ARTBITS by Richard B. Harper

VOLUME 26 * * All Arts News On the Web * * September 1, 2022


      ArtBits always features a calendar of the goings on of Franklin County artists. Check out these events around Franklin County. Each issue includes the entire text of our weekly newspaper column.

     Franklin County's arts and music gatherings bring new opportunities, gossip, "show-and-tell" and occasional workshops. There are also booked and acoustic Open Mic Nights that feature music, readings, and more from the best new artists in Vermont.

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FRANKLIN COUNTY--The Big Music Weeks of Summer wind down this week as Jeff Dunham headlines the Champlain Valley Fair and some of our friends play multiple gigs. We'll have to travel a bit to find the live shows in Barre, Bolton, Colchester, Essex, Jay, Johnson, North Hero, Sheldon, South Hero, and St. Albans City and Town.


HIGHGATE--The 31st year of Summer Sounds concerts at home in Highgate offered an eclectic mix of new and familiar performers every Sunday evening on the Highgate Arena lawn.
      The season included the Tenderbellies, Mark Shelton, the Thunderballs, Troy Millette and the Fire Below, the Tyler Mast Band, Neon Spoon, and Chad Hollister. It was a nice mix of familiar local bands and new performers from afar. "I loved seeing people of Highgate and other local communities come out each week and enjoy themselves," Highgate Recreation Program Coordinator Jes Bombard said. "Having food and drinks was a nice addition to bring in more people.
      "Next year Id like to have a couple more local bands perform."
      The Summer Sounds Social in the Park added food, bouncy castles, drinks from 14th Star Brewing, and more thanks to Big Al's Snack Bar, Desorcie's Market, and LaShures Pro Shop. The concerts were all on Sunday evenings, always at 5:30 p.m., always on the Highgate Arena Lawn, and always free.


ST. ALBANS--The Artist In Residence Gallery features different artists each month. This month, the spotlight is on stained and fused glass artist Jennifer Buckner, woodturner Toby Fulwiler, painter Patrick Murphy, and mixed media artist Meta Strick with a live reception at the gallery this evening at 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. A.I.R. will also continue celebrating the monthly Featured Artists online.
      The art and fine craft cooperative features paintings, fiber arts, stained glass, sculpture, lamps, pottery, folk art boxes, scarves, hats and more by 40 Franklin County and surrounding area artists. It is owned and operated by the artists and sponsors. The gallery on South Main Street is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here or find them on Facebook for more info.


     The FDA authorized updated COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from Moderna and Pfizer. Each bivalent vaccines combines the original vaccines with one that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants. Pfizer's dose is authorized for people age 12 and older. Moderna's vaccine is authorized for people age 18 and older. The CDC is expected to approve shots in the arm as early as tomorrow. Visit for the complete announcement.
      Vermont COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased from 50 last week to about 30 but COVID-related fatalities increased to 11 this month, for a pandemic total of 707. Franklin County lost 69 of those souls. Vermont may have the lowest COVID death rate in the nation but the pandemic has still killed three times more Vermonters than crashes have. (Highway fatalities have climbed since the beginning of the pandemic. 2021 was the state's worst year in nearly a decade but 2022 looks even worse so far.)
      The Green Mountain State reported 396 new COVID-19 cases statewide last week. Franklin County reported 61 cases in the 14 days ending Saturday.
      Vermont relies on self reporting. You can report self-test results by following instructions on your test kit to automatically provide your results to your local health department or with the Vermont COVID-19 Self-Test Result Reporting Form. If you test positive, stay home and isolate for five days. You can leave your home on day six if your symptoms have improved and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.
      Take an at-home test if you begin having symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or at least five days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, or if you plan a get together with people who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their vaccines. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order a third round of free at-home tests from Need other tests? COVIDtests.govalso has for links for at-home tests at retailers and pharmacies, insurance reimbursement for at-home tests, and the 20,000 no-cost antigen and PCR COVID-19 test sites nationwide. Most major chains including Walgreens and Price Chopper locally should have free N95 masks for distribution.
      Whether you have contracted and recovered from this coronavirus or haven't yet received a booster or even if you have done it all, immunity has waned for many of us. That lowered resistance leads to infections and increased transmission of the virus. The fourth booster is available for those over 50. Here's my own advice. Get the COVID shot(s), get the booster(s), and take precautions, particularly if you are inside with other people--that means wearing a mask indoors.
      No vaccine is 100% foolproof. Wash your hands. Keep wearing an N95 mask where you can't control the airflow around you until we reach the same herd immunity we have for smallpox and once had but lost for measles because so many parents refused to vaccinate their kids. Bonus: it will also help protect you from pollen, summer colds, and the winter flu.
      Call 855.722.7878 or visit for more info about the first or second dose and for booster shots of the vaccine. You can also walk-in at Costco, CVS, Hannaford, Price Chopper/Market 32, Rite Aid, Shaw's, Walgreens, or Walmart, or get an appointment with CVS, Kinney Drugs, Walgreens, or UVMMC Outpatient Pharmacies. Providers and pharmacies must give vaccines at no cost to the patient.


