Kids’ Almanac: Dec. 14–21

2017 Hudson Valley Gingerbread Competition at Mohonk Mountain House 

“Wow, it looks just like the Mohonk ice rink!” and “It’s the Eiffel Tower!” and “Mommy, the dinosaur one’s my favorite!” Mohonk Mountain House’s second annual Gingerbread contest was a spectacular display of 73 gingerbread creations, with an incredible range of subject matter, as seen from this year’s awardees, although in my book, you “gingers” who spent so many hours constructing your exhibits are already winners! Kingston Mayor, Steve Noble, served as one of the event judges and remarked to me about the amazing talent we have here in the Hudson Valley. I asked artist Matt Maley, winner of the Adult Category, his thoughts about the process: “I have been visiting Mohonk since I was a child. Hiking the Labyrinth, rocking on the porch, and walking the grounds were like storybook narratives etched in my memories. So I knew right away that the two-story garden tower with its spiral staircase would recreate those magical moments. I started with a cardboard mock-up to make sure it would be possible to build this with cookies. I learned a lot over the past two weeks about constructing with edible materials. It was a fun and incredibly challenging project, and it was an honor to be in a competition with such creativity. There were some amazing pieces there!” One element I didn’t expect was group entries: Cadettes of Girl Scout Troop #60179, Maeve Cadabal, Caitlin Becker, and Aaliyah Ghafoor, all age 11, led by Jenn Becker, created “Make New Friends But Keep The Old,” were among the submissions. Maybe we’ll see even more troop creations next year!

Congratulations to all, and what a fantastic afternoon to kick off Mohonk Community Week, where locals can come explore the property without the regular day-use fees, although some options have a cost associated with them, so call Mohonk to learn more. Enjoy ice skating, check out the museum, explore the grounds where the trails aren’t closed, and more. Mohonk Mountain House is located at 1000 Mountain Rest Road in New Paltz. For more information, call (855) 883-3798 or visit

2017 Mohonk Gingerbread Winners 

Viewer’s Choice Award
“Ginger Harbor, Vacationland, USA” by Kevin and Jessica Brunk


Adult Category
1. “Flower Tower” by Matthew Maley
2. “Bah Humbug” by Lori Pizzoli
3. “Winter is Coming” by The Muscolino’s: George and Maryanne
Honorable Mention #1 “House of Angels” by Aniko Kocsis
Honorable Mention #2 “Sesame Street Christmas” by The Black Family: Elizabeth, Anna, Sarah, Carter and Simon

Junior Category
1. “Winter Wonderland” by Golden Bellas: Alexandra, Sabrina
2. ”The Frozen Wilds” by Chloe Hunderfund-Faoro
3. “Cantering Cook / Gingerbread Horse Farm” by Brooke Long
Honorable Mention #1 “Chaleau SOA” by Ginger Spice Girls: Shan, Orli, Ava
Honorable Mention #2 “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by The Early Settlers: Petros, Timothy,  Joshua

Mohonk Employees
1. – ”Russian Cathedral” by the Tri-Bells: Nina, Mary & Jenice
2. “Christmas Time in the City” by The Hot Toddies: Emily, Lauren, Kwan Man, Ben, Kevin & Alee
3. “Skating Pavilion” by Jennifer Yess
Honorable Mention #1 “Our Dream – Ranch in the Mountains” by Tenney Gravatt
Honorable Mention #2 “Arctic Manor” by Carmon Doyon

Area Hanukkah Happenings

Dutchess County Menorah Lightings: Free and open to all. Try some donuts or hot latkes! Friday, December 15, 3:45 p.m., Rhinebeck; Saturday, December 16, 7 p.m., Rhinebeck; Sunday, December 17, 4 p.m., Millbrook; Monday, December 18, 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (845) 876-7666, or visit, or

Hanukkah Community Candle Lighting: Remember your menorah! Friday, December 15, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Congregation Emanuel, 243 Albany Avenue, Kingston. For more information, call (845) 338-4271 extension 101, email, or visit

Unite for Light: Family celebration, and kids activities like the Up, Up and Away light and air science show! Sunday, December 17, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Poughkeepsie Galleria, 2001 South Road, Poughkeepsie. To learn more, call (845) 463-5801, email, or visit

Community Hanukkah Party: Songs, skits, dreidl, and more fun on Sunday, December 17, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beacon Hebrew Alliance, 331 Verplanck Avenue in Beacon. Geared for children. Bring your latke recipe for the tasting contest! For more information, call (845) 831-2012, email 411beaconhebrewalliance@org., or visit

Hanukkah in Israel Celebration: Learn and experience how Hanukkah happens in Israel this Sunday, December 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Temple Beth-El, 118 South Grand Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 454-0570 or visit

A Christmas Carol

Do you recall these lines from this holiday story tradition? “It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.” Here are two chances to see A Christmas Carol, as live performances bring the Charles Dickens story to life.

