A full schedule of activities and book discussions is now available for the “Big Read” in the St. Croix Valley.

The event was to be confined to April but will keep going into May, organizers report.

The idea is for people across the valley to read and discuss the novel “Love Medicine,” by Minnesota author Louise Erdrich.

The Big Read will also include art exhibitions, a theater production, film screenings, guided nature hikes, as well as multiple book discussions.

Activities begin with the opening of a visual art exhibition at the ArtReach St. Croix gallery in Stillwater on Thursday, April 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition, called “Spirit, Heart, Home” is inspired by the themes of Love Medicine and features artists throughout the St. Croix Valley in all visual media.

“Crossing the Water,” the kickoff event, will take place on Saturday, April 11, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Marine Village Hall, Marine on St. Croix.

There is a performance at 3 p.m. by troubadour Larry Long, accompanied by Joe Savage, with Louise Erdrich’s words read by Jacqueline Long.

The first discussions of Love Medicine will happen on Tuesday, April 7 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Marine Community Library, and on Friday, April 10, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Stillwater Public Library.

A full list of activities and details is available online at ValleyReads.org or NEABigRead.org.

St. Croix Valley

B&B promotion lures with chocolate

Bed-and-breakfasts in the St. Croix Valley have been teaming up to lure visitors to tours with chocolate tastings.

There’s a fee for the visits, but most of it can be recouped.

A $26 charge in advance, or $30 on the day, entitles one to peek inside and taste. At the final B & B, there’s a $20 gift certificate toward a B & B stay or dining at certain restaurants.

Order tickets online at: www.innsofthevalley.com

On Sunday, March 29, it’s Afton House Inn and Afton Historic Museum, Afton, and Phipps Inn and Octagon House, Hudson.

Tour-goers choose a location to start; maps and directions will be available for the other locations.

The event is aimed at participants 12 years of age and older.

Need ‘rescue’ for a lame watercolor?

A “watercolor rescue” class is coming up next weekend at the Phipps Center For the Arts in Hudson, Wis.

The event is Saturday, April 4, from 1-5 p.m. The class fee is $60. Participants are asked to bring watercolor supplies and at least one watercolor painting with which they are not satisfied and are willing to experiment on during the workshop.

The instructor, Lynne Baur, will teach students how to identify what is not working in a “failed” watercolor, and how to rescue it.

Samples of her work may be seen online at www.dragonflyspiritstudio.com/gallery.

For more information or to register, go to www.ThePhipps.org, call 715-386-2305, or stop by the center.


Ever thought of learning Swedish?

The Gammelgården Museum in Scandia is offering lessons in Swedish.

It’s billing them as a way to meet people, translate family heirlooms, research one’s ancestry, and ease your way on a trip to the old country.

Spring classes last for six weeks from April 13 to May 18 and are taught by Signe Fluegel, a native speaker.

Classes include discussions of history, travel and Swedish events these days.

Beginning class: Monday evenings, 5-6 p.m. For students with no knowledge of the Swedish language.

Intermediate class: Monday evenings, 6-7 pm. For students with earlier Swedish classes.

Advanced class: Monday evenings, 7-8 p.m. For students with a fair amount of knowledge of Swedish.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 651-433-5053. Cost is $60 and includes all materials. Visit http://www.gammelgardenmuseum.org/swedishclasses.shtm

David Peterson