Thursday, June 7, 2012

Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro, Vermont

During the parade, this evil cow kicked his ball right at me!

This is huge!!!

Ever since I started doing this blog, I have wanted to cover the famous Strolling of the Heifers weekend in Brattleboro, Vt.  But, every year, something has come up and I haven't been able to attend.  Well, this year, I finally made it and I am here to tell you- it was amazing!

I really believe that no state can compete with Vermont when it comes to organizing an event of this magnitude.  Every minute of the entire weekend was scheduled with fun activities for all ages.

Speaking of all ages, the participation of the young people was amazing.  Every time I turned around, a group of kids would be performing for the crowd - dancing, singing, juggling, doing acrobatics, etc.  It seemed clear that in Vermont, the youngsters have a good time!

Next year, I promise to remind you in advance of this incredible event so you can plan to go.

A YouTube video of this year's parade has already been posted:


The only way to truly appreciate the enormity of this event is to look at the schedule this year:

Note:  I attended the Friday night festivities and the Saturday parade, but that was only a small portion of the events.  So, the pictures after the parade were taken from various sources at previous Strollings.

Most of the main street was blocked off Friday night.

This American Pot Bellied Pig named Rocky Balboa is a pet (fully house broken), although he prefers to sleep in the garage.


Strolling of the Heifers Gallery Walk and Street Festival

5:00-9:00 p.m. — Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont

  •     Gallery Walk: open studios and art gallery openings throughout Brattleboro
  •     Our downtown Main Street block party/street fair with food, entertainment, fun, and surprises!
  •     At the River Garden, downtown, the finals of our 2012 Bread Baking Competition, plus vendor displays from competition sponsors.
  •     At three Brattleboro venues: Works Bakery Cafe, Candle in the Night and at the Marina Restaurant, our annual Farm Art show (on view through the month of June) — exhibits of agriculturally-themed art by southeast Vermont artists. All works are for sale for the benefit of Strolling of the Heifers and our region's farmers. The artists are Caryn King, Christ Triebert, Georgie, Janet Picard, Marjorie Sayer, Mary Iselin, Nancie McLean, Nancy Calicchio, Paul Stone and Robin Stronk.
River Garden with table after table of free bread and cheese samples
Crowley Cheese samples
Cabot Cheese samples
Bread samples from the contest


On the Main Street Stage (mid-block, west side of street):
  •     5:30 - Twice Upon A Time Fashion Show
  •     6:00 - Shoulder Narrows: Shoulder Narrows was started in 2004 by male students at Brattleboro Union High School that wanted to sing a cappella music.  The nine original members have all graduated (many have moved on to sing a cappella at the college level), but they started a group that is still independently run and is still singing fun music.  Today, the group’s six members sing a mix of indie rock, pop, jazz, and a little bit of everything else in between. 
  •     6:15 - Renegade — A female a Cappella group formed in 2009 that consists of mostly BUHS students. Members are Maya Stolle, Bridie Carmichael, Annie-Elizabeth Caltrider, Molly Rice, Maia Struthers-Freidman, Casey Greenleaf, Kristina Meima, Kayla Bernier-Sontag, Mary Friesen, Lizzie Benton, Rachel Durante.
  •     6:30 - Anna Patton’s Women's Jazz Harmony Vocal Ensemble will be treating Strollers to a lively rendition of songs from the swing and contemporary pieces in the jazz idiom. Accompanying the ensemble will be Ben Patton, Anna’s brother and composer of two of the songs being performed. Come jive to the swingin’ melodies and close harmonies of Elise Burrows, Annie Funkler, Annie Guion, Beth Kiendl, Vivian Prunier, Bonnie Stearns, Harriet Tepfer, Carrie Walker and Louise Zak.
  •     7:00 - Bread Baking Contest winner announcement, with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Senator Bernie Sanders
  •     7:30 - Jamie Kent and the Options  Jamie Kent - voice, guitar, ukulele, Tim Boucher- voice, piano, melodian, Rhees Williams- upright bass. Drawing on influences from modern artists like Jack Johnson and Jamie Cullum, as well as paying tribute to classic greats Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra, Kent’s perfectly mellifluous tunes are roll-the-windows-down, soak-up-some-sun kind of good.
Governor Peter Shumlin announcing the winners of the bread baking contest.

