(scroll to bottom for event slideshows)

What an amazing weekend for the opening of the Vermont Festival of the Arts! With classic, changeable August weather, the Festival of the Arts has begun.

The weekend began with two clay workshops: “Intro to Wheel Throwing” with “The Naked Potter” Luke Iannuzzi, and “Clay Play” with Ulrike Tessmer at Waitsfield Pottery. Children and adults alike enjoyed getting messy while creating their very own piece of pottery. Visiting mom and daughter Isobel and Amy each took a turn at the potter’s wheel under the instructive eye of Ulrike.

On Sunday, crowds descended on the Big Red Barn for the Art Show opening reception. With 37 artists exhibiting, including six new local artists, the show is a must-see. Two- and three-dimensional pieces including works from amateur and established Valley artists are on display. Take a turn around the barn and see the spectacular mosaics of Bette Ann Libby; one in particular is obviously the inspiration for the bench “Meet Me in the Garden.” It’s fun to see the design realized in two different mediums!

The Skinner Barn was at capacity with its production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This wildly warm-hearted theatrical experience kicks off when the Music Hall Royale, a loony Victorian musical troupe, puts on its flamboyant rendition of the unfinished Dickens mystery. Young Edwin Drood, the title character, disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve. The question on the audiences mind: Has Edwin been murdered? Each night, the audience votes to choose which murder suspect is guilty of the crime. Once chosen, the cast completes the story according to this choice. Join in the fun this week as The Mystery of Edwin Drood is showing Wednesday through Sunday.

Though the skies looked threatening all day, the first annual Festival Community Picnic drew crowds to Lareau Farm for picnicking, music and fun. The thunderstorm held off until the fireworks finale began. The Grift jammed to the beat provided by fireworks of both kinds. Nothing could dampen the spirits of the hundreds who turned out to picnic and dance the night away!

By Monday, the weather turned glorious and 400 people arrived at Sugarbush Resort for the social event of the season: A Taste of The Valley. With more than 30 vendors showing off their tasty treats, everyone had a great time. This year, the festival organizers held a raffle instead of an auction to raise funds to support the Valley Arts Foundation with items donated by many Valley organizations. The grand prize was a bench painted by Gary Eckhart called “Our Valley, Our Home.” Congratulations to Deb Panos who won the bench!

Other events also kept busy: FairieHouseBuilding with Stefanie Metalious and Mosaics workshop with Bette Ann Libby, opening receptions for the Big Red Barn Art Show, the Photography Show and Quench Contemporary Art Exhibit all provided creative thought to all ages.

There are still many more events to come in the Vermont Festival of the Arts. The second Art in the Garden Tour is all set for Friday, August 10. Six gardens and six artists will be on display as we travel to visit the secret gardens of The Valley. And on Saturday, August 11, Yestermorrow’s Innovative Homes Tour visits a half dozen tree houses, from fanciful playhouses to elegant observatories to grandiose guesthouses complete with bedrooms and plumbing. You’ll be amazed by what’s hidden in the trees of Central Vermont!

Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12, is Open Studio Weekend allowing visitors a chance to see artists working in their very own spaces. Take a drive to visit a variety of artists, including the fine works created at Moosewalk Studios, Bill Brauer Studio, and by Luke Iannuzzi. Pick up a map and list of studios at the Festival Gallery or at various locations around town. Many artists will have small projects to try out so kids are most welcome.

Stop by the Waitsfield United Church of Christ for Kids Create! Children can try their hands in making toy wooden cars and trucks or painting rocks into such fanciful creations as snowmen, angels and flowers. And the sixth annual Pie Eating Contest at The Warren Store on Saturday is fun for everyone!

Not to forget the music, Big Picture Theater is hosting the Mad 4 Music Festival both days this weekend. Local bands and performers will be playing all day and into the evening! The Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra will perform rousing classics at Moose Meadow Lodge on Sunday evening.

Finally, go on a culinary adventure with AnnMarie Harmon’s “Raw Food Lifestyle” workshop on Saturday. Or see how maple can be turned into so many different products at the Tonewood Tasting at Artisans’ Gallery on Sunday. Finally, the Waitsfield Wine Shoppe is hosting a Wines of Germany wine pairing on Wednesday.

Check out www.vermontartfest.com for more information on all Festival events or call 802-406-6682.

Click an image below to open slideshow

Big Red Art Show


Round Barn Photo Show