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Free fun for summer, round two

Last week, I wrote about some really cool activities families can enjoy this summer without breaking the bank.

But Western New York has more free family fun than you can shake a Discount Diva column at, so here’s round two.

• Young Audiences Western New York. The programming offered by this non-profit group of highly-trained, professional teaching artists could keep you busy the whole summer all on its own. It brings arts education to Western New York young people in the form of music, multi-media arts, theater, dance, and visual and literary arts workshops and performances.

It’s got a diverse calendar of fun and educational events scheduled from July 2- Aug. 27, with everything from interactive breakdancing, Guinean drumming and improv comedy performances to juggling, African dance and kite-making.

They’ll be at Canalside, 44 Prime St., at 11 a.m. and noon every Wednesday. They’ll perform on Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls (the three-block strip connecting Niagara Falls State Park with the Conference & Event Center and the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel) at noon and 1 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. They’ll also be appearing at various libraries around Western New York.

And get this: They offer a free arts summer camp for teenagers.

Open to Erie County teens ages 13 to 17, Curators of Culture runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday from July 8 through Aug. 29 at the Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, except for Fridays, when it is at Buffalo State College, 214 Grant St. Register by calling 881-0917

• First Wednesdays at the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York. If you’ve got a former steelworker in your family, you’ll love checking out relics of the steel industry. The museum, at 100 Lee St., hosts free speakers the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. It’s geared for adults, but if you show up at 6 p.m., you can tour the museum free beforehand. How cool would it be for grandpa to share his steel mill memories with the grandkids?

• Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church. Located at 8445 Greiner Road in Williamsville, the church has a jam-packed summer schedule of free classes and events open to everyone.

There’s a five-week knitting class at 6 p.m. every Wednesday in July as well as sailing lessons at the Buffalo Harbor, Chinese cooking lessons, improv comedy workshops, game nights and much more. To register, call 688-7165.

The church will also host a drive-in movie screening of “Turbo,” an animated tale about a snail who wants to win the Indy 500 at 8:45 p.m. July 11 and will be moved inside if it rains.

• Vacation Bible School. Almost every church offers some variation of this, and there are several different themed programs churches have to choose from, so you could send the kids to more than one. Many are free, some charge as much as $25 to cover expenses but will waive the fee if it’s a hardship.

Generally open to children ages 4 to 11, the program usually lasts about four consecutive days and offer games, stories, music, crafts, food, freebies and more. Here’s a couple:

Creekside Assembly of God, 2625 Tonawanda Creek Road in Amherst, will host “Wilderness Escape” from 6:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 28 through Aug. 1. Call 689-9944.

Bethesda Full Gospel Tabernacle, 6 Delaware St. in the City of Tonawanda, will present “Weird Animals” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 11-14. Call 693-6990.