Around Our Region published Feb. 9, 2022

The weekly Around Our Region calendar of events is published Wednesdays. Submissions may be emailed to with “Around our Region” in the subject line at least a week in advance.

Graphic art of a 2022 12-month calendar

Area celebrations

Litchfield Peanut Butter & Milk Festival: Feb. 12-19. The 50th annual festival will feature nine guests from Hartford, Alabama — Litchfield’s sister city — spending the week in Meeker County. Events open to the public include

  • Feb. 13, 2 to 4 p.m., snowmobile and ATV rides at the Roger & Janet Huhn farm on Lake Manuella;
  • Feb. 14, 7 to 9 p.m., chili and soup supper at the Forest City Threshers Site;
  • Feb. 18, 7 p.m., potluck banquet at St. Philip’s Church Social Hall with a social time and silent auction at 7 p.m. and dinner at 7:30. Princess Kay of the Milky Way Anna Euerle of Litchfield will be speaking at the banquet.

Paynesville Winterfest: Feb. 19, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Events at the Paynesville Area Community Center, $5 entry fee, advance registration required at Paynesville Community Education.

Youth and Family

Fort Ridgely State Park: Feb. 12, 5 to 8 p.m. A waxing gibbous moonlit evening hike lit by candlelight starts at the chalet and is suitable for beginner-level snowshoers or hikers of all ages. Equipment is not required to participate in the hike, but visitors can bring their own snowshoes or ice cleats if desired. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own hot cocoa or cider to warm themselves after the hike near the bonfire. A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks and be purchased in advance at the DNR website . Call the park for more information at 507-426-7840 .

Paynesville: Feb. 12, 7 to 9 p.m. The Crow River Trail Guards are hosting the 11th annual Moonlight Meander in the Crow River Nature Park in Paynesville. Everyone is welcome for an evening of family fun. Candle luminaries will guide the way along the park trails. Bonfires, free refreshments and treats.

Income tax assistance

WILLMAR — Free tax with assistance from AARP volunteers will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday through April 14 at the Willmar Community Center. Appointments required; to set up your appointment call 320-354-3529 between 1 and 4 p.m. weekdays.


Ridgewater College

WILLMAR — Ridgewater College is presenting a social justice speaker series open to the public via Zoom with registration. All sessions will be recorded. Look for links at

The Jan. 19 session was “Unity, Service, Justice,” with Dr. Artika Tyner and the Jan. 25 session was “The Holocaust,” with survivor Peter Gorog.

Remaining sessions are:

  • Feb. 15, 11 a.m. To celebrate Black History Month, Ridgewater College will host a forum with black professionals from across Minnesota. Hear panelists share their trials and triumphs, and personal impact of what Black History Month means to them. Register at .
  • March 15, 11 a.m. “Tactile the World: A DeafBlind Woman’s Journey,” with Christine “Coco” Roschaert. An avid traveler, Coco has experienced 62 countries and has had to rely on her instinct, experience, challenges and resources to navigate the globe as a DeafBlind woman using a blind-cane and tactile sign language. This presentation will be in American Sign Language with voice interpretation. Register at .
  • March 24, 11 a.m. “Understanding Somali Culture,” with Hudda Ibrahim, author of “From Somalia to Snow” and “What Color is My Hijab?” and a faculty member at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. She will clarify diversity, equity, inclusion and unconscious bias; share how different cultures impact communication; discuss specific needs of Somali students; share language and communication styles and ways to bridge the communication gap; and explore religion, spirituality and Islamic dietary laws. Register at

Willmar Community Center

WILLMAR — The Willmar Community Center has several events set. All events are free unless noted. The phone number is 320-262-5288 . For reservations call or online at .

Willmar Area Senior Citizens Club: Feb. 9, 2 p.m., freewill donation, entertainment by Terry Nelson.

Friday afternoon of dancing: Feb. 11, 1 p.m., $2 non-dancers, $7 dancers; light lunch served; music by Leroy & Joe.

Candy heart making class: Feb. 12, 2 p.m., $5. A classic Valentine candy you receive every year, but this year you get to make your own candy heart and write your own saying. Advance registration required.

Sweetheart snack box: Feb. 13, 12:30 p.m., $15. Join Riley as we make a Valentine's Day snack box and mocktail. Learn how to make herbed goat cheese, pickled red onions, a beautiful salami rose, chocolate-covered strawberries and a raspberry pear smash mocktail. Advance registration required.


Heart-pounding trivia: Feb. 13, 3 p.m., $2. Put your Valentine’s Day knowledge to the test in this trivia contest with Tim. There will be different categories and themes.

Chocolate tasting party: Feb. 14, 3 p.m., $3. Join us for an afternoon sampling fun chocolate varieties, advance registration required.

Charcuterie serving board: Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, 6 p.m., $15. Come make your own serving board in this two-night woodshop class, advance registration required.

Community board games: Feb. 26, 2 p.m., free, all ages. Learn a new featured game, bring some friends, and play any available games in our library.

Community bingo night: Feb. 27, 5 to 7 p.m., $3 per person; two cards per person.

