• Spell F-U-N-D-R-A-I-S-E
     | February 17,2014

    Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo A large crowd watches the competition Saturday night at the Cabin Fever Spelling Bee at Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier.

    MONTPELIER — Area authors bested local readers for word supremacy Saturday night in a spelling bee to raise money for Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

    A little bit of snow wasn’t enough to put a damper on the second annual Cabin Fever Spelling Bee and Silent Auction. About 100 people showed up to cheer on the 30 spellers competing mostly for pride.

    Rachel Senechal, program and development coordinator at the library, said library patrons Andrea Serota and Rick Winston first pitched the idea for a spelling bee two years ago. It was a success last year, and library officials chose to hold it again.

    The event, at $10 per ticket in advance, is “a fundraiser that a lot of people can afford,” Senechal said.

    “It’s also celebrating words, which is what the library is all about,” she said.

    Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea served as the pronouncer, reading words to the contestants and exchanging humorous banter with members of the two teams. The writers were a collection of local authors, while the readers were a selection of library patrons.

    “We had a lottery, so anyone could put their name in the lottery to be chosen. Clearly, they’re the ones that can spell,” Senechal said.

    Last year’s event featured just the authors. Senechal said organizers wanted to let others participate, too.

    Robbie Harold, author of “Heron Island: A Dade Wyatt Mystery,” won the event for the writers team. She correctly spelled “chlamydia” to beat Emily Tredeau of the readers team.

    Early in the competition it appeared as though the readers would easily win. Several of the authors were quickly dispatched in the early rounds, including Charles Barasch, who wrote “Dreams of the Presidents: From George Washington to Barack Obama.” Barasch was not able to spell “brooch.”

    Burr Morse, author of “Golden Times: More Tales through the Sugarhouse Window,” was also out early. He joked about his own spelling skills.

    “You know, when I was young there was a choice between milking cows and learning to spell. The cows won,” he said, before misspelling “raucous.”

    Last year’s champion, David Carkeet, author of “From Away,” went out in the second round after misspelling “sacrilegious.”

    Other authors held on, however, leading to a competitive contest.

    The loudest laughs of the night occurred when “In Season” author Nona Estrin was asked to spell “twerk.” She promptly asked for the word to be used in a sentence.

    “Miley Cyrus derived some questionable notoriety for twerking somewhere,” Lea said.

    Still not satisfied with her knowledge of the word, Estrin asked for a definition.

    “It is to use the fleshly extremities in a way that could be considered lascivious,” Lea said.

    Estrin went on to misspell the word, but she remained in the competition because it was during the first-round practice period.

    The spelling bee will return next year, according to Senechal.

    neal.goswami @timesargus.com

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