Regardless of when you go to the carnival (which runs this weekend, Jan. 12-15), we suggest you heed that old truism about the importance of traveling being the journey and not the destination, and take a little extra time on your way up there. See the sights and whatnot. Forgo the usual route from Spokane up Highway 95 and take the longer, though far prettier track up Highway 2. Head up Division Street and straight on through the wintry environs of Pend Oreille County, Newport and the gorgeous, serpentine western approach to Sandpoint, towering granite cliffs on your left and the Pend Oreille River on your right.
There are several events each day of the Carnival, but on Thursday, Jan. 12 (from 11 am to 4:30 pm) it's "Painting the Still Life in Pastel" at the Timber Stand Gallery, wherein artist Diana Moses Botkin will teach us to paint with, you know, pastels. MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE by bringing your own still life subject. Like, for example, the large-antlered elk you chloroformed just outside Priest River. Capture his virile essence before the beast's slumber is disturbed!
After the Parade of Lights downtown (Friday night starting at 6 pm), attend the Beach House Bonfire at the Edgewater Resort on the City Beach. Snuggle by the fire for warmth. When you get thirsty, you can head inside for warm refreshments, or MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE by bringing along a conch shell and a rotting boar's head (on a pike, of course). Single out the chubby kid with the glasses, break those glasses and say, "fetch me a mulled apple cider, Piggy!" Be prepared to run from the angry mob.
Fudge-A-Rama happens on Saturday, Jan. 14, at around 10 am in the Bonner County Mall, offering an (adventurous) assortment of fudges made by local fudge artisans. There will be a competition, and we're all welcome to enter, so long as we enter by 9:30 am. MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE by entering the competition and treating it like the Model United Nations of fudge. Create fudges for any nation in the world you feel is underrepresented chocolately. (Suggestions: African groundnut fudge, head cheese fudge, chicken vindaloo fudge.)
On Sunday, Jan. 15, hit up the Teddy Bear Contest at the Bonner Mall and judge some cute teddy bears. MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE by loudly and venomously condemning the impossible standard of beauty these model bears are setting for our nation's teddy bear youth.
Of course, these are mere guidelines. The very essence of an adventure, in our opinions, is creativity. There are a dozen or so other events we haven't sullied yet (the keg pull, the adult spelling bee, etc.). So go be creative. Oh, and Schweitzer is just up the road, so don't forget your skis and snowboards.