Veterans coffee social: Feb. 28, 9:30 to 11 a.m., open to all veterans, police, fire and emergency medical services members.

Book Club: Feb. 28, 3:30 p.m. First session of a new group being formed for a relaxed opportunity to read new books and enjoy discussion with other readers. Contact the community center for more details.

Yahoo for Yahtzee: Every Monday, 12:30 p.m.


Let’s Draw Art Sketching Club: Mondays, 1 p.m., ages 12-100, $5 for five classes. A weekly art class that will go over the basics of drawing, sketching and painting with basic art supplies provided.

Check Mates Chess Club: Mondays 6 p.m. Whether you are advanced or just learning the game, we would love to have you join our club.

Hand & Foot Cards: Every Tuesday and Thursday, 12:30 p.m., free, popular variation of canasta, easy to learn.

Community Kids: Wednesdays, 4 p.m. Different activities from crafts to science to simple creative snacks for K-5 students. Register one week in advance to assure appropriate supplies, $5 each week.

Square dance lessons: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Practice and learn the varieties of square dances. All ages and skills welcome.

Farkle Fridays: Every Friday, 1 to 4 p.m., all ages, a classic dice game to try and reach 10,000 points first. Each player will have their own cup and dice.

Exercise classes: Gently Yoga, Bone Builders, SAIL (Staying Active and Independent for Life), contact Community Center for details and prices.

Community puzzle exchange: Daily, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., drop off, pick up or swap out a puzzle in our exchange program.

Woodshop: Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday evenings. Advance registration required by calling 320-262-5288 . Cost is $5 for a daily pass, $25 for a three-month membership, and $60 yearly.

Willmar Public Library

WILLMAR — The Willmar Library is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The website is . Call 320-235-3162 . Curbside pickup remains available during regular hours. Face masks strongly encouraged. Programs are in person in the library. The WiFi can be accessed 24/7 from a parked car in the lot behind the library or in front of the building using your library card or through Overdrive.

Brainfuse HelpNow: Free online tutoring service, grades K-12, one-to-one live homework help from online tutors between 2 and 11 p.m. daily; English or Spanish; math, science, English/language arts, social studies and reading assistance; app available for mobile.  

Interactive movie kit: The interactive movie kits include a script along with props for up to six participants. Limit of one per week per household. Register on the library website. New titles each month.

Book Box: Register for a book box on the library website, check out a copy of the book, open the items as you reach specific chapters in the book, all ages.

Teen lit loot: Sign up and you will receive a library book based on your interests and a bag of goodies to go with it. Ages 12-18 only, one per month and will need to re-register each month. February’s theme is baking.

Blind Date with a Book/Find a New Friend: During the month of February, we’ll have mystery young adult and adult book dates/friends available for check-out. Each blind-date/new friend will be concealed in a box with some free goodies and a short description outside the box to help you find your perfect match. Be sure to stop in and get one before they’re all gone.

Adult make-and-take: Open for galaxy bookmarks. Crafts are posted on the website as they are available, usually around the first and 15th of the month. Use the form on the website to reserve supplies to make your very own featured project. Once you have registered, library staff will call you or email you when it is ready to be picked up. Ages 18 and over.

Teen Take & Make Crafts: Feb. 7 opened for valentine mailboxes, Feb. 14 opens for photo hanging. For ages 12-18, limit one per person as supplies are limited. Sign up on the library website.

Preschoolers storytime: Every Tuesday, 10 a.m., ages 3-6, no registration required.

Little People storytime: Every Wednesday, 10 a.m., ages 0-3, no registration required.

Teen hangout: Feb. 9, 5:30 p.m., ages 12-18, no registration required. Enjoy video games, arts and crafts, board and card games, snacks and beverages.

Teen Gaming Club: Feb. 11, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., ages 12-18, no registration required. Play games on the Xbox One or board and card games. Some games are rated 13+.

Teen movie: Feb. 16, 5:30 p.m., ages 12-18, no registration required.

Movie matinee: Feb. 18, 2 p.m., PG-13 rated, no cost or registration, refreshments provided.

Craft & Coloring: Feb. 23, 2 p.m., upstairs at the library. Bring any crafts or coloring you are working on or use the provided supplies for coloring and more.

Adult trivia: Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m., theme is “Finish the Quote.”

Teen Book Club: Feb. 25, 4 p.m., club discussion of this month’s book, in the multipurpose room, no registration necessary.

Physical activities

Outdoor ice rinks: Open rinks with lights at Garfield, Hilltop and Lincoln parks. Two hockey rinks at Garfield.
Garfield warming house: 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Open skating: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sundays, Willmar Civic Center, $3 for all ages; $2 skate rental.
Open curling: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturdays through March 5, Willmar Civic Center, $3 for all ages.
Adaptive/open curling: 4 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Willmar Civic Center, $3 for all ages.

Donna Middleton started working at the West Central Tribune in 1975 and has been the news assistant since 1992. She compiles the arts, health, farm and community page calendars, as well as rewrites and works on the special sections.
She can be contacted at or phone 320-214-4341.
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