Celebrate Amherst Feature

By Nina Cass

Amherst Families and Children Celebrate Amherst

All area families were invited to attend the Celebrate Amherst River Fest on Saturday, September 12th. The glorious weather brought folks out from far and wide. There was mouth-watering food (bar-b-qued ribs! Yum!) and a street full of cheerful vendors from around the community. Hip Pocket entertained a happy dancin’ crowd behind the bank until the sun sank behind the Tomorrow River. It was a grand event. Area children were offered a unique opportunity to sample a variety of creative ventures at the Tomorrow River Youth Arts Festival. The Festival was held at the Lettie Jensen Community Center from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., with nine workshops lead by area artists, teachers, musicians, and specialists. The center was a beehive of activity, as children ages 3 through 12 navigated the workshops creating and learning new talents.

For the musically minded, Cara Dowsett and Laurie Low provided acoustic folk songs and dance, engaging the young ones with dulcimer and lyrics. Jillian and Todd Hornick opened the “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Room” and gave the children access to a variety of drums and percussion instruments. (Who doesn’t enjoy the lively satisfaction of a good strong beat?) Jen VanderLaan combined music and movement on the theater stage, showing the children, Pied Piper style, how to interpret music through dance.

Members of the Tomorrow River Community Charter School organized a marionette workshop in which the children fashioned whimsical dolls in the Waldorf tradition of natural materials that incite creative imagination. Celia Shogren set up a stamping “factory” where little artists experimented with a host of stamping mediums, allowing for all manner of personal expression.

Sharon Baumer led her groups in the production of a bead and rock sculpture menagerie. Chelsea Graham conducted a weaving session, in which patterns of found materials, evergreens, sticks, fleece, yarn, and such were patiently threaded into small hand held looms.

Eleonore Hebal provided an opportunity to create mandalas. Using paper patterns, natural materials, and paper cutouts, children displayed endless interpretations of the classic mandala design. All projects allowed the small artists to demonstrate their enormous ingenuity.

When the children and families were interviewed about the festival, all were pleased with their experiences. Annie Curley liked the music and movement because, “I got to put my legs up.”

Celebrate AmherstEloise Curley named her marionette, “Sonia.” Christee and Dane Curley reported that it was a “great day with lots of fun, neat crafts, organized and a great idea." Hollie Singer enjoyed the weaving because, "I have a sewing kit. I also cranked the ice cream maker 103 times!” Hazel Singer reported that she liked the drums best because, “they were loud.” Other parents and grandparents shared, “A wonderful event for kids, free and so well organized. Thanks to all!” “So many things to do, almost hard to get it all in.” Everyone left the event smiling and toting bags of precious projects.

Finally, no art show would be complete without an opportunity to experience the culinary arts. Vicki Vaughn set up an antique ice cream churn outdoors (It was a blessedly gorgeous day!) and participants were encouraged to crank the churn to “earn” a chance to create a sundae. It was a kaleidoscope of cool, confectionary delights.

The festival culminated with an hour performance by Truly Remarkable Loon. While spinning plates, juggling bean bag chairs, and unleashing “skunks,” he kept the audience in laughing tears with an endless stream of jokes and stories. In his incomparable style, Loon brought the house down with a squadron of flying monkeys soaring to the stage.


A hearty thank you goes out to all the workshop leaders and, the supervisors:

  • Rex Cass
  • Ria DiSalvo
  • Rhonda Garceau
  • Lara, Kristin, and Allyssa Pagel
  • Louise Pease
  • Cham Nusz
  • Marguerite Ramlow
  • Mark and Sandra Lynne Schmutzler
  • Lisa Waldoch
  • Patti and Wayne Orthwein.

All the TRYAF volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and creative experience for the participants. In addition, we owe our appreciation to Amherst’s Own Child Care and Jensen Center for co-sponsoring the project and the Jensen Community Center for providing the exceptional facility.

The Tomorrow River Business Association wishes to thank all of the contributors for their support of this year’s Celebrate Amherst River Fest. With their help, the whole day was a celebration of our community, our local talents and the richness of life on the Tomorrow River.

  • Alchemy Concrete, Inc
  • Ambrosias
  • Amherst Family Foods, Inc.
  • Amherst Inn
  • Amherst Machining
  • Amherst Marine
  • Amherst Telephone
  • Blenker Companies
  • Bootleggers
  • Nina Cass
  • Central Water Brewing Co
  • Club Orlow
  • Community Insurance
  • DivePoint
  • Falcon One Stop
  • First Merit
  • H.O.Wolding
  • Jacob Frederickson
  • Intl Bank of Amherst
  • Kraze Trucking
  • Magic Products
  • Mike Shoemaker - Shoemaker Electric
  • OK Hardware
  • Randy & Sandee Swanton
  • Sandra Lynne & Mark Schmutzler
  • Shirley Allen
  • Stepping Stone Spa
  • T&T Automotive
  • The Landmark
  • The Potato Plant
  • The Village Hive
  • Tomorrow River Lions Club
  • Tomorrow River BP
  • Tomorrow River Floral
  • Wendy Wolfe
  • Whitetail Lanes

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