A guide to family-friendly activities in the tri-county area this month 

TRI-COUNTY — School’s out for the summer and temperatures have soared over 100 degrees in every corner of the Big Bend. With the heat unlikely to break anytime soon, seeking fun indoors is a priority. Here’s a roundup of activities for kids and families to keep tri-county residents off the couch this summer. 

MARATHON 

The patio at Brick Vault this summer will look a little different than usual: head brewer Amy Oxenham has constructed a model Pinewood Derby track that anyone in the community can use. She will be hosting the race in July, but is hoping to get “kids of all ages” to start working on their cars this month with a workshop on June 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.. 

The Pinewood Derby is an event traditionally hosted by the Boy Scouts, where participants build model cars out of wood and race them on a regulation track. “My brother was a scout and did the derby every year and I just loved it,” she said. “I wanted everyone to have a more hands-on opportunity to participate than just boys with scout affiliations. There’s no age limits, I just want everybody to get really into it.” 

Folks hoping to participate in Marathon’s version of the Pinewood Derby are encouraged to stop by Brick Vault on the evening of June 16 to get more information and to workshop ideas for their cars. Kits for the cars cost $15, but a few generous locals have offered to pitch in and cover the costs for anyone in need. “Everybody gets a chance to express their personality through the way they decorate and design their car,” Oxenham said. 

The official race day will be set for July 16, and all are invited to cheer on their friends and neighbors on the patio, even if they didn’t build a car. 

ALPINE

The Alpine Public Library will be a hotspot this summer as staff hosts a different activity for local families practically every day of the week. Toddler Time will be hosted in the Community Room each Thursday at 10 a.m., giving Alpine’s youngest to learn about a different topic every week. The library’s Big Blue Planet Earth program for grades 1-4 will be hosted at 2 p.m. every Tuesday, and focuses on a different scientific topic each session. Older kids can blow off steam with a ribbon dance class on Mondays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

APL will be celebrating its 75th birthday on June 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with extended library hours and fun activities for the whole family. Light refreshments will be provided and community members will have the chance to register for door prizes and bid on a painting by Chris Ruggia. The Calamity Creek String Band will provide the soundtrack for the evening’s festivities. 

MARFA

The Marfa Public Library will be kicking off the summer with “Kid Cafe,” a Summer Shakeup event hosted in collaboration with Marfa ISD, on Thursday, June 9, at 11:30 a.m. The library will be hosting more programming for children a bit later in the summer, including the popular Summer Reading Program. Director Nicki Ittner was pleased to report that the library will begin hosting a Teen Movie Night — dates to be determined. “We’ve been wanting to host something like that for a long time and finally found a volunteer to do it,” she said. 

The Marfa Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Saturday, June 11. Games start at 9 a.m. and the championship game will be held at 5 p.m. Concessions — including homemade Frito pies — will be sold throughout the event. “There are teams from Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis, Van Horn, Fort Stockton and Presidio,” said Abby Boyd, representing the Marfa Chamber. 

The event was the brainchild of board member Patrick Rivera, and the organization hopes it’ll grow into an annual tradition. “Our mission is community building and finding ways to bring people together,” said Boyd. 

PRESIDIO

Presidio ISD just kicked off its summer enrichment program, which will run until July 1. The program is open to Presidio ISD students in first through fifth grades, and will run Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities will include arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor games, and storytime. “We’re also having a class that involves culinary skills, to start experimenting with cooking,” said Paola Flotte, who is coordinating the program for Presidio ISD. 

Transportation will not be provided by the school district, but the program does include lunch. “We have all the supplies and materials, we just ask that students come in clothes that they feel comfortable playing outside in,” said Flotte.