by Ashley Witzenberger
The first weekend in May has grown into quite the time to be in Montpelier. Each year, this weekend is host to several fun events in the capital city, many taking place outside, giving folks a chance to enjoy lovely spring weather with friends, family and neighbors. While you are downtown, stop in our specialty shops, and if the weather is nice, there will be outdoor seating at many of the amazing restaurants.
This year, on May 6 and 7, Montpelier will once again be bustling with multiple events taking place all over the city. Friday, May 6, Spring Art Walk kicks-off the festivities from 4 to 6 p.m. Take a stroll through downtown Montpelier venues as stores turn into art galleries for the evening. The theme is maple and art walkers will enjoy locally made maple treats in many venues. Look for Art Walk guide books in stores the week of May 2.
Also on Friday, May 6, you will have a chance to support the good work of the Montpelier Rotary with the Mud Season Charity Raffle at 7 p.m. at the Central Vermont Civic Center.
You will want to fuel up a busy day on Saturday, May 7 at one of two breakfasts happening in town including the All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast hosted by the Kiwanis Club at the Boutwell Masonic Center, 7 to 11 a.m. Tickets are available at the door with any Kiwanian, $7/adults and children under 12/$4. The money enables the organization to continue funding for important programs and community service for children.
Do you have a sweet tooth? You can support the Orchard Valley Waldorf School’s 10th Annual Sweet ‘N Savory Pie Breakfast happening at 8:30 a.m. at the Trinity United Methodist where you will find mouth-watering treats and something for everyone.
Start digging out those old bikes you never ride, clean ’em up, and bring ‘em down to Onion River Sports for the annual Bike Swap on Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to noon. Find great bikes for the whole family at bargain prices. The Onion River Sports staff will be on hand to help you choose the perfect new-to-you bike from the HUNDREDS of bicycles in the Onion River Sports parking lot. Plan to show up early — the best bikes go first, and the line usually starts sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m.
Ride your new bike over to the opening day of the Capital City Farmers’ Market where you’ll find a full marketplace of artisanal goat and cow cheeses, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, maple syrup, flowers, vegetable and flower starts and crafts, plus much more. Cyclists can drop off their bicycle, or stroller, at the first ever Bike Valet on State Street by the farmers’ market. Volunteers from the Montpelier Bike Advisory Committee will take care of your bicycle while you enjoy events, shopping, the market or lunch. When you are done, return to the Bike Valet with your claim ticket and pick up your bicycle, it’s that simple! Leave your car at home.
While you are on State Street, stop by Montpelier Alive’s Green Up Day table and grab trash bags, gloves and a coupon sheet good for many goodies around town on Green Up Day. Green Up Volunteers will be assigned an area for clean up in the city and trash can be picked up any time over the weekend. Leave your trash bags curbside within city limits and the wonderful crew from the department of public works will pick up bags on Monday morning.
You won’t want to miss two new events this year. One is Yoga on State Street. Have you ever wanted to do yoga on State Street? This is your chance to join a free, family-friendly event celebrating health and wellness in the community and raising money for Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. The event takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with a raffle at noon all on State Street between Main and Elm.
Also new this year is the Capital City Classic Ultimate Tournament. On Saturday, May 7 and Sunday May 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Montpelier High School, you can enjoy watching ultimate Frisbee teams from around New England as they gather to compete for the tournament title. Open teams will play on Saturday and girls teams on Sunday and a concession stand and bouncy house will be open on site.
End your Saturday by celebrating Three Penny Taproom’s 7th anniversary at Montbeerlier, featuring live music, a beer garden, and rare and special cask beer from 3 to 7 p.m.
Looking for some more culture? Head over to Lost Nation Theater to enjoy “Hairspray,” the big, bold, Broadway musical about one girl’s passionate dream to dance. Set in Baltimore in 1962, this show is piled high with laughter, romance and deliriously tuneful, soulful songs. “Hairspray” runs April 21 to May 8, Thursdays through Sundays.
Please be aware that both State Street, between Elm and Main, as well as Langdon Street will be closed the morning of Saturday, May 7 to host events. Have no fear; there will be plenty of parking behind City Hall and Bear Pond Books, in the parking lot behind Positive Pie, along Main and East State Streets and the lower part of State Street and behind Christ Church. There is also parking in the Department of Labor parking lot on weekends. All downtown parking will reopen at 1 p.m.
The author is the executive director of Montpelier Alive.