Theatre at SUNY-New Paltz. Perhaps someone in your group will be curious to look into auditioning to join for fall!

The Studley Theatre is located along Plattekill Avenue in the Old Main Building (officially 1 Hawk Drive) at SUNY-New Paltz. For more information, visit




LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention conference

How can we do better than “It gets better”? Can we save someone from suicide by finding ways to connect, help and learn from each other? Let’s keep talking, working and being together to help protect these most vulnerable, strong, emotional, powerful and knowledgeable members of our community. The full-day conference, “Stronger Communities: LGBTQ+ Suicide Prevention,” takes place on Thursday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ramada Fishkill. Participants contribute as well as hear from national experts and learn about LGBTQ+ suicide risk, research findings and strategies to support making mental health, suicide prevention and education an LGBTQ+ community priority.

Registration costs $100 general, $50 for students. The Ramada Fishkill is located at 542 Route 9 in Fishkill. For more information or to register, visit


Abilities First Community Breakfast in Poughkeepsie

Do you appreciate inspiring stories? Like to engage in meaningful causes? Love the word “free”? Great! Because you’ll get all of that and more at the Abilities First Community Breakfast on Thursday, May 11 from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. Honorees feature inspirational keynote speaker Shaneka R. Paulin, who has been an Abilities First participant since 1980; Jessica Doering, Participant of the Year; Ray Lugo of Transit Management of Dutchess County Inc., assistant Scoutmaster, recipient of the Innovation Award; and Kearney Group, the Business of the Year. And breakfast is free!

The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel is located at 40 Civic Center Plaza in Poughkeepsie. For reservations, sponsorships or more information, call (845) 485-9803, extension 384, or visit



Join Family Partnership’s Postal Sort in Poughkeepsie

I am hoping you clear your calendar for Saturday, May 13 from around 5 to 7 p.m., because you can actually help make a huge difference about food! It’s time for the awesome Postal Sort: Round up your family and friends, pack a snack and water bottle and get ready to organize the food donations coming in from those bags hanging on mailboxes that day. Remember to bring a sense of humor about the oldest food expiration date that you’re about to discover (pro tip: Never donate expired food to a food pantry, or anyone; it’s disrespectful, unsafe and so much work to sift through them!).

All ages are welcome to help out at this Postal Sort. It usually lasts a couple of hours, depending on the number of volunteers who show up. Our family likes helping out at this event because it is so helpful, important and straightforward: We’re simply placing nonperishable food items in labeled boxes. It feels amazing to see how much food we are working with! And, since we’re in the Lunch Box soup kitchen space for this activity, that familiarity makes it even more enjoyable to return to volunteer for a lunch or dinner prep or serving shift with your kids ages 10 and up, family, friends and colleagues year-round. Come be a part of this fun and important event!

Family Partnership is located at 29 Hamilton Avenue in Poughkeepsie, with easiest parking across the street on Hamilton. For more information and some photos from last year, visit To learn more about the soup kitchen, check out

Erica Chase-Salerno has unlocked Brain Mets Achievement in her Stage IV breast cancer journey, and it’s whole-brain radiation time! She can be reached at