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Traffic can get soooooo bad on the Grand Central Parkway! Good thing there’s a rural solution this weekend. Motorists who get off on Exit 24 and head southbound on Little Neck Parkway for a few blocks will discover the Queens County Farm Museum and its 32nd annual fair on Saturday and Sunday. This is truly a traditional county fair with blue-ribbon competitions in crafts, livestock, and produce. Other contests will include corn-husking, pie-eating, and pig-racing. Meanwhile, a Bavarian garden will host live music, and attendees won’t have to mosey for a long time to take a hay ride, explore the Amazing Maize Maze, pet some farm animals, or check out an adopt-a-worm booth.

Details: 32nd Annual Queens County Fair, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, September 20th and September 21st, 11 am to 6 pm, $9/$5 for children under 13.

Photos: Queens County Farm Museum

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It’s scary how many Halloween-related festivals will take place in Queens over the next 10 days. On tap are everything from costume contests (for humans and dogs, of course), haunted houses, enchanted walks and Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Here is a list of some of the free or low-cost fun.

Oct. 25, See It Big!, 7 pm, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria. Despite the availability of movies on portable devices and small screens, there is only one way to really see a scary movie: BIG! Enjoy the 1978 Halloween classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis. Free with MMI admission ($6-$12).

Oct. 25, 26 & 27, Halloween Haunted House, 4 pm-7 pm, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park. Hayrides, mulled cider, pumpkins and apples. The haunted house is recommended for children ages 4–12. Adults will find it creepy too! $4 with purchasable items.

Oct. 25 & 26, Haunted Lantern Tour, 6:30-8:30 pm, Fort Totten, 212th Street and Bell Boulevard, Bayside. Urban Park Rangers will lead a nighttime tour of the Civil War-era bastion’s battery. Expect frights mixed in with a history lesson.

Oct. 26, Second Annual Woodside Halloween Pet Parade and Festival, 11 am-2 pm, Windmuller Park, 52nd Avenue and 39th Drive. An afternoon of surprises including a costume contest, training workshops, grooming demos and giveaways. Free.

Oct. 26, Canine Costumes Carnival in the Rockaways, noon-2 pm, Freeway Dog Park/Beach 84, 83-02 Beach Channel Dr., Rockaway. Indulge your desire to dress up your pooch as a caped avenger. This costume contest for canines has carnival games, a photo booth and pet-friendly services. Free.

After the jump, many more Halloween events taking place all over the borough…

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If you’re driving eastbound on the Grand Central Parkway this weekend, simply take Exit 24 onto Little Neck Parkway and go about three blocks. You will find yourself in the middle of a traditional country fair with typical, time-honored activities, such as pie-eating and corn-husking contests; blue ribbon competitions; hayrides; and lumberjack shows. Your host, the Queens County Farm Museum, will add some of its own, homemade fun, including the Con Edison Ecology Booth and its adopt-a-worm program, the Amazing Maize Maze, carnival rides and plenty of livestock petting. Plus, there will be a Bavarian garden and live Irish music on Saturday and German band on Sunday. Unfortunately, traffic might be heavy on the ride home, a reminder that you left the city spiritually, not physically.

Details: 31st Annual Queens County Fair, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, September 21-22, 11 am-6 pm both days. $8/$5 children 12 and under. (Admission does not include maze, carnival rides, games and a few other activities.)

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The Queens County Farm Museum is known for its sheep, farmhouse, orchard and maize maze. This Sunday, these permanent residents will have to share the 47-acre grounds with hundreds of guests, including Harleys, Husqvarnas and maybe even a Royal Enfield. The 33rd Annual Antique Motorcycle Show will bring various makes and models of choppers, including ones that have been out of production for decades and ones that were manufactured 100 years ago. There will be a show — during which judges will weigh the bikes’ conditions against their original states — and family fun such as live music, hayrides and plenty of food vendors.

Details: 33rd Annual Antique Motorcycle Show, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park/Glen Oaks, September 15th, 11 am to 4 pm, $5.

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It’s a night in an orchard with live music, top-shelf drinks and the sneak preview of an upcoming smash hit. On Aug. 15, the Queens County Farm Museum will screen Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, an intense romance starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck which opens in theaters the following day. The feature film, which won a cinematography award at Sundance Film Festival 2013, begins with the protagonists, Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie, on a crime spree. Ruth, who is pregnant with Bob’s baby, shoots a policeman during a confrontation in the Texas hills. Bob takes the blame and goes to jail, but four years later, he escapes to track down his beloved and their infant daughter. He finds Ruth, who still has strong feelings for him, but is distracted by motherhood and a relationship with the officer she injured. Presented by Rooftop Films, the night will feature live music, a program, a post-screening Q&A with director David Lowery and an after party hosted by Bulliet Bourbon and Red Stripe featuring cocktails inspired by the film.

Details: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints Sneak Preview, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Glen Oaks, Aug. 15, 8 pm to midnight, $13. PLUS, a free shuttle to and from the Little Neck LIRR station and the venue will run from 6 pm to 2 am every half hour.

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It’s New York City’s oldest dance competition, and it takes place in the longest continuously farmed site in New York State. For three days the Queens County Farm Museum will host the 35th Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow. Groups from more than 40 Native American nations will engage in a time-honored, intertribal contest in the apple orchard. In addition, there will be a large selection of Native American art, crafts, jewelry and food, as well as the opportunity to tour the 47-acre farm, which dates back to 1697. The farm includes historic buildings, a greenhouse complex, livestock, planting fields, an herb garden and a vineyard.

