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The opening weekend of the festival is an extravaganza of art, music, food and fun!
To start things off with a bang, everyone is invited to the first annual Festival Community Picnic. The picnic will take place on Sunday, August 5, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the Lareau Farm Inn.
“We created this event as a way for residents and visitors alike to come together and celebrate the arts. It is completely free! Bring a picnic and blanket and relax on the sweeping lawns of Lareau Farm. Let the children run, listen to two bands – Haywire and The Grift – and hang out with your family and friends,” said festival director Karen Nevin.
The Community Picnic will also be the place to check out what the Festival has planned during the coming month. Event organizers will have booths where people can learn more about their event and see their work. People can buy tickets to the Taste of the Valley and the Young Musician’s Award Concert and purchase the 2012 Festival commemorative poster by local artist Karla Bove. In addition, the Big Red Barn Art Show will be holding its opening reception on Sunday evening. This annual event showcases the artistic talents of the people of the Mad River Valley.
“I wanted to start the Festival with an event for everyone,” said Nevin. “This is a party that will kick off the Festival of the Arts. We received substantial sponsorship for this event from National Life Group and I am thrilled that we can make it a free event for the community. There is no reason not to join us on Sunday evening!”
To top off the picnic, there will be a fabulous fireworks show by Northstar Fireworks. Expect the skies to be painted with color and light!
Though Monday is not the weekend, the traditional start of the Festival has always been the Taste of the Valley, on August 6 at Sugarbush Resort. This social event features restaurants, farmers and food purveyors from The Valley showing off their talents in mini form. Expect treats from fresh-squeezed veggie juices to yummy sliders, homemade ice cream to tiny cupcakes, and everything in between. New to the Taste this year is the Bird’s Nest Bistro. Amanda Astheimer, formerly chef at The Big Picture, has opened her new Bistro at The Bridges Resort. Other newcomers Tonewood Maple Products will be showing off their take on the state flavor – maple – and The Sweet Spot will hit the spot with cupcakes and ice cream!
“The Taste has a new twist this year,” said Gary Eckhart, Valley Arts Foundation president. “In order to better support the vendors, we are giving each attendee Taste tickets to use for each taste. The vendors will collect the tickets and we will pay them a certain amount depending upon how many tickets they collect. It is so important to us to support the vendors. This event could not happen without them.”
Also new to the Taste will be a raffle. Items are being collected from in and around The Valley. The Grand Prize will be a specially made Taste of the Valley bench painted by Gary Eckhart and Dotty Kyle.
“These benches are the talk of the town and you can come away with one of your own,” Nevin said.
Tickets for the Taste are going fast; call 496-6682 or drop by the Festival Gallery to purchase tickets.
What else is happening this week at the Festival?
Shows and Exhibit Openings
• Green Mountain Cultural Center 23rd Annual Photography Exhibit opens at the Round Barn, opening reception, Tuesday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• 15th annual Big Red Barn Art Show opens at Lareau Farm, opening reception Sunday, 5 to 7 p.m.
• Pastel Show opens at The Bridges.
• Contemporary Art Show opens at Quench Artspace, Waitsfield.
• Big Bike Show opens at BigTown Gallery in Rochester.
• Threadscapes by Pamela Druhen, fiber artist, opens at Festival Gallery.
• Vermont Visions by Isabella Frost opens at Three Mountain Café.
• Walter Dorwin Teague: His Life, Work and Influence at Madsonian Museum, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
• Stalking the Wild: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad River, an art installation by Erica H. Hadams at Lareau Farm, Sunday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Theater and Performance
• The Mystery of Edwin Drood opens at The Skinner Barn and runs August 1 to 5 and August 8 to 12.
• The Graduates at Phantom Theater, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.
• Fiction Ruined My Family at Phantom Theater, Monday, 8 p.m.
• Beauty Shop Stories at Phantom Theater, Wednesday, 8 p.m.
• Anthony Santor and Friends at Lareau Farm, Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
• Phineas Grift Dance Party at Big Picture Theater, Friday, 7 to 11 p.m.
• Jazz Brunch with Anthony Santor & Friends at Big Picture, Sunday.
Workshops & Demos
• Chinese Exercise & Meditation at Big Picture Theater, Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon.
• Clay Play at Waitsfield Pottery, Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Intro to Wheel Throwing with The Naked Potter, Saturday, noon to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
• Joy Huckins-Noss demo at Artisans’ Gallery, Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.
• Spice of Life: Indian Cuisine Cooking Class by Fiddleheads Cuisine, Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.
• Fairie House Workshop at Lareau Farm, Monday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Mosaic Shard Workshop with Bette Ann Libby, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Candy Barr Plein Air Painting Workshop, Wednesday, 4 to 7 p.m.
• Painting at Parade Gallery with Gary Eckhart, Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Localvore Community Table Dinner at Timbers, Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.
• Dishing Up Vermont book signing at Artisans’ Gallery, Sunday, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Art of Living Well
• Zumba Fitness with Roarke Sharlow at The Bridges Resort, Monday and Friday, 7 p.m.
• Yestermorrow Summer Lecture Series: “Prefabulous & Sustainable,” Wednesday, 7 p.m.
With the exception of shows and exhibit openings, advance reservations are required for most festival events. Please visit www.vermontartfest.com for more information about specific events.
New bench revealed at Festival Gallery!
The Madsonian bench “Art Inaction,” imagined and created by Stefanie Schulman, has arrived at the Festival Gallery in Waitsfield. This extraordinary bench is a must-see. Adorned with found objects and covered with decoupaged quotes and images, this bench will take hours to properly view. With a vase on one arm and teapot on the other, wheels and gears and spinning objects on the back, it is impossible not to touch and play with it. This bench is a wonderful addition to the Benches on Parade fundraiser for the Valley Arts Foundation. Bidding for all benches is online at www.vermontartfest.com.