May signals the start of the busy summer season, when school is out and thoughts turn to family vacations, wedding trips and the like. Just don’t overlook all the great fun that can be had right here this month.

Legends of Ranching horse sale

For most students, final exams mean sweating over essay questions, maybe turning in a capstone project on time. For Colorado State University Equine Science students, it means getting your project a job.

The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale at the B.W. Picket Equine Center on Overland Trail April 28 will be offering 34 quarter horses, 2- and 3-year-olds, started by CSU students as part of their degree work. There will also be 31 older horses available on consignment from about a dozen local sponsors and supporters, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Equine Science program. Preview starts at 9 a.m., auction at 1 p.m.

Visit the website at www.equinescience.colostate.edu for more information.

Kites in the Park

Imagine one of those impossibly blue Colorado skies filled with colorful kites flying in formation, dancing a ballet or just fluttering in the wind. That’s what Spring Canyon Community Park, 2626 W. Horsetooth Road, will look like on April 29, when the fifth annual Kites in the Park Kite Festival takes off.

The free family event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature kite flying demonstrations, contests for kids, giant kites, artistic kite displays, kite raffles, and, of course, the ever-popular free Kite Making Station. Children visiting the station will receive one of the approximately 1,400 tyvek kites made by volunteers from the Aspen Club’s Strong Women, Strong Bones and Fossil Ridge High to decorate, attach tails to, and fly at the festival.

And yes, kids, you could grow up to be a kite performer like John and Cass Pittman, who will fly their quad-line kites synchronized to each other and to music or Mix McGraw, who holds the world record for flying 230 kites at one time. Bob Matteo will launch his giant octopus, clownfish and scuba diver kites, and members of both the Afghani and Pakistani cultural clubs from Colorado State University will demonstrate kite flying traditions from their countries.

If possible, participants are asked to bike or walk to the festival, as parking is limited. For more information call 970-224-6032.

Running is a Community Event and benefit

The Wellington elementary schools, Rice and Eyestone, have teamed up for the second annual Running Is A Community Event 5K & Fun Run on May 12. Walk-up registration begins at 8 a.m. at Rice Elementary, 7000 Third St. Fees are $15 for adults before May 10 – forms are available through either school – or $20 the day of the race; $5 for Poudre School District students; kids under 5 can participate in the Fun Run for free.

Last May, 317 kids and family members participated to help promote school-wide physical activity and family fun. This year, the event has another purpose as well.
Some of the proceeds from the race and all of the proceeds from a silent auction to be held after the race will go to the medical fund of a second-grader from Eyestone battling leukemia.

Organizers are still in need of donations for the silent auction. For more information, contact Angela Billington at 970-215-6072 or angelab_44@msn.com.

Conservation Gardens Fair

With weather conditions so far echoing the drought year of 2002, now would be a good time to learn how to make your landscape smarter about water consumption. Northern Water can help with that.

The folks who provide water to homes, businesses and farms throughout Northern Colorado are celebrating their 75th anniversary with a free Conservation Gardens Fair May 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 220 Water St. in Berthoud.

In addition to hourly guided tours of the Conservation Gardens that are full of water-smart demonstration and research plantings, the day will feature free seminars on the principles of xeriscaping, sprinkler and irrigation equipment and techniques, turf options and maintenance, and more. Experts from CSU Extension, Plant Select, Colorado Master Gardeners and various municipal water conservation programs will be on hand to answer questions in the resource center.

The first 200 visitors to the fair will receive a free regionally appropriate perennial, and there will be prize drawings every hour starting at 11 a.m. For more information, visit www.northernwater.org.

Spring Plant Sale

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13, so why not pick up a nice plant for your favorite mom on Saturday?

The annual spring plant sale at the Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave., in Fort Collins, offers bedding plants, vegetables, herbs, ornamental grasses, perennials, hanging baskets, and color bowls, all grown by the Gardens and horticulture students at Colorado State University and Front Range Community College. Proceeds from the sale, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., support horticulture programs at each organization.

For more information, visit fcgov.com/gardens.

Mishawaka concert season opens

If your mom loves Colorado music – and who doesn’t? – a trip up Poudre Canyon to the Mishawaka Amphitheater might be the best Mother’s Day present ever. The summer concert season opens May 12 at 7 p.m. with Head for the Hills, Split Lip Rayfield and Finnders and Youngberg. May 13 the show starts at 5 p.m. and features the acoustic duo the Wood Brothers, with Paper Bird.

Tickets and information available at www.themishawaka.com or 970-568-5420.

Begin to commence

Just one more big event over Mother’s Day weekend: Colorado State University commencement exercises will be held May 11 and 12 this year.

Poudre School District seniors graduate at the end of month, with Poudre High School set to flip their tassels first, on May 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Moby Arena on the CSU campus. Fort Collins, Fossil Creek and Rocky Mountain High all hold their ceremonies on Saturday, May 26. Then let the parties begin, even though the last day of school isn’t until June 1.

Memorial Day observances

Memorial Day falls on May 28 this year, and while most of us think of it was to official kick off to summer, it’s also a time to remember fallen military men and women.

On Sunday, May 27, a local Army veteran, Sgt. Phillip Gordano, will receive a Purple Heart in a ceremony at the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado in Spring Creek Community Park at the west end of Horsetooth Road. The program begins at noon and the keynote address will be delivered by Marine Corps Staff Sgt. John P. Jones, who lost both legs while serving in Iraq.

The day of free events begins at 9 a.m. and will feature veterans of various wars on hand to speak about their experiences, displays of vintage military vehicles and a Blackhawk helicopter, military re-enactors, food, music and a 5K fun run from Hughes Stadium to the plaza. Register for the run at www.active.com. Parking is limited at the park, so a shuttle will be available from Hughes.

More traditional observances will take place on Monday at the Veterans Memorial in Edora Park, 1420 E. Stuart St. (near Prospect Road and Riverside Avenue), in Fort Collins. Members of the American Legion will conduct services there beginning at 8:45 a.m., with a military flyover set for 9:15 a.m. Services will also be held at Grandview Cemetary at 10:30 a.m. and at Roselawn Cemetary at 1:30 p.m.

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