Can you believe summer is almost here? With temperatures reaching the high eighties, it’s not a stretch to imagine. And that means there’s no time like the present to start thinking about summer vacations.
To help you plan, we have 99 things to do with kids in New York, a regional guide to renaissance fairs, and a calendar of local fairs and festivals.
Table of Contents
Things To Do In New York
And for even more ideas, check out these suggestions from the New York State Department of Tourism.
Known as the sailing tradition of Lake Champlain, the Mayor’s Cup Regatta returns July 9th as the signature event of the popular four-day summer festival in Plattsburgh. Attracting sailboats from throughout the northeast and Quebec, racers face a “no guts, no glory” competition established in 1978 and celebrated for its spirited fun and, sometimes, high-seas adventure. When skippers, who compete around the world, claim Lake Champlain as “sailing at its best,” we know our waterfront treasure is no fools gold. For more information, visit http://mayorscup.com/index.php or call (518) 561-4100.
For the third year in a row, the world’s best professional mountain bikers will converge on Windham Mountain from June 30 – July 1 for the Windham World Cup when the town hosts the eighth in a series of 10 World Cup events held across the globe. Windham World Cup organizers are planning many community events again this year, including cross-country and downhill racing for all levels of ability, a block party, and a concert, among other activities; all continuing previous year’s efforts to involve racers and spectators alike in celebrating the uniqueness of the Windham area. For more information, visit http://www.racewindham.com/ or call (518) 734-4700.
The Boilermaker Road Race held on July 8 in Utica is touted as the largest 15k road race in the United States. Established in 1976, the Boilermaker has been selected by Runners World Magazine and Roadrunners Clubs of America as one of the top races in the country, attracting elite runners from all over the world. For more information, visit http://www.boilermaker.com/ or call (315) 797-5838.
Move over Iron Man, Centurion Cycling comes to New York. On June 22-24 Centurion New York, a series of 25, 50, and 100 mile bike races/rides, as well as team and individual time trials, begins in the beautiful Village of Lake George, one of the nation’s most storied tourist destinations and home to the “Queen of American Lakes.” This cycling journey will take you through some of the most picturesque roads and mountain scenery in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. Then continue your exploration on August 17 -19 in picturesque Ellicottville – it’s like driving straight into a postcard! Ellicottville possesses small-town charm and a large appetite for adventure, while the four mountain faces of Holiday Valley Resort test skiers and cyclists alike. Visit www.centurioncycling.com or call 608-467-2914.
Food & Wine
STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL 2012 IS ON! In its 32nd year, the Owego Strawberry Festival is filled with entertainment, food, craft artisans, activities, the Strawberry parade, strawberry shortcakes, wine tasting, and anything else strawberry that you can imagine. The Festival brings in more than 20,000 visitors each year but Owego manages to keep its small town country flavor. Mark your calendars forJune 15 and 16.Visit http://owegostrawberryfestival.com/ or call 1-800-671-7772.
Over 50 restaurants, seven wineries, and 450,000 invited guests gather in downtown Buffalo to enjoy “fun by the forkful” in one of the region’s signature events, Taste of Buffalo. Presented by TOPS grocery, Taste of Buffalo is the largest two-day food festival in the United States and will take place this year from July 7-8. For more information, visit http://www.tasteofbuffalo.com.
Indulge in a taste of history with a Wine and Cheese Extravaganza at the Pioneer Oil Museum in Bolivar on June 22. Enjoy tasty food, an array of different cheeses and luxurious wines all evening long in the heart of our nation’s oldest oil-producing region. For more information, visit www.pioneeroilmuseum.com/ or call (585) 928-1752.
Belgium Comes to Cooperstown is throwing an end-of-the-world party this year with “The End is Beer,” taking place taking place August 3 – 5. Belgium comes to Cooperstown is always host to the best Belgian and Belgian Style beers in the world, and this year’s doomsday-themed celebration is no exception, featuring more than 50 breweries and importers from around the world. To learn more about this year’s sudsy celebration, visit http://www.ommegang.com/?event_view_id=260&event_view=2012-08-03&mcat=3&scat=0 or call (607) 544 1800.
