This coming week, in events that get to your heart through your stomach.
Tuesday, May 4
The Oregon Farmers' Market leads a wave of high spring season openers this week at its home base in front of Bill's Food Center. Vendors based both near and around the community will be offering numerous homegrown products at the market, including fresh fruits and veggies, bedding plants and cut flowers, honey and maple syrup, pickled and sweet preserves, baked goods, cheeses and meats, soaps and candles, knitted items and jewelry, and more. Oregon Shopping Plaza, 787 N. Main St., Oregon, 2-6 p.m. Call 873-9443 for more info
Supporters of the Madison-Arcatao Sister City Project and the Madison-Camagüey Sister-City Association will gather tonight to share stories and camaraderie at A Celebration of Sistering & International Solidarity. The event begins with food, an update on the current conditions in Camagüey, and a report "from the frontlines of the struggle against environmentally devastating gold-mining operations in Central America." The relationship between WORT-FM and Radio Victoria in Cabañas, El Salvador will likewise be celebrated, and the party will continue with two sets of "groovy dance music" by Bonobo Secret Handshake and spinning by DJ Dr. Beat. Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St., 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m., $10 donation. Call 257-2473 for more info.
Wednesday, May 5
Both salsa and cerveza will be flowing all day and night at cantinas, taquerias, and Tex-Mex joints around the city and across the nation in recognition of Cinco de Mayo, that particularly Americanized celebration of Mexican-American ancestry and culture. Dozens of potential options for celebrating the holiday can be found in this Mexican cuisine listing for Madison and surrounding communities.
Fountain Prairie Farm proprietors Dorothy and John Priske are the guest speakers at the May monthly meeting of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, or CHEW. The couple raises distinctive Scottish Highland cattle at their ranch in Fall River, the center of which is their 17-room Victorian farmhouse bed and breakfast built in 1899, and sell their grass-fed dry-aged beef to a dozen restaurants around Madison as well as directly to consumers at the Dane County Farmers' Market. They will discuss how they transformed their farm from "a conventional beef operation to a holistic and sustainable farm." Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7:15 p.m., free. Call 241-1574 for more info.
Thursday, May 6
Spring and its bounty continues to burgeon as the McFarland Farmers' Market starts its season this afternoon, located in the heart of the suburban community on the eastern shore of Lake Waubesa. This market is the second of three opening in southern Dane County this week that share a manager, and each offers a similar array of locally-sourced farm-raised and homemade products. McFarland Centre, 5100 Farwell St., McFarland, 2-6 p.m. Call 873-9443 for more info.
Friday, May 7
The Stoughton Farmers' Market, located on Hwy. 51 on the west side of the town, follows the Oregon and McFarland markets in opening its seasonal operations today. Operated by the same manager as the other two, this market offers a broad mix of farm fresh foods and homemade crafts and other goods. Stoughton Plaza, 1050 W. Main St., Stoughton, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Call 873-9443 for more info.
The Jodi Lou Lung Cancer Foundation is holding a plant/bake/craft sale at the Sugar River United Methodist Church this weekend in conjunction with yard sales around Verona. The UW Carbone Cancer Center will receive all proceeds from the benefit. Sugar River United Methodist Church, 130 N. Franklin St., Verona, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday and 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday. Call 274-1048 for more info.
One fun option for lunch today is the second annual Brat Bash at the Oregon Senior Center. This menu at this fundraiser, prepared by JL Richards, includes hot dog, double hot dog, brat, and double brat baskets, each served with chips and soda. Members of the UW Marching Band will perform at noon. Oregon Senior Center, 291 Park St., Oregon, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $3-6 for hot dog and brat baskets. Call 835-5801 for more info.
The Eagle School of Madison is holding its 21st annual benefit auction this evening in support of its educational programs and scholarship fund. The family fun includes a food tent, silent and live auctions, and a raffle. Eagle School of Madison, 5454 Gunflint Tr., 5-9 p.m., free. Call 273-0309 for more info.
The Madison Bellydance Alliance invites fans to stop by its Spring Fever "Spoofla", a comedic dance party that offers "performance opportunities to dancers of all levels in a relaxed atmosphere." Along with the dancing, attendees will enjoy a snacks and sweets potluck. Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., 7 p.m., $5 donation. Call 828-9958 for more info.
