ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 13 * * All Arts News On the Web * * January 15, 2009


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

      Stop in for live music and more at the Fairfax Music Sessions at the Foothills Bakery in Fairfax most Saturday afternoons at 1 p.m., at various restaurants around Franklin County throughout the week, at the Bayside in St Albans Town most Sunday afternoons, and the Cambridge CoffeeHouses at 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month.
     These gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. The booked performances and acoustic Open Mike Nights feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

      Find links to these events and more in our Spotlight!

E-Mail Delivery
Sign up to receive the free weekly ArtBits
newsletter by e-mail
or by RSS feed.


JERICHO--A Family Dance Contra Dance to benefit the Jericho Public Library features caller Mark Sustic and musicians from Fiddleheads at the Community Center Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Beginners are welcome. The suggested donation is $5 or $10 for families. Call Mark Sustic 802.849.6968 or email for more info.

ESSEX JUNCTION--The Lincoln Inn has Big Spike Bluegrass Tuesday at 7 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or click here for more info.

JEFFERSONVILLE--The Village Tavern hosts Open Mic at 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

FAIRFAX--The regular Music Session continues Saturday with acoustic instrumentalists playing traditional songs at the Foothills Bakery, 1-4:30 p.m. Admission is free by donation.

WATERVILLE--Cambridge Arts Council presents community dances on Saturdays at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Town Hall. The evening will feature contras, squares, circles, play parties and singing games and all dances will be taught. Bring a partner, the entire family, or come alone. Caller Mark Sustic offers dance instruction. Frank Heyburn and Michele Lajoie play. Guest musicians with acoustic instruments are welcome. Admission is $5 per person and $10 for families at the door.

ST. ALBANS--Chow Bella offers the jazz and improv of Vern Colburn on the Piano on Fridays at 5:30 and dynamite jazz duo of Ted Crosby and Fabian Rainville at 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 524.1405 or click here for more info.


      With over 250 concerts, exhibits, recitals, and shows from more than 40 organizations 2009 will be another busy year in the arts. Last week, we looked at the planned All Arts Council and Opera House events. Here's a preview of the Other Major Presenters and the Five Festivals in Franklin County.
      Happy New Year!

1609 - 2009
      2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlainís travels by sail, oar and paddle to find, explore, and map our lake. Groups up and down the lake plan special events for young and old to celebrate the anniversary as well as the resources, the history, and arts of the region. Click here for more info.

      The AAC helps promote many other Franklin County presenters and individual artists. Our regularly updated online calendar is found at
      Art in Bloom Festival will bring a day of music, a gazillion exhibits, and plenty of food to Swanson's Farm and Nursery in Fairfax in July.
      Bay Day will celebrate again this year with continuous entertainment and family activities all day plus a Summer Sounds concert and fireworks to cap this July Fourth blowout. St Albans Town will also host the Lois McClure and other Quadricentennial Celebration events in June.
      The Bishop Street Artists' annual St. Luke's Art Show will showcase area artists at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Some artists in the group offer classes for area seniors.
      The 2009 Events for Tom series opens with the Young Tradition Showcase at the Winter Festival Family Expo at ECHO on February 7. Organizer Mark Sustic plans more than one event per month in a series that supports the Tom Fund to assist families with children with cancer. There will be an Irish Heritage Festival Showcase; Alan Jabbour and Ken Perlman; Bruce Molsky; Greg Brown; Liz Carroll and John Doyle; an Old Time Weekend; and a series of Young Tradition dances, workshops, contests, concerts, and showcases. Call Mark Sustic (802.849.6968) or email for more info.
      The Fairfax Community Theater Company proudly presents a 2009 season with Mrs. Sorken Presents Three Plays by Christopher Durang in April, Chicago in July, and Two Dragon Tales and a Taste of Saki: An Evening for Children of All Ages in October. FCTC needs directors, actors, stage hands, and more. This is your chance to join one of the great community troupes and to stage work that you want to do. Email or click here for more info.
      Franklin County Court Diversion's third annual fundraiser, the Mardi Gras Party at Chow! Bella will be held on Saturday, February 21. The dinner and dance will feature The Fabulous Spiders.
      Island Arts has brought arts activities to Grand Isle County for 26 years. has the Island Craft Show, a Just Jazz Concert, the Northern Bronze, a major Quadricentennial Celebration including Native American Artists and a Kitchen tunk with Michelle Choiniere, and VSO Drumshtick planned. The Islands will also host the annual Antique Show, the Champlain Islands Artist Art Show, the Open Farm and Studio Tour, and Shakespeare in the Park. click here for more info.
      County-wide, our public Libraries have a slew of plans including readings, lunchtime concerts, art shows, and kids' performers.
      The Lincoln Inn will continue its new schedule of the most comprehensive music in the area. Bluegrass plays the first and third Tuesdays of each week and a Celtic music party band on the second and fourth Tuesday. The Bluegrass jam has moved to the first Monday of each month. Celtic Ceili's also moved to Mondays. Tonight, as is every Thursday, is WCLX Blues Night; Wednesdays are Eagle Country Music Night. This venue is off the beaten track in Essex Junction but they make it work, and work well, every night of the week. There must be a lesson for Franklin County presenters in there somewhere.
      The eclectic Music at Grace series at Grace Church in Sheldon will offer exceptional performers to Franklin County for several concerts--"something old and something new"--this summer and fall.
      The St. Albans Artists' Guild will hold a Master Class with Meta Strick in early March, a Quadricentennial-Franco American Heritage Festival show in June, and a reprise of the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge Project in September. They plan to hold Art in the Park shows on Saturdays. Email Sheri Moore, president, at or click here for more info.
      The St. Albans Historical Museum will have a lineup of performances, exhibits, and educational programs in the third-floor Bliss auditorium. click here for more info.
      The Northern Vermont Artist Association enters its 78th year of providing venues for aspiring and established visual artists. The NVAA will begin a six-week long show at the Bryan Memorial Gallery on February 1. The front gallery will exhibit the history of the NVAA with work by past members. The back gallery will exhibit the juried show of current members. Click here for more details.
      School art shows will include FNESU's annual Art Gala and the annual FCSU Art Show. The shows bring together hundreds of two and three dimensional pieces in schools and halls around the County.

