Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

Two of the neatest things I witnessed this past week happened at the Young Writers’ Conference (YWC) at Methow Valley Elementary School—an event that celebrates the art and craft of writing by engaging kids in writing workshops with authors, songwriters, journalists, bloggers, scientists and others who practice writing personally and/or professionally.

First, YWC founder and former MVES teacher Tammie Ellis was in attendance at the conference, catching up with former colleagues and students, as well as witnessing how the seed she planted seven years ago has grown into a thriving, interactive tribute to the written and spoken word.

The second cool thing was having six high school students from Lisa Monahan’s child development class come to teach bookmaking workshops to kindergarten students at the conference. Some of these high school kids participated in the YWC years ago themselves, and now they have come full circle and are helping out as workshop presenters.

Bill Hottell poses next to a statue of James Joyce in Ireland. >Photo courtesy of Bill Hottell

Bill Hottell poses next to a statue of James Joyce in Ireland. >Photo courtesy of Bill Hottell

Other educational events this week include Bill Hottell, who is currently leading a group of valley residents through Ireland, helping them discover the country’s hidden treasures as well as taking photo ops with statues of Dublin’s native son, James Joyce. The trip is the culmination of Bill’s annual history class, which this year focused on Tudor England and Irish history. With next Monday (June 16) being Bloomsday (an annual celebration of Joyce’s work), the timing of the trip is impeccable (and probably not coincidental).

We have a fishy kind of weekend coming up. For starters, there’s the annual Kids’ Free Fishing Day at the Winthrop National Hatchery on Saturday (June 14) from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., where kids can participate in a variety of fishing-related events, including catching trout that are sometimes nearly as long as the little anglers themselves. Concurrently, the Winthrop Traverse race celebrates the life cycle of salmon by sending competitors by bicycle, boat and foot from Pearrygin Lake to downtown Winthrop.

And then there’s just another week until the Winthrop Hop Rendezvous Brewfest on June 21.  Held at the Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink, the event is a fundraiser for the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce. Eleven breweries are attending and Old Schoolhouse Brewery is the event organizer. Great beer, live bands and food from the Twisp River Pub — a perfect way to end the day after riding in the Methow Singletrack Solstice mountain bike festival that happens to be that day, too.