One man’s opinion

BARRE – When it comes to paying to park his automobile, 87-year-old Ed Ferrari would prefer to feed a meter with change he can believe in rather than rely on an app he doesn’t understand for a cellphone he doesn’t want or need.

Ferrari made that point crystal clear during a picnic-forum Ward 2 Councilors Michael Boutin and Teddy Waszazak hosted outside the BOR ice arena Tuesday night.

While the meeting touched on issues ranging from how to calm traffic on Merchant Street to how to make better use of the Barre Civic Center complex, the looming arrival of parking meters able to interface with the ParkMobile app had Ferrari shaking his head.

“I’m not going to buy a $600 telephone just so I can park my car,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Ferrari wasn’t trying to be negative. In fact, he praised the city for finally addressing a water problem he first complained about 10 years ago.

“They did a good job,” he said.

It wasn’t a backhanded compliment.

Ferrari, who lives on Lunde Lane, was one of nearly a dozen residents who attended the informal ward meeting. It’s something he said he’d like to see more of, and while smarter parking meters might be the wave of the future, he suggested the city would get more mileage trimming trees that obscure road signs.

‘Pie day’

BARRE – The drawing was Wednesday, but as promised Friday was pie day at the Aldrich Public Library thanks to one of its very best “friends.”

The Friends of the Aldrich Public Library have managed to monetize the pie-baking prowess of member Marilyn Blake by raffling off a couple of her pies around a growing list of holidays.

Labor Day is now on that list and a raffle that started during the Barre Heritage Festival ended last week when the names of two winners were drawn.

Seems the winners – Ellen Robbins of Barre Town and Peter Zakrewski of Barre – had more than luck in common. Faced with a broad selection of pies Blake was ready to bake heading into the holiday weekend both winners opted for pecan pies.

The two nine-inch pies raised nearly $200 that Blake and her fellow “Friends” contribute to help underwrite library and its programming.

That includes its Senior Day series, which on Wednesday featured an afternoon visit from the No Strings Marionette Company. We’re told Robbins, who, like Zakrewski, picked up her freshly baked pecan pie on Friday, was among those in attendance.

Good news grill

BARRE – Speaking of raffles, regular readers may recall the folks at Nelson Ace Hardware recently donated the grill that was used at last month’s well-attended community picnic in Currier Park before being raffled off by the city to raise money for OUR House of Central Vermont.

We don’t know how much the raffle raised, but we do know David Santamore and his wife, Kay, were the lucky winners even though the Barre couple opted not to claim their lightly used, propane-fueled prize.

They donated it instead.

Seems the Santamores were already set on the barbecue front, and decided to donate the grill they didn’t expect to win to the city’s recreation department.

It was very much appreciated.

Holy cow!

MONTPELIER – A cow-inspired painting project that will help raise funds to feed hungry children should be coming soon to the Capital City.

Local artist D.J. Barry is at it again with his now-famous World Cow Project – a Holstein cow with a black-and-white coat resembling a world map – that he painted on a barn near Rumney Memorial School last year and has repeated several times since in other states.

This month, Barry is planning to paint a World Cow in Montpelier. The location of the mural is still being negotiated, but the project will benefit the local Rotary Club’s Backpack Program. The program helps raise money to provide children from low-income families with a backpack full of food to take home from school on on weekends to ensure they don’t go hungry.

To help raise funds for the project and the program, Barry has launched a GoFundMe site at www.gofundme.com/WCMontpelier. Other examples of Barry’s World Cow projects are posted there.

Going up!

MONTPELIER – There will be an “Elevation Celebration” at the Center for Arts and Learning on Barre Street on Friday.

It will mark the completion of installation of a LULA (limited use/limited application) elevator that will access all five floors of the CAL building, which houses the T.W. Wood Gallery, Monteverdi School of Music and River Rock School, as well as studios, galleries and community spaces.

For those unfamiliar with the technology: It is essentially a hybrid between a commercial elevator and a wheelchair lift. It looks and works like a traditional elevator, but is cheaper and requires less maintenance. Its primary purpose is to provide accessibility for people with mobility or disability issues.

The celebration will begin at 3 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting by Mayor Anne Watson, and guests will include Katie Miller, executive director of Inclusive Arts Vermont, and representatives of CAL.

There will be cake and gelato provided by Chill Vermont Gelato, food for sale by Kool Runninz, and for kids, outdoor activities for all ages with face painting and the SunCommon bounce house.

The event is part of Montpelier Alive’s Art Walk on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and includes artist receptions for Chris Jeffrey and Laura Gans in the Center for Arts and Learning galleries, and for Galen Cheney, Tessa G. O’Brien, and the Vermont Pastel Society at the T.W. Wood Gallery.

Magic Hat will be serving beverages, and at 7 p.m., visitors can attend New Music Uncaged, a concert and dance performance of new music, presented by Abundant Silence on the second floor of the Center for Arts and Learning.

Both events free and open to the public.

Wrestle mania?

BARRE – Atlantic Championship Wrestling will debut Saturday afternoon at the Barre Municipal Auditorium and half the proceeds from the “Pay It Forward” event will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington.