      Taken together, the five major Franklin County area Festivals have built more than 150 years of outdoor arts and entertainment here.

      The 34th Franklin County Field Days swells Highgate with arts and crafts, exhibits, agricultural exhibits, cattle judging, antique tractor pulls, rides, and more at the Franklin County Airport. This long running event fills a tent, the grounds, the new stage with popular bands and solo performers from near and far, and, of course, the odd race or two.
      The 16th Annual Jig in the Valley will benefit the East Fairfield Community Center with a family day of music and picnicking on the last weekend in July. This concert helps raise funds and awareness for the NMC regional health center, pre-school, Head Start, Teen, and Senior Citizen programs.
      The 7th Annual Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival brings a full weekend of pickin' and grinnin' plus a major fiddler's contest, a craft fair, music workshops, a bonfire, barbeque, camping, and jamming, all on the first full weekend in August.
      The 53rd annual Vermont Dairy Festival will spotlight Franklin County performers in a June benefit weekend for the Lions Club. The festival may reprise the national Country Showdown.
      The 43rd annual Vermont Maple Festival in April is the first major outdoor festival of the year and an official Quadricentennial Event. St. Albans hosts three days of family education and entertainment. The Festival includes a popular talent show, the sold out fiddler's variety show, a large craft show, embraces many other community events, and offers the biggest parade in Vermont.

      The Citizens Concert Band will celebrate its 59th year with outdoor concerts starting in June and alternating on Wednesdays between Swanton, St. Albans, and St. Albans Bay. Call Kevin Loomis (802.868.2684) for info.
      The Enosburg Town Band performs Tuesdays in the Lincoln Park Bandstand, starting in June. Call Alisa Martin (802.933.2062) for info.


      Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs in Montpelier uses traditional bookbinding techniques to create journals, photo albums, and guest books that "maintain the beauty and integrity of [her] handmade papers and other materials." The site includes imagery of her books, a catalog, list of retail locations, an events calendar, plus ordering and contact info.
      Ms. Campbell also maintains a blog.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site.


AAC dancing logo

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Support Free Speech on the Internet
Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
email us

Go to [ Dick Harper | All Arts Index | ArtBits Archive ]

      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2009 by Richard B. Harper. All rights reserved. Archival material is provided as-is. Links are not necessarily maintained (if a link in this article fails, try or your favorite search engine).
      Thanks to recent misuse of copyright material on the Internet by individuals and archival firms alike, we emphasize that your rights to this article are limited to viewing it and printing it for personal use only. You must receive explicit permission from the All Arts Council and the author before reprinting or redistributing this article in any medium.