Bread and Puppet Museum opens June 7

File photo, taken at the Bread and Puppet Museum in Glover.

File photo, taken at the Bread and Puppet Museum in Glover.

As they have each spring for the past 40 years, the double doors of the old Dopp Farm in Glover will swing open at 2 p.m. on June 7 to mark the opening of the 2015 season of the Bread and Puppet Museum.

Burt Porter, a musician and poet, will welcome guests to the farm on Route 122 in Glover as he did for the museum’s inaugural season in 1975. Mr. Porter has had a long association with Bread and Puppet, performing in many circuses and pageants and writing texts and lyrics for shows including The Same Boat: The Passion of Chico Mendes (1989); The City of Brotherly Love (1998); Crows and Angels: Christmas Sonnets (1993); and, for this summer’s pageant, The Comet.

In addition to Mr. Porter’s music, the day’s activities, which will last until 5 p.m., will include Sacred Harp songs from the early American shape note tradition, short shows by local artists including poet Meredith Holch, Clare Dolan, founder and director of the Museum of Everyday Life in Glover, the Modern Times Theater, Adam Cook and Hayley Lewis, and Tom Azarian.

As always, puppeteer and baker Peter Schumann will provide plenty of fresh sourdough rye bread topped with aioli, a pungent garlic spread.

At 4 p.m. the touring company of the Bread and Puppet Theater, fresh from a two-week Northeast tour, will give a performance of the most recent version of Public Access Center for the Obvious in the Dirt Floor Theater.

All events are free to the public, although donations are always welcome.

Those who wish to know more about Bread and Puppet’s summer activities and opportunities to participate in them can stay for an informational meeting at 5 p.m.

What is now a puppet museum crammed from floor to ceiling with a mysterious multitude of figures and faces, was once a working barn. Where once sturdy workhorses hauled wagons piled high with hay, today stand puppets of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Bread and Puppet moved to the farm in 1974 after four productive years as theater-in-residence at Goddard College in Plainfield. The transformation of the barn involved raking and sweeping a hundred years’ worth of chaff and debris from its 100-foot by 45- foot main floor into a huge stack near the entrance.

Once the barn was cleaned, puppeteers arranged puppets, masks, and painted curtains into scenes conveying themes and stories to visitors.

During the winter the museum is closed while the company works on new shows and tours. But each spring the museum undergoes its annual spiff-up in preparation for welcoming summer guests.

The museum is open daily until November 1 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and after shows. It is located on Route 122 off Route 16 and Interstate exits 24 and 25.

For more information please go to www.breadandpuppet.org. — from Bread and Puppet.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Buy fresh produce this fall through SNAP

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Photo by Joseph Gresser

Photo by Joseph Gresser

Vermont Harvest, a new program piloted by Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS), will allow families receiving federal SNAP benefits, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT, to purchase $75 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables at local Northeast Kingdom grocery stores.

The primary goal of the program is to increase the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the following retail locations: C&C Supermarket in Barton, Ray’s Market in Irasburg, Craftsbury General Store in Craftsbury, and Vista Foods in Newport.

Beginning in August, SNAP participant households in Orleans and Essex counties will receive information about the program and instructions for redeeming their coupons, which will arrive beginning in September and remain valid through February 2016.

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North Country Expo April 17-18 features local businesses

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Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce will host its annual expo in a new location. North Country Expo 2015 will be at Jay Peak’s Hotel Jay and Conference Center.

The business expo will be held on Friday, April 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. and the fun continues on Saturday, April 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is designed to be a premier introduction to local businesses and the larger community of Orleans and Essex counties. During the expo, Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce and Jay Peak will hold a multitude of offerings to businesses and residents alike for a fun-filled family weekend.

The expo will showcase more than 50 businesses in three conference center ballrooms. There will also be outside vendors such as Saint J Subaru, Champlain Chevrolet, and the Farmyard Store.

Expo attendees will receive discounts to the Pump House waterpark and discounted lift tickets for each day attending. Discounts for the Pump House are $28 for adults and $20 for youth ages four to 14; and lift tickets will be discounted at $42 for adults and $32 for youth ages four to 14.

The expo’s presenting sponsor is North Country Hospital with Poulin Lumber as the silver sponsor and Champlain Chevrolet as the bronze sponsor.

Admission to the expo is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages four to 14.

There are limited booths available; vendor registration information can be found at vtnorthcountry.org. All businesses, nonprofits, and organizations are invited to participate as vendors. Discounts are available for Vermont’s North Country Chamber members as well as members of other Orleans and Essex county chambers. Jay Peak will offer discounted lodging for the vendors.

For more information, contact Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce at 334-7782. — from Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Sugar-on-snow party in Craftsbury

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Sugaring the old-fashioned way.  Photo by Tena Starr

Sugaring the old-fashioned way. Photo by Tena Starr

The Craftsbury Community Care Center (CCCC) will host its annual sugar-on-snow party on Saturday, March 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and all are welcome.

