Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) September 1, 2023
Having fun going over the top!
Our annual Challenge Fundraiser started on Aug. 5 at our outdoor barbecue, and we’re hoping to conclude it on Saturday, Sept. 1. We call it the “Challenge” because 10 very generous donors have put up $2,500 in donations, and have challenged the Grange and contra-dance communities to match that total–or surpass it. As of when I’m writing this, we have over $1,300 donated toward the match, so with your help we can make it!
This fundraiser is sponsored by the Montpelier Contra Dance organizing committee, and to make the finale even more fun, the Hall will be decorated with (at least) festive lights, and the committee is providing ice cream at the break in the dance (about 9:30)–plus we are welcoming “potluck treats” to be consumed at the break as well! Feel free to bring sweet or savory items to share with the rest of the dancers, it will all be appreciated.
NO extra cost for coming to the dance! The usual “choose your price” choices will all be available–$5 for kids or low-income folks, $12 for regular admission for adults, and $20 (or other) for “Dance Supporters”. The admission money pays for the performers, plus rent to the Grange Hall. Contributions are made separately. How to contribute to the fundraiser, you ask? We make it easy! At the dance, there will be a donation table on the “old entrance” porch, plus there will be donation jars with the treats. Or: you can contribute via Paypal at any time, by clicking the Donate button on the Support the Hall/donate tab on the Grange website (read about our many projects, and scroll down to the button). Checks: make them out to “Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall” or just “FCCGH”, and bring them to the dance, or mail them to: FCCGH, PO Box 192, Northfield Falls VT 05664. All checks and Paypal donations will receive an acknowledgement from the Friends–and are tax deductible to the full extent possible, since the FCCGH is a 501(c)(3) charity!
If you want to contribute from your “Donor-Advised Fund”, please email or talk to FCCGH Chair Patty Giavara. She can help you make donations from your IRA, too, or even help you plan a bequest from your will!
If you’ve never been to one of the excellent “Montpelier Contra Dance” events which have been happening at our Hall for about 40 years, this will be a great one to come to. Calling will be Will Mentor, a long-time favorite, and the live music will be by Genticorum, an all-star band from Canada, which is known for its high-energy playing, infused with the traditional music of Quebec.
An instruction/refresher session for all will start at about 7:40; plan to come around 7:30 to change or clean your shoes (to protect our beautiful dance floor!). You don’t need to bring a partner; people change partners for every dance. We’re known for welcoming new dancers and integrating them into our fun-loving crowd.
We provide excellent ventilation with a large modern exhaust fan and 14 open windows. We do not require masks, but welcome those who want to wear them–and we’ll have some to give away to dancers. Admission is “choose your price” as noted above–no extra for this festive event! Bring a water bottle and hydrate often is our recommendation–along with light, comfortable clothing.
Where The Money Goes
For years, the Challenge Fundraiser has supported improvements to our beloved Grange Hall. The FCCGH has used donations from supporters to match grant funding, which has helped us accomplish major projects to make our Hall more accessible, cheaper to maintain, and more welcoming for all sorts of organizations and families. Since March 2022, with donations and grants, we’ve invested over $73,000 to improve the Hall! We need to refill our bank accounts so that we can plan more work for the future. But–only 50% of the money raised will go to this purpose.
This year, our needs are not the only ones on our minds. Everyone knows that the immense amount of rain that has fallen this summer, and the many floods that have resulted have taken a major toll on communities and families around Vermont. While some VT cities have gotten a lot of publicity, some of the greatest impacts have hit people who lived in mobile home parks–including the Berlin Mobile Home Park and the River Run Manor Park–both in the town we call home, Berlin.
We’ve consulted with residents of these parks, and our plan is to convert the 50% of the amount raised into $50 Visa gift cards, which will be distributed to people whose homes have been condemned–some of the hardest hit folks, in other words. This will allow them to choose where they most need to spend this money.
Please give generously to support the Grange Hall, and the people who have lost so much to the floods.
Beautiful plants for sale, too!
As he has done for years, stalwart supporter Rob Nichols has carefully grown and tended healthy and attractive indoor plants, which he is selling for the benefit of our fundraiser. He’ll have a selection available at the “finale dance”, plus there are more for sale at Farmhouse Flowers, in Moretown on Rt. 100B.
