96th ANNUAL Labor Day Celebration
A table with drawers built by woodwright Scott Jenkins of Francestown, who will have other wood creations for sale as well as bigger items on display at the juried arts event on Labor Day. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A sabertooth digital illustration on a t-shirt by Jerry Lofaro of Henniker. Lofaro will have his digital illustrations on t-shirts, mugs and posters for sale at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A digital illustration by Jerry Lofaro of Henniker, called Tiger Lily. Other digital illustrations like Tiger Lily will be available for sale at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A side table built by woodwright Scott Jenkins of Francestown, who will share other wood creations and have plenty for sale at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A clock built by woodwright Scott Jenkins of Francestown, who will have other wood creations for sale at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A basket hand-shaped and crafted by Deb Doscher of Weare, who will have finely-crafted baskets for sale at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A table and bowl crafted by woodwright Scott Jenkins of Francestown, who will have wood bowls, utensils and other wood creations for sale at the juried arts events on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A basket crafted by Deb Doscher of Weare, who only uses her hands to shape the basket design. Doscher will have baskets for sale at the juried arts event of Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Jerry Lofaro poses wearing one of his digital illustrated t-shirts. Shirts like this will be available for sale at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A digital illustration called Wee Rex by Jerry Lofaro of Henniker. Wee Rex can be found on prints and shirts available at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
A digital illustration called 'Dolphonic Symphony' by Jerry Lofaro of Henniker. Digital prints and posters will be available for purchase at the juried arts event on Labor Day in Francestown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
There’s no need to travel for fun for this Labor Day, since Francestown will have a weekend packed with activities and events, including a juried arts show featuring talented and mostly local artisans, musical and dance performances, and of course a big parade.
The Juried Arts and Crafts Show will be on the lawn of the town offices and the Francestown Improvement and Historical Society Park on Main Street. Artwork will be displayed from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday for purchase and will feature five new artisans and many other returning ones, according to Vice President of the Historical Society Carol Prest Barr. A few of the artists who will be there include nationally renowned illustrator Jerry Lofaro of Henniker, famous for his illustrations of book covers, Celestial Seasonings Tea boxes and animal and dinosaur-themed shirts. Francestown resident Scott Jenkins, a woodwright, will also be present with his many wood creations for sale, as well as Deb Doscher of Weare, who will showcase her finely crafted baskets.
Animal and dinosaur enthusiast and illustrator Jerry Lofaro, originally from Long Island, said he has always had a love for animals and art, and his family nurtured his passion. He said his dad gave him lots of science books and art books growing up, and his parents allowed him to own lots of lizards and snakes in his youth.
In high school, he began to find his illustration calling. “I started to get more serious about art in high school,” Lofaro said. “I was inspired in the ’70s with all the album covers and book covers coming out at that time.”
After 26 years in the illustration business, Lofaro is still expanding his endeavors. He said he’s moving in the direction of holographic images for prints, book covers and bookmarks.
Lofaro was approached and hired by the U.S. Bureau of International Information Programs to illustrate the national Earth Day poster for 2013 and he said he will have a limited number of these posters for sale on Labor Day, but when they’re gone, they’re gone. He will also have lots of t-shirts and puzzles for sale, along with mugs and other types of posters.
Lofaro said he will also conduct Photoshop demos for the first time on a big-screen TV. He said he loves teaching and is excited to show what he does on the big screen. Lofaro has taught courses in digital art at the New Hampshire Institute of Art since January 2010, and he heads the digital department there. Lofaro moved to Henniker in 1995 with his wife Kathleen.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Jenkins said he considers himself a woodwright because he enjoys working with all types of art revolving around wood. “It encompasses all types of woodworking, like custom-built house frames to making cutting boards and bowls,” Jenkins said.
He said he became interested in woodworking in high school. Jenkins said he eventually became a cabinetmaker and worked as an antique furniture restorer in New Jersey for some time. He currently teaches a two-year program in cabinetmaking at ConVal High School, although he said his goal is to get back in his shop and get into timber framing again.
Developing repeatable patterns and techniques is something that greatly interests him, Jenkins said. “I find it very interesting trying to get things to match, look similar and be repeatable,” Jenkins said. “I work a lot with circles and ellipses and I like creating repeatable patterns of shape and form.”
Jenkins said Labor Day visitors can expect to see plenty of bowls, cutting boards, kitchen utensils, clocks and coffee tables for sale, as well as bigger items on display including a bird’s eye maple and black walnut table.
Doscher will bring her uniquely designed baskets to the Labor Day event. Doscher said in a phone interview Thursday that she began making baskets 25 years ago after she took a class with a friend who was trained as a basket-making teacher.
After only two or three formal classes, she headed in her own direction, reading books about basket-making, and continuing to challenge herself.
“My baskets have a unique shape because I learned to make them by hand-shaping, so there are never two alike,” Doscher said. “They have an artistic design to them.”
Doscher said that patterns, especially Native American patterns, are a big inspiration for her work. Festivalgoers can expect to see dozens of baskets for sale by Doscher.
Traditions of old
Other events Monday include the 16th Annual Francestown Five race to begin at the town recreational fields, according to a press release from the Historical Society of Francestown. Rooms inn the police station directly across the street from Town Hall will have on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. antique items, including old clothing, jewelry and pottery, along with historical letters and documents, that the Historical Society has collected over the years. The Heritage Museum, which houses historical, antique vehicles next to the Police Department, will also be open.
There will be plenty of food, children’s games and rummage sales happening on the town common until the parade starts at 2 p.m. Vendors include Country Cafe, which will be selling sandwich wraps and beverages in front of the Historical Rooms, and the Country Kitchen will have burgers, hot dogs and sodas for sale in the town common horse sheds. An ice cream social will take place at the Old Meeting House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cotton candy will also available.
Prior to the parade, New Hampshire Dance Institute participants will perform at noon on the Town Common. Dancers will be performing some of their favorites pieces from the “Dance Me A Story” show, and then will invite the audience to join in and dance along.
The theme of this year’s parade is “Books on Parade.” It will feature floats representing great novels, short stories and historical biographies. The parade begins at the Fire House and will march down Main Street. A concert performed by the Temple Band will follow on the town common at 3 p.m., according to the press release.
To conclude Monday’s festivities, the Fire Department will host two sittings of the Fireman’s Supper at the station. The two sittings will take place at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., according to the press release.
Labor Day activities officially begin Friday evening with a Memorial Contra/Square Dance at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. On Saturday beginning at 8 a.m., a tennis tournament will be happening at several locations around town and will continue on Sunday. Saturday evening from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., there will be a dance at Town Hall, featuring Tony Ludwig and “Lonesome Train” with special guest “Otis and the Elevators.” The musicians will play blues, country and western rock and roll.
On Sunday, the 19th Annual mud volley ball tournament will begin at 10 a.m. at the town recreational fields on Route 136. There will also be a golf scramble at 1 p.m. at the Crotched Mountain Resort Golf Club. To end the night there will be a vespers event at 7 p.m. at the Old Meeting House.
The Labor Day events are all organized by the Historical Society, a nonprofit organization. All proceeds from the weekend help fund Historical Society projects, as well as other local organizations seeking its support.