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Places to go, things to do

Columbus Day weekend: Includes art tours, concerts, scarecrows and more

Columbus Day is one of those holidays that can be easy to overlook — it doesn’t get a big celebration like the Fourth of July and not everyone gets the day off from work like on Labor Day. But with a plethora of music, art and comedy happening in the region over this coming weekend, there is plenty to do to ensure this Columbus Day weekend is a memorable one. Here is a list of my top picks:

Art tours

Columbus Day weekend in the Monadnock region means one thing for the local art connoisseur: It’s the one time of the year when arts studios near and far are all open at once. It’s chance to get a peek inside the workshops and studios of many of the artists that make their home in the area. The Monadnock Art/Friends of the Dublin Art Colony’s Art Tour 18 and the Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour are both happening concurrently this weekend. The first covers the towns surrounding Dublin, while the second includes studios in Antrim, New Ipswich, Rindge and Keene and beyond.

Potter Shana Brautigam of 208 Middle Winchindon Rd. in Rindge will be opening her studio this weekend as part of the Fall Foliage Arts Tour. Her work is a mix of functional pieces like cups and teapots, hanging sculptures, and musical instruments, all made of wood-fired clay.

“In my studio I have hundreds of pieces to see,” said Brautigam. “I think the musical instruments and the hanging sculptures are the most exciting to see. And they can be hard to get into a show, so coming to my studio is the best way to see the range of items that I make.”

Among her instruments are horns, rainsticks, ocarinas and a clay xylophone, which Brautigam said she encourages visitors to pick up and play. She’ll also likely fire up another of her functional clay pieces for the open house: the clay and brick pizza ovens she’s built. And yes, pizza will be served.

The tours have become so much a fabric of the community and beyond in fact that Governor Maggie Hassan has declared this weekend to be Monadnock Art Weekend in the State of New Hampshire, in recognition of the importance of supporting local artists and the draw the art tours have in bringing tourists here.

Studios are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The tours are self-guided. For more information, brochures and maps, visit www.monadnockart.org or www.facebook.com/FallFoliageArtStudioTour.

Frost Heaves

“Foliage Follies,” the fall show by the local group Frost Heaves, is back again this year, and starts this Columbus Day weekend.

Fred Marple — who is known in his off hours as writer and humorist Ken Sheldon — and his local improv group may call the fictional town of “Frost Heaves” their home, but a lot of their material will ring true to any Yankee living in New Hampshire. Drawn from real-life observations of living in small New Hampshire towns, the group performs short skits , including recitations of the best gems from real local police reports, an examination of life’s little mysteries and on-the-spot songs based on audience suggestions. The music is provided by the Speed Bumps band, which will be joined for this show by fiddler and banjo player Rich Hamilton of Jaffrey.

“We’ve been doing this for five years, so it’s less of a show and more of a chronic condition,” drawled Sheldon in a recent interview, in character as Fred Marple. “And after five years, it just goes to show you really can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time.”

Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, and Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Peterborough Players theater in Peterborough. Tickets are $18 and $15 for the matinee, and are available at the Toadstool Bookshop and Steele’s Stationers in Peterborough and Rousseau’s Music in Jaffrey, or online at frostheaves.com, or by calling 525-3391.

Wool Arts Tour

Fall is here and the weather is starting to get nippy enough to justify pulling out those thick sweaters and wool socks. It’s also time for the 30th Annual N.H. Wool Arts Tour.

Every year, five local farms, including Windfall Farm in Antrim and Spring Pond Farm in Greenfield show off their fiber art. Spring Pond Farm is an alpaca farm, and artist will be showing their knitting, crocheting, spinning, felting and weaving techniques. Windfall Farm, a local sheep farm, will have a spinning tent where residents can try their hand at spinning wool on a wheel, and observe the process of natural and acid dying of the wool.

