ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 18 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 24, 2014


      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.

     Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

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      The Maple Festival this weekend is the 48th edition of Vermont's first (and sweetest) outdoor festival of the year. It happens in downtown St. Albans.
      A free shuttle bus will run every 15 minutes from the Collins-Perley parking lot to the Antique show, Craft Show, Exhibit Hall, and Taylor Park on Saturday only.

      The Maple Festival Parade -- the biggest in Vermont -- starts on Lake Street on Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp. The parade stretches for miles with over 100 marching bands, fancy floats, bag pipers, clowns, dancers, fire trucks horses and tractors new and old, musicians, neat cars, probably the odd politician or two, scouts, and the ever-popular pooper scooper will walk up Lake Street, over Main Street, and down Lower Newton Street.

      The annual Crafts and Specialty Foods Show in BFA Auditorium offers artwork and fine photographs, glittery bling, classy clothing, wooden sculptures, traditional and nouveau crafts, and fine Vermont specialty foods. More than 60 vendors will have traditional as well as craft innovations. This Show is one of the Festival's three popular face-painting locations. Admission is free. Friday noon - 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. A free shuttle bus on Saturday makes deliveries right to the door.
      A sampling of the exhibitors includes Vermont Authors J.P. Choquette, Nancy Means-Wright and Beth Kanell; plus Toby Fulwiler's Wooden Bowls; Larry Langlais and Barb Langevin of Highgate with art from recycled items; framed photographs by Kurt Madison; Diane Rowlee's Antler Art; and hand painted mats by Carolyn Utigard Thomas; and much more. Be sure to stop in for Vikki Machia's fudge and Evelyn Martin's Vermont Pure Maple Kisses for a taste of heaven.

      Only two of the indoor entertainment events (and the banquet) charge admission. Everything else is free. The Youth Talent Show will take place tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. The Fiddlers Variety Show (fiddling is the Sound of Vermont) on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Both are in the BFA Performing Arts Center. Visit and to buy advance sale tickets online for each. Tickets will also be available at the information booth in Taylor Park and the festival office at the exhibit hall in the BFA Cafeteria. Both shows usually sell out.
      The Main Street Stage begins a weekend of free entertainment tomorrow at 11 a.m. and runs through Sunday after the parade.
      The Main Street Stage is free and organized again by Andre Maquera of West Street Digital. Click here for more info about the shows.
      The Friday entertainment lineup on the free Main Street stage begins with Cheryl Ann Kelley's Electric Youth Dance Company kids dancing their heart out. 1 p.m. American singer/songwriter and performer Ben Patton from Bakersfield takes over with pop, rock, and musical theater. 2 p.m.
      Prydein, the American Celtic Rock band, preserves Scots and Irish tunes and gives "ACR" a completely new meaning. 4-6 p.m.
      The Youth Talent Show will fill the BFA Performing Arts Center on Friday evening at 7 p.m. This annual favorite brings together some of the most talented children in the County competing for scholarship prizes. Talent show admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students.
      After breakfast, the Electric Youth Dance Company takes over Main Street again. This talented group of dancers in several age groups learn the fun and discipline of dance in St. Albans. 10 - 11:15 a.m.
      Next up, Rockin' Ron The Friendly Pirate performs pirate music for kids and kids at heart. 11:30 - 12:30 p.m.
      The classic rock band RMX will light the stage. 1 - 2:30 p.m.
      Winners from the Youth Talent Show will perform on the Main Street stage at 3 p.m.
      Jamie Lee Thurston, Vermont's own All American country singer/songwriter who now lives in Nashville. He has recorded under contract with View 2, Warner Bros., Country Thunder, and Snakebit 4-6 p.m.
      The Fiddlers' Variety Show, now an annual sellout at BFA, has hours and hours and hours (and hours) of Canadian and American singers, dancers, pickers, comedy, and clogging all starting at 7 p.m. Fiddlers' show admission is $7 (or less than two pennies per minute of music). Get your tickets in advance at the information booth on Main Street, at the festival office, and online.
      After the Pancake breakfast, the 16-piece Joe's Big Band has the band music of the 40s to the present on the stage to get you dancing up and down the street, thankfully before the horses parade. 11 a.m. - 12 noon.
      Carol Ann Jones & The Superchargers' take on rockabilly, country, rock, bluegrass, and contemporary originals will keep you on Main Street long after the snow melts. 2-4 p.m.

      The Vermont Maple Beverage Tasting features libations made by Vermont beverage companies with pure Vermont maple syrup at Twiggs on Saturday at 1 - 5 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge.
      Click here for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The Village Frame Shoppe gallery will showcase works with a Vermont Maple theme by artists from all over Vermont including Eric Tobin and John Clarke Olson.
      The Main Street gallery is right across the street from Taylor Park and is open Friday 10-8 and Saturday 10-4 during the Maple Festival.
      Click here for more info.

BURLINGTON--Burlington City Arts hosts an opening reception for Kinship, the collaboration between visual artists and Vermont poet Daniel Lusk, this evening at 5:30. The exhibit is inspired by poems in KIN, his new book of poetry.
      The juried art will receive awards for Best in Show -- Jury's Choice, Poet's Choice, Publisher's Choice, and People's Choice. Mr. Lusk will also read from his new collection.
      Click here for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The Twiggs Comedy For A Cause series continues on the Main Stage twice this week in a second Weekend of Funny to follow the full day of sweet. Comedians will take the stage at 7 p.m. on Friday for Franklin County Relay for Life and Saturday for the Mt Sinai Shriners.
      Admission is $20. There are just 70 seats available at the restaurant. For the Relay for Life show, call Connie Reed (802.782.2379 or 802.524.1385) or email her. For the Shriners show, call Bruce Pelletier (802.527.1139 or 802.316.0143 or email him.
      Call 802.524.1405 or elick here for more info.


      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.


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      This article was originally published in the St Albans Messenger and other traditional print media. It is Copyright © 2014 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).
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