by Pia K. Hansen

Get out your kitchen calendar and start marking down these dates; there are plenty of things to do with the entire family between now and Christmas.

Children's Theater -- There's an active youth theater community in this area, and they're not disappointing anyone this fall.

For the youngest audience, Spokane Children's Theater takes a trip to the Hundred Acre Wood when it shows Winnie the Pooh at the Civic Oct. 4-Nov. 1.

Theater Arts for Children is doing all its shows at the Spokane Valley Community Center. This fall's production is King Midas and the Touch of Gold and it runs from Oct. 11-26.

Christian Youth Theater will let you come face to face with Aslan, the magnificent lion in C.S. Lewis' Narnia, which is showing at Trent Elementary in the Spokane Valley from Oct. 24-Nov. 2. And this show isn't even over before CYT launches into a true holiday classic putting on Babes in Toyland at First Nazarene Church from Nov. 1-9.

As we get even closer to Christmas, Spokane Children's Theater is bringing Miracle on 34th Street to life at the Met, from Nov. 27-Dec. 5. This is the musical version of the beloved 1947 movie about an old man who's hired, quite by chance, to fill in for an indisposed Santa at Macy's in New York City. As Kris Kringle, as the old man calls himself, gets into the spirit of Christmas, people start questioning his sanity and he ends up confined to a mental institution. As if that wasn't enough, he's finally put on trial with a simple and straightforward defense: Mr. Kringle is not insane -- he's simply Santa Claus.

The Children's Museum -- This downtown mainstay for moms is currently closed -- not forever, but because it's in the middle of trying to move from its previous location on Post Street to the lower level of River Park Square. Though the move is just across the street, it carries a price tag of $660,000.

"Currently, we are at $136,000, but we can get started once we reach $400,000, because then we can get loans from banks for the rest," says Don Kardong, the museum's executive director. "We have a lot of queries out there at corporations and such, but we are really not sure when we can reopen. It all depends on the fund raising and on getting to that magic number of $400,000."

The museum has no exhibits, shows or events planned for this fall, but to help reach the fund-raising goal, a city-wide aluminum can drive is planned on Nov. 15, the city's official recycling day. Cans will be collected in Riverfront Park, and proceeds from their sale will go to the museum's new space.

Other Kids' Stuff -- As always, Spokane Art School has a full schedule, with classes in drawing, painting and ceramics -- and this fall is no exception. But there are also a few special events.

"During the school year, once a quarter we have a special one-day workshop for kids, on Veteran's Day and on curriculum days," says Sue Ellen Heflin, the school's director. "There's also a parent-child ceramics class. This class starts with the basics, so parents who haven't worked with ceramics before shouldn't be intimidated." To take part in this class, the child has to be six years or older... the parent can be any age.

Brace yourself -- on Sept. 21, the Twinkies are coming. According to Yvonne Morton at the MAC, "we will be consuming and abusing thousands of Twinkies. There will be deep-fried ones and chocolate-covered ones, and just perhaps someone will put a Twinkie in a lunchbox."

The Twinkie fun -- which also includes a Twinkie fishing pond and a build-a-parachute-for-your-Twinkie workshop -- is free, and on the day are special family discount deals on admission both for the galleries and the Campbell House.

It's become a Spokane fall tradition no one wants to be without. On Nov. 1, the eighth annual Fall Folk Festival will fill the Lair at Spokane Community College with musicians, performers, food and art. There will be lots of activities for the kids and the rest of the family as well.

In Pullman, Washington State University kicks off its children's series at the Beasley Coliseum with Rick Scott on Sept. 16. Scott began his career as a singer and dulcimer player for the Pied Pumpkin String Ensemble back in 1974, but he now tours the country with a comical/musical performance especially for children. Scott is followed by the national touring company American Theater Arts for Youth's presentation of Aladdin on Oct. 27. It's the same great story about the genie, Aladdin and the princess, but set to music with colorful stage sets and great singing.

Finally, we can't seem to hit December without a Disney ice show. They've done Jungle Book, Toy Story and many other classics, but this time the professional skaters bring Princess Classics to the Arena on Dec. 3-7.

Publication date: 09/11/03

Car d'Lane @ Downtown Coeur d'Alene

Fri., June 18 and Sat., June 19
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