One of my daughters weighs 100 lbs. soaking wet. She is also a runner who sees nothing wrong with going on long (45 minute) runs alone. Until the day a car with two men in it trailed her along a relatively deserted road -- no car traffic, no people. She ran behind one of the few houses, as if she lived there and was going in the back door. Luckily, the car took off and the house's occupants, who knew our family, drove her home and stayed with her until we returned. That was the day I ordered her first pepper spray and personal alarm (picture your car alarm times 10).
If you're like me, you consider yourself safe. After all, how could we get through the day if we were constantly thinking about the things that probably won't happen but could maybe....happen? But those possibilities remain. That's why I was pleased to see a self-defense presentation and product sale on Saturday, March 23 at 2 pm in the Frackville Municipal & Community Center, oak and Center Streets. For information contact 570-874-0174.
On a lighter note....
That same daughter is also an artist so I thought I'd let you know about two upcoming art show featuring our local young people. First up is Made in PGA Art Show for those 16 and under. If you know a local artist encourage them to drop off their art at Made in PGA, 61 South Tulpehocken Street, Pine Grove on Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm. Entry fees are just $1 per piece. Work must be original and matted or framed. They are accepting photography, painting, drawing as well as sculpture and abstract art. If you are an art lover, stop by for the show on Saturday from noon until 5 pm.
High school students will be featured in an annual show at the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, 1440 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville on Sunday, April 7 from 1 pm to 3 pm. Pieces will range from drawings, paintings and photography to sculpture, pottery and even jewelry. I think in past years I even remember some textile art. For information contact 570-622-2788 or email@example.com
Feeling lucky? Luck o' the Irish lucky? No matter what your background why not celebrate Irish heritage at a local St. Patrick's Day Parade?
First up is the Pottsville Parade on Saturday, March 16. The parade begins at 11 am in downtown Pottsville and will be followed by the Grand Irish Party at Humane Fire Company. Tickets for the Grand Irish Party are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Murphy Jewelers.
If you miss Pottsville's Parade, head to Girardville for their parade on Saturday, March 30 at noon.
Of course, the St. Patrick's Day fun isn't confined to parades only. Two libraries, Orwigsburg and Pottsville, are having St. Patrick's Day parties for their children readers (ages 3 to 12). Both parties are this Thursday, March 14 at 6 p.m. For adults there is a St. Patrick's Day Dance at the Frackville Elks on Saturday, March 16 with music by Sakes Alive. There is a cash bar, a $7 cover and doors open at 7 p.m.
The annual Schuylkill County Scholastic Chess Tournament will be held at Nativity BVM High School on Saturday, March 30. The tournament is for players in three divisions: K to Grade 4, Grade 5 - Grade 8 and Grade 9 - Grade 12. There will be three individual awards in each division and schools with at least four players are eligible to compete for a team trophy in their division.
Registration fee is $10 per player and players must register by the end of school on Wednesday, March 20. Check-in is at 8 am, followed by a required players' meeting then the first game at 9 am. It will be a four round competition with the final round starting at 1:30 pm (earlier if all players in the division have completed their games for earlier rounds). Every player must be accompanied by an adult -- however seating is limited so spectators should be kept to a minimum (besides, it only makes the players nervous).
Although some chess sets and clocks will be available, all players are encouraged to bring their own chess pieces and board and chess clock (you can download a chess clock app here. For more information, contact Al Bobinas at 570-728-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chess for all ages! If you have a K through 12 chess players who wants to polish their skills before the big tournament, check out Chess Night at the Orwigsburg Library every Tuesday at 5:30 pm, Chess Night is for players of all ages and abilities so you're sure to find a game no matter what level chess player you are.
What would you do if you won the lottery? This is a question we often have at my workplace, often when the jackpot hits some astronomical level. Of course, the chances of any of us winning the lottery are pretty slim. What would you do if you won $200? That's a more manageable sum and you have a much better chance of winning it.
