Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), April 29, 2019
Celebrity Judges join us for the annual Grange Baking Contest
Every year, the Grange has a nation-wide contest to test the skills of Grange members. Our Grange has broadened the contest to include anyone who wants to enter–we will give a free membership to any non-Grange member that takes the first place!
So–at 5:30 PM, following the Grange business meeting, we welcome anyone to bring their favorite version of this year’s Grange Baking Contest: Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Perhaps you have a family recipe that always wows your friends? Always disappears when you bring it to share at potluck dinners? The pictures below may give you some inspiration if you need it–I found a remarkable number of types of spice cakes when I did a quick Google-search.
For the judging, we need 6 pieces to go on a plate (we have lots of those!), and the recipe on a 3×5 card. Put your name on the other side, and we’ll tape it to the bottom of the plate, to keep the contestants anonymous…..then the judges begin their incredibly scientific process of choosing the best 3 cakes. This year, our panel of local “celebrity judges” includes: Lynn Spencer Art teacher, at the Berlin Elementary School, and curator of the exhibit of kids’ art which has beautified the walls of our Hall for the last few years. Alec Ellsworth Director for Parks and Trees, for the city of Montpelier, and also a well-known local fiddler. Alec plays Cajun and country songs and tunes with “Chaque Fois”, along with Katie Trautz Jacquelyn Rieke a.k.a. “Nutty Steph”, proprietor of the Middlesex business of that name, which makes and sells granolas, chocolates and CBD products.
We will award “interesting” prizes to the 3 top finishers, and the first-place winner can go on to further contests at the “Pomona” and “State” levels of the Grange, for even more prizes and glory!
We will have a Grange meeting before the contest; at our last meeting, we came up with a pretty solid proposal to make our Grange meetings more attractive to those outside the “hard core”, by changing the Grange meeting schedule. Our idea is to have brief “business meetings” on alternate months, followed by a longer “program”, which will feature a speaker. Having a longer time available will allow for the vigorous discussion and question/answer period that have been part of our most successful programs. We may also have a participatory activity like the sing-alongs which people have enjoyed, or the “Life Hacks” sharing of great techniques to make daily life easier.
Stay tuned for the upcoming schedule–including a summer barbecue dinner, and more.
Of course, after the meeting and the cake-judging, we expect you will want to stay for the Community PotluckDinner, starting at 6:00 PM. Bring your favorite dish to eat along with spice-cake leftovers!
article below came out a few days after the April 13th edition of this
monthly event. Reporter Stephen Mills interviewed organizer Erin
Barry and other volunteers and families–see below!
Times-Argus reports on “Kids Trade ‘N’ Play”
Trade & Play a big hit with families
- By Stephen Mills Staff Writer
- Apr 16, 2019
BERLIN — “Bring in your old, go out with the new,” is one of the mantras of the monthly Kids Trade and Play community program to swap, recycle and reuse often-costly children’s clothing, shoes and toys.
Held on the second Saturday of the month at the Capital City Grange, just across the Montpelier city line at 6612 Route 12, the program has become a big hit with area parents to outfit growing kids in new sizes and provide a vibrant community social gathering for families and friends.
Erin Barry said she based Kids Trade and Play on a similar program that began eight years ago in Santa Cruz, California.“Then I moved here four and a half years ago and I said I needed to start it here,” Barry said as she manned the entrance and accepted the $3 entry fee to cover expenses.
Once inside, everything is free for the taking, and scores of mostly women swarmed over dozens of tote bins with different sizes of clothing. There were also shoes and toys and a range of a mother’s needs, such as breast pumps and maternity wear, as well as women’s clothing available.
Barry said she first approached the Grange with the idea, and praised its officials for the support she received.
“They gave me some storage space in the back which was key so I don’t have to carry the stuff home every month,” Barry said.
Barry said she put the word out she wanted donations of children’s and maternal items.
I also started a Facebook page and I posted on Front Porch Forum,” Barry said. “So, I collected a bunch of things and asked some friends to help me out.”
Barry said she bought the tote bins, which are labeled with the different sizes from infant up to junior 10-12.
“The buckets are always being refilled, so people can look through things again and again,” Barry said.
“We started in March of 2015 and it’s been growing every month since and there are still people coming who have never been before,” Barry said. “Now we have somewhere between 80 to 100 adults coming and around 50 children who come every month.”
Barry also provides scones and coffee and tea she makes at home. “I really want it to be a social event so people do stay the whole two hours,” she said.
A big hit for the kids — and their parents who are rummaging for finds — is a play area with books and toys that kids can take home.
A back table has small equipment with car seats, play mats, and boppies or slings that parents can use to breastfeed or carry their child.
“It’s great recycling for the earth,” Barry said. “There are so many materials that a baby seems to need and what do you do with it when you don’t need it anymore in your house? So, it’s a resource for our community to share and recycle.”
Agency of Agriculture official Alex Depillis, of Montpelier, was visiting with his son, Gabriel Nathaniel, aged 2, who was trying out all the toys in the children’s play section.
It’s play for him, coffee and scones for me, and clothes, both give and get,” DePillis said. “So, it’s all a great mix, and I can see some of my friends and we can sit and talk.”
Judy Buchanan, of East Montpelier, was visiting with her daughter, Elena, aged 3, who was ensconced in a tent fort in the children’s play area.
“I like that it’s a place that you can get rid of things,” Buchanan said. “So, you bring things and you can get things and you’re not buying new stuff; it’s all used stuff being recycled.
“The kids are really only in the stuff for a very short time, so to spend a lot of money to get a lot of new clothing is expensive,” Buchanan added.
Buchanan also liked the social interactions between adults and between children.
“It’s fun,” Buchanan said. “Elena saw a friend from her pre-school in East Montpelier which was fun for her. It’s a nice time to get with the community and interact with others.”
Hannah Hansard, of Montpelier, was visiting with her son, Atticus, 3, who was fascinated with a kid’s size ride-on race car that he could take home but eventually settled on a small karaoke mic and pre-recorded music toy.
“When Atticus was born three years ago, he was much larger than expected and he grew very quickly, and I had no clothes for him,” Hansard said. “Erin had just started Trade and Play, and I came and I clothed my child for the first few months of his life.
“I volunteered for a while, and I enjoyed all the people who come out — I’ve tried to build my tribe here,” Hansard added. “I love coming out here to get not only his current size but the next size up, which makes me feel more secure about the future.”
To learn more about Kids Trade and Play, email Erin Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next (quiet) steps for improving the acoustics
After the Friends of the Capital City Grange (FCCGH) put up the first batch of acoustic panels on the wall opposite the stage, some improvement was audible–but not enough.
So–encouraged by the excellent turnout of helpers at our panel-assembly-and-panel-hanging work party, the Friends are planning another round.
This time, we’ll be building panels that will about doublele the wall area covered. We will build panels to cover parts of the East and West walls, after consulting with an engineer with acoustic experience who is part of the dance community.
The materials will be paid for out of the generous donations which Grange supporters gave to the FCCGH in the 2018 end-of-year appeal, like the first batch of panels. Materials will be prepped by Kurt Giavara and Tim Swartz, and we’ll have another assembly party once we have materials ordered–we hope on Saturday, May 18th. We’ll contact those who came last time, but if you want to be involved, please send an email to: Tim Swartz to let us know. We’ll keep track of how many people can efficiently help and confirm the date and time soon!
Keep your eyes–and ears–open for the next developments!