Sweet! Honey Harvest Festival will be family-friendly

Mmm. Honey.

It’s good on toast and, mixed with hot water and cinnamon, it’s my go-to all-natural remedy for coughs and scratchy throats.

Next weekend, the first-ever Missoula Honey Harvest Festival will take place on the University of Montana Oval. It’s free, open to the community and best of all, family-friendly.

At the festival, local beekeepers and others in the bee business will have their wares on display and for sale. Festival-goers will also be treated to tastes, and will get to see live bees in a glass hive. They’ll get to learn about bees and can even try their hand at building a beehive.

There’s also going to be a honey auction for charity. And G. Wiz. (otherwise known as University of Montana chemistry professor Garon Smith) will offer his trademark educational entertainment for kids. Also, American Honey Princess (there really is such a thing!) Elena Huffman will travel all the way from Pennsylvania to be there. I look forward to seeing what she’s wearing. I hope it’s really princess-y and bee-themed.


Meanwhile, UM is hosting two “bee-related academic conferences,” according to a university news release: The 37th Annual Western Apicultural Society Conference and the second International Conference on Hive and Honeybee Monitoring. They will take place from Sept. 17-20.

“The conferences will provide great information to beekeepers and researchers, but the Honey Harvest Festival will be a fun celebration of the honey bee and local beekeepers,” Jerry Bromenshenk, a UM bee scientist and instructor of the UM School of Extended & Lifelong Learning’s Online Beekeeping Certificate Program, is quoted saying in the news release. “This is a great chance for those who are interested in beekeeping to meet folks who can help them get started.”

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Halloween bashes abound in Missoula

I’ve taken several running starts at trying to list all the Halloween events for children in Missoula this year, and so far haven’t been able to clear the hurdle.

There is just too much going on. Where do I even start?

One of my favorites is the annual Halloween Bash at the Families First Children’s Museum. It doubles as a fundraiser for the museum, and it’s now heading into its ninth year.

For only 5 bucks a person, kids and their families can enjoy five hours of Halloween-themed activities. This year’s bash will take place on Sunday, Oct. 30, from noon to 5 p.m.

Here’s an idea of what to expect: A ghouly ghost craft project, spooky story time with musicial guests “The Unknowns,” a creepy crawly show provided by Animal Wonders, a dissection demonstration by SpectrUM, freaky fishing, mummy mountain slide, a treasure dig, and of course games and a glow-in-the-dark dance room. And more.

Kids are encouraged to come in costume.

For more information about the bash or the Families First Children’s Museum, call 541-PLAY, email info@FamiliesFirstMontana.org, or come on down to the museum at 225 W. Front Street.

And for more information about local Halloween events, well, I’ll do my best to post them as I find out about them. But don’t wait on me! If you know about a particularly cool and kid-friendly Halloween party, go ahead and drop me a note or tell readers about it yourself in the comments.

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Physical education trend has kids taking classes online

Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is only the latest school to allow students to take combined health/physical education classes online:

In one semester, students complete 40 written assignments, which cover topics such as body composition, nutrition and the benefits of fitness. At the same time, they must log 60 activities, which their parents verify.

The article reports that some students are thriving under this new, non-competitive model. After all, it lets students themselves choose their own activities.

And therein lies the rub for me. I admittedly don’t have a competitive bone in my body. I’ll do my level best at Scrabble or chess, but if my best turns out to be worse than my opponent’s, I really couldn’t care less.

And back in high school, I despised P.E. I took every opportunity I could to skip it – usually to go snowboarding instead. Physical activity wasn’t the problem. Doing activities that didn’t interest me was the problem.

And that was also the benefit. If not for high school P.E., I would never have tried playing volleyball, cricket, softball, soccer or any other of the countless number of sports I suffered through over the course of four years. Thanks to P.E., I discovered unexpected affinities for things I wouldn’t have tried otherwise (hello weightlifting!) and interacted with other students in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise (and in a way you simply can’t match on a computer).

Those are experiences I’d like my own daughter to have. Sure, I can kick a soccer ball around with her in the backyard, but I sure wouldn’t be the best teacher. And I could enroll her in an after-school sport, but given the expense of the classes and equipment, not to mention limited time, she would only be able to try out one or two new sports a year.

So I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that her physical education includes actual physical movement and practice with her peers – and that maybe sometime in the course of her school career, she will discover a love for some sport or other activity that will keep her moving her whole life.

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New fitness center for girls coming to Missoula

Watch for the opening of The Girls Way, a new nonprofit fitness and activity center catering to girls ages 10-18, in Missoula in mid-February.

The folks behind the new all-girls center have gotten some great grants already but are still in the fundraising stage. One the center opens, they expect to charge $35 a month for a membership, but will also offer a sliding scale and full scholarships.

According to the Missoulian article in today’s paper, “In addition to fitness classes, the program will include lectures on skin care, healthy dating and nutrition, as well as workshops on things like gardening, job skills, self defense and journaling.”

The center will be located in the up-and-coming Russell Street neighborhood that also houses  Home Resource and the Black Coffee Roasting Co.

Call program director Stephanie Boone at 370-2697 for more information.

– MM

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Active Moms Missoula offers exercise, camaraderie

It’s Monday, and that means if you cast your gaze up Waterworks Hill between 10:30 and 11:30 this morning, you’ll most likely see a group of moms hiking together. Some have kids in tow, some have dogs, some have both and some have neither.

What they all have in common is that they are participants in Active Moms Missoula, a group organized by the local YMCA. “Inspiring moms and women in the Missoula area to lead healthy lives by nurturing friendships and activity,” reads the flier I’ve been carrying around in my backpack for three weeks now.

A look at November’s schedule reveals some very active activities indeed, offered at a variety of days and times. Besides the Monday hike, there’s a group run on Sunday, pre/post natal aerobics on Tuesday, water aerobics on Wednesday, a pick of “Momma Fit” or “Gentle Yoga” on Thursday and much more.

Some of these activities – like the Waterworks hike – are free, and most are kid-friendly. A few, like the New Moms Support group, ask a nominal donation (like $3 for the support group).

And of course, the YMCA offers childcare. It’s free with a family membership. For other members and non-members, it’s $2.50 for one child and $2 more for each additional kiddo.

For more information, contact the YMCA’s Missy Adams at 532-6281 or madams@ymcamissoula.org.

Sounds like a great way to get some exercise and meet some other moms.

– MM

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