Rob has decided that he can’t handle growing and selling these plants. He’s planning that this year will be the last, so get your beautiful plants by Rob before they are gone! We really appreciate all the work Rob has done for the Grange, the Hall and the contra dance–for decades!
Champlain Valley Fair!
On Friday, 8/25 Alison Forrest and I assembled our 2023 exhibit, which is part of the VT State Grange’s exhibit at the CVF–which is still going on through Sunday 9/3. I’m including some pictures below, showing the red ribbon we won for 2nd place in the Grange exhibits!
Our Grange also staffed the VSG exhibit this last Tuesday, 8/29. Merry Shernock, I, Patty Giavara and Alison covered the two shifts, talking to people who are interested in the exhibits, giving them some idea of what a Grange is all about, and trying to get them interested in the VSG quilt raffle, the craft project (selecting fabric for “comfort pillows” to be sewn and stuffed by Grangers), and exemplifying the friendly welcome which the Grange offers to everyone who wants to take part.
During slow times, we were also able to listen in to the cooking demo taking place in the same large room–Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine! A friendly cook showed us how to prepare and cook Curried Chicken, Spiced Lentils and Spinach with Tomato, Jalapeno, Ginger and Garlic. Wonderful aromas ensued, and we got to eat samples too!
We’ll need help again next year, to fabricate a new design for our exhibit, and to staff the VSG area–please talk to any of us if you’d like to take part–and get free parking and admission to the Fair for the day!
Grange model by Alison, slideshow & background by Tim
This year’s display was based on Alison’s willingness to take on building a scale model of the Grange Hall, which is the primary focus and community service project of our Grange. Alison took the scaled drawings I have made over the years, pasted them on foamcore panels, and assembled the beautiful and detailed model you see here! Below, there are photos of some of the details, including the dancers on the real wood floor she fabricated and her lift representation, plus the Lower Level details.
The slideshow on the screen showed photos from 15 years of Hall improvement projects, shown in less than 10 minutes! The 2014 “new” Hall sign visible in the picture is just one of about 100 pictures. The tri-fold background includes a (partial) list of the events we host–on a regular or one-time basis.
Dancing at the Grange Center–Sept. 9
If you want to do a little more dancing, you’ll have an opportunity to do some simple dances with VT State Grange members, a week from this Saturday at the VT State Grange Center in Brookfield. That day is the State Grange Fall Festival, where many vegetables, needlework and other items which Grange members have cultivated and created will be displayed and judged, games will be played–and in the evening, a dinner and a dance!
Calling for the dance (which will be from about 6:30 to 8:00) will be by Liz Benjamin, a long-time dancer, and the caller and co-founder of Dance, Sing & Jump Around. That event–for kids and their families–is a monthly favorite in the colder months at the Grange Hall. Music will be provided by Susan Reid and members of the VT Fiddle Orchestra. We have been able to provide dancing and music as evening entertainment several times before the COVID pandemic, and we’re looking forward to doing it again. Both the State Grange members who take part, and those of us who’ve gone there to partner with them have found it to be fun, and we hope you will join us! Please contact me, Tim: firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Whether you know him in person or not, please consider sending a get-well card to Charles, to his home address. His long-time partner Richard DeCosta will deliver them:
639 Minister Brook Rd.
Worcester VT 05682
Of course, Charles will also be happy to see visitors–up to 2 allowed at a time. Contact me for more info.
What’s Your Answer to This Questions?
Or–what about your friends and neighbors? All of us who read (or write) email newsletters know that having a good internet connection is an important necessity in this age. And we also know that getting one is often a real struggle.
The National Grange–the nationwide organization which includes all the Community and State Granges like ours–is urging us to help solve connectivity problems for people in our area, by publicizing an existing program of the Federal government–the “Affordable Connectivity Program“. People who qualify (based on income and number of people per household) can get a significant discount on monthly charges, plus up to $100 subsidy for devices to connect to the internet.
Capital City Grange would love to find a Grange member or a local citizen who would like to spearhead this effort in our area. There’s available training, posters and handouts at no cost through the VT State Grange, and even help with grant-writing. Get in touch, and we’ll be happy to support you!
Anyone who needs some help with internet costs can also go directly to the FCC page for this program, to get more information, application forms, etc.