Our festival might be over for 2017 but here’s what happened “By the Numbers”

0 ~ Zero waste is the goal of recycling through projects like Cornell Cooperative Extension’s activity that showed how to make jewelry out of items normally thrown in the trash.

1 ~ city police squad car _TRI7291and

1 ~ city fire truck were on scene to teach kids safety tips and answer questions about the work our police officers and firefighters do. The vehicles were on “stand by” which meant if called into service, off they went, and about 3 p.m. the fire truck had to get everyone off, and sirens blaring away it went. Luckily, it was a false alarm and 10 minutes later, the fire truck was back in “business” at Kids Arts Fest!

2 ~ pianists battled with music during Dueling Pianos. Mike Purcell and Rob Aronstein tickled the ivories and imaginations. Joan Gould sponsored this activity.

2 ~ soul dancers from Howard Rivers & Company Dance, at right, wowed the crowd with their moves._TRI6917

3 ~  robot heads and
4 ~ robot bodies created by The Giordano’s provided lots of selfie fun throughout the day.

6 ~ performers with Empire State Youth Orchestra’s CHIME orchestra soothed the crowds with classical music.

6 ~ free concerts at Central Park’s Music Haven stage were promoted. “Traveling the world, one concert at a time” is their promise and they deliver.

8 ~ choreographed pieces were performed by 25 dancers from the Dance Me studio. _TRI7097

9 ~ performers provided 13 performances throughout the day.

10 ~ pieces performed by Empire State Youth Orchestra’s CHIME program.

14 ~  for the 14th century when pinatas were brought to Europe from Mexico. The New York Folklore Society helped children learn about the Aztecs’ honoring of birthdays while they crafted one of their own.

16 ~ bags of different colored tissues at the Kids Out and About table for kids to create figures.

18 ~ volunteers from Union College, Schenectady Rotary and festival friends helped to set up tables, or work with activities that needed more hands to help kids create/sculpt/paint/draw. This does NOT count the volunteers who came with each activity! .

22 ~ is the total number of “companies” that provided the much-needed financial and/or material support to put on this free festival. We cast a wide net and get wonderful support that includes the city and county of Schenectady, three banks, a law firm, a dentist and you can see the whole list along the side of this page!

23 ~ years! _TRI6894We celebrated 23 years of bringing arts, crafts and entertainment for four hours. At right are just four of those who were on the original planning committee: Karen Johnson, Eli Taub, Peggy King and Janet Hutchison.

26 ~ letters of the alphabet were celebrated at the Reading is Fundamental activity where youngsters made books and bookmarks to take home.

35 ~ individuals who provide financial support to keep the activities free. Please see complete list along the side.

40 ~ square feet of collage was completed by student artists with CREATE Community Studios.

54 ~ activities _TRI6928filled the streets around City Hall and along the pedestrian walkway of Jay Street.

63 ~ Safe Child ID’s were provided through the Schenectady Sheriff Department.

65 ~ votes were cast with the League of Women Voters. The top activities: Working with Clay and Painting/drawing!

80 ~ t-shirts created at the Via Aquarium tent using a Japanese form of printing.  An untold number of paper prints were also created.

84 ~ for the basic number of yoga poses that could have been sculpted at the Capital District YMCA’s activity. _TRI6877The most common pose we saw was bridge, demonstrated by an especially limber 5-year-old, and triangle.

90 ~ minutes of puppet shows from The Puppet People.

93 ~ cakes designed for Sprinkleista Bakery’s Father’s Day cake design contest. Congratulations to 6-year-old Rhakia Atkins Jr. for his design of a robot. His design will be turned into a cake by Sarah to enjoy on Father’s Day!

106 ~ photos taken with the Smile Monster. Here’s a link to that page! 

_TRI6913120 ~ clay pinch pots created at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady table. At left, kids rolled out the clay.

154 ~ paper bag puppets created with Ragby Road puppets.

167 or so ~ cards created with the Hamilton Hill Arts Center.

187 ~ dreamers made images of what they want to be when they grow up and then facilitators from the Roarke Center in Troy helped them print that image.

_TRI6800193 ~ structures were made with large Lincoln Logs at the Habitat for Humanity/Women Build area. Who knows what architecture careers might have started on a sunny day in June?

200 ~ revolutions per minute is about the fastest speed Robert Carreau of the Schenectady Jewish Community Center used for the pottery wheel _TRI7311display. Most of the time it was much slower and kids who wanted to get messy could touch the clay as it moved around. Bob controlled the speed with a foot pedal.

200 + ~ decorative bags created with help from the American Association of University Women.

254 ~ pounds is what the RB Starlite plane _TRI6950weighs. Empire State Aerosciences Museum brought the plane for kids to climb in throughout the day. The plane can reach speeds up to 90 miles per hour.

