Freeman Bridge Sports Bike Shop and Cornerstone Community Church are sponsoring a Community Safety Day tomorrow, Saturday the 31st from 10am-12pm.  I wouldn't call a two-hour event a 'day', but it may be worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood of the Fairfield Hotel in the Malta Commons (Saratoga Village Blvd right of Exit 12).  There will be a bounce house, cotton candy, free bike tune-ups, police and fire department demos (my son would be all over this), a crash machine and as the flier says "much more".  I'm not sure how much more they can fit into a two-hour safety day, but I may have to swing by and find out!  

I've said this before, but random events like this are what make having kids so much fun.  I wouldn't have dreamed of attending Community Safety Day back in my single, minus kids days, but to kill an hour on a Saturday doing something free in my own community is totally appealing.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone and I'll be back on Monday!
Turning Point Parade
This weekend in Schuylerville is the 16th annual Turning Point Parade and festival.  The parade is on Sunday, August 1st at 1pm, but Saturday there will be events starting at 10am.  Apparently this parade is pretty impressive and is one of the largest in Upstate NY.  It lasts for an hour and a half and features 15 musical groups and over 100 other marching units. 

The festival on Saturday/Sunday includes carnival rides, entertainment, horse rides, craft vendors, food, the parade on Sunday at 1pm, and a fireworks display on Sunday evening.  It will take place in Fort Hardy, which is off of Route 29.  It's only 15 minutes outside of Saratoga so definitely doable.  Sounds like it will be a lot of fun.  We'll definitely make it at some point this weekend and you should too!

Gavin Park
Gavin Park is located in Wilton off of exit 15.  You'll turn left off the exit heading towards downtown Saratoga and turn right at the second light onto Gick Road.  Take Gick Road for a couple miles and turn right onto Lewis Road and that's the entrance to Gavin Park.  The park is a huge complex with well-maintained fields, courts, pavilions, a gymnasium and a nice playground.  There's tons of parking, bathrooms, and the pavilion right near the playground has vending machines for soft drinks.  I've never actually been inside the gym, but it looks nice from the outside.  

Where's the picture of the playground?  Two reasons I don't have it.... my camera was extremely low on batteries AND the were running a day camp program while we visited so it was nearly impossible to get picture without including day camp participants = creepy.  While Gavin Park is really nice, your bet bet is to avoid it during the day (9am-3pm) Monday-Friday until August 13th because of the day camp.  There were tons of rowdy kids and hollering counselors when we went, and my son was a bit too overwhelmed to enjoy it.  The playground equipment is very nice and fairly new, and there are swings, a sandbox, and a few different playground options for kids of all ages.  I know that Saratoga Mama sometimes has meet-up events at this park and they seem to like it.  Overall Gavin Park is another great playground option.  I'm sure they have programs for little one's in the fall, so I will definitely look into it and post anything of interest. 
Check out some of the other local Parks & Playgrounds!  

Free concerts galore!
On Wednesday you'll have yet another chance to groove with The Zucchini Brothers!  There are two performances taking place at the Saratoga Library.  One is from 11-11:45am, and the other is from 1-1:45pm.  They are indoor concerts and will be held in the Dutcher Community Room on the first floor.  You don't need to register in advance but there will be limited seating.  They are advertising this as a 3 and older event but I don't think they'll ID at the door (haha).  

In the evening in Clifton Park, the Performing Arts Family Series (a Wednesday night series) is presenting a kids magic and comedy show by Joey D.  The event starts at 7pm at Clifton Commons, off of Vischer Ferry Road.   

Free Movies!
I'm a little late to the game on this post, but Regal Cinema is offering free summer movies rated G or PG on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Movies start at 10am on Tuesday and Wednesay and tickets and seating are first come, first served and are limited to theatre capacity.  This week at Regal Cinema in Clifton Park Center you can see Arctic Tale or Shrek The Third. 

Here's the complete schedule:
7/27 - 7/28   Arctic Tale (G)  Shrek The Third (PG)
8/03 - 8/04   Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (G)  Barnyard (PG)
8/10 - 8/11  Tale of Despereaux (G)  Igor (PG)
8/17 - 8/18  Doogal (G)  Bratz (PG)
8/24 - 8/25  Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G)

Sydney, Stef and Robby ride the Ferris Wheel
Ahhh, the fair.  There's nothing quite like it.  The smells wafting from the animal tents greeted us as my friend and I paid our $8 admission to get in.  Kids under 52 inches are free by the way.  One of the first things you can see upon your paid admission is an opportunity to feed a tiger or lion.  I'm not sure how much it was, but you hold a piece of meat on a long skewer through the cage and the lion/tiger comes and eats.  Fantastic fun, and only at the fair.  Next door in the Farmer's Market tent you can ooh and ah over blue ribbon squash, giant tomato plants, second place blueberries and so on.  Walk in any direction and find a food vendor tempting with treats like fried pickles, souvlaki, frozen cheesecake, and your standard cheese fries, cotton candy, fried dough and so much more.  This ain't no mall food court people, this is straight-up fair cuisine and it doesn't get any better.  I don't care how much food you bring in for you and your family, you WILL buy food at the fair.  For that matter, you are almost guaranteed to spend more money at the fair than you had anticipated.  There's something in the air at the fair that keeps you reaching for your wallet.

