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Good Times Digest
LARRY MAYER/Gazette StaffJane Reger and her friends are all volunteers for ZooMontana’s popular Geranium Fest, gearing up Saturday.

News briefs

Zoo's Geranium Fest is fragrant fundraiser The ZooMontana Geranium Fest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, is really an offshoot of the old "Plant Fair" that ZooMontana has had in the spring for more than 20 years.

It is a great time for gardeners to get together to discuss plants. Jane Reger, zoo volunteer, has been in on the fest from the ground floor and organized other helpers.

A popular item at the zoo is called the Easter Egg Plant. It's for sale and looks and feels like a real egg.

The strong and healthy geraniums are from four local nurseries, and there are over 1,300 of them offered in all different colors. There will be refreshments, including hot dogs and hamburgers.

Garden vendors will have items for sale with profits going to help pay for the Botanical Gardens at the zoo.

Show promises sparkle of gems, minerals The 2003 Gem, Jewelry, Fossil and Mineral Show and Sale, sponsored by the Billings Gem and Mineral Club, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.

General admission is $4, and children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

There is a free polished rock for the first 250 kids ages 12 and under.

The event includes collectors' displays, dealers, educational exhibits, demonstrations, dinosaurs, fossil boxes, garnet table and silent auction. There are also grab bags, silent auctions and the wheel of fortune.

For more information, write to the Billings Gem & Mineral Club at Box 477, Billings, MT 59103, or call Dale Fryer at 656-4544, Larry Field at 652-1160 or Mark Lent at 373-5131.

You can also send e-mail to or view the Web site at

Fest wraps with vintage vino The MSU-Billings Wine and Food Festival wraps with its traditional activities this weekend, all based in the tent off Normal Avenue on campus

Today's informal wine tasting begins at 6 p.m. with $70 tickets. Sippers will be offered more than 100 samples of a variety of wines. Area restaurants and caterers will prepare an array of hors d'oeuvres to be eaten while browsing a silent auction.

Saturday night features a 5:30 p.m. champagne reception, gourmet dinner, silent auction, and a highly touted chance item: a 1993 Chalk Hill Vineyard Chardonnay.

The live auction is billed as "the festival's best yet" with a sterling line-up of vintages. The French star of the show is Lot #36: 12 bottles from Chateau Margaux, Premier Grand Cru, 1983. The grape varieties are 75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Merlot, five percent Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The Domestic Star of the Show is Lot #39: 12 bottles from Beringer Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, Private Reserve, 1994. Growing conditions of the 1994 vintage have been described as "pristine," yielding cabernet Sauvignon with dense and concentrated flavors and colors. These stars are sure to add excitement to an elegant evening.

In addition to funding classroom equipment, library enhancements and community enrichment programs for MSU-Billings students, proceeds of festival activities and its Wine Store benefit scholarships for the Chancellor's Undergraduate Scholarship Program, University Honors Program, International Studies Scholarships Program and the Graduate Education and Scholarship Program.

Last year the festival raised $209,000, bringing the 10-year festival total proceeds to more than $1.2 million.

Partners of the 2003 Wine and Food Festival are Briggs Distributing, Wells Fargo Bank/Wells Fargo Private Client Services, Computers Unlimited, The Billings Gazette, Sodexho, and the MSU-Billings Foundation. Sponsors are Albertsons and Fortin Enterprises, Inc..

Visit the Wine and Food Festival web site at or call 1 888 430-6782 or 657-2244 for tickets.