Monday, November 30, 2009

Musical Madrigal Dinner

Here's a little mid-week fun: There will be a Musical Madrigal Dinner Dec 1 2009, at 6pm at the United Methodist church at 66 Chestnut Street in Oneonta, NY. The event features a royal holiday celebration, four course meal, chamber music and madrigal singers. Reservations recommended: call 607-431-4800 or email Cost: $60/family of four; $25 adult; $20 senior/student; $10 under 16 yrs. This event will benefit Nurses Without Borders and Jamaica School Mission Project.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Mission

It's been just a little over a year since our then small team went public with our dream to found a children's museum in Oneonta. We sold baked goods, took signatures, and met the public at The Grand and Glorious Garage Sale on Main Street. Soon after, we started planning Paintfest! which was a success by all accounts. Since then it's been a wild ride, from New Year's Eve activities, to Science Saturdays, Books Alive, the Ice Cream Social in Wilber Park, even our first exhibit, Trains! Trains! Trains! At some point, we chose our name: Oneonta World of learning (OWL). This month, The Cooperstown Graduate Program students are going to present the result of a semester long research project toward the development of our master plan. It's hard to believe that our Second Annual Paintfest! has now come and gone.

There's so much work ahead, it can feel overwhelming, yet the journey thus far has already changed my life. My job as a Java programmer is a direct result of web programming classes I took just so I could help out with OWL. More than that, I've grown more capable both as a parent and an individual. My kids have been on stage, made phunny putty, sprouted beans, created taleidoscopes, and shared a world's worth of experiences that would never have happend without my involvement in this project.

Just the same, this is a good time to regroup and restate our mission:

A children’s museum is not a museum in the classic sense. Exhibits are meant to be hands on, with engaging, kid-friendly activities. In The Children’s Museum at Oneonta, we will provide children and those who care for them with an interactive and engaging environment for exploration. Visitors will gain an understanding of their place in the local community and subsequently the global community through hands-on, minds-on discoveries.

We envision a world where children will grow to be creative, confident, and caring members of society by discovering the essential components of community. Children will become active problem-solvers through invention and guided play. Far from being controlled play, guided play simply means that a minimum of inspiration, ideas, or parameters will be provided to engage children’s interest in an activity.

There, I've said it! And I'm focused once again on the goal.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yes, I am posting this week--

I fell asleep while putting the kids to bed last night. Needless to say, I didn't get an events posting together on time. So tonight, in a leap of faith, I helped the boys take apart their little foam disk gun. We even got the tiny little motor apart. I was able to look up the events info for the rest of the weekend while they played with the spare parts. Here goes:

Wassailing Weekends continue at the Fly Creek Cider Mill.

11 am Sat Nov 21 Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on a horse drawn wagon during the Main Street Oneonta Holiday Parade. Candy, floats, a fire truck, jugglers and more! Parade starts on Elm St. and turns onto Main St. to Chestnut St. extension. From noon-3pm, visit Santa for free at his cottage in the downtown plaza. And from noon-1:30pm, Mrs. Claus reads stories at The Green Toad Bookstore, Main Street Oneonta.

Family Fun Day is from 1-3pm on Nov 21 at the Wilber Mansion, visit

Also Sat is the Preparing for Winter children's program at the Rogers Conservation Center.

Dairy Farm tours are available this Saturday, details at the chamber of commerce.

Sun Nov 22nd is Decorating Day in Cooperstown.

Sun 22 Nov: Crafts, kids activities, dress up, story telling and more when Families Explore the Victorian Era in Corning.

This one is not for little kids, but having seen the play last weekend, I'd like to recommend seeing A Nice Family Gathering in Worchester (Sat evening or Sun matinee).

Looking ahead:

Holiday Train of lights Nov 29th.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Many thanks to our sponsors

Your generosity has made this event a success!

First and foremost, to The Arc Otsego, who co-sponsored this event and provided the building, many thanks for rolling out the red carpet for us. You go above and beyond the call.

Secondly, to our many, many volunteers: sometimes time is the most precious gift you can give. Thanks for sharing yours.

Special thanks to Zena Gurbo, Solveig Comer and Susan Miller for the magnificent (and free) workshops.

And thankyou to our local principals Mr. Cook, Mrs. Murdock, and Mrs. Shea (stunt double), and especially to the 'winner,' Mr. Baskin, for your willingness to let us paint you.

Our many additional sponsors provided funding, services or materials for t-shirts, paint, paint brushes, paper, snacks, marbles, pizza boxes, pizzas, parking spaces, shuttle services and much, much more:

Five Star Subaru
A&D Transportation Services
Amazable Science Adventures
Bella Michael's
Catskill Mountain Embroidery & Screenprinting
Central New York Radio Group
The Country Cubby
Dr. Carolyn Chryst
The Daily Star
Emily & Jerry Dudek
Hearths a'Fire
Country Club Automotive Group
Holmes Financial Group
Hometown Oneonta
Latte Lounge
NYCM Insurance
Schuman B-Line Moving & Storage
Sissy's Little Lambs Children's Center
Sport Tech
Towne Flooring & Kitchens
Tri-County Glass Co.
Visionary Baths & More
VSH Contractors
Unadilla Laminated Products
Raphael Web Photography

I should go on and thank the many OWL regulars, who attend planning meetings, try to stay awake through board meetings, prepare riveting documents such as 501(c)3 applications, and somehow manage to pull off fantastic events like this one! You are the best and it is truly my priveledge to be counted among you.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I not only survived Paintfest,

I really enjoyed it! I will extend my many thanks tomorrow, but tonight I wanted to share a little feedback from one of our participants:
I just wanted to let you know that Paintfest this year was a wonderful event! We had a great time last year, but the few improvements this year made it even better!!!

