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So, there you are. Weekend coming up. “Ma, I’m bored,” you say. “I want to do something I’ve never done before.”
By golly! Have you ever been to Moose Festival? The 17th Annual North Country Moose Festival is starting tomorrow, and I bet you never even knew!
Now the Moose Festival has its own web page, but it’s a pretty sucky web page. Let me tell you about Moose Festival, and some things that the Official Handout won’t mention. Like “Bring Bug Dope.” And “Pack a Sweater.”
Okay, let’s start out tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. and running to 9:00 p.m., in order to mess up traffic on Rt. 3 all day: Small Town Sidewalk Sales. If you want a jigsaw Skunk mailbox cover made by gen-u-ine North Country folks with a jigsaw in the barn, this is the place. Not imported from Taiwan, no-sir, you betcha. Main Street Colebrook will be blocked off for this, and finding a place to park will be … challenging. As an added benefit, if you clutch your chest and fall to the ground while you’re at the Small Town Sidewalk Sales, I personally will come, cut your clothes off, and stick a needle in your arm! (I’m on duty tomorrow.)
After that, things will kick into high gear. At 1:00 p.m., at the North Country Recreation Center, there’s going to be an Indoor Pool Party running until 3:00 p.m. It’s for kids, grades 1-6, and will feature Diving for Moose Droppings. If you thought that we have to Make Our Own Fun up here, you thought right!
Also at 1:00, for people who aren’t up for Diving for Moose Droppings (it’s an acquired taste, after all), there’s a Quilt Show at the Trinity United Methodist Church. The Methodists are over on Bridge Street, and their church is really pretty. Way-better stained glass than the Papists have.
At 2:00 p.m. you’ve got your choice: The Moose Festival Art Show at the funeral home (not an editorial comment on the art, I promise you), or the Historical Society Open House on the 2nd floor of the Town Hall. Jenkin’s and Newman Funeral Home is on Main Street, Colebrook. The Town Hall is a block up and to the left on Bridge Street (not too far from those Methodists). Or your could do both! The Open House runs until 6:00 p.m. while the Art Show runs until 7:30.
They’ve got things there to make you laugh
A five-legged sheep and a two-headed calf….
Unfortunately the two-headed calf isn’t displayed in the window across from Hicks’ Hardware any more; maybe the Historical Society has it. Have you ever seen a stuffed two-headed calf? Hunh? Hunh?
Beginning at 3:00 and running until 9:00 p.m. we’ll have the Moose Festival Street Fair. Just to make it more likely that you’ll clutch your chest and fall to the ground, they’ll have booths selling fried dough and fried sausage and french fries. Also crafts, demos, music, and other Entertainment. Can’t say no to that, can you? The live entertainment will include Bobo the Clown, the Parker Hill Road Band, and The Folk Tree (they do Celtic music).
Over on the lawn at Colebrook Academy, the Kiwanis will be having their Chicken Barbecue. That’ll start at 5:00. Unlike last year, when the word “downpour” pretty much described the part of the barbecue that most folks remembered, the weather tomorrow is supposed to be nice. Remember to lock your car or when you come back you’ll find the back seat filled with zucchini.
Then, what you’ve been waiting for! Cruise night! (No, no! Not that. Around here, ‘Going cruising’ means ‘driving around in your car.’ We make our own fun….) That’s from 5:00 to 7:00. At 6:00, there’s going to be a Tae Kwon Do demonstration. (Dislocated knees are easy and fun to fix!)
At 7:00 comes the Guided Moose Tour to Averill, Vermont. I mean, all kidding aside, this party is all about Moose. And that’s it for tomorrow.