The crowd watching a singing group on the stage.

Street Performances:

  •     Toni Duncan, Juggler and Street Performance: Tony Duncan has been performing since 1982. He has been teaching at NECCA (New England Center for Circus Arts) and performing with Nimble Arts throughout the East Coast since 2004. He is also currently collaborating with Zany Umbrella Circus and a new show with other instructors from NECCA, called "Shipping and Receiving," that will be doing a southeast tour this summer.
  •     Andrew Pinard, Magician, Perceptual Engineer — performs strolling sleight of hand and mystical merriment.
  •     Wally Hagadorn, Balloon Artist
  •     Robin Zegge, Face Painter
  •     Keene Hoops
  •     Boys and Girls Club, chalk drawing
  •     Boys and Girls Club, skate board demos
  •     The Orbitron — in front of People's United Bank
  •     Ben Kaufman — stilt walking, juggling
These two managed to hula hoop on stilts!

Juggling is always exciting.


The Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Live Green Expo

THE STROLLING OF THE HEIFERS PARADE: downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, starting at 10 a.m. sharp!

Arrive early, stake out your viewing spot, browse Main Street shops, pick up a healthy organic breakfast at Pete & Gerry's tent on the Brattleboro Common, and preview the Live Green Expo! Pre-parade entertainment begins around 9 a.m. The parade begins on Flat Street at 10 a.m. sharp, and the heifers lead the parade — so don't be late! Watch scores of lovable heifer calves led by future farmers, followed by many other farm animals, bands, tractors, floats, clowns and much more. Please don't bring your dog to the parade or Expo — dogs may scare the animals!

Senator Bernie Sanders near the front of the parade.

PRE-PARADE ENTERTAINMENT, STARTING AT 9 A.M. along the parade route:

  •     Ben Kaufman, stilts and juggling, at Brattleboro Savings and Loan 9:00
  •     Wally Hagadorn, Balloon Artist
  •     Robin Zegge, Clown — performs at viewing stand in front of KeyBank
  •     Andrew Pinard, Magician, Perceptual Engineer — performs strolling sleight of hand and mystical merriment. At the Municipal Center (Town Hall) 9:00
  •     Lucky and Teresa Woodlock, Musicians, at Main and Eliot — button accordian and maraca
  •     Boys and Girls Club, skate boarders, going up the parade route at 9:45
  •     Amelia Struthers, the Dairy Godmother, Maia Struthers, the Dairy Fairy, and Dairy Princesses. The Dairy Godmother flits about entire parade route, starting at the municipal center (town hall) at 9:00. She and the dairy princesses go up the parade route from Eliot at 9:45.

The parade started on a side street.

LIVE GREEN EXPO: Brattleboro Common and Retreat grounds, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The crowd follows the parade to the all-day 11-acre Live Green Expo for food, music, dance, demonstrations, exhibits and fun, all related to our mission of sustaining family farms by connecting people with healthy local food.

The Expo, sponsored by the Brattleboro Retreat, covers the lawns of the Brattleboro Common and the adjacent Brattleboro Retreat. Meet green-oriented vendors, learn about green living techniques: energy conservation, recycling, sustainable building methods, and more! Also featuring: food vendors, exhibits, demonstrations, family entertainment, jazz, Cheese Village, Crafts Village, Organic Village and much more! Enjoy free entertainment, samples and activities, and samplings of food and products.
On the Common, immediately after the parade, meet the heifers (and other farm animals in the parade) up close and personal, and cheer the contestants in The Miss VerMOOnt heifer judging and Strolling’s annual Celebrity Milking Contest, both sponsored by the University of Vermont Extension.

