A unique collection of birdhouses created by 50 St. Croix Valley artists will be auctioned to raise funds to support arts programming at ArtReach St. Croix.

The artists were given a blank birdhouse and asked to create a unique piece of art reflecting the unique personality that showcases their talent. Results vary from an avian schoolhouse to a yellow construction crane to a Haitian-style lean-to. A sneak peek at all of the birdhouses is available online at www.artreachstcroix.org/birdhouse.

The birdhouses will be auctioned from 6-9 p.m. May 22 at the Grand Banquet Hall, 301 Second St. S., Stillwater. In addition to a live and silent auction, the fundraising event will feature music by The Barley Jacks Trio and a chance to meet the artists.

"Artists and arts organizations from around the St. Croix came to this challenge with a generosity of spirit that shows in the birdhouses. It is great to build a fundraiser that starts with support from our peers and attracts support from others who want to see the arts thrive in our communities," said Heather Rutledge, executive director at ArtReach St. Croix.

Tickets are $25 for early birds or $30 after May 14 and are on sale now at ArtReach St. Croix and online at www.artreachstcroix.org/birdhouse. For more information, contact ArtReach at 651-439-1465.

Lift Bridge Brewery unveils new pilsner

Lift Bridge Brewing Company, Stillwater's first craft brewery since Prohibition, has introduced its latest creation: Getaway Pilsner.

This seasonal brew uses golden malts, noble Saaz hops and lager yeast to create a pilsner with assertive character, the brewery says. Getaway Pilsner is available in four-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at select restaurants and liquor stores across the Midwest. In honor of its launch, release events for Getaway Pilsner will take place across the metro and can be found on the Lift Bridge Facebook page.

The Lift Bridge taproom is situated at 1900 Tower Dr., Stillwater. The taproom often houses limited-release and experimental brews.


Auditions set for 'Bye Bye Birdie'

Woodbury Community Theatre is holding auditions for its summer family musical, "Bye Bye Birdie." They will take place from 2-8 p.m. Sunday, May 18, and 6:30-10 p.m. Monday, May 19, and Tuesday, May 20, at the Merrill Community Arts Center, 380 Rivertown Drive, Suite 200, Woodbury. Callbacks will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22. Performances will begin July 25.

Lenore Weir will be directing a cast that will consist of 20 teens aged 13 or older, 15 adults and one boy 8 to 12 years old.

"Bye Bye Birdie" tells the story of a rock 'n' roll singer who is about to be inducted into the army. For information, go to woodburycommunitytheatre.org/.

Marine on St. Croix

Geocaching program offered at state park

Andy McCracken, expert geocacher, will offer a primer on the challenge of geocaching and how you can use it to explore Minnesota State Parks' hidden treasures during a program from 10:30-noon on Saturday, May 17, at William O'Brien State Park, 16821 O'Brien Trail N., Marine on St. Croix.

You will learn to use a GPS unit, and then go in the park to find some specially placed caches. A limited number of GPS units will be available, so please call the park office to sign up at 651-433-0500.

St. Croix Valley

Sculpture Park opens kids sculpture classes

The first of four summer "Kids Make Sculpture Workshops" will be offered at the Franconia Sculpture Park from 1-4 p.m. on May 14 at the park, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Shafer. The other workshops will be offered at the same time on June 21, July 19 and Aug. 23.

During each workshop, students spend the afternoon creating sculptures with the assistance of staff and resident artists. All ages from 4 to 18 are welcome, with a limit of 30 in each class. Reservations are required, and the $30 fee for each student is due at the time of registration. Call 651-257-6668 or e-mail info@franconia.org to register.

Denmark Township

Apple Blossom Races benefit nature center

Apple Blossom Races, an annual series of races to benefit the Carpenter Nature Center's K-12 environmental education programs and habitat protection, will begin at 8 a.m. May 18 at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

Racers are urged to show up early on the day of the event for one of the three races: the 5K, 10K and half-marathon. They will then be shuttled from the nature center, 12805 St. Croix Trail, to the starting line at the nearby regional park.

Participants can also preregister by logging on to active.com, midwestevents.com, carpenternaturecenter.org or by calling 651-437-4359. The entry fee for the 5K and 10K is $30 ($40 after May 12) and it's $40 for the half-marathon ($50 after May 12). The first 600 people to register will receive a free T-shirt.

Jim Anderson, Libor Jany