SWANTON--The Swanton Arts Council hosts Stampin' Up! Cards with Barb in the Maker Space of the Swanton Free Public Library on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The class is free but space is limited and pre-registration is required. Call Barb Switzer (802.752.7917) or email to register or for more info.


MORRISVILLE--River Arts offers three workshops this week.
      September Open Studio Figure Drawing today at 3:30 p.m. will be a nude session with quick two minute poses, five minute poses, 20 minute poses, and a long pose at the end. River Arts limits nude sessions to ages 18 and older. The cost is $15 with pre-registration preferred. Click here to register and for more info.
      Clay Bootcamp with Heather Stearns for intermediate to advanced potters will demonstrate lidded vessels, explore handles, and practice surface design techniques at Muddy Creek Studio on Saturday at 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The cost is $100; bring a bag lunch. Click here to register and for more info.
      Botanical Dyeing and Block Printing with Sara Riegler begins Wednesday and continues at 6 p.m. on six Wednesdays through October 12. The course will cover the basics of natural dyeing and will work with plant-based fibers and more. Then the basics of block printing on fabric and paper as well as surface design on dyed fabric. The cost is $150. Click here to register or for more info.


SWANTON--Plan ahead. The Swanton Free Public Library is closed on Monday for Labor Day. The Swanton Arts Council will hold its monthly Board Meeting next Monday, September 12. Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of each month. Find the SAC on Facebook for the agenda and more info.


ONLINE--The Vermont Humanities Council presents Did the Supreme Court Just Hobble the Administrative State, a digital presentation with Meg Mott, Aaron Kisicki, and Steph Hoffman, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. via Vermont Humanities Zoom. The presenters will discuss the recent Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. E.P.A. that put all administrative agencies on notice that they need a clear statement from Congress to promulgate regulations. Click here to register for the free, online event and for more info.

ST. ALBANS--Plan ahead. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute begins ten new weekly programs with Bees Besieged with Bill Mares on September 7 in the Greg Brown Lodge at at Hard'ack. They have a new registration process and can no longer take payments at the door. They "strongly recommend that all attendees/members pre-register prior to the start of the program." Click here for more info.


     Here's my own plan with over one million U.S. deaths and as our precautions wane. I got the COVID and Flu shots, and the booster, and I take precautions because no vaccine is 100% foolproof. I wash my hands. I double mask with a genuine N95 mask (not a bandana and not a "chin strap") and a surgical mask where ever I can't control the airflow. It isn't much of a burden and it mostly protects me from all the people without masks I see in stores and concerts.

Thursday, September 1
ST ALBANS TOWN--The weekly St. Albans Bay Farmer's Market and Concert Series continues with Julia Parent today from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. They have live music every Thursday evening. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SOUTH HERO--The 2022 Snow Farm Summer Concert Series continues their 25th anniversary season with the Phil Abair Band Featuring Keeghan Nolan this evening. Music starts at 6:30 p.m. but "come as early as you would like." Click here for more info.