260 ~ temporary tattoos were applied courtesy of Tattoo Blues!

314 ~ seeds were planted at the Planned Parenthood booth. _TRI7298Beans, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, cosmos and sunflowers donated by Faddegon’s Nursery went into peat pots donated by Curtis Lumber to go right into gardens and pots at home.

319 ~ basil plants were transplanted at the ARC of Schenectady horticulture bus. That’s a LOT of pesto!

1,250 ~ squares of toilet paper (that’s an estimate) used in the restrooms at City Hall. Thanks so much to Mayor Gary McCarthy, City Clerk Chuck Thorne and the city employees who helped us throughout the day.

2018 ~ Yep, we are already planning for the June 2 festival next year.

2,500 ~ thank yous to the Schenectady county Legislature. We could not put this festival on without their support.

3,246 ~ cardboard tubes were donated to create robots with Schenectady Recycles.

9,000 ~ steps! That’s how many steps were recorded by Fran Giordano’s pedometer during the festival.

93,000,000 ~ Yes, that’s 93 million for  how many miles into space kids could see through the telescope_TRI6812 that The Dudley Observatory at miSci brought for kids to see the sun safely.  Neil and Jane Golub sponsored this activity.

Don’t hold us to this last number. We were told:_TRI6839

1 billion ~ or so bubbles were created at the MVP outreach vehicle. At least that’s what these two kids said when asked how many bubbles they thought there were! About a billion bubbles sounds good to us!  MVP sponsored the Puppet People performances and brought the bubbles and a chalk zone for the day.

In case you missed it, below is an article reported by Daniel Fitzsimmons and printed in the June 4 issue of the Daily Gazette.

Jay Street from State Street to the front of City Hall was alive on Saturday with the sounds of hundreds of children and their families enjoying the annual Schenectady Kid’s Arts Festival.

This year’s theme was centered on robots, and there was no shortage of things to do. From festival favorites like face-painting and balloon animals to arts and crafts activities like making robot collages and pinatas.

“This is our 23rd year, we have 54 groups and nine different performances,” said organizer Betsy Sandberg with the ElectriCity Arts District, which hosted the event. “Everything here is really based on arts education principles, or they’re non-profits looking to get the word out — as long as they have an arts activity.”

Sandberg said ElectriCity Arts District is the non-profit arm of Proctors. The festival is free to attend and for non-profits to set up a booth. The group will also reimburse non-profit organizations for art supplies, she added.

“This really started because nobody came downtown,” said Sandberg. “Downtown was a ghost town.”

That was in 1994, when Eli Taub conceived of the idea to hold an arts festival.

“It hasn’t really changed all that much,” said Taub. “This year we have a much different mix of groups, but this is my original concept. To have arts for kids, especially hands-on arts activities.”

Taub said the festival exposes many kids to arts and crafts, “things they love to do. To watch the kids have fun, it’s heaven. It’s real community stuff.”

One of the participants this year was Brooke Dempsey, 14, of Niskayuna, who performed with her dance class at Dance Me School of Dance and Character Development.

“It was really fun, we’re used to performing but not in this setting,” said Dempsey. “Everyone was supportive and it’s nice to do these things.”

Chloe and Stella Martin, 5-year-old twins from Niskayuna, attended the festival with their mother and schoolmate, Giovanna Marchese, also 5.

“I made a t-shirt, I put a starfish and fishes on it,” said Chloe.

Stella said she liked making pinatas.

“And I made a bracelet from a violin string,” she said.

Marchese said she also liked making a pinata, which was light pink. She said it would go in her room at home. Her hands were spotted with paint from various activities throughout the day.

Jason Hanna has brought his daughters, ages 5 and 8, to the arts festival for the last three years.

“They look forward to it all year, they love doing all the crafts,” Hanna said.

Natalie Klein-Raymond, the arts education coordinator for the non-profit Arts Center of the Capital Region, said the Schenectady festival is a great way to inform the public about her group’s programs at no cost.

“It’s great because we have a lot of camps, and a lot of scholarships to our camps, and we’re looking to get the word out,” she said, adding that the arts center has attended the kid’s art festival for the past two years.

Madelyn Thorne has volunteered with ElectriCity Arts District for the past five years, and said its true value is found in bringing the community out to downtown Schenectady to enjoy the city and each other.

“It brings people together with different talents, different backgrounds, and shows them how fun it can be, how great Schenectady is,” she said.”

Thorne added that everyone involved in the festival does so on a volunteer basis, and that it’s a lot of work and fundraising throughout the year.

“But when you come out and see everyone having fun and giving back, it’s all worth it,” she said. “At a time when maybe you’ve been told things aren’t going well in Schenectady, look around you — they are.”


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