Fiddleheads Festival promises great music

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WILMINGTON >> Five bands are lined up for Fiddleheads Festival, occurring all weekend in the Deerfield Valley.

"This year, we've definitely upped our ante as far as the music we'll be offering," said Sharon Cunningham, Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Chamber of Commerce's executive director. "We decided to hire bands with a more regional base of fans."

Bluegrass and funk bands will perform Saturday inside a tent at Dover Forge, located on Route 100 in West Dover. Jatoba will kick off the event at noon followed by the Brummy Brothers at 2:30 p.m. The Blind Owl Band will go on at 5 p.m. with Gang of Thieves set to start at 7:30 p.m.

With music going until 10 p.m., Cunningham pointed out people could come and check out the afternoon festivities then return later without having to pay admission again. Tickets cost $10 for an individual, $15 for couples and $20 for families.

An outdoors craft fair and children fair will be held at Dover Forge from noon to 4 p.m. Cunningham said more vendors are signed up in the festival's second year and organizers were focused on ensuring there was a lot for kids to do. Access to a 40-foot inflatable bouncy house will be free with admission. Disc golf and other yard games also will be played, and faces will be painted.

Touting Whistlepig Distillery's participation, Cunningham said, "We're excited to have them coming down."

"We'll be cooking up a whole host of things for people who want to eat under the tent," she added. "Then we're specifically cooking up fiddleheads as well with three different dipping sauces."

The vegetable will be available to purchase for cooking at home.

"I definitely think it's catching on," said Cunningham of the festival. "When we went into the planning for this, I wasn't with the chamber at this point but we talked about things that were good and things needing improvement."

Cunningham took suggestions from local officials in Dover. The town is the festival's biggest sponsor as it approved funding from its 1 percent local option tax revenue specifically earmarked for supporting events.

"They really wanted us to have more music involved in this, which is why we went ahead and adjusted our budget. It's much bigger for bands," said Cunningham, adding that the chamber's Facebook profile provides links to performances from the bands booked. More information can be found at vermontfiddleheadfestival.com.

Sunday will see the Crunchy Western Boys perform again on a flat bed truck on Main Street as part of the Fiddleheads block party and salsa competition in Wilmington. Last year, band members played underneath the traffic light at the intersection near Town Offices.

Downtown organization Wilmington Works executive director Anna Drozdowski said the event will be the first of five that her organization will help put on this summer.

"It is a great collaboration with Twin Valley Jr. Iron Chef to host the salsa contest and the chamber has done a bang-up job putting the weekend together," she said. "We're looking at about 10 salsa chefs, a few more than last year including the defending champs Shelley Park and Cammie Swanson."

Vendors and restaurants will be offering food on the street. And if there's rain, the event will go on inside Memorial Hall.

Wilmington Works and the town of Wilmington sponsored the block party portion of the festival.


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