Arts & Entertainment

Coos County 4-H members share experiences and knowledge for Activities Day event

NORTH STRATFORD — Coos County 4-H, County Activities Day, considered one of the biggest events for 4-H all year, will be held on Saturday, April 1, starting at 9 a.m. at the Stratford Public School, where members will share their experience and knowledge with others. 

Formally known as Demonstration Day, 4-H County Activities Day is designed to provide 4-H members with an opportunity to share with the public, their project work in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. At the same time members can gain valuable experience in a public speaking situation. It is an opportunity for them to focus on life skills like communication and understanding self.

Another purpose of the day is to select those 4-H members who will represent Coos County at State Activities Day on May 20. At State Activities Day, Coos County members will compete with 4-H members from the other nine counties in New Hampshire.

According to a release submitted by the UNH Cooperative Extension, it is a real challenge to capture one of the limited spots and for those who succeed, it is a tremendously prestigious honor. At State Activities Day some will be selected to advance on to the Eastern States Exposition in September.

4-H members may participate in County Activities Day several ways. There are opportunities for youth to show off their creative and artistic talents through the poster, photography and FLIX video contests. Members also give oral presentations in the form of public speaking, illustrated talk, demonstrations, and action exhibits. Public Speaking is a presentation of a speech written by the participant, given from memory, notes, or outline, using index cards as a possible aid. No visual or audio aids are used. An illustrated talk communicates ideas with the aid of charts, posters, slides, flannel graph, or chalkboard. The object discussed is not used, only pictures, or other representation of it.

A demonstration shows how to make something, how to perform a skill, how to repair something, or how something works. In this method, the subject (animals, machine, clothing, musical instrument, or model) is used in the presentation. An action exhibit is an interactive presentation which involves the audience in the presentation process. Like a demonstration, in an action exhibit the 4-H members demonstrate a skill, show how to make or repair something, or they show how and why something works. Real objects are used. Unlike a demonstration, as the action exhibit presentation unfolds the audience asks questions and interacts with the presenter; the audience may even try the skill themselves.

Because the whole process is shown, action exhibits may last up to 45 minutes each. New this year will be the Mouse Trap Car Challenge. This contest began with youth building a mouse trap powered car in their 4-H project or school settings. The youth then bring the car to County Activities Day where they will compete in a distance challenge.

County Activities Day is made possible with the youth and adult volunteers who help to conduct the logistically challenging day by serving as judges, room monitors, and in other capacities. The Stratford School PAWS group will be offering healthy food options for sale for those not wanting to bring their own lunch. All proceeds will help support their community service effort in providing for the Backpack Program.

Coos County 4-H, County Activities Day is being held on Saturday, April 1, with a start time of 9 a.m., at the Stratford Public School located at 19 School St., North Stratford. For more information on the 4-H Program in Coos County, contact Christine Whiting, 4-H program manager, UNH Cooperative Extension in Coos County, 629A Main St., Lancaster NH 03584; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (603) 788-4961.

Local musicians celebrate spring by hosting Sprouting Sessions

LANCASTER — A new way to share lyric, music and spoken word will begin on Sunday, April 2, in downtown Lancaster. A product of the long winter, "Sprouting Sessions" will host an hour-long opportunity to hear local musicians, poets and storytellers in a casual small setting. This series will be held in the room upstairs over the Polish Princess Bakery and the Root Seller store at 73/77 Main St. in Lancaster.

The show will begin with the guitar work and singing of Lee Baker. An area musician who plays in the band's "Comfort Country" as well as "September Rain," Baker will offer a solo performance of "Songs you forgot you knew," sharing some of his favorite tunes from musicians like James Taylor, Jim Croce and others. This show will begin at 1 p.m., on Sunday, April 2.

The second in the series will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 1 p.m., with Suzan Shute who will be singing and playing the guitar presenting songs from artists like Nanci Griffith, Red Molly and a few gospel songs, as well as some originals.

Other performance dates will be announced at a later time. People are encouraged to present their craft in the upcoming sessions. To sign up, or for more information, contact Suzan Shute in Guildhall, Vt., at (802) 328-2013.

Over $200,000 raised at Great North Woods Committee for the Arts concert for hospital's capital campaign

COLEBROOK — It was a night of music and community giving at the Colebrook Country Club when the Great North Woods Committee for the Arts and the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital collaborated to host a concert to help raise funds for the hospital’s capital campaign.

A few major surprises during the evening helped to bring in more than $200,000 toward the hospital’s goal of $950,000. The hospital now needs less than $200,000 to reach the final goal.

Performing for the evening in concert was the Parker Hill Road Band, a bluegrass group featuring performers from northern New Hampshire and Vermont, including Pittsburg native Paul Amey. The money raised during the evening went into the hospital’s capital campaign for the construction now underway. The facility is presently expanding the rehab department emergency room and special services department.

The GNWCA donated all ticket sales to the hospital from the evening’s concert. In addition, businessman Dan Dagesse, a native of West Stewartstown, was in the audience. When the band was preparing for its fourth song of the night, guitarist Tom Rappa announced that Dagesse approached him and announced that he would be donating $100,000 to the fundraising for the night.

The audience erupted in cheers and thanked Dagesse for his generous contribution. A few songs later, Rappa announced that Dagesse would be passing around a bucket and asked that everyone in the room contribute as much as possible to the bucket. A short time later Dagesse went back up to the band and asked them to announce that he is donating another $100,000 to the hospital.

By the time the evening was finished, the hospital had received the $200,000 from Dagesse and an additional $1,785 from the GNWCA ticket sales and audience donations in the bucket, as well as an additional donation of $1,000 from the Colebrook Country Club.

