STANWOOD — It’s an event for anyone who’s ever thought: “I’d really like to learn how to do that.”
With 185 classes to choose from, the toughest question for those attending the Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool may be: “Which five classes will I attend during the day-long event?”
Expo classes are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 27 at Stanwood High School.
Here’s just a handful of the topics being offered: arc welding, dahlia growing, lefse making, attracting barn owls to your barn, cast iron cooking, raising rabbits for meat, how to play music with a handsaw, beekeeping, cidermaking, furniture refinishing, greenhouse growing for beginners, and sourdough bread baking for beginners.
Yes, it’s called a country living expo, but “you can be a city person in downtown Seattle and come and find classes,” said Joan DeVries, program coordinator for the WSU Skagit County Extension Office.
The cast iron cooking class will be taught by Dennis Newman, chef at Stanwood’s Crow Island Farms Restaurant.
David Malda, a Seattle landscape architect, has worked on projects at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus, and the Long Beach Civic Center in California. He will lead an introductory course on landscape design.
A welding class will allow people to put on safety equipment and go into a booth and weld.
All course instructors volunteer their time. “They want to share information,” DeVries said. “It’s exciting we find people who have incredible passion for their topic.”
Beginning classes are offered in the morning, aimed at those who have just moved to the country and want to learn more about how to raise sheep, build a fence and what to do with manure.
Gardening classes are available. And there are classes for those interested in starting a small business, including how to set up a webpage.
One of this year’s most popular classes is on how to attract barn owls to your barn. The owls help reduce rat and mice populations.
This year’s keynote speaker is Trent Loos, whose theme is “Ranching Across America, What I’ve Seen and Heard.” His radio show and podcasts are aimed at bridging rural and urban America.
The country living expo has drawn people from nearly every county in the state, as well as some from Idaho and Oregon. “People come from all over,” DeVries said.
The event began 41 years ago as the cattlemen’s winter school, held at Skagit Valley College.
Online registration is being accepted through Jan. 22. The cost is $75 for adults and $10 for students 12 to 18. Breakfast and lunch is included in the registration charge.
“My goal would be to fill every chair in every classroom,” DeVries said.
This will be the 10th year it’s been held in Stanwood, attracting as many as 1,500 people.
“In the middle of January, things can be dark, dreary and wet,” DeVries said. “We want to provide people with a really fun day.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
Country Living Expo & Cattlemen’s Winterschool is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 27 at Stanwood High School, 7400 272nd St. NW, Stanwood.
See the list of classes at extension.wsu.edu/skagit/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2017/12/expo-brochure-v7.pdf.
Online registration is being accepted through Jan. 22. Day-of registration also accepted. Cost is $75 for adults, for students ages 12-18 it’s $10. Lunch and breakfast is included.
Register online at countrylivingexpo.wufoo.com/forms/z584ojn185st0f. For more information, call the WSU Skagit County Extension Office at 360-428-4270, ext. 0.