Kingdom Farm and Food Days August 22, 23, and 24

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Log Cabin Farm alpacas in East Albany will offer tours.

Log Cabin Farm alpacas in East Albany will offer tours.

Kingdom Farm and Food Days are coming up August 22, 23, and 24 with chances to tour farms, take workshops, taste local foods at area restaurants, visit an apple orchard, ride on a hay wagon, and much more. The public is invited to celebrate with a farm-to-table dinner and bonfire at the end of the weekend.

Three days of festivities about local food will be put on by the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott, Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, Sterling College in Craftsbury, New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Montpelier, Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association in East Burke, Eden Ice Cider in Charleston and Newport, Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick, and Green Mountain Farm to School in Newport.

All the events are free and open to the public. Anyone can participate in any one activity or all of them.

Kingdom Farm and Food Days kicks off Friday, August 22, with tours of llama and alpaca farms, including the Agape Hill Farm in Hardwick and the Log Cabin Alpaca Farm in East Albany. The Hardwick Farmers Market at Atkins Field on Granite Street in Hardwick is open on Friday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m.

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Craftsbury Farmers Market is open for business on Craftsbury Common. Children’s gardening activities with Green Mountain Farm to School are on the agenda at Craftsbury Academy School Gardens that morning and, starting at 11 a.m., Pete’s Greens will offer tours and hay rides. Saturday afternoon, from 3:30 to 5:30, Sterling College will offer tours and workshops. Pizza making in an outdoor oven is on the agenda. Saturday evening, discounts will be offered at area restaurants for participants in the Kingdom Farm and Food Days events.

Sunday morning kicks off at 10 a.m. with a visit to the Eden Ice Cider orchard in Charleston, where people can tour a biodynamic organic apple orchard. From 1 to 4 p.m., High Mowing Organic Seeds will host field days and workshops. NECI will put on a dinner at High Mowing Seeds starting a 4:30 p.m., and everyone is invited to a bonfire afterward.

For more information, please see the Kingdom Farm and Food Days website kingdomfarmandfood.org. — from the Center for an Agricultural Economy.

For more things to do, see our Events page.

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Entrepreneurs pitch ideas in a Lowell barn

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Trish Sears is reflected in a mirror as entrepreneur Justin Larose presents his pitch.  Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

Trish Sears is reflected in a mirror as entrepreneur Justin Larose presents his pitch. Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle August 13, 2014

by Bethany M. Dunbar

LOWELL — What do a doggie treat maker, someone who wants to make an alcoholic tea, and an online marketing consultant have in common? They were all gathered in a barn in Lowell last week to make business pitches to a group of people who have the wisdom and financial resources to help them make their small businesses grow into big ones.

It was the first annual Barn Pitch, held Thursday, August 7.

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Orleans County Fair in Barton August 13-17

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Skads Winner, driven by Kenneth Martin, leads the field coming out of the first turn.  He was closely followed by Nanette’s Nordic in a race at the Orleans County Fair in 2013.  Harness racing is a long-running tradition at the fair in Barton.                                                                                                   Photo by Joseph Gresser

Skads Winner, driven by Kenneth Martin, leads the field coming out of the first turn. He was closely followed by Nanette’s Nordic in a race at the Orleans County Fair in 2013. Harness racing is a long-running tradition at the fair in Barton. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle August 6, 2014

by Tena Starr

BARTON — The harness racing program at the Orleans County Fair will be dedicated this year to Stanwood “Doc” Churchill of Orleans, who died on June 11.

“He was an avid racer in his time and avidly supported the program, along with his family,” said Pamela Tetreault of Lowell, who is doing promotional and other work for the fair this year. Her husband, Mike Tetreault, is president of the fair association.

Dr. Churchill, a veterinarian, bought his first standardbred in 1960. For the next 36 years, he bred, raised, and raced. He was also a stockholder and director of the fair.

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Oliver! at the Haskell over two weekends

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Pictured are just some of the cast members of QNEK’s upcoming Oliver!  In the top row, from left to right, are: John Young, Brandi Ong, Brian McCrae, Eli Moore, Marc Lamontagne, John Young, and Molly Moore.  In the middle row, from left, are: Emily Wilkie, Marc Lamontage, and Molly Moore.  In the bottom row, from left, are: Eli Moore, John Young, Emily Wilkie, John Young, and Brandi Ong.  Photo courtesy of QNEK Productions

Pictured are just some of the cast members of QNEK’s upcoming Oliver! In the top row, from left to right, are: John Young, Brandi Ong, Brian McCrae, Eli Moore, Marc Lamontagne, John Young, and Molly Moore. In the middle row, from left, are: Emily Wilkie, Marc Lamontage, and Molly Moore. In the bottom row, from left, are: Eli Moore, John Young, Emily Wilkie, John Young, and Brandi Ong. Photo courtesy of QNEK Productions

QNEK Productions will present the musical Oliver! at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line on July 25, 26, 27 and August 1, 2, and 3, with a production that is sure to excite and capture the hearts of all ages.