The rides are a big draw, but also cost quite a lot of money; 3 tickets minimum per rider/$1 per ticket.  The more tickets you purchase the cheaper it is though.  A very kind ride operator gave my friend's baby and my son Robby a free ride on the ferris wheel.  Since I was "disabled" (pregnant) I couldn't ride... darn.  It was more fun waiting down below and watching the look on the kids' faces when the operator stopped them exactly at the top to let on more riders.  The kids did great though!  Speaking of rides, there are lots of rides that parents (non-pregnant mama's) can go on with little one's.

Tips if you go.  For some reason it always feels 10 degrees warmer at the fair, so dress accordingly.  If your kids are stroller-friendly, a jogging stroller is best because it's mostly a dirt terrain.  I saw lots of babies in front carriers which seemed to work well.  No real accommodations for diaper changes/nursing, so definitely plan ahead for that.  It's an experience for sure.  Wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of water or Gatorade or you'll be stuck buying stuff!  Definitely bring snacks, but also some cash to buy fair-exclusive food.             

You could end up with a stomach ache, a giant stuffed animal, filthy hands/feet, heat exhaustion, pictures of cows, a souvenir mug, cowboy boots, goldfish, or all of the above.  You will end up with great memories and at least a few fair 'war' stories. 

You may be feeling a bit indifferent about the Saratoga Racetrack opening for the season on Friday, July 23rd, but you can at least take advantage of the free activities around town during Hats Off to Saratoga, this Friday and Saturday.  The music festival takes place Friday and Saturday night from 7pm-11pm.  I know that's a bit late for the kids, but even to stay for an hour and hear some of the bands up and down Broadway is a fun experience.  Here's a link to the music and locations.   

It's also Parents' Night Out at the Saratoga Children's Museum on Friday, July 23rd.  For $15 you can drop your kiddo off from 4-7pm.  Price includes projects, pizza and play!  Pre-registration and pre-payment are required so you'll have to get there today to register.  

Who could forget about the Saratoga County Fair taking place all weekend!! 

Thursday is a big day for free concerts!  At 11am-11:45am in Congress Park, the Saratoga Library is hosting a free concert in the park called Old Time Family Dance with Peter, Paul and George.  The concert will take place near The Arts Center or in case of rain, in the library's Dutcher Community Room (first floor).  You'll learn traditional folk dances and singing games from around the world with Peter Davis, Paul Rosenberg and George Wilson. A variety of instruments will be played.  This is free fun for all ages with no registration required. 

In the evening, you can catch Marty Wendell, a folk/rock singer-songwriter at 6:30pm at the Malta Community Center, or the Red Haired Strangers in BSpa's Wiswall Park at 6pm.  I have to say, it's a good thing I had the Malta concert on my calendar because there is absolutely NO information on their website about it.  The Parks and Rec Event Calendar is completely blank!  This stuff drives me crazy because you can bet next year they'll cancel the concert series due to poor attendance.  Ok, I'll stop being a hater now.  Enjoy the tunes!  

On Wednesday, July 21st, the first installment of Clifton Park's Performing Arts Family Series kicks off with a performance by local faves and super kid-friendly The Zucchini Brothers.  The concert starts at 7pm and takes place at Clifton Commons on Vischer Ferry Road in Clifton Park.  Bring your family, snacks and lawn chairs and enjoy a fun free family concert!  

Sticking with the zucchini theme, here's a link to my favorite zucchini recipe: zucchini blueberry bread.  Picking fresh blueberries would make this recipe even more delicious!  Where to pick?  Check out this list of local farms and call first to make sure they still have blueberries. 

Saratoga County Fair
Before I get into the fair nitty gritty, I wanted to share a great bargain that Albany Mommy posted about... Entertainment books on clearance for $5 each!  They expire on November 1st, but here are just a few things I've used mine for:  Buy one get one admission to Saratoga Children's Museum ($7 savings), Buy one get one free Ben and Jerry's ice cream ($3 savings), Buy one menu item get one free at Virgil's House, McDonald's and Moe's coupons, and lots more.  It's worth it!  

Moving on to the Saratoga County Fair starting Tuesday, July 20th and ending on Sunday, July 25th.  Hours are from 9am - midnight.  General admission on Tuesday-Thursday is $8 for adults and kids under 52" are always free.  Friday-Sunday adults are $10.  There's a ton of stuff going on at the fair.  It can be fun to just go and check it out, but if you're into planning, here's a list of daily schedules as PDF's you can download and choose the activities that suit you and your family (if any!).  The fair can be hot, overwhelming and sketchy at times.  But it's a whirlwind of sights, sounds, food, rides, entertainment, animals, pagents, and all things that make it so irresistible.  (Did I mention fried dough?)  
A jogging stroller or baby carrier is your best bet for transporting little one's.  Best times to go are mid-week (early in the day) or later in the evening when the temperatures are hopefully cooler.