Who’s ready for the fair?

The Western Montana Fair returns to Missoula next week, and at 9 and 11 years old, my kids have high hopes that this year they will be big enough to ride all the rides. They’re already plotting a plan to spend an entire day at the fair riding all the rides, seeing all the exhibits and of course, eating all the food.

This morning I got an email concerning one food vendor in particular. I’m copying it below in its entirety so you too can include it in your fair planning:


Continuing a tradition started in 2012, A Carousel for Missoula will be a food vendor at the Western Montana Fair.  From August 9-14, volunteers from the Carousel will join with staff from Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream to sell Baskin-Robbins ice cream scoops, milkshakes, Cappuccino Blasts, Root Beer Floats, Iced Lattes, Homemade Waffle Cones, Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, and more.  The location of the new Baskin-Robbins trailer will be on the East end of the food concession midway.

A Carousel for Missoula and Missoula’s locally-owned Baskin-Robbins have been partners since before the Carousel’s inception in 1995, through birthday parties, donations, and sponsorships.  As always, Baskin-Robbins will donate a percentage of their sales at the Western Montana Fair to A Carousel for Missoula, in addition to their 17% contribution to the Western Montana Fair.

A Carousel for Missoula invites all carousel supporters and ice cream lovers to stop by the Carousel’s ice cream trailer at this year’s fair; Support a Carousel for Missoula by buying some of the world’s greatest ice cream!


Built to provide the community of Missoula a new option for good, old-fashioned fun, the Carousel continues to entertain children (and adults) in Missoula with rides on the beautifully-crafted horses, as well as with family-friendly events.  Whether helping children celebrate their special day or seeing families come together for a little playtime, A Carousel for Missoula is happy to be a strong part of Missoula’s rich history.


Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by two ice cream enthusiasts (and brothers-in-law) whose passion led to the creation of more than 1,200 ice cream flavors and a wide variety of delicious treats.  In Missoula, Baskin-Robbins has been owned by Big Sky High School and University of Montana graduate Matt Loomis, along with David and Beverly Loomis, since 2001.  Each year, thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours are given back to Missoula nonprofits.

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Ride-a-Thon this week at A Carousel for Missoula

November, where have you gone?

I’d meant to post something before today’s big Griz for Kids Toy Drive – in which folks are asked to bring a toy to donate at Washington-Grizzly Stadium during the Griz football game against Weber State.

The toys will be given to local nonprofits like Youth Homes to hand out to kids as Christmas presents.

I may be late on that post but I’m not going to let this one get away from me: the upcoming Ride-a-Thon at A Carousel for Missoula. That’s happening on Nov. 20 starting at 5:30 p.m.

It’s the first time the Carousel’s directors have hosted this kind of event. They’re asking 30 riders to saddle up and ride until each has raised at least $200. The money will be used to support the Carousel and the adjacent Dragon Hollow playground.

Folks are invited to come and watch and cheer – or better yet, to make a donation or offer a pledge. To call in a pledge, the number is 549-8382. To fill out a donation form, go to http://carouselformissoula.com/shop/ride-thon-donation/.

“In addition to our everyday operations, for which we are best-known, the Foundation also maintains Dragon Hollow at its expense, provides more than 10,000 free tokens each year to agencies providing direct services to disadvantaged children and youth, and welcomes anyone with a physical or mental disability to ride free at any time,” says Theresa Cox, executive director of the Carousel, in a news release announcing the Ride-a-Thon. “The Carousel provides free or low-cost entertainment by hosting a Fairy Tale and Super Hero Festival in July, which is free to all participants; Haunted Hollow in October and Santa’s Breakfast in December, at very low cost to attendees.

“We support 75% of our annual budget through operations, but to keep ride prices low and accessible to all, we engage in numerous fundraising activities throughout the year. The Ride-a-Thon is a fun way for local celebrities and other Carousel fans to encourage the public to support to these beloved community landmarks.”


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Mountain Home moving into new building – with Missoula’s support

Mountain HomeThis past Wednesday Mountain Home Montana cut the ribbon on its brand-new building, cheered on by the community. The nonprofit provides a home – and much, much more – for young pregnant women and new moms between the ages of 16 and 24.

The ribbon-cutting comes after a spate of recent misfortune, however. Floods, crib recalls, mold discoveries – not encouraging stuff. But it was met with an outpouring of community support.

As outlined in today’s Missoulian editorial, Mountain Home Montana could use just a little bit more support to see it through this critical time. It would be just wonderful if it could close out its capital campaign – only $240,000 more to go! – well before its September goal.

