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August 21, 2008

Moose Festival
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:25 PM * 46 comments

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.

Roaming in Moose Country (New York Times, Sunday, May 7, 1995
Comments on Moose Festival:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Will Saturday's Moor Watching Breakfast include games of Othello?

#2 ::: tamnonlinear ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 02:44 PM:

I personally will come, cut your clothes off, and stick a needle in your arm! (I’m on duty tomorrow.)

Am I a bad person for running through a list of my friends and trying to remember who is into that?

I mean, probably not having you in particular cut their clothing off, but, yanno, the overall scene tone.

I don't think any of them are into Moose though. I suspect they're think that was weird.

#3 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 02:45 PM:

LOL. Moose Festival sounds like a lot of fun. (Too bad I don't have a way to get there.)

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Moose, but not Squirrel?

#5 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:03 PM:

And we sing our colorful Tourist Squeezing Songs while we’re doing it.

"Throw back the little ones,
and pan-fry the big ones,
Use poise, tact, and reason,
and gently squeeze them."

#6 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:04 PM:

tamnonlinear @ #2: I was reading the entry via the LJ feed, which doesn't show me who posted it until I click through, and I was thinking "is this someone I know? Should I make a point of attending the Moose Festival so I can have my clothes cut off by them?" But then I realized a) it's in Vermont, which is very not local for me, and b) I'm not all that into having things stuck in my arm. And it wasn't posted by anyone I know anyway.

#7 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:20 PM:

Do the festivities include the always popular submarine races and watermelon roasts, both standard features of small-town life for young folks where I grew up? Then there are the snipe hunts, guaranteed to provide fun and merriment for at least some of the party.
We made our own fun, too.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:25 PM:

O de submarine races all night long
Do dah, do dah
At eight a.m. still going strong
All de do dah day....

#9 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:28 PM:


Isn't Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, specifically near Moncton (I went on school trips to their Game Farm a few times as a kid)?

OK, I looked and there are others:

#10 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:35 PM:

All that and no mention of Moose Turd Pie?

#11 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Is Woody Allen invited?

#12 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Ah, but will they have deep fried Snickers bars? I swear our state fair tries each year to see if they can out-fry the last year, and come up with even more outrageous deep fried things to eat.

Last year I heard they had deep-fried beer. And deep fried turkey legs that looked more like they came from ostriches.

(Sorry, keep getting distracted by the young woman on the right of the page in the Education Olympics ad...)

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:01 PM:

Clifton @ #5, The new official song of the HVCB!

#14 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:13 PM:

I've had moose-burger tacos, and they were very tasty. Too bad the festival is 3,121 miles away. Although Google maps says I could do it in 1 day 22 hours via Salt Lake City, Omaha, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto and Montreal.

#15 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Will there be Moxie for sale?

#16 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Will there be Moxie for sale?

Moxie! Heck yeah! It just isn't the North Country without Moxie.

#17 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:33 PM:

Yes, I've seen a genuine stuffed two-headed calf (at the museum of natural history, right here in Stockholm). I have also had moose stew (and mooseburger, and moose kebab - I prefer a good whisky-and-cocoa marinated moose steak with a dark chocolate sauce, though!). AND I've seen a white moose calf (stuffed). Do you have one of those, HMMMM?

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:44 PM:

We're going to have the Locked Moose Antler exhibit. We make our own fun!

#19 ::: suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:59 PM:

Huh. Four hours upriver, not a bad drive if I didn't have teeny peoples in my car. But if I thought I had a chance of getting the larger child to Dive for Moose Droppings I think I'd find a way to make it happen anyhow...

#20 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Moose? Moose! I like a Moose...

#21 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 05:42 PM:

Skwid, you took the thought right outta my brain.

"I've had many lovers, my life has been loose,
But I've never had anything quite like a moose."

To the tune of "Betsy from Pike," IIRC.

#22 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 07:10 PM:

Moose bites kan be pretty nasty ...

#23 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 07:15 PM:

I have seen a stuffed two headed calf, actually. But I admit I have not dived for moose droppings. Now I'm wondering just what I'm missing... although not very much.