The pizza boxes were an awesome idea as was the snack section with the painted
cookies! [The pizza boxes were to carry home your wet artwork in.] That was actually my son's favorite part, although he enjoyed all the various painting activities! The t-shirts were a great bonus as well!

I just wanted to write you a quick note to let you know that it was a great event, one that we continue to look forward to every year! Thanks for all of your hard work!
I thought it went well, too, but it means so much to hear it from others. Good work team!

Friday, November 13, 2009

And the winner is...

Mr. Baskin of Valley View! Of the 3,057 votes cast, 1,554 votes went to him! Mr. Cook of Center Street got 1,294 votes.
Thanks go to Mr. Baskin and Mr. Cook as well as Mrs. Shea (a stunt double for Mr. Rabler) and Mrs. Murdock, who all volunteered to enter our contest. Mr. Baskin will be painted by the attendees at Paintfest this weekend. Details are at

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The weekend

Now through Nov 15th, A Midsummer Night's Dream at Hartwick, call 607-431-4227 for info.

Fri Nov 14th The Pumpkin Pie Show at Foothills.

Fri and Sat Nov 14-15, The Catskill Symphony Orchestra performs at the SUNY Hunt Union Ballroom, Oneonta.

Sat Nov 14th, Paintfest! 10am-2pm 63 LOWER River St in Oneonta: Washable fun for the whole family (free - $5 donation appreciated). No registration necessary for the ten different painting activities. There's still plenty of room in the workshops (painting pottery, print making and family collage). Details, directions and registration for workshops at

This Saturday: Wassailing Weekends begin at the Fly Creek Cider Mill.

Sun Nov 15th, Singing Boys of Pennsylvania, 4-6pm, St. Andrew's Church, 40 S. Main St, New Berlin NY.

Looking ahead:

Thursday Nov 19th, Main Street Oneonta is presenting a holiday ornament workshop!

12-4pm Nov 20, Photos with Santa at Party Perfect, Clinton Plaza, Oneonta, For info: 432-2180,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paintfest registration

Registration for Paintfest workshops (Sat Nov 14th!!!) is now available on our website There are tons of open activities as well, for which registration is not necessary.

There have now been 1,714 votes cast in our Paint Your Principal contest! Mr. Cook of Center Street pulled well into the lead on Friday, but going into Monday morning, Mr. Baskin of Valleyview is ahead once again. Riverside or Greater Plains students could still turn this around! Vote early, vote often :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

The weekend (can't wait!)

Fri Nov 6th at Foothills -- Ukranian Eggs: Terrible Tales (might not be appropriate for little kids, but check it out).

Hanford Mills Museum presents boiler and steam engine operation workshops both Friday and Saturday.

Sat Nov 7th "Night at our museum" -- the Fenimore Art Museum

Oneonta community blood drive is Sat at 333 Main St, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. Sponsor: Main Street Baptist Church, 8:30am - 1:30pm.

Also Sat, 10am is a Wolf Program at the Rogers Environmental Center.

Sun Nov 8th Benefit for the Oneonta Theatre -- 24 bands! At 47 Chestnut Street, 10am-10pm. At 3pm the Oneonta Community Concert Band will present a Salute to Veterans.

Looking Ahead:

The next two Thursdays, Nov 12th and 19th, Main Street Oneonta is presenting holiday ornament workshops!

Workshop registration for Paintfest is now available! Register online at, email or call Andrea 607-433-0160. By the way, Mr. Cook of Center Street, in a remarkable turn of events, is now well in the lead of Mr. Baskin of Valleyview in the paint your principal 'contest.' Riverside and Greater Plains will have to get busy voting! Remember, vote as many times as you like!

My new favorite local website:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mr. Baskin is in the lead!!!

The votes are coming in from Oneonta elementary students! The principal with the most votes will be painted at Paintfest November 14th.

So far, Mr. Baskin of Valleyview is leading the pack with 60% of the votes! Mrs. Shea of Greater Plains (a talented stunt double) is second with only 17% of the vote, with Mrs. Murdock of Riverside on her heals at 16%. Mr. Cook of Center Street is trailing behind. However, this is still anyone's game! Vote as often as you like to make up the difference! Cast your ballot by following the link on

Many thanks to Mayor John Nader, who volunteered to be painted at our first Paintfest in 2008. Good luck in your new endeavors (don't forget to vote tomorrow too, grownups!).