The curtain rises on Fridays at 7:30 p.m, Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets and information are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 334-2216, by visiting qnek.com, or the MAC Center on Main Street in Newport, or by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 1-888-757-5559.

In the current trend-driven world of story telling, people can count on a classic to refresh and satisfy the taste for powerful and thought-provoking drama. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is such a tale. Published in 1938, this timeless story follows the pure-hearted orphan Oliver on a quest for hope and belonging, love and family. From the harsh cruelty of workhouse child labor, through the savage criminal underworld of Victorian London, Oliver’s indomitably kind spirit leads him to the gentle and comforting home of his loving grandfather, for a fairy-tale ending that he truly deserves. — submitted by Phil Gosselin.

For more things to do, see our Events page.

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At Newport Aquafest: A selfie with an iguana?

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Jeffrey Stuart of Manchester, Connecticut, gets a strong start for the ten-mile Kingdom Swim.  His butterfly stroke earned him first place in the annual open water race, which was held as part of Newport’s Aquafest, in Lake Memphremagog.  Mr. Stuart finished in four hours, 20 minutes, and 17 seconds, more than three minutes ahead of his closest competitor, Cole Gindhart, of Cibolo, Texas.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Jeffrey Stuart of Manchester, Connecticut, gets a strong start for the ten-mile Kingdom Swim. His butterfly stroke earned him first place in the annual open water race, which was held as part of Newport’s Aquafest, in Lake Memphremagog. Mr. Stuart finished in four hours, 20 minutes, and 17 seconds, more than three minutes ahead of his closest competitor, Cole Gindhart, of Cibolo, Texas. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle July 16, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — The weather was kind to Newport this weekend, and people enthusiastically turned out for the city’s Aquafest. A celebration of life on the shores of Lake Memphremagog, the event is in its fifth year since its revival in 2009.

The traditional events associated with the festival, such as the Kingdom Swim and the Swimmers and Pet Parade, were included in the festivities with a few tweaks to keep them fresh.

While Newport’s Main Street was closed off for the parade and a street dance Friday evening, the entire city was open for business Sunday.

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Insectopia! from June 23 to August 9

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This piece is called “Look What I Got!” by Amanda Weisenfeld and Jean Matray.  Photo courtesy of the NEK Artisans Guild

This piece is called “Look What I Got!” by Amanda Weisenfeld and Jean Matray. Photo courtesy of the NEK Artisans Guild

What do all insects have in common? Three body parts, six legs, one pair of antennae, and they wear their skeletons on the outside.

That’s where the similarities end.

Body shape, size, color, function — the sky’s the limit for diversity.

The Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild in St. Johnsbury will celebrate insect diversity with a group show called “Insectopia.” From Monday, June 23 to August 9, the Backroom Gallery at the guild will be creeping, crawling, hopping, flying, and buzzing with a multitude of art inspired by insects. Artisans from around the state of Vermont will exhibit interpretations of their favorite insects. There will be papier-mâché wasps, a copper praying mantis, felt bees, and more. Insects will come to life in clay, paper, felt, braided rugs, stained glass, prints, fine art, jewelry, and much more.

There will be an artists’ reception to be held in the gallery on Saturday, July 12, from 3 to 5 p.m. In addition, on Thursday, July 31, at 6 p.m., Beth Prondzinski, director of collections at the Fairbanks Museum, will speak on the history of the Fairbanks’ insect collection.

For information call the guild at 748-0158. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. — from the NEK Artisans Guild.

For more things to do, see our Events page.

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Dandelion Run was in memory of Terri Weed

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The Bag Ladies of Newfane and Townsend warmed up for their race.  They are:  Sandy Stark, Melanie Keiser, Penelope Monaney, Kimberly McCormack, and Kim Colligan.  Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

The Bag Ladies of Newfane and Townsend warmed up for their race. They are: Sandy Stark, Melanie Keiser, Penelope Monaney, Kimberly McCormack, and Kim Colligan. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle 5-21-2014

by Bethany M. Dunbar

DERBY — Pouring rain early Saturday morning let off in time for a few hundred runners to take to the roadsides at 9 a.m. in the sixth annual Dandelion Run.

