Recreation Railroad - Day Trip

If Labor Day weekend is creeping up on you and you haven't yet made any big plans, consider a short migration north. The North Pend Oreille Valley Lions Club offers a handful of train rides throughout the summer and fall, including this weekend's excursion from Metaline Falls to Ione and back again. Park yourself and the fam in a Pullman car, open car or even the caboose, and let the Lions Club haul y'all through forested hillsides, under tunnels, across open farmland and even over an awe-inspiring train trestle spanning Box Canyon.

If you've been on the train ride before, note that this one is a little bit different: usually the train rides begin in Ione and go to Metaline Falls and back to Ione. This one starts and ends in Metaline Falls so that visitors can take part in Affair on Main Street, which features arts and crafts, can-can dancers, food booths, a clown, a pancake breakfast and more. Don't forget that Metaline Falls is also home to the Cutter Theatre, where they're offering a live production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific all weekend.

-- Sheri Boggs

North Pend Oreille Valley Lions Excursion Train Rides * Metaline Falls to Ione and return * Saturday, Aug. 31, and Sunday, Sept. 1, at 11 am, 1 pm and 3pm * $7, ages 2 and up * Directions available at or by calling (509) 442-5466 * Cutter Theater: (509) 446-4108

Tandem Reading - Books

What do you do if you're two hot up-and-coming authors who are as photogenic as you are talented and you both have two new novels coming out and you're engaged to be married to each other? That's right, you hit the book tour circuit a deux.

Charmaine Craig's debut novel, The Good Men, is based on the true-life testimony of Grazida Lizier, a young Pyrenees woman who was tried for heresy in 1320. Craig discovered Lizier as an undergraduate at Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude. She also has worked as an actress, most notably landing a recurring role on TV's Northern Exposure.

In The Color Darkness Made, Andrew Winer relates the hilarious, brutal coming-of-age story of Conrad Clay, whose misspent youth in the Alameda shipyards of San Francisco offers opportunities for both adolescent machismo and universal insecurities. Winer's prose is as sharp, acrid and unforgettable as a bottle of Mad Dog suddenly smashed open for a fight.

-- Sheri Boggs

Charmaine Craig and Andrew Winer * Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7:30 pm * Auntie's Bookstore * 402 W. Main * Call: 838-0206

Free for All - Classical Music

Summer may be coming to an end, but that just means it's time for the Spokane Symphony's annual parks concerts, with four free concerts in nine days. Each concert blends a potpourri of American favorites designed to go with the usual -- and not so usual -- picnic fare.

The orchestra, under the direction of Fabio Mechetti, sends summer forth in grand style starting this Saturday, Aug. 31, at 6 pm with the second annual performance in Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake, presented by Friends of Pavillion Park. On Monday, Sept. 2, the 17th annual Comstock Park Labor Day Concert begins at 6 pm and features the return of the white bandshell, thanks to the Spokane Parks Foundation. The Spokane Arts Commission's annual Arts Preview begins at 4 pm on Labor Day, with area arts organizations on hand to share information about their upcoming seasons.

The third annual Symphony at Shadle Park Concert is set for 6 pm on Thursday, Sept. 5, at the popular northside park. And the community celebration concludes with a 3 pm concert on the grandstand stage at the Spokane Interstate Fair on Sunday, Sept. 8. (This concert is free with admission to the fair.)

At all four, the Symphony will play works by Dvorak and Gould, along with classics like "Take the A Train," "The 1812 Overture" and selections from Phantom of the Opera.

-- Ann M. Colford

Spokane Symphony Free Concerts * Aug. 31-Sept. 8 * Call: 624-1200

Suuuuuueeeey! - Festival

Seattle may have Bumbershoot this weekend, but gosh darn it we've got Pig Out. So come on down to Riverfront Park and celebrate American gluttony at its most pastoral and musical. That's right, along with food from the 45 vendors packing the Gondola Meadows to the gills with just about anything your greedy gut desires (exotic dishes for the adventurous to old favorites for the chronically meek), there will be vast amounts of free live entertainment to consume, courtesy of 41 local, regional and national bands.

Just a few of the performers scheduled to perform over the five-day engorge fest include LaRae Wiley, Jim Basnight, Sammy Eubanks, Norton Buffalo, Soapbox, Milonga, Clumsy Lovers, Staley & amp; Thomsen, DB Cooper, Guarneri Underground, Duffy Bishop, Alex Bedini, the Panics, Dusty Klink, Asleep At The Wheel and Hot Rod Deluxe.

And remember, just because Pig Out's promotional tag taunts with "You'll never eat it all" doesn't mean you actually have to take them up on the dare. Oink, oink.

-- Mike Corrigan

Pig Out in the Park * Aug. 29-Sept. 2 from 10 am-10 pm daily * Riverfront Park * Free admission * Call: 625-6200

Bloomsday 2020 @ Spokane

Through Sept. 27
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