If you can help, visit Mountain Home Montana’s website at www.mountainhomemt.org or call 541-4663.

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Women’s Fair will offer plenty to interest parents

Hey, moms are women too – and the fourth annual Women’s Fair in Missoula promises to provide plenty of interest and fun for both.

This year’s fair – it’s happening tomorrow, people! – will also help raise awareness of some very important local nonprofits: Missoula Aging Services, The Girls Way, Dan Fox Foster Care and Adoption Programs, and Ronald McDonald House. Note that f three of the four organizations listed above directly help kids and their families.

Here are the details:

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Girls Way is up and running in Missoula

Girls Way The paper has a cute story about the new Girls Way center in Missoula today. The center is a nonprofit that provides fun and fitness to girls ages 10-18.

Business reporter Jenna Cederberg was there for for the first class – a rock ‘n roll ballet class.

For more information call 830-3018

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Get a sneak peak of The Girls Way nonprofit fitness center

Missoula has been abuzz all week with the news that the new fitness center for girls is ready to open.

The Girls Way is a nonprofit organization that offers classes in fun things like yoga, zumba and oola (those last two are like dance aerobic classes), as well as seminars and workshops on topics of interest to girls ages 10 to 18. The center and its mission spins off a similar concept director Stephanie Boone originally offered through the Women’s Club and which met with resounding popularily.

Tomorrow you can see for yourself what all the buzz is about as The Girls Way holds its Grand Unveiling and Sneak Peak Aucution. Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be food, drink, music and fun – and an auction featuring dozens of donated items, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to fund scholarships to The Girls Way for girls from low-income families.

And Saturday the center will official open at 9:30 a.m., with a ceremony featuring Missoula Mayor John Engen scheduled for 9:45 a.m. From the time the doors open until they close at 4 p.m., visitors can check out 15-minute sample classes, the Hellgate Roller Girls and former Olympic gold medalist Eric Bergoust, take tours and sip Black Coffee Roasting Co. coffee and nibble Le Petit Bakery pastries.

Makes sense, given that The Girls Way is Black Coffee and Le Petit’s new neighbor in the Home Resource Center. The address is 1515 Wyoming St. Ste. 300.

Oh, and did I mention that girls can attend classes at The Girls Way for FREE for the rest of February?

For more information, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.

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Help make the holidays special for kids going through a tough time

The Missoulian’s Tandy Khameneh put it beautifully in her Thanksgiving Day “We Care” column: “Sometimes children are not able to be with their families, but you can help make them feel special during the holiday season.”

There are many ways to show kids who belong to needy western Montana families – or who find themselves apart from their families this winter – that they are part of a community that cares about them.

Yesterday’s “We Care” column, for one, provided a wish list for the current residents of Watson Children’s Shelter, an emergency shelter for children ranging in age from newborn to 14 years old who have experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment or other family crises. Give the shelter a call at 549-0058 to find out which wish list items have been filled and which are still needed.

In Ravalli County, some 250 children have pinned their holiday hopes upon the angel tree inside the Prudential Montana Real Estate office in downtown Hamilton. The organizers of this gift-giving effort are urging anyone interested in buying a present – or perhaps several presents – to bring them in by Dec. 10 so that they can be wrapped and delivered in time for Christmas.

“I know it’s a really hard time for everybody this year, but if we band together as a community, we can get this done,” organizer Carolyn Corter says.

As much as I dislike shopping, it’s always fun to buy presents for kids. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a child feel special. A box of new crayons and a journal-style book of blank pages only costs about $2 – but the lift it gives the recipient is absolutely priceless.

– MM

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Children’s shelter hosts open house on Friday

Watson Children’s Shelter will be providing the public a rare opportunity to tour its building at 2901 Old Fort Missoula Road on Friday. The shelter provides a safe place for children whose families have fallen apart for whatever reasons.

In recent months, the shelter has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of children needing emergency shelter – but since Watson’s can only house 16 at a time, it has had to turn many children away. The shelter’s executive director, Fran Albrecht, has told me how this just breaks her heart, and renews her committment to building a second shelter.

So on June 19, from 2 to 4 p.m. folks can go down to Watson’s and see for themselves how the nonprofit help heal hurt children – as well as plan for the new shelter. While Watson’s has recently gotten some good news on the funding front, it’s going to take community support and community dollars to make this second shelter a reality.

For more information about Watson’s plans for a second shelter – and some gut-wrenching statistics, check out www.oneisntenough.com.

– Tyler Christensen

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