“We have several vendors coming, with spinning wheels available for residents to learn how to spin, or at least get a feel for it,” said Ann Desmet, co-owner of Windfall Farm in Antrim, in an interview Monday. Among the vendors at Windfall will be Mandy Fraser, who will give a demonstration on spinning directly from her angora rabbit, with baby rabbits for sale, said Desmet. Residents can also buy fiber and finished products from Higher Ground Alpacas of Salsbury, the Woolery in Wilton and Boston Hill Farm in North Andover, Mass., and attend dying demonstrations given by Desmet and view antique spinning wheels provided by the Old School House Spinner of Manchester . In celebration of the Wool Arts Tour’s 30th year, every $10 paid to vendors at the Windfall Farm will earn the buyer a ticket to a raffle for a basket of products provided by those vendors.

The tour, which encompasses five locations including farms in Antrim and Greenfield, isn’t guided, so folks can visit as many or as few of the stops as they like, and spend as much time as they like at each stop. The tour runs both Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, a brochure, and directions to each farm participating in the tour, visit www.woolartstournh.com.

New Ipswich
Historical Society

The New Ipswich Historical Society is something of an artifact itself. This year, the society will be turning 100 years old. To celebrate, the society is hosting a concert with Lizards in the Hayloft, a band made up of members from Ashby, Mass., and New Ipswich, which includes Historical Society member John Rosenfelder and, his daughter, Sarah Rosenfelder, both of New Ipswich. The band will take concert listeners on something of a historical musical journey, playing music from every time period from the 1700s on.

The band normally plays folk and bluegrass, said John in an interview Monday. For the Historical Society show, however, they’ll be picking and choosing from a number of varieties: shape note, or community tunes; Civil War-era music by Steven Foster from the 1840s; English country dances that might have been heard in the ballroom of the Barrett House in New Ipswich; and popular music from the ’20s and ’30s people would have danced to in New Ipswich’s dance halls of the time. Also representing music from the 1900s, Sarah Rosenfelder will be doing a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” medley.

“My goal was to create a timeline up to the present. We’ll break it up and jump back and forth through time to keep it interesting,” said John. “But it should represent different eras of music people were listening to from early on.”

The concert will be Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the New Ipswich Congregational Church; it is free and open to the public.

Electric Earth Fall
Foliage Concert

In October, Electric Earth Concerts, based in Peterborough, celebrates the changing of the leaves with its Fall Foliage Concert. This year, the Trio Cleonice, a piano trio, and virtuoso violinist Gabriella Diaz — along with Electric Earth’s artistic directors Laura Gilbert on flute and Jonathan Bagg on viola — will perform a program of classical music at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Peterborough at 4 p.m. on Sunday . The concert will include chamber music like Serenade Op. 141a by Max Reger “Ghost” Trio op. 70 No. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven and Piano Quintet in A Major Op. 81 by Antonin Dvorak.

Tickets are $25 or free for students. For more information, visit electricearthconcerts.org/electric-earth-fall-foliage-concert. For reservations, email to eeconcerts@gmail.com, call Miki Osgood at 593-5245.

Music at Sunflowers Cafe

There’s nothing better than live music. Sunflowers Cafe on Main Street in Jaffrey is all about mixing music and art, with frequent performances by local artists during brunch and dinner hours, and exhibits by local artists on the walls. This Friday during dinner, guitarist John Cucchi of Nelson will be performing. Then on Sunday, the cafe will feature two more musical artists — Bob Arpin of Francestown during brunch and ZanRicky, a duo made up of Zan Lord and Rick Cretarola of Newport, R.I., during dinner. Cucchi and Arpin both play acoustic guitar, while ZanRicky plays acoustic rock, pop and blues covers.

In an interview Tuesday, Arpin said he’ll be playing instrumental, acoustic guitar. He doesn’t have a plan going into small sets like the one at Sunflowers, he said, instead relying on the way he feels that day and the audience to dictate his music choices. Acoustic guitar is perfect for that, he said, because the range of music you can play on it is so flexible. “I’m a guitar player who happen to play some classical, some pop, some songs people might refer to as traditional folk songs, but I might do it in a jazzy way,” he said. “I might play anything from ‘My Bonny Lies over the Ocean’ to Miles Davis. I do a lot of different things, musically.”

