Around the Towns

Newfane Heritage Festival is canceled for 2020

NEWFANE - Newfane Congregational Church has decided to cancel the Newfane Heritage Festival, scheduled for Oct. 10 and 11, and postpone the festival's 50th anniversary celebrations until 2021.

“We feel that with the looming threat of COVID-19 we cannot ensure the safety of our vendors, our volunteers, or the thousands of patrons we attract every year,” church volunteers said in a news release. “We would love our 50th anniversary celebration to be just that - a celebration of all that makes Newfane and Southern Vermont special.”

“Hopefully, in 2021, everyone's health and well-being will be more secure and we can properly celebrate together,” they wrote.

The church said that money raised through the festival makes it possible to provide assistance to town residents of all ages and those from the surrounding communities.

“The impact of COVID-19 locally has resulted in even greater and more urgent needs among families,” the organizers said. “Without the anticipated earnings from a Festival, we are now thinking about how those needs can still be met. In the coming months, please check the church's website,, for details.”

CCV expands financial aid with new endowment, scholarship fund

MONTPELIER - Community College of Vermont (CCV) is growing a program to provide just-in-time scholarships for students with emergent financial needs.

With philanthropic support, the college introduces its new Endowment for Life Gap Grants, as well as the expansion of its Life Gap Fund, both of which build on an existing program to help students bridge challenging situations and persist in their studies.

“Now more than ever, CCV students are vulnerable to unexpected financial stress as COVID-19 impacts our lives and communities,” said CCV President Joyce Judy in a news release. “For many students, Life Gap Grants will make the difference between staying in school and dropping out.”

The Endowment for Life Gap Grants program is funded by an anonymous donor in honor of the college's 50th anniversary in 2020. It expands the Life Gap Grants program, which provides scholarships of $250 or less.

For information and to contact the college, visit

Empty Bowl soup take-out fundraiser set for June 10

CHESTER - The Chester-Andover Family Center (CAFC) will hold its second annual Empty Bowl Fundraiser on Wednesday, June 10, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the Country Girl Diner, 45 Route 103S.

The event this year will feature drive-through soup take-out service, with selections donated by local chef-owned businesses.

On the soup menu is tomato-potato-noodle from Rowell's Inn, seafood curry from The Free Range, cold strawberry from Lisai's, vegetable medley from the Country Girl, and cock-a-leekie from MacLaomainn's.

Rounding out the meal is bread donated by Orchard Hill Breadworks and desserts donated by Southern Pie Café, Lisai's, and CAFC volunteer bakers.

Hand-painted Ceramic Bowls are courtesy of Melissa Howe, her Endless Creations Pottery Studio, and students and staff from area schools. Only 150 bowls will be available due to the early school closings and the stay-at-home advisory.

Pre-order on the center's Facebook page, email at [email protected] or call 802-875-3236. Leave your first and last name, your phone number, and your soup selections.

All donations will support the Family Center Food Shelf and Financial Assistance Programs.

NECCA hosts Red Cross blood drive

BRATTLEBORO - New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA), 10 Town Crier Dr., is partnering with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive on Friday, June 12, from 2 to 7:30 p.m.

The Red Cross has changed how one gives blood during this time of COVID-19, eliminating drop-in options. “When you arrive, there will be no lines and no gathering in the lobby,” organizers write.

To schedule an appointment for donation or for more information, visit and use zip code 05301.

Literary Festival hosts Literary Cocktail Hour

BRATTLEBORO - The Brattleboro Literary Festival invites everyone to a virtual Literary Cocktail Hour on Friday, June 12, at 5 p.m.

Area writer Tim Weed will interview international best-selling author Danielle Trussoni on her new literary gothic novel, The Ancestor, which explores the darker realms of ancestry and inheritance.

The book has been widely praised, described by Kirkus Reviews as “an opulently romantic horror tale” and “gothic extravaganza.” Publishers Weekly called it “a deliciously creepy tale of a windfall turned nightmare” and “an intense, darkly gothic narrative with elements of mystery, the paranormal, and legendary tales.”

Registered participants will be able to interact with the author in a question-and-answer session.

To register for this free event, visit The event will also live-stream publicly on the Brattleboro Literary Festival's Facebook page at

'Bloomsday in Brattleboro' celebrates James Joyce's 'Ulysses'

BRATTLEBORO - On Tuesday, June 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., the Hooker-Dunham Theater and Gallery will celebrate “Bloomsday in Brattleboro” with a live-streamed reading of excerpts from James Joyce's Ulysses.

Eighteen actors will portray the characters of James Joyce's classic comic novel. “With a Storyteller weaving the excerpts together, the cast will embody the Dubliners whose music, dialog, unspoken thoughts, and wild fantasies populate Joyce's vision of a day in the life of 1904 Dublin,” said Jon Mack, who conceived and directed the show, in a news release.

Bloomsday celebrates June 16, 1904, the day the fictional Leopold Bloom, with his wife Molly, his surrogate son, Stephen Dedalus, and a host of citizens of Dublin, spent emulating and parodying Ulysses in Homer's epic poem The Odyssey.

In recent decades, June 16 has occasioned “Bloomsday” events in Dublin and around the world with costumed festivities and readings from Ulysses.

“Our goal is to bring to life Joyce's words,” Mack said. “There is a liveliness, poetry, and humanity to Joyce's work that is exhilarating to hear read aloud.

“Once banned as obscene, Ulysses is a celebration of the written word. It brings to life the innermost thoughts of its characters, at times with acute realism and at others with phantasmagoric imagination.”

Ulysses is a novel filled with music, and Dan DeWalt (piano), Jonathan Kinnersley (fiddle), and Ron Bos-Lun (mandolin) will evoke 1904 Dublin's lively spirit, Mack said.

The ensemble includes Cameron Cobane, Mark Ziter, Adrienne Major, Bahman Mahdavi, Johanna Gardner, David Roberts, Carrie Kidd, Cassandra Holloway, Jenny Holan, John Ogorzalek, Leigha Geno, Ray Mahoney, Tim Segar, and Terry Carter.

The show will be free online via Zoom, but reservations are required to receive a link to the live production at

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