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December 30, 2010

Calendar Countdown

Ed. Note: During the last week of the year, we asked our writers to reflect on the highs and lows of 2010.

Not too long ago, in mid-November, I was reading “‘Stuck’ at 200,” Cathy Resmer’s interview with Seven Days multimedia producer Eva Sollberger. I felt a jolt of recognition when I got to this part:

SD: You seem genuinely excited about every video you make. Are you?

ES: Every time I do an event, at the end of it, I’m, like, Oh my god, I’m totally going to be a Frisbee player! I’m going to be an ice skater! I’m going to learn how to fly a glider! Like, every single time. I just get so into it and, by the end, I’m thinking, How can I do this? How can I fit this into my life? And then two seconds later I’m onto the next story and I’ve forgotten all about it...”

As calendar editor, I feel the same way about most of the events I write about. I convince myself I’m going to make it to Kitestorm 2010 the following weekend; I even go so far as to put it in my Google calendar and talk it up to two friends. Without fail, they’re less enthused than I am — Won’t it be, like, 15 degrees out? they’ll ask. You don’t even like snow sports, they’ll point out. And by the time the big day rolls around,  I’m already on to the next batch of calendar items and Kitestorm is the last thing on my mind.

But, in the spirit of wrapping up 2010, I thought I’d recap a few memorable events that I wrote about and actually went to. And they actually all rocked — always a relief when you recommend upcoming events to others for a living. Walk down memory lane with me, won’t you? And add these annual events to your social calendar for 2011.

Mardi gras

1. Magic Hat Mardi Gras 

OK, well, of course Mardi Gras is a good time if you’re on a float; Seven Days builds one every year. My memories of the experience are limited — not due to too many pre-float Jell-o shots, but rather to my massive papier-mâché skeleton mask, from which I could barely see. BThe rambleut I did get a peek at the other over-the-top floats, with themes ranging from the peace-and-love era to Where’s Waldo?

2. The Ramble

I don’t live in the Old North End. Maybe that makes attending the ONE’s annual Ramble a little touristy, but that’s exactly why I loved it. I was charmed by the Decatur Street Carnival, a neighborly little shindig where residents set up cardboard-box booths in the middle of the street, peddling everything from relationship advice to manicures. Wandering into a stranger’s backyard for a homemade smoothie was a nice touch, too.

Modern times3. Festival of Fools

You say, Charlie Chaplin. I say, Where?! One of the best nights of last summer was spent kicking back on a beach towel in Burlington City Hall Park, watching a free screening of Modern Times as the kickoff to the Festival of Fools. There was free Ben & Jerry’s, there was my favorite little tramp onscreen, and there was a guy next to me slowly but surely eating an entire cantaloupe.

4. Vermont Vineyard & Winery Open House Weekend

Yes, you can visit most of Vermont’s vineyards at any time of the year, but this inaugural affair boasted a bunch of unprecedented perks: free wine tastings, educational programs, music... WineryThis led me to Boyden Valley Winery, where I proceeded to sample and learn about rhubarb, cranberry, blueberry and maple varieties without the usual tasting fee. Next year, I’ll hit up a bunch of participating spots for my very own Vermont wine tour. 

Tell me, what were your favorite events of 2010?

I really enjoyed the Runaway Pond anniversary in Glover, a one-of-a-kind event if there ever was one. The combination of local history geeks and Bread & Puppet folks (who reenacted the pond's "escape" with puppets) was pure Vermont. Plus, just down the road at Red Sky Trading Co. I found amazing home-baked goods.

Then there's Wilson Castle, which is a place I went for a story, not a public event, but it's one of the coolest, weirdest places I've ever been in Vermont. Maybe I am overfond of Victoriana, but I loved the colorful stenciled ceilings and clashing pieces of decor from all eras and all over the world. It is so far from anything you'd expect to find in the outskirts of Rutland, and I strongly recommend checking it out in the spring when they start giving tours again.


Thanks for the shout out and the fun walk down memory lane. When I started making Stuck in VT a friend warned me not to cover too many big events too quickly or I would run out of topics. AS IF!

VT has a never ending stream of quirky events and as you and I both know, it is impossible to attend all of them! Curses!

And thanks to your astute calendar listings, I get loads of options for events to cover.

I recommend Kitestorm 2011, just wear snowpants and as many layers as possible!

Happy New Year!

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