There will be plenty of local maple syrup to pour over snow, doughnuts, and pickles, too. The popular Chinese auction will feature delicious baked goods, everything from breakfast coffee cakes and muffins to the most decadent chocolate desserts.

This year’s raffle prizes are truly outstanding. They include a handcrafted eight-inch cherry salad bowl, a Blackwatch plaid flannel twin bed quilt, a gift certificate to Lost Nation Brewing in Morrisville, and a selection of High Mowing seed packets.

Raffle tickets are $1 apiece or six for $5, and are on sale at CCCC.

For more information, call the CCCC 586-2414 or visit www.craftsburycommunitycarecenter.org. — from the CCCC.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Haskell library invites public for special day March 3

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WEB haskell bigger

Drawing by Lori Kuron

The Haskell Free Library in Derby Line and Stanstead, Quebec, invites families to stop by on Tuesday, March 3, to celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day (TYCLD). There will be activities and giveaways of all sorts throughout the day and a special, all-ages story time at 10:30 a.m.

TYCLD is an annual library awareness event that began in Connecticut in 2011 and quickly spread nationwide. TYCLD showcases what libraries are doing for children and raises public awareness of the importance of library services to children. This is one of the few days in the school year that local schools on both sides of the border are not in session and the Haskell hopes many families will attend.

All library programs are free of charge.

For more information, stop by the library, or contact librarian Nancy Rumery at (802) 873-3022, or follow the Haskell on Facebook or visit www.haskellopera.com. — from the Haskell Free Library.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Are We Crazy About Our Kids? January 29

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WEB NCCC movie

Image courtesy of the Building Bright Futures council

The film Are We Crazy About Our Kids? will air at the North Country Career Center in Newport on Thursday, January 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in room 380. A panel discussion will follow, and a light meal will be provided.

Economists are worried about how much we spend on early care and education in America — not because we spend too much, but because we spend too little. Are We Crazy About Our Kids? explores how investments in high quality, early care and preschool yield huge personal and social benefits, and pay for themselves many times over.

RSVP at www.surveymonkey.com/s/GMVTPRD. — from the Orleans and Northern Essex Building Bright Futures council.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Shop Small, Shop Local kicks off November 29

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Santa visits Newport’s Main Street. Photo by Joseph Gresser

Cities may have Black Friday for one day, but Newport merchants answer that with a promotion of their own: Small Business Week. Many area retail stores will be offering incentives and discounts during this Shop Small, Shop Local week, from Saturday, November 29, to Saturday, December 6. Merchants and restaurants throughout Newport are planning this event, designed to kick off the big holiday shopping season locally.

In addition to the savings, shoppers can enter to win prizes from local businesses when they stop in and shop locally. Prizes will be awarded on December 6 during the Newport Santa Festival. Details about the Santa Festival can be found at www.newportlive.com.

To make the Newport and Derby area more accessible and easy to shop, Rural Community Transportation (RCT) will be offering a special, free bus route on the first day of Small Business Week, November 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., between Main Street in Newport to Country Thyme and Jed’s Maple in Derby. Busses will stop at retail shops along that route, running on the half-hour.

The important contributions small businesses make to their communities is recognized by Newport City Renaissance Corporation and Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce, who are jointly promoting the Shop Small, Shop Local campaign. The promotion is designed to encourage Northeast Kingdom residents to support independent businesses in the Newport area by doing their holiday shopping within the community.

As part of the weeklong promotion, local businesses will be giving away Shop Small gifts, such as tote bags, buttons, and balloons, while supplies last.

For more information about Shop Small, Shop Local, visit www.discovernewportvt.com. — from the Newport City Renaissance Corporation.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Twelfth annual Vermont State Dance Festival November 22

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Twelfth annual Vermont State Dance Festival November 22

Twelfth annual Vermont State Dance Festival November 22

A long-standing performing arts tradition continues as Lyndon Institute (LI) welcomes dancers from Vermont and throughout New England for the twelfth annual Vermont State Dance Festival on Saturday, November 22.

The Festival brings together hundreds of dance professionals and students to lead and participate in professional-level dance workshops for a variety of styles and techniques as well as collaborate in the reflective process in preparation for an evening performance open to the public

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Toussaint and Preservation Hall Jazz Band October 21

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Allen Toussaint will perform with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in St. Johnsbury on October 21.  Photo courtesy of Kingdom County Productions

Allen Toussaint will perform with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in St. Johnsbury on October 21. Photo courtesy of Kingdom County Productions

Kingdom County Productions will present the exclusive northern New England production of “Legends of New Orleans Jazz” featuring rhythm-and-blues ace and six-time Grammy nominee Allen Toussaint joining forces with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the first time, on tour. Showtime is 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21, at Fuller Hall, at St. Johnsbury Academy. Tickets are on sale at kingdomcounty.org or by calling 748-2600.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has toured the world since its founding in the early 1960s, as the essential vehicle to keep traditional New Orleans jazz traditions alive. During recent years, the band has played 150 annual dates at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl. And they have branched out to ensure a future as a living and breathing group driven by fresh influences and inspirations, adding a number of dynamic new musical directions to their rock-solid repertoire of the classic New Orleans style.

