Arts & Entertainment

New beginner square dance class starts on Sept. 13.

CONWAY — The Mount Washington Valley Stompers Square Dance Club will be starting its 46th season in September with a new caller and on a new day! According to event organizers, if you can walk, you can dance, and the caller will walk you through every call. The dress code is casual and singles are welcome.

The club’s weekly instructional classes are held at the American Legion in Conway with caller/teacher Denise Carbonell.

Carbonell has been square dancing for more than 38 years and calling for about three years. She hails from Sanford, Maine, and is excited to introduce valley folks to the fun of modern western square dancing. The first introductory week is free on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 6:45 p.m.

People from all walks of life and of all ages can enjoy and benefit from Modern Western Square Dancing. According to a Mayo Clinic Health Letter "dancing can burn as many calories as walking, swimming or riding a bicycle. During a half-hour of dancing, you can burn between 200 and 400 calories. The side-to-side movements of many dances strengthen your weight bearing bones (tibia, fibula and femur) and can help prevent or slow loss of bone mass (osteoporosis). If you’re recovering from heart or knee surgery, movement may be part of your rehabilitation. Dancing is a positive alternative to aerobic dancing or jogging. It keeps the mind sharp and contains a social component that solitary fitness endeavors don’t.

After opening night, classes will continue every Wednesday night at the American Legion on Tasker Hill Road in Conway, starting at 6:45 p.m. Seasoned dancers and new graduates are welcome and will have the opportunity to fine-tune their skills. For more information call (603) 694-2080 or go to

square dancing new classThe Mt. Washington Valley Stompers Square Dance Club will be starting its 46th season in September with a new caller and on a new day! According to organizers of the event, if you can walk, you can dance and the caller will walk you through every call. The dress code is casual and singles are welcome. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Kirstan Knowlton: An apple a day

Wednesday, Aug. 30, marked the kickoff to apple season with New Hampshire Apple Day. Now in its ninth year, Apple Day is celebrated by a trip to a local orchard by the governor for the ceremonial first pick.

Now, I know that many of you are super excited that pumpkin everything has made its way back to the stores, but in my opinion there’s nothing like a cup of hot apple cider and freshly made cider donuts on a cool fall day.

Growing up in Bow, my family had a small section of apple trees in our backyard. My mom used to spend time canning them and making applesauce.

Occasionally, she would try her hand at making something with the crabapples, and if you’ve ever had them, then you know just how tart they can be. But despite their sour flavor, my mom could make some mean crabapple jelly.

At one point I had gathered up some canning supplies and thought about learning the art of food preservation, but then I quickly reminded myself, that cooking isn’t quite my thing. I think I’ll leave that up to the professionals.

But even without canning, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a good apple.

Making for more than just a great photo opportunity, picking apples can be a great family friendly activity.

We’ve been to a few different places over the years, and always find it to be a lot of fun. We always pick more than we need, but then again, fresh apples do make good gifts.

One of my favorite places to go this time of year when I had some spare time was the White Mountain Cider Company in Glen. They have the best donuts, and even when we got half a dozen, they rarely survived the ride back home.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out that way, so I’m not sure if they’ve reopened that portion of the restaurant since the fire. So if anyone knows, I’d love an update.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Music in the Great Northwoods will be hosting its annual Big Moose Bach Fest this weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the Medallion Opera House in Gorham.

Admission is by donation, and each night, the show starts at 4 p.m. With this year’s theme of “Good and Evil” it’s sure to be a good time. For more information about this and other events by Music in the Great North Woods go to

To learn more about where to find apples in New Hampshire, go to or

Kirstan Knowlton writes a weekly column for The Berlin 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..


Program series 'The World War II We Never Knew' offered at community college

“The World War II We Never Knew,” a new program series presented by local libraries will explore perspectives previously underrepresented in many mainstream depictions of the Second World War through book discussions, film and lecture.

White Mountains Community College Fortier Library, Berlin Public Library and Gorham Public Library, with funding provided by the New Hampshire Humanities Council, is presenting this series thoughout the fall. All four sessions of the series will be held at the Fortier Library at White Mountains Community College in Berlin.

The first discussion will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. with a book discussion of "We Band of Angels: the Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bantaan," by Elizabeth Norman. The discussion will be led by New Hampshire scholar Suzanne H. Brown.

The second event, Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m., in this series will also be a book discussion led by Suzanne Brown, about the book "Soldier from the War Returning: Troubled Homecoming not in News," by Thomas Childers.

New Hampshire documentary producer John Gfroerer will present his film, "World War II New Hampshire," followed by a facilitated discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m., Switzerland-born author Marina Kirsch will present: "Flight of Remembrance: World War II from the Losing Side and the Dream that Led to Aerospace Engineering," a lecture based on her book "Flight of Remembrance: A World War II Memoir of Love and Survival."

Copies of the books will be available for loan at the White Mountains Community College Fortier Library, Berlin Public Library, and Gorham Public Library. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the Berlin Public Library at (603) 752-5210, the Fortier Library at (603) 342-3087 or the Gorham Public Library at (603) 466-2525.


Discover autumn wildflowers at Weeks State Park

LANCASTER — Discover autumn wildflowers such as asters and goldenrods that are abundant and colorful at this time of year in a walk guided by Mark Peters at Mount Prospect.