Serious fundraising for local non-profit organizations is the purpose of the Merrill Lynch Grand Gala dinner, now in its fourth year. All proceeds will go to benefit the St. Mary's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which is embarking upon a major renovation and expansion project this year to upgrade technology and provide more space for its young patients. Edgewater Hotel, 666 Washington Ave., 5:30-10 p.m., $100 per person or $1000 per table. Call 258-5600 to RSVP.
Celebrating Madison's visual arts and the artists who create them is the direct purpose of Gallery Night, the semiannual showcase held at dozen of galleries and other venues around the city. The evening also serves as a good excuse to party, though, and plenty of participants will be offering free eats and drinks, enough so that an art lover can make a meal out of a dedicated excursion. 65 venues around Madison, 5-9 p.m. Call 257-0158 for more info.
Saturday, May 8
Spring gardening season in Madison hits its peak this weekend with the Plant Sale with the Pros at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. This annual fundraiser features a broad selection of plants for sale, local horticultural professionals and garden experts offering advice on selection and care, a pro potting bench, and gardening demonstrations on grafting, transplanting, and landscaping. The program for the event also includes live music by local musicians, and plenty of food, including fair trade coffee and gelato sold by Java Cat, as well as brats, hotdogs, chips, cookies, and bottled water sold by the Madison East Kiwanis. Olbrich is also holding a members-only pre-sale on Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Olbrich Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 246-4550 for more info.
The Madison Boat House welcomes this new season of open water with its second annual boat show and swap meet at its yards near the Yahara River on the north end of Lake Mendota. Shoppers and swappers will find food provided by Quaker Steak & Lube and VFW Post 11244, as well as live music by MoonHouse. Madison Boat House, 5345 West River Rd., Waunakee, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., free. Call 849-9200 for more info.
Botham Vineyards & Winery is opening its summer season and celebrating Mother's Day with its spring open house this weekend. Located just south of Barneveld in eastern Iowa County, the vineyard produces ten wines, four red and six white, and features a tasting room located in a restored barn built in 1904 that's decorated with early aviation and automobile memorabilia. Activities at this celebration include the release of the new vintage, tastings and pairings with Wisconsin cheeses and chocolates, a gallery opening featuring the Midwest debut of a sculpture exhibit by Madison native Bill Rock, and live music by the O'Bros and Hanson Family Jazz. Botham Vineyards, 8180 Langberry Rd., Barneveld, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, $5. Call 888-478-9463 for more info.
The Willy Street Co-op is grilling out on its front courtyard today at Brats in the Lot, the latest in its "Second Saturdays" fundraiser tasting series. Locally sourced eats are on the menu, which features Black Earth Meats brats or Tofurky brats on Turano Bakery buns, deli rice and beans, and Sprecher sodas. All proceeds from the benefit will go to the South Metropolitan Planning Council, a coalition of neighborhood organizations that works to improve the quality of life on the south side of Madison. Willy Street Coop, 1221 Williamson St., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., $5. Call 251-6776 for more info.
The Rock County Historical Society is hosting a special Mother's Day Victorian Tea today, complete with tea sandwiches and teacakes. The program also includes tours of the historic Tallman House, where Abraham Lincoln spent two nights in 1859, and an fashion show presented by The Timekeepers, a Civil War reenactment group that will be dressed in 1860s period attire. Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center, 426 N. Jackson St., Janesville, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., $18 advance and $20 door. Call 608-756-4509 for more info.
MyMenu, a Canada-based grocery chain that sells pre-made flash-frozen meals, invites community members to stop by for a quick lunch at its inaugural Charity Cookout Day, held at each of its three locations in the Madison metro area. Both hamburgers and brats will be served at two bucks a pop. All proceeds will go to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, a medical research organization working to cure IBD. MyMenu stores at 1 Dempsey Rd. Unit 1 in Madison, 6309 McKee Rd. in Fitchburg, and 2687 Windsor St. in Sun Prairie, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $2. Call 243-8178 for more info.
