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Vermont Governor Tracks Moose In North BenningtonBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, May 10, 2005
North Bennington, Vt. – Moose-tracking drew over 500 Bennington region residents to the Bennington County Industrial Corp. building on May 10, and Vermont Gov. James Douglas was among the enthusiastic trackers.
|A papier-mache passenger sits atop Kimalie Wassick's "Driving Moose Daisy" statue.|
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Douglas joined those who followed an interior trail of black painted moose tracks and captured a first look at 56 artist-designed moose statues during a MooseFest 2005 Champagne and Hors D’oeuvre celebration. Beginning on May 15, the nearly life-sized fiberglass sculptures will find new homes along Bennington streets, the southern section of Route 7, and sites including the Bennington Museum and the Southern Vermont College campus.
Douglas arrived just in time for the event’s 5 p.m. kick-off. He expressed his support for the May through October festival sponsored by the Bennington Chamber of Commerce.
Vermont Gov. James Douglas arrives at moose preview party.
“This is about celebrating the spirit of community and celebrating the work of the artists,” Douglas said during an interview. “Bennington has a very vibrant arts community.”
Douglas noted the abundance of artists and crafters state-wide.
“I’m very proud of that,” he said.
Douglas mingled with event guests as he toured the moose display and later presided over a MooseFest ribbon-cutting ceremony. He was presented with a moose-adorned tie. State Rep. Mary A. Morrissey R-Bennington and state Sen. Richard W. Sears D-Bennington were also among the guests. Morrissey is a Moosefest organizer.
Artists and patrons alike “oohed” and “aahed” over each individual moose, and a feeling of excitement permeated every crevice of the BCIC first-floor party space.
Megan Brooks and Reed Fendler kept the bubbly flowing.
Several moose statues have already appeared on Bennington streets, in the town of Guilford, and at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier. Moose “Walter” served as the roadside greeter moose for the champagne celebration and the multi-hued statue generated at least one impulse traffic stop.
Rich Ryder of the town radio station WBTN, also known as “DJ Rich”, said a passerby from Kansas noticed “Walter” at his post and stopped to photograph the creature.
“He said ‘I’ve got to get a picture of this,’ and when he heard there was a whole moose event and that there were more moose, he thought it was great,” Ryder said. “This is a fantastic event. Other towns have done this; Pittsfield [Mass.] did the sheep and Manchester [Vt.] is doing the horses, but there’s just something
about the moose. They seem so approachable.”
Suzanne Little Stefanik's "Bennington Pride"
Artists seemed delighted to meet moose fans and talk about the design process. Rae Hart and Cynthia Taylor designed the Bennington Banner newspaper-sponsored “Tracks Through Time” statue. The sculpture features sepia-toned, black-and-white and color photographs. Creating the moose required “umpteen hours,” said Hart. “You end up switching things because something didn’t work out,” she said. “But I am very happy with it.”
Dan Turcotte said that designing “Wind Weaver” moose for its’ Apple Barn and Bakery sponsor required about 168 hours of work. Turcotte said he and Stephanie Calabro put almost 300 hours into creating “King Moose Uncommon” for its sponsor the Center for
“It took all winter,” said Calabro.
Pownal, Vt. artist Lucy McNulty designed “Anonymoose,” a toothy, wide-eyed, moose on skis. “This is quite an event,” she said.
Dana Rudolph and Ronda Jaffer created "Razzle Dazzle Moose."
Most of the moose statues will be sold during a live auction scheduled as part of an Oct. 29 MooseFest Gala. Information about Moosefest 2005 and a full listing of events is available at www.benningtonmoosefest.com.
Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.