Participants will also see a variety of other flowering and fruiting plants and trees.

To join in on the walk, meet at the parking lot at the start of the scenic auto road up Mount Prospect on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. Bring a hand lens and flower guide if you like, and dress for the weather. The free program ends at 4 p.m.

Peters is an independent ecologist and botanist with field experience in diverse North American landscapes, from Alaska and the Great Plains to the forests of the northeast. Focusing on botanical and natural resource inventory, Peters leads workshops on foraging, edible wild plants and plant identification.

Weeks State Park is located on the east side of Route 3, about two miles south of Lancaster. This free, public program is sponsored by the Weeks State Park Association, NH Division of Parks, and UNH Cooperative Extension.

147th Lancaster Fair runs Aug. 31 through Sept. 4

LANCASTER — The annual Lancaster Fair begins Thursday, Aug. 31, and runs through Labor Day Monday, Sept. 4, at the Lancaster Fairgrounds.

Now in its 147th year, the Lancaster Fair marks the end of summer by celebrating the area’s agricultural heritage with a variety of family-friendly activities and entertainment. There’s carnival rides and games, farm animal competitions, top-notch music performances — this year’s headliner is country music supergroup Sawyer Brown — motorized competitions, food and special activities for the kids. ATVs are welcome and parking is free. Campsites are available on site.

Here is an overview of what fairgoers can see and do:

• Rides and games — all free with admission: From the flashing lights of the Ferris Wheel to the kiddie rides to all types of carnival games, the fair’s large midway offers fun and thrills for all ages.

• Animal Shows: Farm animals and their owners compete for the blue ribbon, and the hard work of the 4-H students is on display. Each day of the fair features oxen and horse pulls, sheepdog trials, working steer shows and horse drills.

• Entertainment, including country supergroup Sawyer Brown: The Lancaster Fair features a wide range of entertainment, including a pig scramble, the eighth annual fireman’s muster and the 22nd annual Classic Car Cruise Night. On Saturday night, Sawyer Brown brings their high-energy music to the fair grandstand. They have been making music and touring for more than 30 years. More than 50 of their singles have entered the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including three no. 1 singles. On Friday night, The Hitmen will be playing a variety of '70s classics to modern hits. Local musicians and singers will also be performing throughout the fair. All these performances are free with paid admission.

• Rip-roaring, motorized competitions: It's all about the horsepower at the fair’s paid ($10 admission) grandstand shows: Big Rig Truck Pull & Show N Shine is at 1 p.m. and a 4 x 4 truck pull is at 6 pm on Sunday, Sept. 3, and the popular demolition derby is at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. Drivers are coming from as far north as Canada and as far south as New Jersey to participate in these high-octane, motorized competitions. Other competitions include a lawn-and-garden tractor pull on Saturday and a traditional tractor pull on Monday.

• Special activities for the kids: Along with the midway rides, the fair’s Kids’ Korner tent has crafts, daily ventriloquist shows, scavenger hunts, train rides, pedal tractor pulls,and other contests. Children can practice farming at special Farmer-for-a-Day stations and compete in their own power-wheel demo derby on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 1 p.m.

• Agriculture showcase: See northern New Hampshire's finest vegetables, plants, fruits, flowers and homemade crafts in special exhibitions, including 4-H exhibits.

Food stands will be serving pizza, grilled sausage with pepper and onions, French fries, fried dough, apple crisp and ice cream among other offerings. One of the food vendors is Robbie Lemos of Annemarie’s Catering.

“Our family has been involved in providing food at the Lancaster Fair for 52 years, and over that time we have seen the fair grow and offer more choices for food and entertainment,” said Lemos. “We enjoy seeing our customers and the other vendors each year.”

Another fair vendor that has a long history with the fair is North Country Ford in Lancaster. “It started with my dad in the early 1980s, and now my brother and I bring our inventory to the auto sheds at the Fair each year,” said Keith Kopp, North Country Ford partner. “We look forward to participating each year, as it is a great opportunity for us to meet new people and connect with our existing customers.”

Dreamland Amusements, which supplies midway rides and games to country fairs in the eastern United States, has been working with the Lancaster Fair since 2006. “Each year, we try to change the flavor of rides a little bit. This year, we are introducing the 93-foot-long Wacky Worm, a nice family roller coaster,” said Bob Destefano of Dreamland Amusements. “The Lancaster Fair is a great way to mark the end of summer with lots of fun activities and entertainment that the entire family can enjoy.”

The Lancaster Fair is open rain or shine. General admission is $15 on Thursday, Friday, and Monday and $17 on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free for children under 36 inches (when accompanied by a paying adult). Seniors 70 and older get in free on Thursday and Monday and at a reduced admission ($10) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A season pass is available for $65. Rides are included and open at noon on Thursday and Friday and 11:30 a.m. Saturday through Monday.

There is an additional $10 charge for the following grandstand shows: Big Rig Truck Pull & Show N Shine on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m., 4x4 Truck Pull on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m., and the Demolition Derby on Monday, Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m.

Parking is free. Camping sites available on the fairground. Call (603) 237-8143 or register for a campsite at