UFOs, or "unidentified flowering objects," are the target of a special search-and-destroy mission at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center campus in Black Earth this afternoon. More specifically, families and youth groups are invited to help identify remove invasive garlic mustard plants at the Flustered Mustard Festival pulling party. There will be a team contest to pull and bag the most weeds, and participants will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor by snacking on garlic mustard pesto while flushing the forest. Aldo Leopold Nature Center West, 10648 Sutcliffe Rd., Black Earth, 1-3 p.m., free. RSVP by May 5. Call 216-9371 for more info.
The Hatari Peru community association is throwing a special Mother's Day Celebration this evening, complete with dinner and performances of the marinera norteña, the Peruvian national dance. The menu features grilled chicken with trimmings, and there will be door prizes for mothers. Eagle Heights Community Center, 611 Eagle Heights, 5-9:30 p.m., $10. Call 231-2098 for more info.
Wisconsin collegiate basketball coaches Bo Ryan, Rob Jeter, Todd Adrian, Luke Reigel, and Jeff Gard are the featured guests at Shooting for a Cure, a benefit dinner in support of Coaches Vs. Cancer Wisconsin. The meal will be accompanied by live and silent auctions, and the featured speaker is Phil Martelli, the head coach of the St. Joseph's University men's basketball team. Kohl Center, 601 W. Dayton St., 5-10 p.m., $125 per person or $1000 per table. Call 662-7555 for more info.
Sunday, May 9
Mother's Day is one of the biggest days of the year for the restaurant industry, its kitchens buzzing in order to give those at home a rest. Buffets are perennially popular options for this Sunday holiday, particularly at hotel-associated restaurants like the Dayton Street Grille, the Capitol ChopHouse, and The Admirality. Of course, the best selection is to go wherever mom chooses.
A Room of One's Own feminist bookstore is holding a Mother's Day celebration this afternoon in honor of its 35th anniversary. The centerpiece is a reception for the five new additions to the "Madison Women Who Have Made A Difference" honorary installation: Liz Karlin, Midge Miller, Mariamne Whatley, Nancy Worcester, and Becky Young. Sweets, tea, and coffee will be served during the event, and proceeds will go to benefit the Room of One's Own Foundation, which provides books and financial support to educational programs for women. A Room of One's Own, 307 W. Johnson St., 2 p.m., $10 donation. Call 257-7888 for more info.
Wisconsin raised writer and musician Michael Perry is stopping in town today to give a reading of his new book Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting, a memoir exploring his childhood and adult life on the farm. Barnes & Noble West, 7433 Mineral Point Rd., 7 p.m., free. Call 827-0809 for more info.
Monday, May 10
Beer Monks & Maidens invites anyone interested in craft brewing to stop by its monthly meeting and membership drive this evening. Babes Grill & Bar, 5614 Schroeder Rd.. 7:30 p.m., free. Call 628-9806 for more info.
Chef Kevin Tubb of Eldorado Grill is leading a benefit cooking demonstration this evening in support of Gilda's Club Madison. The menu for the lesson, which will be served to participants, features sangria, chile rellenos, and the chef's "famous" lemon jalapeño pie. Gilda's Club, 7907 UW Health Ct., Middleton, 6 p.m., $75. Call 828-8880 to RSVP and for more info.
Upcoming eats events
It's worth knowing about some events that require reservations farther in advance.
Sunday, May 30
Black Market Madison, a new supper club organized by staff at the Weary Traveler, presents its Spring Dinner this evening. Limited to 30 advance tickets, the five-course menu for this meal is inspired by the seasonal bounty available before the arrival of Memorial Day, and features: carrot, parsnip, and greens; asparagus with shallots, prosciutto, lemon, and olive oil; scallops with ramps, truffles, potatoes, and oyster mushrooms; gnocchi with ham, mint, and peas; and, wild strawberry with white chocolate and lemon. Vegetarian options include: no prosciutto in the second course; bread with sorrel, green apple, and Gjetost for the third course; and, no ham in the fourth course. The meal is BYOB. The Project Lodge, 817 E. Johnson St., 8 p.m., $40. Tickets are available online. Call 445-0736 for more info.