ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 19 * * All Arts News On the Web * * April 23, 2015


      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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      From Rosie Newton singing the National Anthem until the Supercharged close, the 49th edition of the Vermont Maple Festival this weekend brings a new schedule and a bucketful of new events for the 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 -- has a new route and time on Sunday, starting right at noon. The parade stretches for miles up Stebbins Street, over Main Street, and down Lower Newton Street 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 Maple Festival photo contest entries will be on view at the Village Frame Shoppe all weekend.
      Chainsaw Art? A new show with Mark LeClair includes live demonstrations in Taylor Park all weekend.
      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 Ruth & Joe Breitenbach's Polymer Clay Jewelry; Vermont Authors J.P. Choquette and Beth Kanell; plus Toby Fulwiler's wooden bowls; Deborah Holmes with original water colors and giclee prints; Larry Langlais and Barb Langevin of Highgate with art from recycled items; Jennifer Martin's acrylic paintings; hand painted mats by Carolyn Utigard Thomas; and much more. Be sure to stop in for Vikki Machia's fudge.

      The Festival has grown so much that it needs more indoor space in St. Albans.
      Childrens' Center in City Hall has a line-up. It is Face Painting Central. No Strings Marionette Company performs Wasabi, a Dragon's Tale on Saturday at 10:15, 12:45, and 2:45. Children's Entertainer Yo Joe! What A Guy! has a variety show with magic and even more balloons on Saturday at 11:45, 1:45, and 3:30.
      The Crafts and Specialty Foods Show in BFA Auditorium hosts Buddy the Clown making balloon creations on Saturday and Sunday. It is one of the Festival's three popular Face-Painting stops, and afternoon music from Spider Roulette with Keith Williams, on Saturday only and offers Irish music by O'hAnleigh with Cindy Hill and Tom Handley on Sunday.
      St. Albans Free Library also has Yo Joe! What A Guy! on Friday at 1:30

      Only three of the indoor entertainment events (and the banquet) charge admission. Everything else is free. The Youth Talent Show will take place in a new location, the exceptional MVU theater, tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. The new Bucky Lewis Comedy Show takes over the BFA Performing Arts Center tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. The Fiddlers Variety Show (fiddling is the Sound of Vermont) comes to the BFA Performing Arts Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available at the information booth in Taylor Park and the festival office at the exhibit hall in the BFA Cafeteria.
      The Main Street Stage begins a weekend of continuous free entertainment tomorrow at noon and runs through Sunday after the parade. Look for live Music and Dance from noon - 6 p.m.
      The Main Street Stage is free! Visit about the shows.

      The Friday entertainment lineup on the free Main Street stage begins with local duo A&M at 1 p.m. Famed rock band Quadra takes over at 3 p.m.
      The Dave Keller Band puts Vermont on the map of blues and soul. 6-8 p.m.
      The Youth Talent Show will fill the MVU Theater 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.
      The new Vermont Maple Festival Comedy Show with Bucky Lewis brings an axe and a Stihl Farm Boss and perhaps the only ear flaps you will see this weekend (we can hope, anyway) to the BFA Performing Arts Center on Friday at 8 p.m. This is an adult show for those 16 and up. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students. $1 of each ticket sold will go to the Maple Educational Fund.

      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 a.m.
      Next up, Rockin' Ron The Friendly Pirate performs pirate music for kids and kids at heart. 11:15-12:15 p.m.
      The Contois School of Music Band will light the stage. 12:45-2:15 p.m.
      Winners from the Youth Talent Show will perform on the Main Street stage at 2:30 p.m.
      Jay Taylor, Florida's own All American country singer/songwriter who now lives in Nashville. He has played in over 40 states and some of Nashville's best known venues including Tootsies Orchid Lounge, 3rd and Lindsley, and live on WSM 650 AM. 4-6 p.m.
      The Fiddlers' Variety Show, an annual sellout at BFA PAC, 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, Justin LaPoint does a solo acoustic set at 10 a.m.
      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 about the Festival.


EAST FAIRFIELD--It is a busy weekend at the Meeting House on the Green as Summer Evenings with Vermont Treasures begins its season with two concerts
      First up, Carol Ann Jones and Will Patton open Summer Evenings with Vermont Treasures on Friday at 7 p.m.
      A concert with Michael Hurley follows on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Ms. Jones is dairy farmer from Georgia, a "car girl," accountant, mother, raconteuse, and The county's Supercharged country/folk/pop/rock singer and songwriter. She now has three critically acclaimed CDs and a great catalog of original songs. Bakersfield's own string master, Mr. Patton will accompany her on mandolin, dobro, and steel and tenor guitars. He is the "internationally renowned musical shape-shifter" who has been the center of Vermont's vibrant musical community for over 40 years.
      Mr. Hurley is a singer/songwriter who has been writing and recording American folk music since the early sixties and is called "one of the greatest ramblin' folk troubadours of all time." His debut record First Songs was recorded on the same reel-to-reel machine that taped Lead Belly's Last Sessions and was released on Folkways Records (now Smithsonian Folkways) in 1963.
      Admission is $15/adult and kids under 12 are free for all concerts in the series. Reserve your tickets and pay at the door (802.827.6626). Click here for more info.

ST. ALBANS--The Twiggs Comedy For A Cause series continues with five comedians on the Main Stage Friday evening at 7 p.m. The evening will raise money to support a young man who just lost his father. Admission is $20. There are just 75 seats available at the restaurant. Call Jeremy Jordan (802.372.1649) for tickets. Make dinner reservations prior to the show since only drinks, appetizers, and desserts will be served during the show.
      Next up, Twiggs presents Vern Colburn on the piano in the dining room on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Bob Young on the guitar in the Window on Saturday at 7 p.m.
      Call 802.524.1405 or click here for more info.


ST. ALBANS--The Vermont Creative Network will hold its first public forum in the St. Albans Free Library this evening at 4:30-8 p.m.
      This increasingly interconnected group of statewide people, places, and resources will meet to share ideas, gather suggestions, and begin the work of building a new network foundation. This is the first round of forums. Dinner will be served and childcare for ages 5-12 will be available from 4:30-6 p.m.
      The final forum in this area will be held in the Morristown Centennial Library in Morrisville on April 28 at 3:30-7 p.m.
      Preregistration is required; click here for the form. Time is short, so call Zon Eastes (802.838.5423) or email to let him know you will attend.


RICHFORD--The Arvin A. Brown Library offers free Drawing Classes for Beginners every Friday at 1:30 p.m. Della Warner leads this basic class on form and shading in charcoal.
      All are welcome.

SHELDON--The Sheldon Library adult Book Discussion group has a Special Community Event as Rick Norcross performs with special guest, author Dr. Stephen Payne on Tuesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m.
      The group is reading Dr. Payne's new book, Riding My Guitar: The Rick Norcross Story. The book chronicles the life of the Vermont singer-songwriter-impresario who began performing at the East Hardwick annual Tulip Festival in 1963. Mr. Norcross has toured extensively, shared the stage with Paul Simon, Diz Disley, Al Stewart, Doc Watson, Brad Paisley, Terri Clark, Jason Aldean, and others. He was the entertainment editor at the Tampa Times, founded the Green Mountain Chew Chew, and leads Rick and the Ramblers, Vermont's western swing band.


      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 © 2015 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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