The first day at the new VMH Wellness Center will be Wednesday, Jan. 3. The new facility located at 1130 Nelson Parkway boats new equipment and plenty of space to work out. The new phone number is 638-2348. For more information about the new facility, membership and hours of operation, visit www.vmh.org or checkout Facebook.

VMH will be hosting an open house Saturday, Jan. 6, from 8 a.m. to noon. Free fitness classes, chair massages and food will be available. Sign up for a membership and the membership enrollment fee will be waived. All attendees also have the chance to win one of four prizes: A one-year individual membership; 12 weeks of group fitness classes of your choice; one free massage therapy appointment; and five free 30-minute personal training sessions.

VIVA Gallery First Thursday, Jan. 4

“Writing in Stone” is an installation of more than 20 sculptural monuments to remarkable historical figures and transformative ideas that make up the Wisconsin experience. It is the work of nationally-acclaimed artist Terese Agnew and an 80-person collaborative team of artists, writers, historians, ethicists and skilled craftsmen. Through the month of January, a number of these monuments can be seen at VIVA Gallery in Viroqua, beginning Jan. 4 with the Gallery’s First Thursday opening.

“Writing in Stone” will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception Jan. 4 from 5-7 p.m. The gallery is located at 217 S. Main St. in Viroqua. For more information about this and future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608-637-6918 or info@vivagallery.net.

The gallery’s First Thursday reception will be followed by a 7 p.m. dinner next door at Rooted Spoon Kitchen Table. Email rootedspoon@gmail.com or call 608-632-2120 to make reservations. The Rooted Spoon cash bar will be open during the reception.

Normal School days, Jan. 9

Graduates of the Vernon County Normal School from the 1930-1970s will share their experiences of learning at the school and then going out to teach in the county’s rural schools. It will be held at the Vernon County Museum at 1 p.m. For more information call 637-7396. The program is free. Refreshments will be served.

Musical Chairs, Jan. 13

Songs from the heart of the Driftless, songwriters and poets. The evening entertainment features Kendra Swanson, Amos Biermann, Kristina King, Christina Dollhausen, Andy Hughes, and poets Peter Engen and Erin Ford. Rooted Spoon. Doors open at 6 p.m.; music at 7 p.m. There is a $10 cover. The series is supported by local sponsors Vernon Communications, Driftless Café, Real Small Towns, the Rooted Spoon and the Viroqua Chamber Main Street.

The Special Consensus, Jan. 14

The Special Consensus will perform at the Historic Temple Theatre at 3 p.m. Formed in the Chicago area in 1975, The Special Consensus is a four-person acoustic bluegrass band with a repertoire that features traditional bluegrass standards, original compositions and songs from other musical genres performed in the bluegrass format. The opening act is The Medicine Brothers. Cost is $15; tickets available at httix.com.

'Farmers for America,' Jan. 19

The documentary, which will be screened at The Ark from 7-9 p.m., traces the extraordinary changes coming to America’s food system as more and more consumers flock to farmers markets, embrace farm-to-table lifestyles and insist on knowing where their food is coming from. At the center of the film are the farmers, young and old, who provide the spirit and energy to bring urban and rural America together over what both share in common: our food.

These farmers reflect nothing less than the face of America. With the average age of today’s farmer at 60, and rural America losing population as the cost of land and equipment soars, this film reveals the people waiting to take their place, the practices they’re championing and the obstacles they must overcome. The movie is free. Free popcorn will be served.

For more information, check out The Ark's Facebook page.

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