We’d be lying if we said we know much (make that anything) about the ACW, but we do know they’ve booked the auditorium for a series of wrestling matches that are set to start at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The featured match will pit Foxx Vinyer against Jonny Nova for the “Interim ACW American Title,” and if you’re into professional wrestling, and would like to check out the ACW’s stable of wrestlers (from The Street to Shooter Storm) while contributing to a good cause, here’s your chance.

Tickets will be available at the door and while children 12 and under will be admitted free prices range from $5 if you don’t mind standing to $25 if you want a front row seat for four hours of wrestling.

Breaking bread

MIDDLESEX – The Great Vermont Bread Festival will be held at Camp Meade on Saturday and it promises to be more than just a great repast of breaking bread with family and friends, though, there will be plenty of bread to break.

The festival, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, will feature some of Vermont’s best-known bread makers, as well as bread samples, workshops, demos, hands-on-learning, music and more.

“Tons of toppings” will include samples of some of Vermont’s finest cheeses and butters, as well as aioli, pesto, tapenades, peanut butter and jelly, charcuterie and other sandwich ingredients.

An event for all ages there will be roll making for kids, as well as competitions to see who can roll out a baguette the fastest and who can make the smallest croissant.

The event will feature a new outdoor wood-fired bread oven for community baking, with featured bakers’ breads emerging from the oven every hour. The oven is a collaboration between Planetary Matters and Red Hen Baking, and will have its inaugural firing during Saturday’s festival.

Thea Alvin, a well-known Vermont artist, stone sculptor and mason, created the four-foot by six-foot oven with Dan Wing, a masonry oven pioneer and the author of “The Bread Builders: Hearths, Loaves and Masonry Ovens.”

Featured bakers include Jeffrey Hamelman, a luminary in the bread world and longtime Vermonter. He wrote one of the best books on bread baking, previously owned a bakery in Brattleboro, was the baking education director at King Arthur from 1999 to 2017, and still teaches baking around the world.

Other bakers include Suzanne Slomin of Green Rabbit Bakery, Charlie Emmers of Patchwork Bakery, Becca Reiger, a teaching assistant at King Arthur Flour, Jim Williams who mills all his own flour, Scott Medellin from Slowfire Bakery, and August First Bakery, which will send a team of people.

Peterson Quality Malt in North Ferrisburgh will feature beers made by local brewers using barley grown and malted in the Green Mountain State.

Burlington-based Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band will provide entertainment.

Sunday ‘screening’

BARRE – Film director Mike Leonard has visited all 251 of Vermont’s cities and towns at least once and many (if not all) of them twice, cobbling together footage for the film that will be screened at Barre’s Old Labor Hall on Sunday evening.

It’s called “One Town at a Time” and features footage – some much older than the rest – that chronicles Leonard’s Vermont travels since joining the 251 Club in the summer of 2006.

Much of the film’s footage was shot that year, as Leonard traveled the state with his two best friends, interviewing locals and filming some of Vermont’s most celebrated places.

As part of the project, Leonard returned to many of those places a decade later and was fortunate enough to re-interview some of the same folks he’d filmed in 2006.

It was an identity-shaping exercise that revealed how Vermont changed in 10 years time and how it hasn’t.

The film reflects Vermont’s changing cultural and physical landscape and feature diverse voices, ranging from former Gov. Jim Douglas and Jerry Greenfield – the guy who put the “Jerry” in Ben & Jerry’s. It also includes other members of the 251 Club – an organization dedicated to visiting all the towns and cities in Vermont.

We’re told “One Town at a Time” was recently screened at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival to great fanfare and will be shown Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Old Labor Hall on Granite Street.

The screening of is technically free, though there is a suggested donation of $5.

Leonard will be on hand to field questions about his film following the screening, but folks who want information in advance can visit http://oldlaborhall.org/, email info@oldlaborhall.org, call 479-5600, or text (802) 331-0013.

Burdocks on the rocks?

MONTPELIER – Turns out the burdock isn’t just a pesky plant and not just because it was the inspiration for Velcro, or because it is used in traditional Eastern medicine and Japanese cuisine.

Don’t take our word for it, just ask Richard Wiswall of the Cate Farm in Plainfield, or Ryan Christiansen, president and chief distiller of Caledonia Spirits.

The pair have joined forces to blend a unique spirit from the root of the burdock plant.

Seriously.

It seems burdock root produces an alcohol with “earthy, peppery notes ... that reminds us of a Mexican agave spirit, such as Tequila or Mezcal,” according to a release from Caledonia Spirits.

In fact, during a taste test at the recent of opening of Caledonia Spirits’ new distillery in Montpelier, Christiansen said he thought the new spirit could become the “Tequila of the Northeast,” putting Vermont on the spirit map of the world, so to speak.

Called “Gobo” after the Japanese name for burdock, the spiritual union embodies a collaboration between Cate Farm and Caledonia Spirits’ Experiments in Agricultural Rectification program that seeks to find new marriages between the company’s production using the fruits of the land (the company already makes spirits with honey and maple syrup).

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