Family Fun at the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival June 29th & 30th

jazzThis Saturday and Sunday the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival is coming to Saratoga! The Jazz Festival is one of SPAC’s largest events and one of the longest running Jazz festivals in the country and over the past 36 years, more than half a million fans have attended. At the festival, it’s all about the “the hang”! A sea of colorful tents and umbrellas is a signature of this event, as people celebrate, picnic, relax and enjoy exhilarating, live music. A festival feast of southern-style barbeque, international specialties as well as beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are available for sale and guests are welcome to bring in food, beverages and tents and the parking is free. Music starts at noon both days and the festival is very kid and family friendly. Tickets start at just $55 (lawn/general admission) and kids are free on the lawn!

While listening to music as a family is certainly enjoyable, some real benefits are seen when children participate by singing, playing, or dancing. Children who are actively involved in music have better focus, concentration and control of their bodies. Their ability to set goals and cooperate with others improves. And they are more likely to do better in reading, math and science. That's because music helps build reasoning skills and cognitive development.  Children who are involved in music also tend to have better peer relationships, higher self-esteem and are more likely to do well on their SATs and attend college.

But the best reason to enjoy music, whether onstage or from the audience, is that it’s fun! Early school years are a great time to expose your child to a wide array of music, from classical to country – and certainly jazz.

Also special at this year’s festival is that it's the 100th Anniversary of Freihofer’s Baking Company, the title sponsor of the festival since 1998, so there will be giveaways of its famous chocolate chip cookies throughout the festival, and fireworks on Saturday night to celebrate!

A great way to do Jazz Fest with kids is to hang with other families, built in play dates on the lawn! Pack some bubbles, some glow in the dark jars (make some here), some pillows for firework watching later on, and some fun kids snacks in the picnic basket and connect those picnic blankets for an epic family hang! Stop by Putnam Market and pick up some great sandwiches (the Victoria is my favorite). While you're relaxing on the lawn listening to the jazz, sip on the BEST summer cocktail around, Pimm's Cup. If you haven't tried it yet, you must. It's a summer classic that would be perfect on the lawn at SPAC, and is nice and light. Mix it with as much sparkling lemonade as you'd like, some people throw strawberries in there but I prefer it sans fruit. You're going to love it. Now, here are my top picks for the best Jazz Fest family picnic...