Music, food and skateboarders at Antrim’s Home & Harvest Fest
ANTRIM — While other festivals may focus on 4H or the harvest, it’s the music that will bring the crowds to the Antrim Home & Harvest Festival.
The 10th annual festival, which runs Sept. 13 -15, will host five bands throughout the weekend, and the lineup includes everything from Celtic jams to local favorites and a Grammy-nominated blues chanteuse.
Playing Saturday night just before the fireworks will be Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson. Boston-based performer Willson won a W.C. Handy blues award and recorded for Bullseye Records before launching her own label. A former staple player at Antrim’s blues club The Rynborn, Willson was also nominated for a Grammy in the same category with the likes of blues greats Etta James and Koko Taylor.
“What a great place the Rynborn was,” said Willson. “But it sounds like the festival will be a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to playing in Antrim again. … I’ll also be playing some music from my CD, ‘Fortune Cookie,’ which will be out sometime in the next month or so. Antrim folks will be one of the first audiences to hear these new songs.”
Though Willson will close the big festival, the musical delights kicks off Friday night, the 13th, with Ivy Leaf, a Boston-based traditional Irish band featuring fiddles, flute, whistle, concertina, bouzouki, guitar and vocals. The group’s debut album was released earlier this year. The show starts at 7 p.m. and admission is $5.
Three bands will play Saturday starting at noon on three stages set up throughout downtown Antrim. Jake McKelvie & The Countertops, a folk-punk band from Keene and The HoneyBears, with Antrim’s Aaron Taub on drums, will be playing the bandstand.
Antrim-based band Big Maple will play next to the Maplehurst Inn. Big Maple includes local singer and guitarist Brian Murphy belting out covers of three decades of music. Decatur Creek, also local, will play on the Tuttle Library lawn. All three members — Doug Farrell, Steve Dionne and Jack Carlton — have worked as solo singer-songwriters and play the coffeehouses in the Monadnock region.
When patrons aren’t enjoying the music, there will be plenty to do in the way of activities at this year’s festival including family roller skating Friday night at the Antrim town gym next to Antrim Elementary School with a DJ providing music for the skaters from 7 to 9 p.m. Skate rental is $5.
As for Saturday, events start bright and early with a breakfast at the First Presbyterian Church. Festival goers will also have their choice of wares from 40 jewelers, potters, painters, quilters and other artisans beginning at 8 a.m. Kids can get to playing by 9 a.m., near Trends of Fashion and behind Antrim Town Hall. New games this year include a climbing wall and a bungee-jumping attraction. All the games are free but require parents to attend with their
children, according to festival officials.
As always there is a parade which includes the ConVal High School, the Hillsborough-Deering High School bands and the Shriner’s band. Community organizations and businesses typically construct floats as part of the parade, and a trophy will be awarded for the best entry. The parade organizes at the intersection of North Main Street and Route 31 at 11 a.m., with the parade kicking off at 11:30.
Returning this year are the “Bestest Pie” contest and the baked-bean contest, with entries required at Tenney’s farm stand between 4 and 5 p.m. Beginning at noon, Crotched Mountain Ski & Ride sponsors a “virtual downhill skiing” contest to test skills in the upstairs of Antrim Town Hall, using a projector and Wii equipment.
And for its 8th year, the Antrim Can/Am Slalom Championships will return. One of North America’s largest skateboard slalom races, the competition draws racers from throughout the U.S. and Canada. About 30 racers are expected this year, including Claude Regnier, former world masters champion. Racing begins with qualifying on Friday and continues throughout Saturday. The freestyle skateboard competition also returns this year, featuring local skaters showing their acrobatic skills beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, and a demo by the Eastern Boarder team.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years that the Antrim Home & Harvest Festival has been going,” said festival director Rick Davis. “The generosity of the local businesses and the town of Antrim have kept this festival a mostly-free event, so it’s a fun way for families to spend a day out, but without spending a lot of money.”
Food is available throughout Saturday at local restaurants, street vendors, and at the chicken barbecue at Tenney Farm beginning at 5 p.m. The barbecue includes chicken, corn on the cob, chips and a drink, or a hot dog or burger, and prices vary for each of these options.
Saturday ends with fireworks by Atlas Display Fireworks at Tenney Farm beginning at 7:30 p.m. Parking is available at the Rymes gas tanks on Route 202 and at Frameworks on High Street, but residents are encouraged to park in downtown lots and to take the shuttle from Antrim Village and town hall. Parking is no longer allowed on Route 202 for safety reasons.
The weekend’s activities wind up Sunday as the Antrim Can/Am Slalom Championships continue with the giant slalom racing from 9 a..m. to 2 p.m., the Home Run Derby, and ending with the Bravest vs. Finest softball game at Shea Field, pitting the Antrim Fire Department vs. the Antrim Police Department.
For more information including a printable schedule, visit the Antrim Home & Harvest Festival website, www.HomeandHarvest.org.
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