But wait, there’s more! Saturday, over at Canaan, Vermont, the party starts at 6:30 a.m (we get up early, us sturdy country folk!) as the crafters and vendors start to set up. Hear some genuine North Country accents. At 7:00 a.m. there’s the Moor [Correction: Moose] Watchers’ Breakfast at Canaan School. Last season, one episode of Supernatural included a visit to Canaan, VT. Dean didn’t go to the Moose Watchers’ Breakfast, and see how things turned out for him. Avoid making that mistake…. Pretty much across the street from the school there’s the town library, and during the Bad Old Days before the Civil War (we call it “The Civil War” around here because we won and we have the monuments to prove it — every town has at the least a statue and maybe a cannon or two) it was the last station on the Underground Railroad on the leg that ran up the Connecticut Valley, because Canada is Right Over There.
If you’re up here for the Auto Show, registration is at 8:00 a.m. At 9:00, yet more Crafts (mosquitoes made out of genuine moose turds … a Christmas Tree ornament like no other) , Demos, Music, Food (you may yet clutch your chest and fall over!) and Entertainment. Bobo the Clown! (Bobo’s putting in a hard weekend.) Pony rides for the kiddies! The Berlin Jazz Band! (That’s Berlin, New Hampshire, pronounced BER-lin, not that place over in Europe.)
At 11:00 a.m. comes the Bill Bromage Memorial Moose Stew Cook-Off. Bill used to run the First Colebrook Bank. Then they opened a branch in Concord, and Bill would drive back and forth. He was found one day, parked beside Rt. 3 in Franconia Notch, dead of a heart attack. He was a firefighter, a nice guy, and, well … moose stew! People who come to Moose Festival can sample moose stew. Where else can you do that? That’s followed at noon by the Moose Burger BBQ Cookout.
Now that you’re fully laden down with moose products, at 1:00 p.m. comes the 17th Annual Moose Calling Contest. We make our own fun….
At 2:00 p.m. comes the dog show, and at 3:00 p.m. the Rubber Ducky Race at Leach Stream. (That’s leach, not leech. What were you thinking?)
That’s just the stuff in Canaan. Pittsburg (the largest town in New Hampshire (in land area)) has its own events on Saturday. At 1:00 p.m. comes a guided tour of the 4th Connecticut Lake. (That’s the very start of the Connecticut River. Connecticut means “long river” in the local native American lingo, and it surely is. The Connecticut starts here, forms the border between New Hampshire and Vermont all the way down, then bisects Massachusetts, then runs through the state of Connecticut until it empties into Long Island Sound.) The tour starts at the Canadian border crossing on Rt. 3. While you’re there, you can see the eighteen inches that don’t belong to either country, or you could go a little farther north to Magnetic Hill up in Quebec. That’s a place where if you put your car in neutral it’ll roll up hill. Internationally famous! Spooky!
From 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. you could see “A Day at the Farm” at the Amey Farm on Tabor Road in Pittsburg.
2:00 to 5:00 p.m. is an open house at the Pittsburg Town Hall Museum with the Historical Society. Pittsburg was a separate country once, right up into the early years of the 19th century (but we probably won’t see “Six Flags Over Pittsburg” any time soon).
If you missed the Chicken Barbecue in Colebrook on Friday night, you’ve got another chance at Pittsburg School at 5:00. Also at 5:00 (until 7:00) it’s Mini-Cruise Night (and it still means “driving around in your car”). We make our own…fun.
From 7:00 to 10:00, there’s a Bluegrass Concert at the Amey Farm. Bring your own blankets. And parkas. And bug dope.
If that doesn’t appeal, also at 7:00 (and leaving from Pittsburg School (site of the Chicken Barbecue), Guided Moose Tours through Moose Alley. The trick is not seeing a moose. Best way to avoid seeing a moose in Moose Alley is to drive with your eyes closed.
Sunday, things’ll be winding down. At 8:00 (until 11:00) there’s a Festival Breakfast for the North American Martyrs at St. Albert’s Parish in West Stewartstown (across the river from Canaan, Vermont). The Feast of the North American Martyrs is usually on October 19th, but we make our own fun up here.
At 11:30 comes the Blessing of the Autos at the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Columbia (on Rt. 3 — there’s a drive-through Stations of the Cross), and with that, the 17th Annual Moose Festival will come to an end.
We make our own fun. And we sing our colorful Tourist Squeezing Chanties while we’re doing it.