If you weren't a thousand miles away, and me with a 2 month old, I'd come amuse myself at your moose festival. Sounds like a good time.

#24 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 07:31 PM:

No two-headed calf, but here's a two-headed kid. Also from the Frontier Times Museum (Bandera, TX), we have a compound skull of some unidentified animal (possibly Marvin). The FTM is a wonderful little place, which believes in showing everything they have. The only things you can't see are buried under other things. They have a pair of mounted deer heads with locked antlers, but I don't seem to have put any photos of it in my Frontier Times Museum photoset.

If you ever read any issues of Frontier Times, the magazine, that's where the name of the museum comes from -- same founder. My grandparents are in the museum, in a way: there's a directory of citizens of the area from the 80s, and they have an entry with a photo. I was too cheap to buy a directory last time I went, but I took photos of it for my memories.

#25 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Linkmeister, it's the chorus to an old Steely Dan song. (And yes, it would work nicely for the HVCB or HTA.)

#26 ::: dr.hypercube ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 08:50 PM:

Mmm, moose turds. Taken last fall over towards BERlin. (Another good bit of make your own fun here.)

#27 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 10:36 PM:

If I weren't already planning a trip north the weekend after, I'd be very tempted: how often do you get crafts, a free concert, and moose stew in the same event?

OK, the moose stew is the main appeal: concerts and crafts I can find closer to home.

#28 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 12:41 AM:

If I were still publishing a fanzine, I'd request reprint permission for this.

But if that area is anything like Petaluma, CA, perhaps readers should be advised that Cruising seems to require that drivers stop and engage in brief ritual conversation with just about everyone they know well (i.e., about half of the townsfolk) who are driving the opposite way. This can be a salutory exercise of the patience of other drivers when the Main Street has only one lane in each direction. (I must confess that this, the quintessential Bandstand in the park in front of the City Hall, and the bookstore that had a remarkable number of books in the same editions/bindings that I own, are about all I can remember about Petaluma, though I rather hope it hasn't changed much in the last fifty years.)

#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 11:02 AM:

They're setting up the dunking booth. The library is setting up its book sale. The weather is perfect. Hurrah!

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 11:18 AM:


Have a fantastic time! May you spend very little of the day dealing with emergencies.

#31 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 11:38 AM:

If you have the Guided Moose Tour to Averill, VT, at 7:00 Friday evening, won't all the moose be in Vermont when you want them at the festival Saturday?

#32 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 12:20 PM:

...even more outrageous deep fried things to eat

"World famous chocolate covered bacon." Mmmmmmmm.

#33 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 12:37 PM:

Jim, I am seriously sitting here contemplating whether the opportunity to meet you in person would be worth losing a favorite outfit and having my arm punctured...nah. Faking a heart attack would just piss everyone off, and having a real heart attack would be distressing and expensive.

#34 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 12:44 PM:

Lila, you could break a leg, if you don't want to have a heart attack.

By the way, the hospital is setting up a table where we're serving smoothies and taking blood pressures, 2:00-6:00 p.m. with our Director of Community Outreach, Mia West. It'll be in front of the funeral home, same place as the art show.

#35 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Lila, once Jim's off duty, I don't think he'd strictly require an injury or illness before he'd cut off your clothing and stick an IV in your arm. I suspect all it would take would be a polite request and the assurance that it would be an educational experience.

Jim, if you could promise me that the parish youth of St. Albert's in West Stewartstown make their contribution to the Festival Breakfast for the North American Martyrs via an annual competition to see who can come up with the best representation (2D or 3D, any artistic medium) of said North American martyrdoms, I would be so there.

#36 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 09:53 PM:

Hmmm. mapquest says 120ish miles and three hours.

how badly do I want to burn gas tomorrow?

#37 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 10:39 PM:

I too (I four?) have seen a stuffed two-headed calf, at the Calgary Stampede, many years ago. I believe there was a 3-eyed kid next to it, and maybe a curtained stall with pickled punks. A separate trailer had a Giant Paris Sewer Rat with its young.
I have also seen a woman change into a gorilla before my very eyes.