A Christmas Carol by The Puppet People: Saturday, December 16, 11 a.m. at The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. Tickets cost $7 for children; $9 for adults and seniors. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit To learn more about the performers, visit

A Christmas Carol by Theatre on the Road: Hear Victorian carolers, enjoy special desserts. Saturday, December 16, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Unison Arts Center, 68 Mountain Road in New Paltz. Tickets cost $45 family pack for 2 adults and 2 children; $25; $20 for members; $15 for seniors; and $10 for students. For tickets or more information, call (845) 255-1559 or visit To learn more about the performers, visit

Hands-On Decor

Gather up your crew, and enjoy a chance to personalize your holiday decorations this year!

Scouts Wreath Workshop: Saturday, December 16, 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Hyde Park Florist & Gifts, 4204 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. Open to scout groups of up to 12 participants, but call immediately so supply quantities can be assured. $25 per wreath or $20 per swag. To learn more or to set up a session for your troop, call Dawn at (845) 229-9522, email, or visit

Holiday Tablescape Centerpiece Workshop: Sunday, December 17, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Kalleco Nursery Corp., 801 Route 32 in Tillson. Create your own personalized holiday piece, and keep it for yourself or gift it to a loved one during your festivities. $30 per centerpiece includes all supplies. To reserve your spot, call (845) 658-3553 or visit, or email to

Saturday, December 16

Kwanzaa Celebration in Hudson Saturday

Keyed up for Kwanzaa? Head over to Hudson Hall this Saturday, December 16 at 3:30 p.m. for Kwanzaa: Umoja Community Celebration. Enjoy the traditions and unity of African-American culture through interactive participation about this special series of days, including arts, crafts, dancing, drumming, candle-lighting, and a celebration and sharing of Nugo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja, Unity; Kujichagulia, Self-Determination; Ujima, Collective work and responsibility; Ujamaa, Cooperative Economics; Nia, Purpose; Kuumba, Creativity; and Imani, Faith. This event is free and open to the public of all ages. Hudson Hall is located at 327 Warren Street in Hudson. For more information, call (518) 822-1438 or visit

Immigrants get the job done

As we hear in the show Hamilton: An American Musical, “Immigrants: We get the job done!” That’s not just a 2017 headline, we’re talking about our country’s roots. Hudson River Martitime Museum invites you and your family to learn more at this weekend’s program. On Saturday, December 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., discover the importance of the work of German, Irish, and Jewish immigrants who helped build the Delaware and Hudson Canal, as well as how the holidays are celebrated there today. The group will also explore the traditions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. This program is free with museum admission: $7 for adults; $5 for seniors 62 and over, and children 18 and under; $20 family rate for two adults and children under 18; and free for children 4 and under, active military with ID, and members. Hudson River Maritime Museum is located at 50 Rondout Landing in Kingston. For reservations or more information, call (845) 338-0071 or visit

Owl Pellets at Mohonk Preserve

Are your kids tired of the holiday hustle and bustle? Need something different than holiday songs, sugary carbs, and seasonal movies? How about studying some puke? Register your child now for Owl Pellets at Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center this Saturday, December 16 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Ages 5 to 12 will enjoy poking through owl pellets to find leftover bones, feathers, fur…anything that isn’t digestible by these amazing birds. This program is open to the public at a cost of $5 per child, and pre-registration is required. Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center is located at 3197 Route 55 in Gardiner. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0919 or visit


Wednesday, December 20

Nativity performances in Kingston 

Here’s a chance to catch some cattle “lowing,” action, a/k/a “mooing,” in caroling context! On Wednesday and Thursday, December 20 and 21 at Old Dutch Church yard, you have three living nativity performances to choose from on each day: 6:30 p.m.; 7 p.m.; and 7:30 p.m. The event takes place outside, but you can fortify yourself with the 3-Big-C available refreshments: candy canes, cookies, and cocoa. This event is free and open to the public of all ages. Dress up in character and join in on the spiritual fun when you arrive! Old Dutch Church is located at 272 Wall Street in uptown Kingston. For more information, call (845) 338-6759 or visit

Erica Chase-Salerno is having fun with this free daily Acts of Kindness Advent calendar, have you heard about it? She can be reached at