Details: Thunderbird Mid-Summer Pow Wow, Queens Farm, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park, $10 for adults (weekend pass $15)/$5 for children under 13 (weekend pass $7)/free for members. Performance times: July 26 (Friday), 7 pm to 10 pm; July 27 (Saturday), noon to 5 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm; and July 28 (Sunday), noon to 5 pm.

photo credit: Thunderbird American Indian Dancers

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It’s New York State Museum Week, and the living is easy, especially in Queens. Starting today through June 16, five local cultural venues will offer discounts and promotional offers to visitors. Mention “Museum Week” and receive a complimentary collectible at the Louis Armstrong House Museum (while supplies last) along with a 10 percent discount in the gift store. Bring a friend for free with two-for-one admission at the Noguchi (above), King Manor and Moving Image museums. At the Queens Botanical Gardens, there will be half-off admission. Meanwhile, the Queens County Farm Museum will offer free tours. Statewide, participants include about 250 venues, stretching from Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, where El Museo del Barrio will have free admission on June 11, to the Hyde Collection in upstate Glens Falls, where visitors will receive a free poster.

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Images Source: Queens County Farm Museum

Ah, the apple orchard…the sheep…the planting fields…the proximity to the Grand Central Parkway. On April 20 and 21, New York City’s only working historical farm, the Queens County Farm Museum, will host a blow-out spring festival. This 47-acre parcel in Glen Oaks — which dates back to 1697 — will fill with carnival rides, midway games, hayrides and live children’s entertainment. As always, there will be opportunities to check out the herb garden, pet the livestock, explore the greenhouse complex, and generally enjoy the city’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland.

Children’s Carnival
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21
11am – 6pm | $11

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Image Source: Four Muddy Paws

Please allow us one pun: The oval hunting prospects in Queens this weekend are absolutely eggs-traordinary. Let’s begin with the Queens Botanical Garden at 11 am this Saturday. The Flushing venue will celebrate spring with its first-ever Egg Hunt in the crabapple orchard and arboretum. The fun continues with seasonal crafts, old-fashioned games, seed plantings, face painting and a special visit from Flora, QBG’s mascot! At the same time (and again on Sunday at 11 am), the Queens Zoo will host its Egg Hunt with the chance to meet the Easter Bunny and some real life Flemish giant rabbits and partake in some spring-themed activities, including mask-making. Starting at noon on Saturday, the Queens County Farm Museum will hold continuous Egg Hunts throughout the day in the orchard. Whiskers the bunny will be hopping around the farm to greet children and pose for pictures, and participants will be able to dance the Bunny Hop, and play egg toss and rolling games on the farmhouse lawn. Then there’s the chance to visit farm animals and take a hayride.

43-50 Main Street, Flushing
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks

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Weekend 7 train suspensions are coming… this weekend! 13 weekends total

Just as a reminder, the weekend 7 train suspensions are starting all over again tonight at 11:45pm. We’ll be seeing them for the next 13 weekends, though a break might occur if the Flushing leaders convince the MTA to reinstate the 7 train on the weekends of the Lunar New Year celebrations. We’ll have to see about that. If you have to travel within LIC between Queensboro Plaza and Vernon-Jackson, the free shuttle bus will be running, and it’s really ok – we’ve taken it many times and never had a problem. And of course, you can get into the city via the N/Q (the Q will run during weekend daytimes) at Queensboro Plaza, the E/R at Queens Plaza, and the F at 21st/Queensbridge.

Update on the beached finback whale at Breezy Point

We learned yesterday that the endangered young adult finback whale that beached itself on the shore of Breezy Point in the Rockaways had died. The question was then, what to do with it? A decision has been made – it will be buried in the sand dunes at the beach on which it washed up on Wednesday morning. A spokeswoman from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service said that this makes the most logical sense. Four groups will work with the whale – the Riverhead Foundation, National Park Service, Department of Sanitation, and the Army Corps of Engineers. They will get the appropriate equipment to help them move the whale, and then bury it today or tomorrow. A necropsy will be performed at the burial site.

The East River Ferry is on its way to becoming a permanent fixture in the NYC transit landscape

Good news for those fond of the East River Ferry – local politicians want to keep it going for at least another 5 years after the 3 year trial is done (June 2014). They expected 1.3 million passengers during the three years – they’ve seen 1.6 million in the past year and a half! Impressive. A request for proposals (RFP) has gone out to entice companies to bid to run the ferry system. The submission deadline for proposals is March 1, 2013 at 4pm. The RFP can be accessed here.

Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana, we’re glad you’re here

Last night we checked out the new Ditmars Neapolitan pizzeria, Tufino, and really enjoyed the food. We tried a few things – wonderful arancini that were crisp on the outside and creamy inside; a Nonna pizza, which was topped with meatballs from the owner’s grandmother’s recipe, ricotta, Fior di Latte (like mozzarella), organic tomato sauce, and basil; and the Tirami Choux, which was a tiramisu inspired dessert of cream puffs filled with Kahlua flavored mascarpone sitting atop thin pools of espresso syrup. Everything was really tasty. We can’t wait to return to try other pizzas and snacks! The fried mozzarella caught our eye, too. Liquor license is forthcoming.

Where to take the kids during Christmas/winter break? 

The folks over at Patch have put together a short list of great places in Queens to take the kids during their winter break – the Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (GMAP – and you can apply to volunteer, too), MOMI in Astoria (GMAP – they are running animated features on the weekends these days), Queens County Farm Museum in Glen Oaks (GMAP), NY Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (GMAP), and Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston (GMAP).