Backcountry Cuisine Class • Festival of India • Darkwood Consort CD Release Party ... seriously! • Caldwell Night Rodeo • Children of the Grapes • Ta-Chi in the Garden 

Wednesday 16

Backcountry Cuisine Class

In the backcountry, just like in civilization, the quickest way to the heart--and the polypro pants--is through the stomach.

Put another way, if you're looking for your trail-mate to zip his or her sleeping bag onto yours over Labor Day weekend, you'd better provide a better spread than a jar of peanut butter and that nasty old can of Salisbury steak from the 33-cent store. For a few delicious--and FREE--ideas on how to turn your wee single-burner backpacking stove into a hinterland cooking show, head to REI this Thursday for local backpacker Peggy Jordan's backcountry cuisine class. All attendees will get to sample some of Jordan's concoctions, but just as importantly, each will also get a handout of recipes.

Just a suggestion: You might want to laminate the recipe sheet in case that fancy-pants extra virgin olive oil leaks in your backpack ...

7 p.m., FREE, REI, 8300 W. Emerald, 322-1141.

Wednesday 16

Festival of India

Ommmmmm ... Party! Meditation and celebration aren't usually used in the same sentence--that is, unless we're talking about the 7th Annual Sri Krishna Janmashtami (Festival of India) presented by the Hare Krishna Temple and Vedic Cultural Center of Boise.

The Hare Krishna Temple has been a part of our community for 20 years and the Festival of India will help mark this important anniversary with plenty of music, dance and, of course, food. The kids will enjoy face painting, storytelling and dressing up in saris and dhotis and throughout the evening, temple members will welcome guests with a splendid vegetarian dinner consisting of 108 different dishes.

Revelers are also invited to see the House of 1,000 Flowers, where the congregation will follow custom by decorating the temple altar to note the appearance day of Lord Krishna on Thursday. For more information, visit www.boisetemple.org or call 344-4274.

6:30 p.m., FREE but donations of flowers, decorations and bhoga for Lord Krishna are welcome, Hare Krishna Temple and Vedic Cultural Center, 1615 Martha St. (near Boise State).

Thursday 17

Darkwood Consort CD Release Party

Import Darkwood Consort's new album Café Musik into your iTunes library, and you'll find that the local bass clarinet/viola duo's tunes are labeled as being in the musical genre "Unclassifiable." If you rolled your eyes, then you've obviously never seen them in action before. Not only is the pair a walking, talking and always smiling lesson in classical music from around the globe (including tunes from Greece, Denmark, France, North America and ... Roger Miller's "King of the Road," for some reason), but as a listen to the album's first track, Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis's "Amidst the Ruins of Hadrian's Gate" shows, they're also willing and able to morph their hallowed classical instruments into slappy, growly beasts if the mood strikes them.

What better time to wet your reed with this Boise Weekly 2004 Band of the Year than at the often-scheduled, often-canceled, this-time-we-think-it's-the-real-deal-no-really CD release party and concert celebrating the release of Café Musik? There isn't a better time, so there.

7 p.m, FREE, The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St., 344-8010.

Wednesday 16- Saturday 19

Caldwell Night Rodeo

Forget all that you've heard about rodeo events only lasting eight seconds. The last four days of the Caldwell Night Rodeo last all day and all night, with the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce's Buckaroo Breakfast kicking off at--ya-hoo!--6 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The afternoons and early evenings are packed with junior rodeo events and each night at 8 p.m., the Caldwell Night Rodeo proper takes over the CNR Arena with all the dust, snot, blood, chaw and, oh my garsh we just can't contain ourselves NEEEE-HAW!...

Sorry about that. Don't miss the Wrangler Pro Rodeo Summer Tour Stop on Saturday night, the culminating event of a full week of rowdy fun. We need a nap ... and a dip.

Wed.-Thur., $13 adult, $4.50 junior (12 and under), $10 senior (62+); Fri., $17.50 adult, $8 juniors; Sat., $20 adult, $8 juniors; Wed. Night Family Special: Up to six children (under 16) get in FREE with each paid adult, no junior ticket required; Caldwell Night Rodeo Grounds, 2301 Blaine St., Caldwell. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.caldwellnightrodeo.com.

Saturday 19

Children of the Grapes

OK, we can stomach the old notion that "kids have all the fun," as long as it applies to places like Chuck E. Cheese and the inoculation clinic. But now, the greedy little tycoons are taking over all the last havens of adulthood, too.

Case in point: This Saturday, the Winery at Eagle Knoll is holding a one-mile "Race Through the Grapes" fun run, where kids ages 5 to 12 get to live every oenophile's dream and run willy-nilly through the vineyards. Instead of the police citation we would receive, each participant will get a T-shirt and medal. After the race, they'll keep their heart rates flying with activities including grape stomping, martial arts exhibits, music, dancing, face painting, an Astro Jump and an obstacle course. Wow. Don't worry ... there'll be wine tasting for parents as well.

Stretching and warmup activities start at 9 a.m., with the race launching at 10. The post-race rowdiness continues until the wee small hours of the afternoon (1 p.m., to be precise). Register at Rocky Mountain Fitness and Recreation in Eagle or online at www.spondoro.com.

9 a.m., $12, The Winery at Eagle Knoll, 3705 N. Highway 16, Eagle, 286-9463.

Saturday 19

Ta-Chi in the Garden

Picture it: This Saturday morning ... you, calmly multiplying your stretchiness and balance while wearing your most enlightened-looking tracksuit ... all around you, the gentle sounds and familiar smells of the Idaho Botanical Garden.

Alone, admittedly, it might look a bit funny. But when you join up with the weekly free (with a paid garden admission) Tai Chi classes at the garden, it's heavenly. Classes continue through September, but remember: The mornings are only going to get colder from here.

10 a.m., FREE with garden admission, $4 adults, $3 seniors, $2 children 6-12, 2355 N. Penitentiary Rd., 343-8649.

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