Preservation Hall has appeared on stage with artists ranging from Dr. John, Wynton Marsalis, and the Grateful Dead, to The Black Keys, Bonnie Raitt, and Tom Waits. In an Oval Office White House ceremony, the group was awarded the 2006 National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. In 2010, the San Francisco Examiner called Preservation Hall, “the best jazz band in the land.”

Mr. Toussaint ranks as a key figure in the development of R&B, and his songs have been recorded by a staggering array of artists including Otis Redding, Phish, Boz Skaggs, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Aaron Neville, The Doors, Glenn Campbell, Warren Zevon, The Yardbirds, Jerry Garcia, Paul Butterfield, Derek Trucks Band, Ringo Starr, Trombone Shorty, Three Dog Night, and The Hollies. Other collaborations include The Band, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Bo Diddley, Levon Helm, Robert Plant, and Alison Krauss. Mr. Toussaint’s many awards and recognitions include his 1998 induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

“When I meet someone like Allen Toussaint — that for me is like meeting, you know, someone the equivalent of the Dalai Lama, because for me, he influenced the way I played the piano,” said Elton John. “He’s an historical part of rock-and-roll.”

For more information, visit kingdomcounty.org or contact series producer Jay Craven at jcraven@marlboro.edu. — from Kingdom County Productions.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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QNEK presents thriller, Wait Until Dark

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Pictured are members of the cast from QNEK’s production of Wait Until Dark.  In the top row, from left to right, are Ross Murray, Victoria Young, and Nathan Sargent.  In the middle row, from left, are Mike Desjardins, Mary Hoadley, and Brian McCrea.  In the bottom row, from left, are Eric Alexandre, Brian McCrea, Ross Murray, Mike Desjardins, and James Cross.  Photo courtesy of QNEK

Pictured are members of the cast from QNEK’s production of Wait Until Dark. In the top row, from left to right, are Ross Murray, Victoria Young, and Nathan Sargent. In the middle row, from left, are Mike Desjardins, Mary Hoadley, and Brian McCrea. In the bottom row, from left, are Eric Alexandre, Brian McCrea, Ross Murray, Mike Desjardins, and James Cross. Photo courtesy of QNEK

QNEK Productions, the award-winning international theater company in residence at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line, finishes its twenty-first main stage season with the highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller, Wait Until Dark, directed and designed by Susan-Lynn Johns with a set built under the guidance of Tom Rooney by the North Country Union High School building trades class.

Written by Frederick Knott — author of the classic mystery, Dial M for MurderWait Until Dark captures the audience with its complex story and noir undertones. In a time when gore and extreme violence run rampant in film and television, audiences will find it refreshing to find horror in the chase, more so than in a pool of blood.

The heroine of the story, set in the 1960s, is blind housewife Susy Hendrix (Mary Hoadley of Newport). Independent and resourceful, Susy is learning to cope with her blindness, which resulted from a recent accident. She is aided by her difficult, slightly unreliable young neighbor, Gloria (Victoria Young of Newport), with whom she has an exasperated but lovingly maternal relationship. Susy’s life is changed as she is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has hidden a baby doll used by them to smuggle heroin into the country. Unknown to Susy, her photographer husband, Sam (Nathan Sargent of Newport), took the doll as a favor for a woman he met on an international plane flight and unwittingly brought the doll to the couple’s New York apartment when the woman became afraid of the customs officials. Alone in her apartment and cut off from the outside world, Susy must fight for her life against a gang of ruthless criminals, led by the violent, psychotic Roat (Ross Murray of Stanstead, Quebec). The tension builds as Roat and his accomplices Carlino (Brian McCrea of Newport) and Mike Talman (Mike Desjardins of Newport), impersonate police detectives and friends of her husband in order to win Susy’s confidence, gaining access to her apartment to look for the doll. The climax of the play, a vicious physical confrontation between Susy and Roat in her dark kitchen, is one of the most memorable and frightening scenes in theater history. Rounding off the cast as policemen are James Cross of Island Pond and Eric Alexandre of Magog, Quebec.

Performance dates are October 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and October 12 at 2 p.m. at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line and Stanstead, Quebec. Reserve tickets by calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 624-1490; charge tickets via phone or online through Catamount Arts, 1-888-757-5559, www.catamountarts.org; or purchase at The MAC Center for the Arts in Newport.

For information, and group rate quotes, contact the QNEK business office at 334-2216. — from QNEK.

For more things to do, see Things to Do in the Northeast Kingdom.

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