Thursday-Sunday, September 1-4
ESSEX JUNCTION--On Tap starts off another weekend of music with Dan Parks with Mark Steffenhagen tonight at 6 p.m., then two shows Friday night, Kyle Stevens at 5 p.m., followed by the Phil Abair Band with Keeghan Nolan for late night music and beads starting at 9 p.m., plus two more shows live on Saturday night with Maple & Hanson at 5 p.m., and the Mullets of Rock starting at 9 p.m. Call 802.878.3309 or email for more info. Click here to reserve a table.

ESSEX--The 100th Champlain Valley Fair runs through Sunday. The Fair has music and art and entertainment and fair food. The McKenzie Racing Pigs and the tallest sand sculpture in the state will appear as well as the latest farming methods. But wait, there's more. Click here for the whole schedule.

Friday, September 2
ST. ALBANS--14th Star presents 90 Proof for a night of classic rock, 80s and 90s, and some upbeat popular country in The Room on Friday at 6 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

JAY--The Jay Peak Summer Music Series presents moe live in the Stateside Amphitheater on Friday at 8 p.m. Doors at 7:30. Admission is $20-45 and ages 6 and under are free. Call 800.451.4449 or click here for tickets and more info.

Friday-Saturday, September 2-3
NORTH HERO--The Steamship Pier Bar and Grill at North Hero House presents the acoustic folk trio Amerikana Blue on Friday and Al's Pals with funk, rock, blues, and more, live on Saturday night. Music starts about 5:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

BOLTON--Dog days in United States began on July 3 and ended August 11 but Dog Days continue at Bolton Valley for two nights with the Wormdogs on Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. Bluegrass rock n' roll will live on the mountainside. Admission is $10. Call 802.434.3444 or click here for tickets and more info.

ST. ALBANS--Twiggs often has shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Music starts about 6:30 p.m. Call 802.524.1405 or find them on Facebook for more info. Click here to book a reservation or to visit the art on the walls.

Saturday, September 3
ST. ALBANS--Rise Up hosts a Recovery Block Party with live music, speakers, games, vendors, and food on the green in front of Food City on Saturday from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The party kicks of the start of recovery month.

BARRE--Eleven hits the Granite City hard to play Gusto's on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The boys have all played there in other bands over the years, but never as Eleven. "We'll bring the music, you bring the people, and the party will commence."

Sunday, September 4
COLCHESTER--It's Sunday Funday with Eleven at the Spanked Puppy "to rock the outback" on Sunday at 2:30 - 5:30 p.m. Find them on Facebook for more info.

JOHNSON--Moog's Joint hosts Lamoille Rising, a full day of music with the Seth Yacovone Band, Aerolites, and Green Mountain Freight, on Sunday at 4 - 10 p.m. $20 cover. COVID precautions. Find them on Facebook for more info.

SOUTH HERO--The Blue Paddle Bistro hosts Cooper, Bob Recupero on Sunday at 5:30 - 8 p.m. There may be cowboy songs and gunfighter ballads and ZZ Top. Find them on Facebook for more info.

ESSEX--Champlain Valley Fair presents Bethany Conner in the Acoustic Gazebo on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. The concert is free with paid admission to the Fair.

Wednesday, September 7
ESSEX--The weather is with us. Trucks, Taps, & Tunes at The Essex Experience, the "rotating series of live music, food trucks, and beer" has been extended five more weeks through September 28. The Green hosts the events every Wednesday at 4 - 7 p.m. Admission is free.


      ArtBits features a quick weekly peek at library events in and around Franklin County. That popular feature has a page of its own at the Franklin County Bookshelf here on the AAC site at We also take an occasional peek at the bookshelf or night stand of the folks you know in and around Franklin County. Those reviews can be found on the ArtBits Bookshelf.

Good News!

There are so many events around the region that we miss some of them.
Be sure to check these calendars for what's happening near you ...
All Arts Council of Franklin County
Cambridge Arts Council
Franklin County Regional
Chamber of Commerce
Island Arts
St Albans Community Arts
Swanton Arts Council
Young Tradition Vermont


Links to the Summer Music series in Franklin County
Summer Sounds
Summer Music at Grace
Downtown Summer Concert Series
Music at the Meeting House
Citizens Concert Band
Enosburg Town Band


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All Arts Council of Franklin County

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