BY MICHELLE MILLER
Field trips to The Farmers’ Museum and Fenimore Art Museum have been a tradition for generations of local schoolchildren.
To keep the tradition alive, festivities will be held this weekend to try to raise money for a fund created to assist school field trips.
This will mark the second year education staffers at the museums have teamed up to host the Heat Up the Night event.
They say the fund has benefited more than 1,500 students since 2008.
Heat Up the Night is a familyfriendly benefit with a winter carnival theme.
The event will run from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at The Farmers’ Museum at 5775 State Highway 80 in Cooperstown.
Festivities will include a fire juggler, live music, a large bonfire, games and contests.
Free drinks, including Brewery Ommegang samples, will be served with snacks, according to organizers.
Fire juggler Keith Leaf will start off the night with a show at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., 13-year-old singersongwriter and multi-instrumental musician Owen Neid will perform. Leaf will put on a second show at 7:30 p.m. in the courtyard. He will be juggling flaming rings, jump ropes and torches, according to the media release.
Indoors in the heated Louis C. Jones Center, games, food and contests will be available throughout the night.
Tickets will be $10 for adult New York State Historical Association members and $12 for nonmembers, $5 for children ages 13-18 and free for children younger than 13. To reserve tickets by phone, call education assistant for the museums Sara Evenson at 547-1461.
The goal is to help out area school districts with program funding, Evenson said.
She said field trips have been first on the chopping block for school budgets, but museums initiated the fund to help cover costs _ especially the cost of getting children to Cooperstown.
“Transporting students is very expensive,” she said.
Evenson said the initiative of Heat Up the Night is to replenish the fund. She said there is no set goal amount organizers hope to raise.
“We just want to enable more schools to be able to come and visit,” she said.
According to Associate Director of Education John Buchinger, the museums’ collections, historical sites and educators support the traditional learning activities of the classroom.
“We give students an up-close connection with art-, history- and sciencerelated topics that they may not be able to have without a visit to the museums,” he said in a media release.
According to Evenson, from September 2010 until spring, 92 school districts either visited or are scheduled to come to the Cooperstown museums. She said since 2008 about 30 schools have received some sort of support through funding.
According to the media release, funds will be made available immediately after the event. Interested schools may call 547- 1461 for details.
The Farmers’ Museum and Fenimore Art Museum are a wonderful resource right in the community, Cooperstown Central School kindergarten teacher Adrienne Lentini said in a media release.
“There is no substitute for a hands-on experience,” she said. “A virtual tour or video just isn’t the same.”