There is no cover charge for music at Sunflowers.

Sister Sheila Flynn/
Phoenix Marionettes at the Mariposa Museum

The Mariposa Museum currently has 52 embroidered tapestries depicting the unfolding story of the universe on display. The textiles were created by a community of women and children in a community located southeast of Johannesburg, South Africa, the Kopanang Community. Made up of women, many dealing with HIV, AIDS, poverty or domestic violence, Kopanang provides childcare, an after-school program, hospice care, and provides the opportunity for creative work, primarily in textiles, as both an artistic outlet and income generating activity.

On Friday at 7 p.m., Dominican Nun Sister Sheila Flynn, founder of the community, will be giving a presentation at the Mariposa about the Kopanang Creation Canticle — the story the tapestries display . Following the presentation, visitors will have the opportunity to see the textiles, and purchase embroidered textile items created by the Kopanang Community.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Mariposa will also host a return of the Phoenix Marionettes for a production of “The Enchanted Island — A Tale from Ancient Japan,” a story based on an old Japanese folktale. The story is about an orphaned girl named Yuki, who is banished by her jealous aunt. Adrift at sea, Yuki is taken by a mysterious storm to an enchanted island.

Admission to the marionette show is $7 for adults, $5 for children, $6 for adult members and $3 for child members.

Scarecrows on the Common

Downtown Jaffrey is not the place to be on Saturday, if you’re a crow. That’s the day when hundreds of scarecrows pop up all over town and down Route 202, in what has become TEAM Jaffrey’s signature annual event. Families and businesses gather together for the annual festival to build their own scarecrow for $5 each, and indulge in a myriad of other activities available, including games, a pie-eating contest, music, face painting, raffles and bake sales. Each year, around 300 scarecrows are built and erected downtown, where they remain for two weeks following the event for passersby to admire. And it’s not just for the fun of making your own strawman — scarecrow makers are also competing for bragging rights that come with winning a ribbon for the best creation.

“The most important thing to remember about Scarecrows, is that it’s an event like nothing else around here,” said TEAM Jaffrey Executive Director Marie Cassady in an interview Monday. “You can come and build a scarecrow, or just enjoy the ones others build, which range from very simple to extremely elaborate scarecrows that people start planning months in advance.”

The Scarecrows on the Common event will be held on Main Street in Jaffrey on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“The EXHIBITION” series at the Peterborough Players

While the local art tours give residents the opportunity to sneak a peak into the lives of the artists living in the Monadnock region, the Peterborough Players theater will be showing off the work and life of a world-renowned 17th-century Dutch painter on its high definition screen: Johannes Vermeer.

This summer, the Peterborough Players has presented on a new series for its cinema screen: “The EXHIBITION” series. Some of the world’s greatest art exhibitions are brought to New Hampshire via the movie screen, giving audiences not only a look at the art, but also the story behind the paintings. Tonight at 8 p.m., the third film in the series, focusing upon the work of Johannes Vermeer — best known for his painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” — as he’s featured at London’s National Gallery will be presented . The film will reveal new research about how Vermeer’s technique and materials affected his works. The film’s narrator, art historian Tim Marlow will also delve beyond the exhibition, with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage to tell the story of Vermeer’s life.

Willie J. Laws at Harlow’s

Start the weekend off on Saturday at Harlow’s Pub with a drink and some fine live music. At 9:30 p.m., Massachusetts-based singer and guitarist Willie J. Laws will be performing at Harlow’s Pub in Peterborough. Laws, who has his roots in bluegrass, plays the blues with a twist of zydeco, R&B and funk.

The show also features Bruce Mattson on keys, Malcolm Stuckey on bass, Osi Brathwaite on drums, John Moriconi on trumpet, and NYNO Records recording artist Amadee Castenell on sax and flute. The show is ages 21 and up, and the cover charge is $8.

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