Best Bets for 2020


By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

It may seem that the COVID-19 has canceled fun this season; however, that’s not true. Though many events have been canceled, we still have plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the season.
Here are some examples:

Pick-Your-Own Farms

They represent a terrific way to learn about agriculture, enjoy the sunshine and get some really terrific fruits and vegetables. If you pick it yourself, you can choose the very freshest produce at the peak of its flavor. Most you-pick farms also have a selection of previously picked produce if you’re not capable of picking for yourself. Farms with a market also sell local products like jams, jellies, maple syrup and baked goods. Look for a farm near you at

Community Concerts

They are still going strong in some areas. Whether it’s at a local restaurant or at the park, these concerts support local businesses and bolster civic pride. Why travel so far, when homegrown talent is right in your own backyard? Many community concerts are free, but if they’re at a business or include local vendors, support these businesses, which need your patronage now more than ever. Additionally, when attending such events, it’s a good idea to bring along your paystubs as proof of local residency, as some may offer discounts or special perks for residents.


Several fairs have been cancelled in a few counties, but as of press time (June 3), many still plan to carry on with their events and the Great New York State Fair is still happening. In addition to providing an affordable and fun family outing, fairs showcase the best produce, animals and artisans of the area. They offer young people an opportunity to showcase their farms’ animals and goods. Local vendors also market their companies at fairs. Supporting fairs with your attendance helps ensure these events continue. For more information, visit and

New York State Parks

They continue to operate, although they may have a few elements not available this year. After months of winter and several weeks of quarantine, getting into nature is just what you need. Consider trying a new recreational activity this year. Bring along a picnic and make a day of it. The New York State Parks site ( is easy to use and can help you find what’s available where. The Empire Pass ($80 for one season, $750 for life) offers unlimited daytime vehicle access to nearly every state park for a year for one price. If you want to try it without risk, see if your local library has an Empire Pass available for patrons to borrow.

Watching Fireworks

This is a quintessential summer pastime. Whether a big-time show or for a hometown carnival, it’s hard to resist oohing and aahing over the flashes of color that dazzle us from the sky. Take time to enjoy a fireworks show this year as a family. Among the fireworks shows this season are Baldwinsville (June 12); Phoenix (June 27); Ticonderoga (July 1); Watertown (July 2); Clayton and Sodus Point (July 3); Albany, Alexandria Bay, Long Lake, Old Forge, Sackets Harbor, and Schroon Lake, among others (July 4); Saratoga Springs and Wilton (July 11); Lyons (July 16); Ogdensburg and Waterloo (July 17); Syracuse (July 18); Oswego (July 23); Warrensburg (July 24); Clyde (Aug. 14); Old Forge (Sept. 6); and Lake George (Oct. 20).

Yard Sales

They aren’t just for bargain hounds. Treasure hunters can enjoy perusing the unexpected finds as well. Maybe you won’t find a Rembrandt, but you may find that gently used set of golf clubs you’ve wanted or a favorite LP album.