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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Moose Corralled for Champagne Celebration

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Friday, May 06, 2005

"Rufus" moose will appear at Moosefest preview party
North Bennington, Vt. – This is a herd like no other.

About 57 one-of-a-kind moose have been rounded up and housed at the Bennington County Industrial Corporation building. They will be the “guests of honor” during a May 10 Champagne and Hors D’oeuvre Preview Party benefiting MooseFest 2005.

The public is invited to the 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. event. The cost is $20 per person and may be paid at the door. Music and special moose-focused games and contests are on the evening’s agenda.

Moose and Rider

There’s no need to fear the huge moose hooves or spiked antlers; these moose are life-sized fiberglass statues that began as blank slates for jury-selected regional artists. And there can be no doubt that the artists did let loose on the moose.

Bennington resident Kimalie Wassick was the only artist to perch a passenger atop her “Driving Moose Daisy” statue. The glossy black painted moose boasts a spray of painted daisies about the body and a sculpted female rider appears nonplussed by her choice of mount.

Adams, Mass. artist Suzanne Little Stefanik incorporated floral designs and golden-tinged antlers as part of her pale -hued “Bennington Pride" statue, while North Adams, Mass. artist Keith Bona turned his “Any Which Way But Moose” statue into a study of road signs. Bennington artist and 2001 Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts graduate Tracy Bushee turned original fall foliage photographs into a warm-toned collage for her "Leafleigh” depiction.

MooseFest 2005 is sponsored by the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, and the celebration will continue with special events throughout the summer and fall. An Oct. 29 MooseFest Gala is scheduled as the grand finale; the statues will be sold via live auction during that event. Chamber Executive Director Joann Erenhouse said preview party excitement is rampant among chamber members.

“We’re ready,” she said of the moose-debut event. “What’s really exciting is that after we have the big kick-off, the moose will hit the streets.”

Moose Hit the Streets and Shops

Moose statues are expected to be delivered to various Bennington streets and sites between May 15 and May 21. Area newspapers will offer “moose-maps” so that folks can find the antlered attractions, and maps will also be offered at the Chamber welcome center at 100

"Maury, Moose About Town" was designed by Susan Church Wood.
Veteran’s Memorial Drive [adjacent to the Deer Park].

Arts initiatives for youth are included among the MooseFest’s intended beneficiaries and local school children had their chance at moose-art. The 17 table-top size moose statues given to area schools have been designed and will be premiered during a May 13 event at the Stark Hose Gallery, 102 Pleasant St.. The smaller statues will be displayed throughout MooseFest at various venues and will be sold through a silent auction. The silent auction is scheduled to conclude the evening of the gala.

A First Annual Moose Tracks Invitational Girls AAU Basketball Tournament is set for May 21 and 22 at the Mount Anthony Union High School at 351 Park St.. Information about the tournament is available by contacting Brian Harrington at bharrington@svsu.org.
The May 28 Mayfest Main Street street festival’s always-popular Lobsterfest will raise money for MooseFest, according to Erenhouse. Lobsterfest, also sponsored by the Chamber, will be held at the MayFest food court. The street will be closed during the event, and this year, “runners” will accept Lobsterfest orders from merchants and vendors who set up sidewalk “shops” and will deliver the fare, said Erenhouse.

“It’s hard for the merchants to get to the food court because they have to stay and work at their areas,” she said. “So we are having runners this year.”

Goin’ Moosin’

If moose statues whet appetites for live moose, Brendan McKenna’s weekly June “Moosin’” excursions may offer a moose-fix. McKenna said he plans to lead Wednesday evening moose treks through an area of the National Forest along Route 9. The moose-searches are free but limited to five people per session, he said.

McKenna, the manager of the Nature’s Closet clothing store, said he is not a professional moose guide but does have considerable experience in the woods.

“I saw my first moose about 10 years ago, and I was flabbergasted,” he said. “I got so excited that I started taking tracking classes and spending a lot of time in the woods with my wife.”

He cannot guarantee a moose sighting, he said, and recalled a past moose-walk that did not result in a woodland sighting but did result in several disappointed hikers.

"Mooselight in Vermont" moose has already found a following.


“So we’re on our way back and we get to where we parked and what is standing there but a moose,” McKenna said. “It’s like we went out looking for moose and the moose came to us.”

Registration is required and McKenna stressed that spaces are filling quickly.

“One Wednesday is already booked up because it is a family of five that wants to go,” he said.

More information about “Moosin’” can be acquired by calling McKenna at 802-442-0476.

Revenues raised by Moosefest events will benefit area artists, youth art projects, and several arts organizations including the Park McCullough House, the Bennington Museum, and the OldCastle Theater Co.. MooseFest 2005 information is available at www.benningtonmoosefest.com.

Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or suebush123@adelphia.net.
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