You can receive a chance to win a $200 Visa gift card by participating in a survey about Schuylkill County. I've taken the survey and it is super-short. Just 15 questions about you, where you love and what you like/don't like about Schuylkill County. It took me five minutes and now I'm just waiting for them to call and tell me I won the $200. :) You can take the survey up until June 30 (tell all your friends -- they don't have to live in Schuylkill County).
Take the survey here or on the Facebook page for the Schuylkill Visitor's Bureau here. Share your thoughts!
Attention Cupcake Lovers! Visit the Fairlane Village Mall this Sunday, March 10 at 1 pm for the Cupcake Wars. You can check out all the creative baking, get a taster of EVERY variety of cupcake as a judge for a $5 fee or purchase 6 cupcakes of your choice for $5. If you're packing school lunches this is a great extra-special snack for next week's lunch boxes! All fees benefit our local libraries.
This is it! The month when we finally begin hoping that there will be more Spring-like days than wintry days. Of course, we could still experience another snowstorm or two but I promise it won't last long! To celebrate the beginning of warm weather days, why not sign up for an organized hike?
Sunday, March 10
SCEETR Walk from 1 pm to 3 pm
Meet at the New Philadelphia Post Office for this 2 mile walk rated easy. Led by John Domalakes, this walk will take in the water reclamation project of the Schuylkill River.
Saturday, March 16
Blackwood Ramble from 9 am to 1 pm
Meet at Llewellyn Hose Company for this 5.5 mile hike rated easy. Led by Hiker Jim, features Blackwood, Stump Dam, Bass Dam and lots of history!
If you're interested in learning more about the outdoors, the Pottville Library is having visits from Master Gardeners on the second Thursday of the month at 6 pm. First up is the dreaded Spotted Lanternfly (and Master Gardener Kitty Murray) on March 14. In April the library will welcome Master Gardener Tom Reed and his knowledge of composting -- a great topic considering Earth Day is in April -- on April 11. May will bring Master Gardener Sue Laubach talking about making herbal vinegars -- which could be a great Mother's Day gift -- on May 9.
This weekend you can meet a very unusual person -- Ryan "The Bugman" Bridge. Before you assume he's the latest Marvel Superhero let me tell you that The Bugman's superpower is the ability to fascinate even people who think they don't like bugs. The Bugman will be at Sweet Arrow County State Park clubhouse on Friday, March 8 at 7 pm with a free and fun program for all ages. Come and learn what's happening in the Bug World!
Art is everywhere, including at your local library. The Pottsville Library is hosting the art exhibit Art As Healing by the women and children of Schuylkill Women on Crisis from March 4 until March 11. And if you visit on March 4 you can get a two-fer-one. In addition to viewing the art you can stop by the Used Book Sale being held in the basement from noon to 2 pm.
In the Orwigsburg Library, they're having money workshops all month long. First up is how to save money using coupons. Who wouldn't want that? Stop by Thursday, March 7 at 6 pm and gather some money saving tips! Next is how to make money on Etsy, the crafters and artists marketplace. Get tips from the owner of an Etsy shop on Thursday, March 21 at 6 pm. Finally, on Thursday, March 28 at 7 pm learn about budgeting. All programs are free
Also, don't forget that March 4 is the last day to register as a baker in Cupcake Wars and help your local library with your baking (or tasting) skills. To learn more about the Cupcake Wars read this earlier post.
It isn't quite Spring but that doesn't mean we can't start thinking Spring thoughts. Need help getting in a Spring frame of mind? Start with a gardening workshop. The Master Gardeners Spring Gardening workshop will be held on Saturday, March 16 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Schuylkill County Extension, Ag Center Conference Room, 1202 Ag Center Drive, Pottsville. Cost is $20 per person and includes light morning refreshments and and a sandwich lunch. The workshop will cover a variety of topics including soils & fertilizers, vegetables & herbs, producing your own food, edible landscaping and more. Gardeners must register by midnight on March 10. To pay using check or credit card call 1-877-345-0691. To pay using credit or debit card visit http://extension.psu.edu/spring-gardening
If you want to learn more about dealing with the invasive Spotted Lanternfly come to the Tuscarora State Park Visitors Center on Monday, March 25 at 6 pm. Seating is limited so you must pre-register for this free workshop at email@example.com