by Ted S. McGregor Jr.
Kids keep you going, that's for sure. And since the Spokane Interstate Fair only runs through Sunday, you'll need some help this fall. Luckily, there are lots of special events coming up that will entertain and enlighten kids young and old.
For nearly 59 years, the Spokane Children's Theater has been bringing shows with young actors to audiences with young members. This fall, the two productions are at Spokane Community College, and they're both stagings of Hans Christian Andersen stories. Starting Oct. 2 and running through Oct. 17, it's The Princess and the Pea. From Nov. 26-Dec. 12, it's a musical version of The Snow Queen, a story Andersen penned in less than two weeks. The beautiful Snow Queen emerges from the drifts to help melt the ice-cold heart of a boy who has been turned grumpy by some meddling imps. Kids can audition for upcoming shows; call Spokane Children's Theater for audition times.
Christian Youth Theater has developed a strong following with two branches, one on the North Side and the other in the Valley. This fall, both have a show on tap. In Spokane Valley, at Trent Elementary, it's The Prince and the Pauper running from Oct. 29-Nov. 7. And out north, it's the stage version of that beloved story, Anne of Green Gables. It will run at the First Nazarene Church from Nov. 12-21. Auditions for Anne of Green Gables are this week (on Friday at the Northview Bible Church from 4-7 pm), but watch for auditions for their winter and spring shows in the coming months.
Spokane's public radio station, KPBX, has made a tradition out of programming concerts especially for young 'uns, and they have a great lineup for fall. On Oct. 2, they're teaming up with the German-American Society at the Masonic Temple for an afternoon of real polka music by Sparc in honor of Oktoberfest. The Canote Brothers are back in Spokane -- by popular demand -- on Nov. 20 at the Met. These guys have been singing since before they could walk -- so the story goes -- and now they play just about every instrument in the book, all with a sense of humor. And Christmas music is the theme for the Down Home Holiday at Auntie's on Dec. 18, featuring Big Red Barn.
All the region's libraries offer multiple story readings throughout the fall -- too many to list here, so check with your friendly neighborhood librarian. But you can meet a real children's book author at 4 pm on Oct. 9 at Auntie's. Jan Brett writes the stories and makes the pictures for her kids' books; her latest is The Umbrella, which takes young readers through the colorful jungles of Costa Rica.
The Children's Museum of Spokane recently hit the $500,000 mark in its effort to build a new facility in the lower level of River Park Square. They hope to start construction in 2005, but in the meantime they are occupying the old Eddie Bauer location in the mall. On Saturdays between Oct. 2 and Nov. 20, the Children's Museum will be open between 11 am and 4 pm, with a range of special events. On Oct. 2, the Pipkin Family Puppet Theater will be on hand. And they'll be celebrating America Recycles Day on Nov. 13 with a special session of art projects.
The MAC has been scheduling lots of kids' events since moving into their new digs a few years ago; last year's Twinkie Festival was hailed as a triumph by parents and kids alike. To tie into the MAC's "Soul of Mexico" show, kids will be invited to a day of dance and arts activities on Oct. 9 at noon. And Boofest arrives just in time for Halloween. An adventure that takes parents and kids through the museum, it features illusions, spooky exhibits and food. It starts at 5:30 pm on Oct. 21, 24, 28 and 31, running until 9 pm or 10 pm. Kids can bring their carved pumpkins and candles on Oct. 28 for a pumpkin glow outside.
On Nov. 13, the MAC hosts the East Meets West Family MACfest, and kids will learn to use chopsticks -- something most parents can't even do -- and make Chinese lanterns. Kids who sign up for the MAC "Buddy Club" (included in the cost of admission to any of these events) can get their membership card punched at every event and win prizes.
And there's plenty to keep kids occupied over at the Spokane Art School, too. There are art classes galore (some start this week), and you can check with SAS to find out what's available. Some classes are for young kids with Mom, Dad or Grandma in tow; others are for kids of all ages, through high school. And on Veterans Day (Thursday, Nov. 11), SAS will host a bunch of art classes to help parents who may not get the day off, as their kids in public schools will. And you can even have your next birthday party at Spokane Art School; $100 gets you a 90-minute class, with a craft of your choice, for a dozen kids.
Sully and Mike will come to the Spokane Arena on Dec. 1-5 -- and this time, they're on ice skates. This season's Disney on Ice features the characters from Monsters, Inc. The Abominable Snowman should feel right at home.
If that gets you and your kids in the mood to see Pixar's animated feature, you're in luck; The Incredibles opens Nov. 5. And the Porous, Yellow One hits the big screen that month, too, on Nov. 19. See if you can take that laugh for twice as long as the usual SpongeBob cartoon.
Spokane Parks and Recreation has a few events for kids, too. On Sept. 25, in the field just east of Duncan Gardens at Manito Park, kids can experience life in Renaissance times, with crafts, stories, music and catapult construction (cool!). There's a superheroes party at the Northeast Youth Center on Nov. 6; kids come as their favorite superhero, and they can help save Wonder Woman from the evil Dr. Freeze. And on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, there will be a reindeer march and sing-along. There have been real, live reindeer in past years, and the fun starts at 4:30 pm, just before the big tree is lit and a certain someone with a long, white beard shows up.
And finally, on the last day of the year, the Spokane Convention Center is transformed into a giant kids' arts and crafts zone for First Night Spokane. Starting in the afternoon, kids create a series of crafts they can use to decorate themselves for the parade from the Opera House to River Park Square that officially kicks off First Night. Then it's time for the babysitter to take over so Mom and Dad can stay downtown and enjoy the adult portion of the evening. Hey, parents can dream a little, can't they?
Publication date: 09/16/04