One relay team was ready for the rain with a kind of team uniform — garbage bags with holes for heads and arms. The ladies called themselves the Bag Ladies of Newfane and did a dry dance to scare the rain away.  Valerie Dillon manned the staff parking area fully equipped with head-to-toe rain gear, a fisherman-type hat, and an umbrella.

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Rasputitsa cyclists brave chilly weather and mud season

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A mass start heralded the beginning of the 47-mile Rasputitsa cycling race.  More than 350 racers began and ended the 47 mile race in downtown Newport on a cool Saturday morning in support of the Mary E. Wright Halo Foundation.

A mass start heralded the beginning of the 47-mile Rasputitsa cycling race. More than 350 racers began and ended the 47 mile race in downtown Newport on a cool Saturday morning in support of the Mary E. Wright Halo Foundation.   Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle April 23, 2014

by Richard Creaser

NEWPORT — Mud season is typically a time of year that Vermont residents have come to dread. For the 350 riders in Saturday’s Rasputitsa cycling event, however, mud season represented a challenge that begged to be accepted.

The lure of the Rasputitsa is one that finds its roots in the European Spring Classic bicycle races, co-organizer Heidi Myers told the Chronicle on Friday. The growth of gravel road racing nationally, coupled with the success of Ms. Myers’ and fellow co-organizer Anthony Moccia’s Dirty 40 race last August, led them to attempt a second race in the Northeast Kingdom. The fact that so many cyclists braved a blustery April morning and 47 miles of often treacherous back roads appears to have confirmed their belief in the sport’s popularity.

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Spamalot is full of medieval tomfoolery

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King Arthur and the Lady of Lake welcome the Knights of the Very Round Table to Camelot in the Vermont Family Theater production of Spamalot.  From left to right, in the back row, are Joan Racine, Donna Arnold, Lucas Roy, Jade Piette, Greg Tocci, and Rachel Carter.  Seated in the middle row are the knights:  Jake Blankenship, Brendan Hadash, Todd Jones, and Zeb McCoy.  In front are Alan Franklin, Deborah MacKay, and Cassie Tarbox.  Photos by Joseph Gresser

King Arthur and the Lady of Lake welcome the Knights of the Very Round Table to Camelot in the Vermont Family Theater production of Spamalot. From left to right, in the back row, are Joan Racine, Donna Arnold, Lucas Roy, Jade Piette, Greg Tocci, and Rachel Carter. Seated in the middle row are the knights: Jake Blankenship, Brendan Hadash, Todd Jones, and Zeb McCoy. In front are Alan Franklin, Deborah MacKay, and Cassie Tarbox. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle April 9, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

ORLEANS — In days of yore a band of bold men adventured across the green and pleasant land of England.  Their adventures have been repeated down through the generations and continue to inspire listeners to this day.

I’m speaking, of course, of Monty Python, the progenitors of the musical comedy now playing at the Orleans Municipal Building — Spamalot.

The show, written by Eric Idle, one of the Pythons, opened on Broadway in 2005, where it had a very successful four-year run.  It has now made its way to Orleans in the form of a very entertaining production by the Vermont Family Theater.

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Vermont Vaudeville debuts in Barton to sold out crowd

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Brent McCoy (left) and Maya McCoy, the stars of The Secret Circus, don their action suits for a feat of skill and daring.  The couple will demonstrate their marksmanship and comedic talents Saturday evening at Barton’s Memorial Building.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Brent McCoy (left) and Maya McCoy, the stars of The Secret Circus, don their action suits for a feat of skill and daring. The couple will demonstrate their marksmanship and comedic talents Saturday evening at Barton’s Memorial Building. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle January 29, 2014
by Joseph Gresser

BARTON — Vermonters have always had a yen for local entertainment.  Most towns, including Barton, boast theaters that once hosted traveling shows that toured the country.

Barton’s Memorial Building will welcome a revival of that tradition Saturday night, when Vermont Vaudeville comes to town.

The group, made up of a four-person core and guest performers, has embarked on a nine-town tour of Vermont over the next six weeks as part of its campaign to revive locally produced and consumed entertainment.

Justin Lander, Rose Friedman and Brent and Maya McCoy started their troupe five years ago with an inaugural performance at the Orleans Municipal Building.  Since then they have presented several sold-out shows at the Hardwick Town House every year.

In a conversation on an icy January evening at the East Hardwick home of Ms. Friedman and Mr. Lander, the performers reflected on their journey so far and their plans for the future.

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