Arts & Culture
The 50th Annual White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival is a free cultural event for the Hudson Valley community and guests. The two-day event takes place June 2-3, exposing visitors to the many forms of fine arts and crafts, as well as, encouraging emerging artists by providing them an opportunity to display their art in a public setting. Beginning in 1962 as a small art show featuring local painters, WPOAF and has grown into a celebrated art show attracting art enthusiasts far and wide. For more information visit http://www.whiteplainsoutdoorartsfestival.com or call (866) 210-7137.
Visitors to southwestern New York will encounter both fun and incredible learning opportunities during Chautauqua In June, a three-week learning festival, May 25 – June 17, featuring experiences in gardening, creative, cultural, and culinary arts, outdoor recreation, and history and heritage. Workshops are held across Chautauqua County, a century old destination for lifelong and vacation learning, summer camp, and creative workshops. Get in touch with your creative spirit through knitting or jewelry making, music classes, glass blowing, creative writing, comedy camp and more. Visit http://www.tourchautauqua.com/pageview.aspx?p=chautauqua-in-june-learning-festival.aspx or call (866) 908-4569.
The Allentown Art Festival takes place in the Allentown Historic Preservation District of Buffalo from June 9-10. Tens of thousands of art patrons visit the festival to enjoy the beauty of Buffalo’s weather in June, the charm and uniqueness of the Allentown area, and the celebrated quality of the art and crafts presented by the over 400 juried exhibitors. For more information, visit http://www.allentownartfestival.com/ or call (716) 881-4269.
The Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Festival in Utica runs from June 29 – July 4 and is a colorful extravaganza of live music, sidewalk art, mural painting, antique autos, and much more, not to mention the area’s longest-running summertime celebration. The Festival’s highlight attraction, the Sidewalk Art Show, returns with 200 fascinating works in a colorful array of media. Children will enjoy fun-filled artistic activities and guided tours, and illustrated talks give new insight into the museum’s art collection and exhibitions. For more information, visit http://www.mwpai.org/arts-festival/ or call (315) 797-0000.
The Long Island International Film Expo in Nassau County will be held at the Bellmore Movies from July 13–19. Past festivals have hosted from 50-155 short and feature-length independent films from all over the globe during this weeklong film festival and every genre is feted. For more information, visit http://liifilmexpo.org/sections/about.html or call (516) 571-3168.
The Finger Lakes’ 50-Mile Long Garage Sale, July 28 and 29, stretches from Montezuma on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake to Homer, where you’ll find the best bargains of summer. Enjoy the charm of upstate New York while you bargain hunt. Founded in 1988, the sale along Scenic Route 90 draws huge crowds each year and is a summer scavenger’s dream, featuring everything from antiquesand clothes to bikes, boats and books. Visit http://www.fingerlakes.com/events/50-mile-garage-sale or call (800) 859-2227.
Patriotic – All American
More than an annual town festival, The Great American Weekend has become a much anticipated Mid-Hudson Valley event. People from all over the tri-state area come for the delightful combination of Fourth of July family fun, history, racing, arts, crafts, music and entertainment taking place from June 30 – July 1. Twenty thousand people a day will stroll through the nine-acre village green that surrounds the First Presbyterian Church, inspecting the offerings at 150 craft booths, grazing their way through a culinary snackopedia and enjoying the shows from local entertainers. For more information visit http://www.goshennychamber.com/wordpress/?page_id=142 or call (845) 294-7741.
One of the largest Flag Day parades in history is held annually in Troy, the longtime home of Samuel Wilson, the inspiration for the American icon “Uncle Sam.” The Troy Flag Day Parade steps off at 1 PM this year on June 10 and follows a two-mile route running along 4th Street. For more information, visit www.visittroyny.com/ or call (518) 279-7130.
