Roamin' the Range

March begins in winter and ends in spring, with a time change somewhere in the middle. In northern Colorado, that can mean anything and everything weather-wise, but there are plenty of activities, indoor and out, to chase the blahs away.

Voyage to Melanesia at the Global Village

At this time of year, who doesn’t dream of a tropical vacation? The Global Village Museum offers a land-locked getaway with “Melanesia: A Voyage to the South Pacific” in its main gallery through April 21.

The exhibit showcases masks, sculptures, textiles and other artifacts from the islands northeast of Australia, including New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Many of the items are from the personal collections of local returned Peace Corps volunteers, and illustrate the evolving lifestyles of the Melanesians.

During First Friday, March 2, the museum will stay open late for half price admission, and there will be staged readings from “Peace Corps @ 50,” stories from returned Peace Corps volunteers. Series editor Jane Albritton, a volunteer to India who has returned to north Fort Collins, received a Congressional commendation for the four volumes. Readings take place at 6:30 and 8 p.m.

The Global Village museum is located at 200 W. Mountain Ave., in Fort Collins, open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $1 for children. Info: 970-221-4600.

Great Plates benefits Food Bank

Fort Collins has almost as many restaurants as it has Peace Corps volunteers. It also has one of the most respected food banks in the country. Last year the Food Bank for Larimer County distributed 8 million pounds of food to one out of every 10 county residents.

While you’re deciding where to eat, think about supporting the Food Bank at the same time. It doesn’t matter what you’re hungry for: 30 downtown Fort Collins eateries are participating in this year’s Great Plates event, sponsored by the Downtown Business Association.

Between March 1 and March 14, each restaurant will be serving a dinner special for $25. For every special ordered, the Food Bank will receive a cash donation. (Look for $2.50 specials at participating breakfast and lunch places, too.)

Last year, Great Plates raised more than $14,000 for the Food Bank, which can feed a hungry person in Larimer County for as little as a quarter. You do the math, and remember to tip your server.

List of participating restaurants and info: www.downtownfortcollins.com

Music at The Bean

The Bellvue Bean on Rist Canyon Road presents great Colorado-flavored music all month. Singer/songwriter Reed Foehl takes the stage on March 3. The Boston native has been based in Colorado since 1989, and has performed with Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal and Dave Matthews, among others.

The husband-and-wife duo of Aaron and Erin Youngberg bring their original bluegrass-inspired tunes to the Bean on March 17. They also play as part of the bluegrass group Finders & Youngberg.

And on March 24, nationally touring guitarist Justin Roth stops by. He might even play part of his song, “Surrender,” recently featured on the daytime soap “The Young and the Restless.”

Doors open for all shows at 6:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for Aaron and Erin are $27 per person, $50 per couple; all others are $22 individual, $40 couple, available online at www.bellvuebean.com. All tickets include a sandwich with chips or signature salad. Info: 970-484-0511.

St. Patrick’s Day parade

With the luck of the Irish, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year. That means Lucky Joe’s annual parade through Old Town Fort Collins will be all that much more festively green, with costumed marchers, bagpipe bands, decorated floats, hounds in hats and men in kilts.

The parade steps off on Walnut Street on the north side of Old Town Square at 10 a.m. on March 17, followed at 11:30 a.m. by the traditional party at Lucky Joe’s Saloon featuring live Irish music, dancing, and who knows, maybe some beer, too. Info: www.downtownfortcollins.org.

Plant walk in Horsetooth open space

Maybe Wednesday was the first day of spring, but March 24 should be a perfect Saturday for a Wintertime Plant Walk through the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, just west of Fort Collins on County Road 38E. The easy, three-hour hike starts at 9 a.m. A Larimer County naturalist will explain how plants handle the harsh winter season and point out the survivors. Program is free; $6 daily entrance permit required. Hikers should dress appropriately, including extra traction for sturdy boots, and bring water for the trail. Info: 970-679-4489.

Wellington Easter Egg Hunt

Spring can’t be far away when kids get ready to fill their baskets with brightly colored eggs. This year’s Wellington Easter Egg Hunt takes place on March 31 at Harvest Farms, 4240 E. County Road 66 in Wellington, from 3 to 5 p.m. In addition to the sheer thrill of the hunt, there will be extra lucky prize eggs to be found.

Businesses may donate prizes through March 19 at the Wellington Town Hall, 3735 Cleveland Ave., and anyone who wants to volunteer to help with the event should contact the town’s Community Activities Commission. Info: 970-568-3381 x49, cac@townofwellington.com.

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