For the past 10 years, May has been the big “run up” of our Annual Rhubarb Festival. As you know, the tag line for the annual CVUUS Rhubarb Festival has long been “food, fellowship, and fun” – but with social distancing part of our “new normal” for the next while, we’ve decided on a “pies only” event on Sat., May 30 from 10 AM-12 PM this year – which Lise Anderson is expertly heading up. So, to quote Brett Millier, for this May, “it’s all about the pies.” The plan is for volunteers to make pies at home. Here’s a sign-up for all roles (bakers, box makers, choppers, sellers, traffic control, etc.) with baking instructions. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b49afaa29a64-2020
Mary Hadley (email@example.com) or Lise Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) can take overall and sales questions. Jean Terwilliger (email@example.com) can take pie making/dough making questions. Michele Lowy (firstname.lastname@example.org) can take supplies questions.
If folks are interested in a Rhubarb Festival event in the fall, please let Mary Hadley know what parts of a traditional Rhubarb Festival would make sense in the fall season and if you’re interested in planning such an event – or perhaps a different event – as this is a critical part of our non-pledge fundraising for CVUUS and has also provided funding to HOPE in past years. Click here for interesting RF history and a summary of last year’s festival.
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
2019 Rhubarb Festival Wrap-up
CVUUS opened its doors to the community for our 10th Rhubarb Festival, 10 AM – 2 PM. The festival planners counted on the many contributions of our members and friends to create this event.
Pies: These are always the hallmark of the Festival and were front and center again. Lise Anderson recruited pie makers and bakers and organized “pie bees” over two evenings at Fenn House and our new ground floor kitchen. We welcomed your donations of rhubarb stalks. Rhubarb pies were priced at $18 and strawberry rhubarb at $20.
Lunch: Vanderburghs and others ran a Café featuring sandwich and salad, drink, and dessert for $10 per person. The café opened at 10:30 AM.
Books and Art: We were ‘GOING BIG’, expanding our Book Sale to include MORE BOOKS, as well as ART OF ALL KINDS! This expanded effort was designed to RAISE MORE MONEY to benefit the library by BUILIDNG NEW LIBRARY SHELVING in our new Fellowship Hall ‘Blue Room’. So we accepted an unlimited number of books of all kinds, for all ages, hard and soft cover. The only exceptions were encyclopedias, older travel guides, magazines and damaged books. We also accepted DVDs and CDs, but not cassette tapes or VHS videos. Friends were welcome to donate books and art as well!
We accepted 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 wasn’t sold off cheaply, and some of the larger, photo-filled books were priced above the usual 50 cents – $2 prices.
We also extended the book sale for the following Sunday and two Sundays afterward, to sell as many books and art pieces as possible, to maximize our fundraising. Leftover inventory is being stored for future sale by Steve Butterfield.
Bling (used jewelry and scarves) and Plants were also sold and music was offered all day.