WINTHROPBy Ashley Lodato

The Kids Concert for the Congo at the Methow Valley United Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon was very inspiring, with 15 kids ranging in age from kindergartener Emmet Bondi to high-schooler Liam Daily playing guitar, violin and piano pieces to entertain the audience. A sweet moment was enjoyed by all when Emmet, who needed much coaxing to perform, was given a boost of confidence by fifth-graders Keeley Brooks and Lena Nelson, who picked up their violins and accompanied Emmet while he played his song.

No sooner had this fundraiser for an orphanage/school in the Congo concluded than Linda Mendro was announcing plans for the upcoming 15K run/walk/bike/rollerski for the Congo. All are invited to join Linda (who has begun training, so watch out!) and others at the Winthrop Barn at 2 p.m. on Oct. 13 to travel around the Chewuch Loop. Wear orange, it’s hunting season. Suggested pledges of $1 per mile are being sought. For more information call the Mendros at 997-6070 or Laura McCabe at 996-3782.

The excitement of mushroom hunters is palpable this year. Even for those who aren’t fanatic about fungi growing in the wild, it’s pretty fascinating to be out in the woods right now seeing mushrooms of every size, shape and color imaginable.

Contrary to event organizers’ fears that the dreary weather would tempt people to stay home by their wood stoves, valley residents turned out in droves for two big community gatherings over the weekend: the Methow Conservancy’s Cider Squeeze, and the Community Harvest Potluck at TwispWorks.

Shelter was available in the form of pop-up tents at the Squeeze and in the North Warehouse at the Harvest Potluck, but those present only sought cover when the rain was at its hardest, choosing instead to sip hot cider out in the elements, gathered around bonfires, reinforcing the idea that the flames fanned by friendships are the ones that warm us the most.