The Calendar: What’s Going On In Saratoga Springs For Skidmore’s Graduation Weekend

Welcome back to The Calendar, my fair Saratogians. This time of year marks the very solemn occasion when college graduates walk across a stage to receive their diploma (okay, really it’s just a sheet of paper) and then shortly thereafter enter the terrifying “real world.” Yours truly will be marching along with Pomp and Circumstance come this Saturday. I’m a little older than your average college senior (when people ask me why I’m getting my bachelors at 30, I just tell them I took a gap year that turned into a gap decade). But every soon-to-be-graduate’s first real task, before entering the real world, will be hunting down enough entertainment and fun stuff for their friends and family to do while they’re in town (not to mention finding restaurants that won’t already be overflowing with the familiars of every other recent college graduate).

So this week’s pick is the 49th Annual St. Sophia Greek Festival in Albany. Last week it was clogs and tulips, but this week New York’s Capital is going Greek, and it’s a great opportunity for all graduates and their families to get a feel for the fun and diversity of the Capital Region. Not only will there be plenty of room and parking at the festival (it’s held at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church) but, more importantly, it will also last all weekend (Friday, May 18 to Sunday, May 20). There will be continuous live Greek music and Greek dancers in traditional garb, a Greek pastry shop featuring homemade pastries, amusement rides for children, plenty of souvenir and jewelry shops, church tours, plus, did someone say free parking and shuttle service? (Yes, yes they did.) Plus, there’s a raffle with with seven different prizes: the grand prize is $5,000, and 1st prize is two round-trip airline tickets to Greece (some restrictions apply). Best of all, the Festival’s affordable: only $3 admission for adults, and children under 12 are free. What’s more college appropriate than a low-cover event with delicious food?

If Greek Festivals aren’t your thing, then check out these alternatives:

Friday, May 18

Shiri Zorn – For those family members who love jazz but don’t want to spend a bunch of money, this is a free concert of a living jazz legend. Known for her impeccable phrasing, come hear Zorn play her original renditions of jazz standards. – The Gideon Putnam, 24 Gideon Putnam Road
Seth Warden Trio & Wood Fired Pizza – To commemorate four years of delivered pizzas and dorm life, enjoy an evening of free music and fresh-cooked pies (not to mention beer and wine) at the Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room. – 462 Route 29 West, Saratoga Springs

Saturday, May 19

Saratoga Brewfest – It wouldn’t be a college graduation without at least some beer. Come out to Saratoga’s 8th Annual Brewfest. With more than 160 craft beers from 80 breweries, this year’s Brewfest promises to have enough beer for everybody. – Saratoga Polo Association, 2 Bloomfield Rd, Greenfield Center
An Evening In Spain – For those family members who are willing to spend a little more, the Wesley Foundation is celebrating its annual gala with “An Evening In Spain”: Spanish-inspired food, dance and even a photo booth. – 131 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs
Winter Raptor Fest – This two-day festival (May 19-20) is perfect for any visiting family members who may be birdwatchers or enthusiasts. Come learn about native raptors up close and personal. – Washington County Fairgrounds, Greenwich

Sunday, May 20

Justin Townes Earle – Alternative country star Justin Earle is coming to The Egg in Albany. The Nashville native is the son of famous singer-songwriter Steve Earle and has made a name of his own with his music which melds folk, blues and country. – The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany


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