Calendar karma

No matter what kind of flag you’re flying these days, the Xpress Community Calendar offers a 12-day window of events that has opportunity written all over it. For nearly nine years, WNC residents have counted on our calendar to help them keep abreast of local happenings, volunteer opportunities, classes, workshops and much, much more.

Sure, the Xpress calendar can be intimidating. The sheer volume of text (and the diminutive type size) may discourage some folks from ever venturing into its depths. Over the years, however, this calendar junkie has had many entertaining and adventurous experiences that began with an itzy-bitzy black-and-white print listing in the Xpress Community Calendar. To help you do the same, here are a few pointers from one who not only treasures this local resource but also assists in the weekly ritual of tending the darn thing.

Twice-told tale

The calendar is actually two sets of listings rolled into one (three during the winter holidays, which merit their own special section) The main section comprises eight self-explanatory categories, ranging from the community events, workshops and meetings featured in Town Square to the eclectic spiritual matters detailed in Cosmic Buffet. Steppin’ Out, the calendar’s second component, tracks the local arts-and-entertainment scene.

It’s pretty easy to keep current if you surf through both sections. During a single week last month, for example, you could have taken part in a community forum on the arts, answered a casting call for Hamlet, or attended the stage production of David Sedaris’ department-store-elf adventures. By the time Saturday rolled around, you’d have had your choice of a fistful of craft shows around the region, where you could mix and mingle with assorted artisans and fellow shoppers. And with Sunday yet to come, there’d still be sufficient time to get suitably cosmic.

One real beauty of the calendar is that 99 percent of the happenings it lists are free. Factor in the further consideration that many featured meetings, gatherings and events are ongoing functions that repeat every week, month or season, and you may begin to apprehend just how valuable a friend the Xpress Calendar can become.

Holiday primer

Of course, with Old Man Winter’s undeniable arrival, you may figure that this isn’t the best time of year to forge a new routine. But the season’s shorter days/longer nights may actually allow more time for delving into diverse possibilities (though, with the holidays in full swing, time-management skills become more critical than ever). It may be easier to balance the onslaught of seasonal activities with the help of a free yoga class or guided hike discovered in the calendar. And with a bit of careful and imaginative planning, you can tap into an endless supply of art, entertainment, community events and recreational opportunities.

But whatever the time of the year, it’s always invigorating to try something totally not like you. Checking in with one of the innumerable local nonprofits that’s in need of volunteers could introduce you to a whole new aspect of your community — and yourself. Taking a friend on a studio stroll or to an artist’s reception is a great way to discover how this vibrant city came by its well-deserved national reputation as a center for high-quality arts and crafts. Or, better yet, sign up for a class and unleash your own creative spirit! Whatever gets you excited, the Xpress Calendar can point you in the appropriate direction.

If you’re looking for support — or feel you have some to give — the calendar lists nearly 50 groups each week that provide information, workshops, hot lines/help lines and guidance in the areas of health, wellness and social concerns. Children and their parents may want to scan the Kidding Around section, which always offers a choice of family-friendly activities. From puppetry to special exhibits to the Y-sponsored Kids’ Night Out, this fun-filled section brings out the perennial youngster in all of us.

And whether you’ve just moved to the area or speak with a mountain twang and can name all 43 local peaks over 6,000 feet, there’s a stimulating encounter just waiting for you. So many people have told me that they used to be more active when they first moved here — but now that they’ve settled in, they’ve fallen victim to the “don’t get around much anymore” syndrome. Well guess what? That’s exactly the time to pull out the latest issue of Xpress, chuckle at Molton (and the antics of City Council), and then dive into the calendar, where a bundle of rewarding experiences is sure to be staring you right in the face. Happy hunting!

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