#38 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Barbara, was that woman changing into a gorilla part of the San Francisco burlesque show that got mentioned in one of Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" books? (The scene where DeeDee meets D'orothea, IIRC.) I always wondered what the gimmick was.

#39 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 11:18 AM:

In the sixties there was a stuffed two-headed calf in the "Dad and Lad" store in Hackettstown, NJ. As I recall it sold hunting, fishing and farming-type clothing. The calf was kept somewhere up by the ceiling toward the back, and I loved gawping at it whenever I went in with my dad. I stopped in decades later to see if it was still there, but they'd thrown it out, WITHOUT EVEN ASKING ME. Some people are lousy at telepathy. [sniff]

A vendor at our local county fair was selling deep-fried "Oreo's" [sic] this year.

#40 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 01:50 PM:

We had deep-fried pickles on Friday night.

Alas, I missed the festivities on Saturday since I was doing ambulance runs non-stop from ten a.m. to ten p.m. (with a 4:30 a.m. coda). At least one nice young lady did indeed get her clothes cut off by me, and I stuck several needles in several arms. That's the sort of thing that happens when lots of tourists are in town. (Friday had only two runs, both heat-related.)

For Teresa (#35), do the praying hands in marzipan count?

#41 ::: betty ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 07:40 PM:

had a great time at Amey's Farm..My whole weekend rocked

#42 ::: betty ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 07:49 PM:

now that I know what I'm doing, I have to write more. I have been spending time in the great north wooods for 40 years. Long before the moose festival was heard of. I used to stay at Rudy's cabins in Clarksville. Do any of you remember the one room cabins with the outhouse? There were four of them along the shore of the pone. My mom now has a camper up there. I now stay where ever i can find a room. This past weekend we stayed at Robies in Pittsburg. It was great. I caught a 10 inch trout out of the Ct. River. First time I ever caught anything out of that river.I would LOVE to live up there. You guys are wonderful. So friendly. Sadly I have to work to live, and since there are not many jobs in that area I guess I'm stuck down here in Rochester dreaming of Pittsburg. Anyhow I hope someone from Amey's Farm reads this. I want to tell you how much fun we had at your place on Saturday. Thank you for the corn and hotdogs and the wonderful music. it was great. Hope to see all of you again real soon.

#43 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 08:06 PM:

Hi, Betty -- I'm glad you had a good time.

Kathleen (Rudy's daughter) now runs Rudy's Cabins out on Clarksville Pond.

Kathleen has been active in the ambulance squad for years.

#44 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 11:24 PM:

Moose, smoose. We just got back from our elongate semi-driving vacation, in which (at one stage) we dropped in on the Corn Palace Festival in Mitchell, SD. Curious thing about the Corn Palace: the annual redecorating has nothing to do with the festival; they start in May and finish at the end of September. Therefore the front and interior murals (when we were there two days ago) were the 2008 designs, the side murals were black paper waiting to have the 2009 designs filled in, and the rest already had the 2009 stuff applied. We also passed by Denvention (unable to visit, alas) and avoided going anywhere near Sturgis.

De rigeur tee shirt from Wall Drug: "Homeland security: fighting terrorism since 1492." The text surrounds a photo of Red Cloud and various other chiefs etc. sitting for a formal portrait with rifles. I did not wear it on the plane. KC airport is a masterpiece of getting people off airplanes and into surface transport quickly and with minimal pain, which is why they are strongly thinking about tearing it down. There's no place to soak travellers after they've gone through Security Theater.

#45 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Rikibeth @ 38, it may have been the same sort of show, but due to my tender years, I saw it at either the Calgary Stampede or the Pacific National Exhibition, both of which used to have a much higher carny factor than they presently do.

The trick of the Girl-to-Gorilla show is explained briefly here, about 2/3ds down the page, a little after Geek and Giant Rat.


#46 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2008, 07:39 AM:

Being in the North Country, I had actually seen some of their printed publicity and vaguely considered going, but decided that it was farther afield than I wanted to go for a moose festival. So instead we went to an open house at a nearby farm where we went on a hay ride and watched a small Dexter bull wooing a much larger beautiful redhead Scottish Highland cow by licking her on the neck. A good time.

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