Free Cycles is looking less like a bike shop and more like the inside of a fairy tale these days.
On Saturday, the bike shop will complete its transformation into an enchanted forest for a Halloween party and fundraiser organized by Turning the Wheel Missoula, a nonprofit that offers programs in dance and movement arts to promote social, emotional and physical health.
"You enter this world that we're creating and it's like a big art installation of an enchanted forest with media projections and decorations and you encounter all kinds of things," said Lulu Delphine, Turning the Wheel Missoula director and program facilitator.
The Enchanted Forest party will take place at Free Cycles from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, and will feature local singers, dancers and musicians, light installations, and craft-making stations hosted by fantastical characters.
"You're going to encounter a storytelling character where you can make herbal dream sachets and put together different herbs into a wish sachet for yourself and write a little message," Delphine said.
At other stations, attendees can make earthy wands, flower crowns, extinct animal masks, and prints using natural materials such as pine cones.
All proceeds from the event will go toward the organization's in-school and after-school programs, primarily one offered at Willard Alternative High School, which uses movement and creative expression to build community and teach skills like leadership and healthy communication.
"They teach kids how to play and how to process thoughts and how to connect to the community," said Melissa Madsen, Willard's youth development coordinator.
The Enchanted Forest party will offer an interactive experience that echoes the organization's work. Attendees of all ages are invited to wear costumes, make crafts, walk through a light installation by local artist Geoff Pepos, and participate in movement-based activities while aerialists dance overhead.
"We’re a really passive culture. We’re used to watching movies and watching TV and having other people be creative and then we consume that," said Lizzi Juda, the organization's founder. "Part of what our mission gets at is that we all are creative."
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Juda said she wanted to create a fundraiser that celebrates the wonder and the magic of the Halloween season and offers an alternative to gore- and fear-based events. She said hosting it at Free Cycles was an easy decision when the business donated use of the space.
On Thursday, Juda and others from the nonprofit festooned tree limbs to the building's beams and arranged feathers, dried flowers and other earthy fodder on the craft tables.
Marlena Weiss, the nonprofit's social media coordinator, said the wand station is a fixture at their events and a favorite among her and her friends.
"I've made so many at this point that I just give them to friends," Weiss said. "I get Snapchats all the time now from like a friend that moved and is like, ’This is where the wand’s going!’"
Attendees can purchase food and drink provided by local businesses such as Western Cider, KettleHouse, Blacksmith Brewing, Riversong Gourmet, Ninja Mike's and Nourishing Cultures.
Delphine said the organization raised about $3,500 at last year's event and hopes to raise around $5,000 this year with the addition of food and drink sales.
"We didn't want to do a regular fundraiser. We wanted to create something that would be unique for the community," Delphine said.
The event is open to all ages and is "not geared towards children" but "not geared towards excluding children," either.
Early bird tickets are available until Friday, Oct. 25, at universe.com at $5 for children ages 12 and under, and $15 for those over 12. Tickets the day of the event will go up to $8 and $20, respectively.