Free For All

January is not just the first month of the year; it's also Eye Care Month, Hobby Month, Soup Month and -- my personal favorite -- Oatmeal Month. Seven years ago, the townspeople of Lafayette decided that they just couldn't let such a big occasion pass them by, so they started their very own Oatmeal Festival and have put on an annual celebration ever since.

Held this Saturday at several locations around Lafayette, the Oatmeal Festival celebrates all things oatmeal -- and then some. Sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company, the festival kicks off with an Oatmeal Breakfast (8 a.m. to 1 p.m at Pioneer Elementary School, 101 East Baseline Road), where over 145 toppings, from fresh fruit to toasted coconut to Nutella, will be offered. "Think of every possible oatmeal topping, and we're going to have it," guarantees Jo Judd, community event coordinator for Lafayette.

You'll probably need a little exercise after all that hot cereal, so hit the Quicker Quaker 5K walk/run, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Old Firehouse (110 North Harrison). Bring the dog and strollers if you want to take it slow, or run it as fast as a Bolder Boulder participant. Afterward, you can wander over to the Baking Contest and Health Fair (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bob L. Burger Recreation Center, 111 West Baseline Road). Organized by Boulder Community Hospital, the fair will feature blood-pressure screenings, cardiac and stroke assessments, a mobile mammogram unit and more. "The whole point of the day is to get people to think about living a healthy lifestyle and making healthy choices," says Judd. The fiber and oats in oatmeal have been shown to have several benefits, mainly lowering cholesterol.

It's a good bet that undergoing osteoporosis screenings is not how the kiddies planned to spend their day, so drop them off at the Kids' Workshops (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, 200 East Baseline Road), where they can make musical instruments, a working pinhole camera or a kaleidoscope, all using tube-shaped oatmeal packaging.

For further information, call 303-926-4352.