West Pawlet ready for festival this weekend


B y Jaime Thomas

IMG_1047After all the excitement it’s finally time for the 10th annual Woodchuck Festival at the Mettawee Community School in West Pawlet tomorrow, Feb.2.

And while the lack of snow may be bad for other events, the clear and relatively mild weather expected this weekend will be a good thing for those who are competing.

Fire departments from Rutland, Bennington, and the Washington County area are invited to compete in the fireman games. Each department must have at least one 4-person team but can register multiple teams as well.

“You can kind of root for your hometown, hopefully. It’s a friendly competition,” said David Hosley, West Pawlet fire chief, adding that this year there will be a few extra teams participating in addition to the usual groups.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the famous ‘cow-plop’ bingo will take place, with five-time regular plop-per Blizzard the cow making this her last year. Then, organizers said there will be beautiful plaques handed out to the first, second and third place teams declaring their victory at the Woodchuck Rescue Challenge, which begins promptly at 1 p.m.

And for those not interested in the games, there is still plenty to enjoy at the festival. The market place and artist’s gallery will be set up once again. Throughout the school there will be handcrafted items for sale and organizational representations on display in the library, gym and art room.

“It’s a wide variety of good, high-quality merchandise and good food,” Hosley said. “It seems to get bigger each year — we keep getting more and more vendors.”  Organizers have already sent out more than 120 applications, and they encourage interested crafters to contact them soon, as this popular festival fills up quickly.

Additionally, local artist Roy Egg will have a booth, and he will be available to autograph anniversary posters for a small donation.

Throughout the event, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Woodchuck Café will be open and serving hot food, hot and cold drinks and desserts. And little ones can enjoy arts and crafts and partake in the annual coloring contest at the Woodchuck kiddy fun table in the art room.

Registration on the day of the event will cost $30.

For more information, to purchase a square or to reserve a craft booth, call 802-645-0158 or 802-645-9224, or email [email protected]

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