Once known as the “Summer White House,” the mansion and surrounding land of Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay belonged to Theodore Roosevelt. Now known as the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, the estate hosts an annual, free Fourth of July celebration, with a “Rough Rider” reenactment, lots of arts and crafts for the kids, free patriotic music and even a visit and speech from “Theodore Roosevelt.” For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/sahi/index.htm or call (516) 922-4788.
Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a unique and comprehensive re-creation of a 19th-century Long Island village, will host an Independence Day celebration (circa 1865). As part of the July 4 festivities, the Village will celebrate the return of Civil War veterans, the preservation of the Union and the 89th anniversary of the nation’s independence. Other activities will include traditional fiddle music, miltary drills, parades and ceremonies, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a brass band concert, an all-star “base ball” game and children’s games of the time. For more information, visithttp://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Parks/OBVRJuly4.html or call (516) 572-8400.
National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, held annually in the picturesque Central New York village of Cooperstown, is one great sports lovers weekend, celebrating America’s favorite pasttime – baseball. This year’s Midwestern theme celebrates the inductions of Cincinnati Reds great Barry Larkin and Chicago fan-favorite Ron Santo July 20 – 23. All eyes will be on Coopertown,with more than 50 Hall of Famers are expected to return to Hall of Fame Weekend. Visit http://baseballhall.org/plan-your-visit/events/hof-weekend or call 1-888-HALL-OF-FAME (425.563.3263)
The hometown of Lucille Ball celebrates the queen of comedy’s birthday with Lucy Fest, a three-day comedy festival taking place from August 1-5 in Jamestown. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/LUCY-FEST-Lucille-Ball-Comedy-Festival-Jamestown-NY/216127145076613 or call (716) 484-0800.
Air, Land and Canal Fairs
Celebrating 30 years, the Americade Motorcycle Touring Rally has become the world’s largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally. This friendly gathering of fun-loving, motorcycle enthusiasts, which is estimated to attract 50,000 to 100,000 people annually, takes place this year June 5-9. It’s a convention of tourers, sport-tourers, and cruising motorcycles, all enjoying a week-long festival of motorcycling including guided tours in the beautiful Adirondack Park. It also includes two massive trade shows with nearly 250 vendors, demos, and displays from most major motorcycle manufacturers, catered boat cruises, exclusive rodeos, stunt shows, laser shows, comedy clubs and much more. Visit http://americade.com or call (518) 798-7888.
The Great Wellsville Balloon Rally kicks off with a grand parade in downtown historic Wellsville on July 14. This is one of Western New York’s largest and best parades, heralding the mass balloon launches from Island Park July 20-22. For more information, visit http://www.wellsvilleballoonrally.com or call (585) 593-6070.
Now in its nineth year, the Rome Canalfest will take place on August 3-5 in Rome is three fun-filled days on the historic Erie Canal at Bellamy Harbor Park. The festival is a family-friendly event with constant music and entertainment, water ski show, pirate boat rides, cooking demonstrations, baking contests, youth bands, fishing derby, a 5K run & 2K kayak event, and even a duck race. There’s something for everyone from exciting rides for the kids and a classic car exhibition for the adults to cotton candy and raffles, all capped off by spectacular nightly firework displays. For more information, visit http://www.romerotaryny.org.
Alexandria Bay is home to the famous Bill Johnston’s Pirate Days, celebrating the renegade who, after the Patriots War, blew up the British steamer Sir Robert Peel and hid among the 1000 Islands, where he was hunted by both U.S. and Canadian authorities. The annual 10-day Bill Johnston’s Pirates Days celebration commemorates some of his exploits with family fun and special events. From the sword-fighting group, known as the ‘Tales from Remikreh,’ performing throughout the Village streets to the live music and entertainment, fill your senses with the sounds and spectacle of pirate ships attacking the village from the St. Lawrence River. Be sure to stop by and visit the Entertainment tent for a list of activities planned for that day. Visit http://www.visitalexbay.org/index.php/events/bill-johnstons-pirate-days/ or call 1-800-541-2110.
For a complete list of events in New York State, visit www.iloveny.com.