Strolling of the Heifers 2004, photo by

At the Expo, don't miss:

  •     The Goat Olympics! — Place your bets on goats from Capricorn Farm who will be racing every 15 minutes! For $2, bet to win, or for $5, make a Trifecta bet (predict the finishers in order, 1-2-3). Every winning bet wins a great piece of Stroll merchandise or a sponsor gift. Join the excitement!

  •     Vermont Cheese Village — on the Retreat grounds Stop by to sample a wide variety of Vermont cheeses.  The Cheese Village is underwritten by the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Putney Co-op and Grafton Village Cheese.
Cheese Village in 2006

  •     Forestry Exhibit — on the Common, educational exhibits and demonstrations from various forestry entities including The Game of Logging, Vermont Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Woodland Owners Association, the American Chestnut Foundation, Vermont Coverts, the Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance, Friends of the West River Trail, Biochar Northeast, East Mountain Forestry, Farm Bureau Nationwide Insurance and the Windham County Maple Association. Come meet a big forestry machine up close and personal! (Also, visit our Forestry page!)
  •     Pete & Gerry's Organic Eggs organic breakfast, served from 7 a.m.! — At the corner of the Common at Linden Street and Park Place. Come early, choose your viewing spot, set up your chairs, and enjoy a great organic breakfast sandwich, bacon and more served up by Pete & Gerry's!

Photo from

  •     Meet the heifers and other animals up close — at the east end of the Common
  •     Crafts Village — at the center of the Common
  •     Antique tractor show — at the east end of the Common
  •     Aflac NASCAR exhibit — near the corner of Linden Street and Park Place.
  •     Four large entertainment tents — throughout the Expo
  •     Culinary demonstrations — at the Cheese Village Demo Tent: 12:00 Noon - 12:45PM

  •         Junior Iron Chef Demonstrations — 12 noon - 12:45 by the team from Kindle Farm School — "Cooking with Cheese" — teacher, Drew Gradinger12:00 Noon - 12:45PM   "Kindle Farm School"   (Cooking with Cheese)  Teacher Drew Gradinger

            Professional Chef Demonstrations: 12:45 PM - 1:30 PM  How to make Paneer (Indian Cheese)  Jainee Adhzaryu and Natasha Kussius  Simply Savor" — 1:30 PM  - 2:00 PM  Homemade Ricotta Cheese     Carol Lake: "Simple Cheese Making" 2:00 PM -  2:30 PM Homemade Lemmon Cheese Dessert    Carol Lake: "Simple Cheese Making" —  2:30 PM  - 3:15  PM How to make Cheese Spread  Dan Huebner: "Grafton Village Cheese"
  •     Brattleboro's New England Center for Circus arts aerial trapeze artists — NECCA will present student and professional performances throughout the day.  Acts include trapeze, aerial fabric, hand balancing, contortion and duo trapeze from performers young and old who train at the only school of its kind in the United States.
  •     Climbing Wall
  •     Orbitron
  •     Bouncing castles
  •     Bucking bull celebrity rodeo

Setting up booths on the Common in 2010 booth in 2010


Jazz Tent on the Retreat Lawn

  •     11:15 - Vermont Jazz Center Youth Band: Energetic, talented and really fun! These guys rock in a jazzy kind of way: Keith Walsh, saxophone, Carter Falk, piano, Wes Lyons, drums, Hen Gates, drums
  •     11:45 - Vermont Jazz Center Student Bebop Band with George Kaye. Members are Michael Patek, Andrew Lhose, Bill Ballard, Scott Sizer, JIm Heffron, Lester Malathais
  •     12:30 - Vermont Jazz Center Student Latin Band. A student group that performs music from the Latin America. The music they play is based on repertoire and rhythms primarily from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Colombia. This group has been performing together in different configurations for over three years.: Mark Baker, violin, Anders Burrows, trumpet, Ricia Gordon, congas, Jeanushka Fishell, percussion, James Heffron, saxophone, Sam King, drums and percussion, Andrew B. Lohse, bass, Molly Steinmark, drums and percussion, Rick Stone, guitar, Julian Gerstin, percussion, leader, Eugene Uman, piano, leader.
  •     1:30 - Vermont Jazz Center Gospel Singers: Nick Keil, Yada Claussen, Sharon Powell, Kim Timlege, Richard Ewald, Julian Gerstin, Carlene Raper, John Lentz, Bronwen Hodgkinson, Mike Henkle, Deborah Lazar
  •     2:15 - Jamie MacDonald Jazz Band
Performers at 2009 Strolling of the heifers