“What an incredible night,” said hospital President Scott Colby. “Mr. Dagesse's generous donation to the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital Capital Campaign is so very much appreciated. His gift not only demonstrates his support for UCVH, but it also demonstrates deep support for our community and our neighbors. This donation puts our capital campaign within striking distance of meeting our goal of $950,000. To date, we have received pledges totaling over $765,000 representing over 80 percent of the goal. We can't thank Mr. Dagesse, the GNWCA, and our community members enough for making this night an incredible night.”

Bette Guerin, vice president and treasurer for the GNWCA, said, “When the GNWCA was asked to be a part of the UCVH capital campaign fundraiser, we were delighted to do so, but we could never have imagined the wonderful ripple effect of giving that took place on the evening of our concert. A hospital is such an integral part of a community, and we appreciate its importance and how the improvements will go a long way in bettering the quality of life for residents."

GNWCA UCVH PR PHOTOGreat North Woods Committee for the Arts presented a check for over $1,000 recently from its ticket sales to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook from a Feb. 24 fundraising concert arranged by the local arts group. All together, the evening brought in over $200,000, which will go to the hospital's Capital Campaign Fund. Pictured from the left capital campaign Chairman Odette Crawford, UCVH President Scott Colby, GNWCA Vice President/Treasurer Bette Guerin. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Fatbikers joined annual Ski to the Clouds for first time

PINKHAM NOTCH — Since the Mt. Washington Auto Road first opened in 1861, it has been a proving ground for all types of adventurers. Throughout the years, many people have secured their place in the history of the Auto Road, be it with a fastest time or a landmark ascent.

History was made again with the 2017 Ski, Shoe and Fatbike to the Clouds. Held in cold, blue-sky conditions on March 5, it marked the first time that fatbikers have joined this annual winter event. First held in 1996 as Ski to the Clouds, it quickly proved to be a new and unique challenge for Nordic skiers and, at that time, was held entirely on the Auto Road. In later years it was modified to increase the race distance to 10 kilometers, using the Great Glen Trails Nordic system for the first four kilometers, before beginning the steep ascent up the Auto Road. The race finishes just before the halfway point of the road at about 3,800 feet.

In 2013, a separate snowshoe category was added to entice snowshoe racers to take up the challenge, and it was so successful that in 2014, the event was renamed as Ski and Shoe to the Clouds. In 2016, a new fatbike category was added, which quickly became the largest group of racers, but the event was cancelled due to lack of snow.

The event was attended by 120 racers in three disciplines—18 Nordic skiers, 33 snowshoers, and 69 fatbikers. Whether on skis, snowshoes or fatbikes, the race lived up to its reputation as North America's Toughest 10K, testing the racers as only Mount Washington can.

The fastest time was posted by veteran racer Tristan Williams, with a blazing time of just 48 minutes, 37 seconds, winning the men's Nordic division. Williams was closely followed by fatbiker Jeremiah Macrae-Hawkins, winning the men's fatbike division with a time of 50 minutes 37 seconds — the second fastest time on course.

The winners of each division were:

Men's Nordic Tristan Williams 48:37.
Women's Nordic Meredith Pietrow 1:01:42.
Men's Snowshoe Andrew Drummond 51:49.
Women's Snowshoe Hilary McCloy 1:05:56.
Men's Fatbike Jeremiah Macrae-Hawkins 50:37.
Women's Fatbike Renee Bousquet 1:12:26.

The 2017 sponsors of the event included Dion Snowshoes, Stan & Dan Sports, Polartec, Littleton Chevrolet, Hannaford and the Old Village Bakery.

Fatbike CloudsThis year, fatbikers joined in on the race up Mount Washington. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Kirstan Knowlton: A lifetime of memories made by unlikeliest of friends

I haven’t lived in a ton of places, but I’ve traveled enough to know that we have something good going on here.

Sure, we may not have all the glitz and glam like some of the bigger cities, but we do have each other, and although that might sound a little cheesy, it’s really worth something.

I can remember back to when I first moved here. It was 2002, I was 16 years old, and I knew no one. At the time, I was seriously questioning my parent’s choice to sell our home and come north, but now it’s pretty clear to me why they did.

It had only been a few days in our new home, and we were still in the process of moving into their first rental unit, (the main reason why we moved up here to begin with).

The unit was empty, except for an older woman who had lived there for at least 30 years or so. She was in her 80s when I first meet her, she lived alone, and she smoked like no one I had ever seen before.

Despite our obvious age differences we quickly became friends. She had a quirky personality that drew me in, and in the afternoons I would head up the back stairs with her mail to say hello.

During our conversations she would talk about what it was like growing up in Berlin. Stories of skijoring, a bustling downtown, and working in the local factories was all so fascinating to me.

Throughout my time with her, I took an interest in knitting, a pastime she often enjoyed. I remember her telling me that I was a natural, but I’m pretty sure that she was just being nice. Not to long ago, I stumbled on one of my earlier knitted creations, and let’s just say I’ve come a long way since then.

Mrs. Landry, or Dot as we lovingly called her, passed away at the age of 94, in June of 2010. She was laid to rest at the St. Anne Cemetery, and I still go and visit her often.

Since then, her memory has lived on through my work as a maker, because for almost every item that I make I use the crochet hook that she gave to me all those years ago.

While making the hats for the women’s march I couldn’t help but smile and think of my strong-willed friend. Using her hook to make items that had so much meaning and symbolism made it that much more special.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend. My son just had his tonsils out on Friday, so it will be a quiet, snuggle-filled weekend for us.

Kirstan Knowlton writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Her inspiration comes from events and people in the community who continue to work hard to make the North Country one of the best places to live. You can contact Kirstan by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..