Yes, Halloween is months away, but costumed characters will be all the rage at the 30th annual Kids Arts Festival on June 1! All ages are encouraged to compete in the first-ever costume contest. 

“As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we want people to celebrate famous Schenectadians, both past and present,” said Betsy Sandberg who chairs the planning committee for the event.

Or other famous aspects of Schenectady, noted Amy Sonder, a planning committee member who is the promotions manager for Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. “Whenever an interviewer asked science fiction writer Harlan Ellison where he got his ideas, his answer was always ‘Schenectady’ so we know we’ll have a lot of creative costumes celebrating famous events, objects and places.” 

There will be several categories: 

Famous Schenectadians:  Consider those who have made history by being the first to do something, whose ideas helped make Schenectady famous, or who were born here but became well-known elsewhere. 

Famous Event, Object or Place: If this seems overly broad, that is on purpose. We think it will be cool to have lots of folks dress up like a train, or the Yates dollhouse, or the Erie Canal, or the Nott Memorial or General Electric and if you need more hints, go visit the Schenectady County Historical Society’s Mabee Farm or Washington Avenue building. 

Best Ensemble: Consider getting friends and families to join you in either of the above categories. 

The Costumer is among the sponsors for this contest and will be on-site with a variety of props and accessories to borrow for the costume contest. The Costumer’s Mohawk Harbor store is your one-stop shop for all of your costuming needs!  Costumes, wigs, props, makeup and accessories all under one roof! Rentals are available at the Costumer’s Barrett Street location.

All those wishing to enter the costume must assemble at the main stage by Jay Square at 104 Jay Street at 3:30 p.m. to be judged. 

Prizes range from passes to the Aug. 10-11 Fandom Fest at Proctors, passes to the Schenectady County Historical Society to gift cards for The Costumer and more.

For updates on the costume contest and other activities, visit!