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Summertime ABC'S: The Fundamentals For a Proper Idaho Summer

From air conditioning to Zoo Boise, your guide to summer survival

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Air Conditioning: Key to summer survival in the Treasure Valley is A) having air conditioning, and B) knowing where you can poach the bought air in the unfortunate event of your air conditioning breaking down.

Our favorite cool places include:

• Movie theaters: Catch a chick flick, an R-rated comedy or something with lots of things blowing up. Summer movies keep both the brain and body chilled. See Screen for ideas.

• Public libraries: Use the Internet, browse the periodicals, check out a classic or get the kids to join the summer reading program so their minds don't fill with junk. For Boise public libraries, check out boisepubliclibrary.org.

• Shopping: Yes, we are actually advocating going to the mall. Even if you're broke, consider the people-watching opportunities and the cold air.

• Museums: There's something to be said for climate-controlled exhibits. Visit Idaho State Historical Museum, Boise Art Museum, Discovery Center of Idaho or any of the other area museums. The Museum Pass allows entry to seven participating museums within seven days for $19 for adults and $9 for children. Check out boisemuseums.org/pass.asp for info.

Alive After Five: Summer means interacting with other humans in a social setting, and few places are more social than the weekly Alive After Five concert series on the Grove in downtown Boise. Every Wednesday from June through September, a cross section of Boise culture gathers around the fountain to listen to live music--from both national and local acts--do some quality people watching, swill some beer and wine and basically make the scene. See season schedule below.

Al Fresco Dining: Not much is better than dining under a glorious summer sky, and the Treasure Valley has plenty of patios to do it on.

B

Bocce Ball: : Not just for Italians anymore. The City of Boise has several bocce courts in area parks. Visit cityofboise.org/departments/parks for info. : See Play.: .

Boise Music Festival: All-day free public outdoor concert. Need we say more? OK, Joan Jett and MC Hammer. Seriously. Saturday, July 23, in Ann Morrision Park. Visit boisemusicfestival.com for more details. See more info in Noise.

Boise Rec Fest: Summer = outdoor recreation. Outdoor recreation = Boise Rec Fest. Celebrate all things rec June 25-26 at Ann Morrison Park. Get more info and a schedule at boiserecfest.com.

Braun Brothers Reunion: Your family reunions aren't like this. The three-day music fest near Challis will be held Aug. 11-13 with acts including Micky and the Motorcars, Reckless Kelly, Cody Canada and the Departed and Robert Earl Keen. Hotels are already booked, but you can always camp. Visit braunbrothersreunion.com/home.html for more details.

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Camping:: Quintessential, inexpensive summer escape. No, we're not telling you our favorite spots.

Canyon County Fair: There's nothing like a good old-fashioned fair, and this one has it all: animals, rides, enough junk food to make you regret buying those new jeans a size smaller. The fair runs July 28-31, and concerts this year include Kansas, Tracy Lawrence and Jo Dee Messina. Visit canyoncountyfair.org for more info.

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Deli Days: : Mark your calendars for the annual celebration of traditional Jewish food. Be prepared to get in line early to snag some rugelach, hamantasch, knish and big piles of kosher corned beef and pastrami. The event runs June 23-24. Get the details at ahavathbethisrael.org.

Drag Races: Burning rubber, screaming tires, roaring engines. Ah, Firebird Raceway. Visit firebirdonline.com for details.

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Eagle Bike Park: Mountain bike trails, a BMX track, a jump track and downhill courses ... think of it as a grown-up, two-wheeled playground. Visit eaglebikepark.org for more info.

Eagle Fun Days: Celebrating summer, Eagle-style with a rodeo, music, a street dance, family activities, the Wet and Wild parade and, of course, a Rocky Mountain oyster feed. Events run June 10-11. Get a full schedule of events at eaglechamber.com.

Eagle River Pavilion: Outdoor summer concerts this year include Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Styx with YES, Whitesnake, Trey McIntyre Project, Prairie Home Companion and Michael McDonald with Boz Scaggs. Visit landofrock.com for details.

Esthetic Evolution: A "community-based, participant-driven music and art festival centered on progressive thinking and self-expression." Check it out for yourself the weekend of June 17-19 at Twin Springs near Arrowrock Reservoir. Visit estheticevolution.com for more info.

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Farmers Markets: Sure, there's fresh produce, homemade goodies, flowers, art and crafts, but more importantly, it's the summer scene at which to be seen. Start with brunch and then do some browsing. Check out markets in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna and Nampa, among others. Check out Food, Page 44, see BW's 8 Days Out every week, or visit boiseweekly.com and search "farmers markets."

Fishing: Summer fishing sure beats winter fishing. Get the regs at fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Foothills: Whether it's biking or hiking, the Boise Foothills are an almost-in-town escape. Get a full trail map online at ridgetorivers.cityofboise.org.

Fourth of July: More American than apple pie. Check out community fireworks displays at Ann Morrison Park, Hawks Memorial Stadium and Meridian Speedway. Boise's parade begins at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 4.

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Gardening: Get some dirt under your fingernails and put some fresh, homegrown produce on your table. Need some help cultivating that green thumb? Look for classes offered at Idaho Botanical Garden (idahobotanicalgarden.org), North End Organic Nursery (northendnursery.com) and Far West Landscape and Garden Center (farwestgardencenter.net), among others.

Gem State Jam: Following in the tradition of really great entertainment in prison ... OK, maybe not, but for its third year, the Gem State Jam has an impressive lineup of talent playing at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This year's musicians include Cash'd Out, Maria Taylor, Jeff Crosby and the Refugees, Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats and Old Death Whisper. The all-day event is on Saturday, June 11. Visit gemstatejam.com for the full schedule.

Go Karts: Harness your inner mini speed-demon at one of two valley tracks. Fast Lane (12048 W. Franklin Road, Boise, 208-321-1166, fastlaneboise.com) offers indoor racing with leagues for both adults and kids. Wahooz Family Fun Zone (1385 S. Blue Marlin Lane, Meridian, 208-898-0900, wahoozfunzone.com) features a curving outdoor track.

Golf: Both relaxing and aggravating. See the list of public courses below.

Greenbelt: Nothing says summer like cruising along the Greenbelt, which now stretches from Eagle to Lucky Peak Reservoir. Visit cityofboise.org/departments/parks and click on "Parks and Facilities" for a full map and lists of parking lots with Greenbelt access.