Rhubarb Festival 2019  Sat., June 1, 10 am to 2 pm

CVUUS will open its doors to the community for our 10th Rhubarb Festival. The festival planners count on the many contributions of our members and friends to create this event.

Pies: These are always the hallmark of the Festival and will be front and center again this year.  Lise Anderson is recruiting pie makers and bakers and organizing “pie bees” over two evenings at Fenn House and our new ground floor kitchen. We welcome your donations of rhubarb stalks, preferably pre-cut into chunks for pies to store in our fridges this month. Rhubarb pies will be priced at $18 and strawberry rhubarb at $20.

Lunch: Julie and Neil Chippendale and others will run a Café featuring sandwich and salad, drink, and dessert for $10 per person.  The café opens at 10:30 AM.

Books and Art: We are ‘GOING BIG’ this year, expanding our Book Sale to include MORE BOOKS, as well as ART OF ALL KINDS! This expanded effort is designed to RAISE MORE MONEY to benefit the library by BUILIDNG NEW LIBRARY SHELVING in our new Fellowship Hall ‘Blue Room’. So, this year, we are accepting an unlimited number of books of all kinds, for all ages, hard and soft cover. The only exceptions are encyclopedias, older travel guides, magazines and damaged books. We also accepting DVDs and CDs, but not cassette tapes or VHS videos. Tell your friends that they can donate books and art, too!

And new for this year, we are accepting ANY KIND OF ART – framed or matted, sculpture, ceramic, woven, mobiles, wood carvings, carved walking sticks, 3-D, handmade cards, stained glass, press flowers, knitted clothing, quilts, and more. The art will not be sold off cheaply, and some of the larger, photo-filled books will be priced above the usual 50 cents – $2 prices.

DONATIONS can be dropped off at CVUUS on Sunday, May 12, 19 and 25th. There will be boxes in the sanctuary foyer to collect books, or if you have a LOT of BOOKS and/or ART to donate, you can pull up to the drop off point on the street after service and bring them directly into the Fellowship Hall. We will have people to assist you and a rolling cart. Feel free to tag any especially valuable books or art with a recommended price, to guide us in our pricing.

We will also be extending the book sale for the following Sunday and two Sundays afterward, to sell as many books and art as possible, to maximize our fundraising. Helpers are needed to sort books, bring books inside, and assist at the Book and Art Sale. To volunteer, and for more information, contact Elizabeth Golden at 802-598-2388 or elizabethgolden@shoreham.net.

Bling: We plan to again be collecting and selling jewelry, scarves and ties and are looking for some new and additional “bling folks” to help. Look for Pat Schmitter’s “Watermelon Basket” to place donations.

Sweets and savories, plants for your garden, and live music and activities for children have been features of past festivals and will likely happen again. See Dinah Smith or Sue Rasmussen about plant questions. We need people to organize the  sweets and savories sales table.

No entry fee. Proceeds will be split between CVUUS and a local charity. Previous festivals have raised thousands of dollars for HOPE and additional income for our Youth Group and our general operating budget.

Please consider helping to prepare for our next Rhubarb Festival.  Contact Mary Hadley (hadleyme@juno.com or (802)377-2270). It’s a great way to celebrate our community and the season of Spring!

Rhubarb Festival History

Before 2010 CVUUS members Johanna Nichols and Ann Ross had discussed in passing the fun of hosting a Rhubarb Festival for the Middlebury community. By early 2010 Ann organized a small group of members who planned an event for the Saturday between  college graduation and college reunion weekends. At that time CVUUS had a new sanctuary but not much in the way of kitchen space, just a coffee preparation area in the new building and a small, house-size kitchen in the nearby administrative space, known as Fenn House. The planning group brainstormed activities that our membership could manage in those spaces, and the first festival debuted on June 5th of that year.

The production of rhubarb-based foods has been the unifying element of the event. Always pies, lots of pies. In 2018 about 100 pies were sold as well as other rhubarb treats. At some festivals, there was coffee and pie on offer. That developed into a café lunch with homemade sandwiches, salads, & desserts plus a beverage.

In the past there were various sales and activities. Perhaps the most energetic was called “Kiss the Kid.”   Various members names were attached to voting boxes where everyone could drop in their choice for the individual who would cuddle up to a Blue Ledge Farm baby goat and, hopefully, get a kiss. The “vote” was money, so the winner was the person who had collected the most dollars in their box. While this was fun for many folks, a few felt that we were frightening the “kids.” So congregational energy was turned elsewhere the following year.

In 2013 RF included a “Father’s Finds” area, where shoppers could hopefully purchase a Father’s Day gift. The festival also offered a quilt raffle and children’s gently used toys and games. Four activities that continued through the years, in addition to the above mentioned food sales, are the sales of plants, used books, used jewelry and scarves, and provision of all-day musical entertainment. In 2014 the group also offered homemade aprons, which decorated the CVUUS sanctuary in spectacular fashion and then went home with the buyers.

Each year since 2013 we’ve held a festival similar to these, one year with a professional puppet show for  children. This year, 2019, will be our first festival with a finished lower level in the building. Last year the lower level was accessible, but the lighting was dim. This year both the upstairs and downstairs of the Sanctuary will be brightly lit and welcoming to all. It takes a village of Unitarians to create a community Rhubarb Festival. We hope that it will continue as a  tradition for many years to come.  Submitted by Sheila House