Most of the hubbub on Saturday will be at the Town Common at the intersection of Route 100 and Main Street. The day begins with the Wardsboro Public Library trustees’ annual bake sale and the Friends of the Wardsboro Library’s annual plant ssale. These two groups have been hosting their spring fundraising events in tandem for nearly a decade and again this year, the tables full of cookies, pies, and cakes and the big trailers loaded with seedlings, plants, and flowers are slated to be the main attractions for early that morning. Starting at 9 am, this is where the crowds will be.
It’s not too late for local gardeners and landscapers to donate plants for the plant sale or for cooks and bakers to drop off something delicious for the bake sale. Both events welcome last-minute contributions because for both organizations, every penny raised goes toward library expenses. Carol Backus, one of the Wardsboro library trustees who coordinates the bake sale, says, “We are obligated to fundraise all our general operating expenses for the library, so the bake sale is important to us. We try to have a huge selection and there will also be jars of homemade jams and jellies along with take-home tubs of home-cooked baked beans.” Look for the tent, and follow your nose to the aroma of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
The Friends of the Wardsboro Library’s plant sale has become one of the group’s signature events (the other is their October Turnip Festival), and every year they grow and pot a greater quantity and variety of plants. Anyone looking for a few exceptional heirloom vegetables, including the town’s famous Gilfeather Turnip, will find many kinds of affordable seedlings on sale. Lee Miller, whose tiny mountainside greenhouse in Wardsboro has been the center of gardening activity since mid-April, says, “In addition to what we are growing ourselves, many generous residents have donated perennials, ground covers, and small shrubs dug from their own yards. These are particularly good sellers because they are tested plants that we know will grow well in our region.” The plant sale is a good place to stock up on the basics, as well – kitchen herbs, geraniums, petunias, impatiens, licorice plant and sweet potato vines, to name a few of the items on sale.
The most exciting part of the plant sale, according to the Friends, is the annual garden raffle, and this year there are at least eight coveted prizes, including some donated handcrafted items. One local woodworker donated a large wooden swan planter and another carpenter in town donated wooden birdhouses. Other prizes are a garden center gift certificate, a hanging basket, wind chimes, and garden books.
It would be a mistake to wander away from the Town Common before the book talk with Vermont author Cheryl Wilfong. In a private garden adjacent to where the plant sale is held, chairs will be set up for a free lecture by Wilfong whose new book, “The Meditative Gardener,” was published earlier this year by Heart Path Press, of Putney. Jill Dean, the librarian at the public library, coordinated the author event and she says, “Browsing through hundreds of colorful photographs in this large-format book is like taking a stroll through lush flower gardens. Cheryl is friendly and down-to-earth. She is a walking Vermont gardening encyclopedia, and chock-full of useful information.”
The topic of the talk is learning to appreciate our gardens by noticing the joy they bring us. The event starts at 9:45 am, to be followed by a book signing (copies will be on sale). A master gardener since 1999, Wilfong plans to be available in the morning to assist shoppers with plant choices and questions at the Town Common.
Don’t miss the chance to go home with shiny chrome and a clean windshield on Saturday. At 11 am, the 13 girls on Wardsboro’s new all-girls softball team are putting aside their bats and gloves and picking up sponges and buckets for their first fundraiser, being held at the parking lot at the Wardsboro Elementary School on Route 100.
Their car wash is absolutely the bargain of the day; small cars will be hand-washed, rinsed and dried for $5 and SUVs and trucks for $10. Jen Densmore, team manager, says, “The girls are playing great together, and because they are so happy being on an all-girls team, they want to raise money to keep the team alive for years to come. They want to wash cars to earn the money that pays for their uniforms and gear, this year and next.” Anyone wanting to see the girls in action has two options for Memorial Day Weekend; one game is scheduled for Friday, May 28, at 6 pm at the Deerfield Valley School in Wilmington and the second game is on Monday, May 31, against Grafton at 1pm.
There’s no need to go home hungry on Saturday because starting at about 11am, the Wardsboro Fire Department is rolling up all of its overhead doors for a free open house and a hot-off-the coals cookout. Fire chief Chris Liller says, “The menu is hot dogs and hamburgers, and we’ll have all the sides. We want to just let people in to get to know us. We’ll be displaying our newest piece of equipment, a thermal imaging camera.” The heat-seeking device was purchased, he says, with donations raised, in part, from last year’s cookout and open house. It is impressive to see the fire engines rolled outside and all polished up for the event. Tables and chairs are set up inside the fire house for lunch, and the members of the fire department are hoping people who stop by for a bite to eat will fill the donation bucket according to their appetite. Dress accordingly: wear your WFD T-shirt to show your support for these brave volunteers. Liller says, “If you don’t have one yet, there will be plenty of T-shirts on sale that day, along with new smoke alarms, and tickets for another worthwhile raffle.” He says that a few of the local state troopers will be stopping by for lunch, too, and you can chat informally with them over a couple of ice-cold sodas.
Not far from the firehouse, is the Wardsboro History House, a building that was formerly one of the village churches. It is right at the head of Main Street near the Town Common, and its doors will be open all day Saturday (and tentatively Sunday morning, too), with a special exhibition celebrating the town’s one-room schoolhouses. Dan Hescock, one of the founders of the historical group, is helping to coordinate the display, and he says, “We’ll have many old photographs of the students and teachers, and the schoolhouses. We’re planning to set up the main room to look as close to a one-room school as we can. We’re bringing in old desks and chairs and even some schoolbooks of the era.”
Hescock expects that some desks will have the old-fashioned inkwells in the top, reminders of the time before the ballpoint pen was invented. All day, local historians will be on hand to tell visitors more about the 19th and early-20th century schools and school districts in Wardsboro. The exhibit is free; however, the group is hoping that visitors will make donations toward the restoration of their vintage building, which is in dire need of rehabilitation before permanent exhibitions can be installed.