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Fourth of July Celebrations

We here in the Capital Region have lots of reasons to celebrate the Fourth of July: The region is, after all, the home of Uncle Sam, and the capital of the state of New York. . . . And who doesn’t love to see fireworks popping in the air after a long day of BBQ and fun? We’ve compiled a list of things to do this long holiday weekend; as a preface, we can pretty much guarantee that all of these events will include fried food, events for the kids, live entertainment, and fireworks.

At Freedom Park in Scotia tomorrow (Friday, July 1), watch the fireworks (9:15 PM) after the Pipekings perform at 8 PM. For more information, call 370-0662. On Saturday (July 2), the Big Apple Circus comes to Saratoga Raceway in Saratoga Springs (proceeds benefit the Double H Ranch). Call 696-5921 for more information. Also on Saturday, see antique steamboats and steam engines, historic tugs, and Coast Guard vessels at the Waterford Steamboat Meet on the Canal front in Waterford; the event will feature a clam steam at 5 PM and fireworks at 8 PM (call 233-9123). To the east, the Berkshires Arts Festival (at Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, Mass.) will feature 185 world-class art exhibits, demonstrations, gourmet foods and live entertainment. Admission is $9, $8 seniors, $5 students, children under 10 free; a weekend pass will run you $12. Call (800) 834-9437 or visit www.berk for hours. At the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Sunday (July 3), enjoy a family-oriented festival: Bring the kids to enjoy the climbing wall, amusement and pony rides. Of course, live entertainment and fireworks will be the highlight of this $5 (children under 3 free) event. Call 392-2121.

Head north to Vermont, where the fireworks are happening in Wilmington on the 3rd (at Baker’s Field; festivities start at 6 PM, fireworks at 9:15 PM) and Wardsboro on the 4th (the old-fashioned street festival starts at 9 AM; call 802-464-8092 for events in both towns). Also on Monday will be fireworks over Lake George at 9:30 PM, and a Fourth of July parade in Pittsfield, Mass., at 10 AM.

In strip-mall city (aka Clifton Park), the July 4 celebration will feature arts and crafts and live entertainment, a parade at noon and fireworks in the evening (call 371-6667 for more information). Also on July 4, An Old-Fashioned Family Fourth of July at Clermont State Historic Site (1 Clermont Ave., Germantown) will be the place to enjoy 18th-century music, children’s games and entertainment, an encampment of Revolutionary War reenactors, character interpreters in the Livingston mansion and traditional picnic fare. The evening will conclude with the Saugerties fireworks display across the Hudson River from Clermont (this event is $7 and starts at 2 PM; call 537-4240).

And of course, last but definitely not least (in fact, this local event usually draws the most Fourth of July festivalgoers annually), the Price Chopper Fabulous Fourth Festivities (Empire State Plaza, Albany) features food, crafts, entertainment and—you guessed it!—fireworks. The featured musical lineup includes Spyro Gyra (pictured), Radio Disney’s Teddy Geiger and local faves Jocamo. Festivities take place from 4 to 10 PM; for more information, call 473-0559.

New York City Ballet

We almost lost ’em. In fact, if Herb “l’etat c’est moi” Chesbrough and the old SPAC board had their way, we would have. Instead, we can all look forward many summers of the New York City Ballet at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

That is, if we donate enough money and fill enough seats. You have an opportunity to do the latter this week, as the NYCB opens its 40th season at SPAC. (You can always do the former; call SPAC anytime for details on how to give.) The season opens Tuesday (July 5) with a performance of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set to Mendelssohn’s famous incidental music for Shakespeare’s play. On Wednesday (July 6), three choreographies, including Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto (pictured), will be featured. Both performances are at 8:15 PM.

The New York City Ballet’s season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs) begins Tuesday (July 5) and continues through July 23. Tickets range from $59-$15 (lawn). For reservations and information, call 587-3330 or visit

Dave Cole: The Knitting Machine

When you think of things to do on Independence Day, the first thing that probably comes to mind is watching an elaborate fireworks display. Patriotic and veterans groups, however, usually remind folks that having fun is great, but that flying a U.S. flag is just as important. Usually, the bigger the flag, the better.

The flag that installation artist Dave Cole will be creating over the next few days at MASS MoCA will certainly be “bigger.” If you visit the museum anytime this weekend, you will see two John Deere excavators fitted with two 20-foot-long knitting needles, knitting away. The projected result will be a necessarily oversized American flag, which will then be folded, as per protocol and tradition, into a triangle and then placed on display in a case about the size of a VW Beetle.

The “knitting” part of The Knitting Machine, as the installation is titled, will begin today (Thursday) and continue through Sunday, when the giant flag will be folded and displayed. Cole has two other related exhibitions at MASS MoCA, too: Memorial Flag (Toy Soldiers), a large flag crafted, as advertised, from toy soldiers, and The Evolution of the Knitting Needle Through Modern Warfare. (We’re not telling what that’s about. See for yourself.)

Dave Cole’s multipart exhibition opens today (Thursday, June 30) at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, Mass.) and continues through September. For gallery house and more information, call (413) 662-2111.

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