Rock/Jazz Tent on the Retreat Lawn:

  •     11:10 Open Music Collective Student Jazz Band
  •     12:00 Mo Ambesa — Reggae, hiphop, jazz band. Mo Ambesa is a Vermont based music, activism, and agriculture collective. The group draws on Reggae, Hip-Hop, and Afrobeat rhythms while their lyricists invoke teachings of self-sufficiency, impartial justice, and prayer. Members: Dan Rosow - keys, trumpet, vocals; Dylan Richardson - tenor sax, vocals; Joel Eisenkramer - guitar, vocals; Ben Carr - drums, vocals; Jay Cook - bass.
  •     1:00 Gabbi Walton and Friends. Gabbi will be joined by Charlie Sperling, Jonah Ulman and others to perform rock classics from Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, Cat Stevens and more. All accomplished young musicians in their own right, these West River Valley musicians are joining together to bring down the house in style.
  •     2:00 Groove Shoes — funk and soul, fused with jazz and hiphop. Groove Shoes is a funk/soul fusion quartet featuring Molly Steinmark on vocals/percussion, Killian Karlsson on guitar, Matt Clegg on bass, and Sam French on drums. Strolling of the Heifers will be the groups FINAL public performance.

C&S Entertainment Tent on the Retreat Lawn:

  •     11:15 Hilltop School Band
  •     12:00 Odyssey — Brattleboro Area Middle School a capella singers. Odyssey is a group of singers from the Brattleboro Area Middle School that go above and beyond the general chorus. these singers elect to meet after school for one hour a week . This year, Odyssey was asked to perform for a DVD at BCTV performing a song called "One grain of Sand." In December, they walked ed to local nursing homes to sing seasonal songs. This Spring, Odyssey also travelled to a Music Festival in Westfield , MA and got very positive ratings from a board of adjudicators. The group is directed by Patty Meyer and is comprised of the following members: Jack Alberico, Mugdah Gurram, Casey Hagedorn, Bonnie Hart, Chaya Holch, Kyra Johnston, Claire Kendrick, Declan King, Christol Long, Omei Marshall, Wynona Meyer, Nevada Powers, Molly Schoales Leah Silver, Catey Yost
  •     12:30 Spiralia — Brattleboro Union High School a capella singers
  •     1:00 Motion Works — student dance. The Motion Works Kids dance program offers classes for kids ages 2-13 at Luminz Studio, dance and performing arts center in the Cotton Mill. These classes teach dance technique and traditional dance exercises in fun and playful ways with an eye on keeping kids dancing who might not continue year after year in a more competitive studio environment. Jennifer Moyse teaches the classes and choreographs the performance pieces. Dancers: Bennett Hart, Evie Kiehle, Ella Levy, Camden Robinson, Adelaide Smith, Ashley Flathers, Magdalena Keppel, Melanie Storm, Shanali Avery, Riley Beard, Natasha Diamondstone, Jason Guerino.
  •     1:30 International dance by Neighborhood Schoolhouse students. Students will perform dances from several cultures, followed by an invitation for the audience to join us in some fun and easy dances that will be taught by Rachelle Ackerman.
  •     2:15 The Snaz — 4-piece rock band of middle schoolers: A indie rock band of talented young muscians, Dharma Ramirez, Sally Fletcher, Mavis Eaton and Zack James. Stay snazzy!
Spiralia in concert, photo from

Acoustic Tent on the Brattleboro Common lawn:

  •     12:00 The Howling Kettles — old-time/country canon - fiddles, ukes, banjos. The Howling Kettles (formerly known as STRING BAND) perform raw, hearty takes on the Old Time/Country canon. Based in Vermont, Sam Moss and Jackson Emmer lend another wild branch to this vast tradition. Expect fiddles, banjos, and the lonesome tones of desperation. The Howling Kettles have opened for David Lindley, The Devil Makes Three, and Bill Kirchen, to name a few.
  •     1:00 Celtic Fiddles: Brattleboro Music Center Cow'ltic Group, part of the Brattleboro Music Center's Celtic Music Program which is comprised of weekly classes led by Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy. The classes were introduced at the Brattleboro Music Center in the fall of 2007 and focus on developing ear training skills, specifically learning traditional Celtic tunes by ear. It is also a repertoire building class and it is geared toward helping people feel comfortable playing in an informal group setting - the Irish “session” format. The group includes: Patty Krasner, Tom Reish, Alison Shontz, Antje Ruppert, Chris Madigan, Art Costa, Craiger Boardman, Bridget Kinoshita, Bob Bonneau, Doreen Callahan, Kim Ray
  •     2:00 Ukelele Group. One hour of 'Ukulele fun! Local musician Ben Carr performs solo and hosts the Southern Vermont 'Ukulele Society and the 'ukulele students from Saxtons River Elementary School.
Ben Carr, photo from

  • 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Brattleboro Area Farmers' Market
Route 9 in West Brattleboro, after Exit 2 and the CreameryBridge
Meet Windham County area farmers, purchase locally grown food and handmade products, and enjoy special events that pay tribute to local agriculture. For more information, visit:

Brattleboro Farmer's Market (Photo from

  • 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Book Sale
Brooks Memorial Library, MainStreet
Examine the wide selection of books, cassettes, CDs and videos on sale. Become a Friend of the Library for early-bird access starting at 8 a.m.
  • 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Strolling of the Heifers Community Contra Dance
The Stone Church, Grove & Main Streets, Brattleboro
Brattleboro is one of the hubs of the contradance movement! This dance is open to all and no experience is required. The evening will feature an exciting massed band of all the Celtic Music Classes from the Brattleboro Music Center led by Keith Murphy. Between 20 and 25 musicians from youth and adult classes will combine to create a particularly festive end to another Strolling of the Heiffers. Rebecca Lay will be teaching and calling the dances.  $4 for children, $7 for adults and $20 for families. For more information, contact Keith Murphy at
Contra dancing on Sunday nights in Brattleboro.  Photo from


Strolling of the Heifers Royal Farmers Breakfast

  • Sun. June 3, 7 a.m. to noon — Chelsea Royal Diner, Rte 9, W. Brattleboro, Vermont

Enjoy a delicious meal made with fresh local produce at this historic landmark and pick up a map for the self-guided farm tour. Visit the Chelsea Royal Diner online, or phone 802-254-8399 for information.
Chelsea Royal Diner

Strolling of the Heifers Tour de Heifer Cycling Tours

  • Sun. June 3, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — All rides start and end at Lilac Ridge Farm, West Brattleboro.

Get your bike tuned up! The Tour de heifer is a trio of scenic farm-to-farm bicycle rides tailored to all levels of ability, with 10-mile, 30-mile and 60-mile routes (mostly on dirt roads). There is also a five-mile walking/hiking option. The routes feature incredible views, farm and woodland terrain, New England villages (one with a covered bridge) and much more. Come to Brattleboro for the Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Live Green Expo on Saturday, and stay for the Sunday Tour de Heifer!

Photo from

Strolling of the Heifers Farm, Food & Fiber Tour

  • Sunday, June 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Throughout the Brattleboro region

  • While there are special events at many farms on June 3, our Farm/Food/Fiber Tour can be taken at any time of year, subject to seasonal opening days and hours of individual farms. Check out southern Vermont’s scenic countryside as you wend your way around on this self-guided expedition and meet farmers and food producers selling direct to the public. Complete details, directions and map at our Farm/Food/Fiber Tour web page.

    Lilac Ridge Farm, one of 30 on the tour.  Photo from

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