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Cat video festival to offer all-ages entertainment at THT

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of family, friends and food. But what happens when you’re stuffed to the brim and have run out of things to say to your long lost relatives? Honestly, most of us would rather ditch the formalities, plop on the couch and surf the web. And what does surfing always boil down to? Cat videos. Don’t worry your not alone; in fact, the Town Hall Theater and Homeward Bound have had so much success with their annual Cat Video Festival, they’re hosting another festival for the third year on Saturday, Nov. 26.
“We are happy to be partnering with the Town Hall Theater on this event again,” said Hannah Manley, Homeward Bound’s Director of Development. “We think it’s the perfect way to celebrate cats and offer local families a fun, low-cost activity during the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Showtimes will be at 2 and 5 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10, $5 for students. Fifty percent of proceeds benefit Homeward Bound.
Three years ago, the idea sparked when Haley Rice, Town Hall Theater’s operations manager and festival producer, met Jessica Danyow, Executive Director at Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society. Rice and Danyow met at a Chamber event at the theater. “We had a hole in the schedule in September, and I had heard about a Cat Video Festival in North Carolina,” Rice explained. When Rice met Danyow, she immediately pitched the idea and it all came together.
“It’s rare that a community gets together to celebrate fantastic cats,” said Rice, who adopted her own two cats (Lolli and Tootsie) after the 2012 festival. “Cats aren’t portable… and there are no ‘cat-parks,’ so the only way to share them is on the internet.”
“The show fits all different ages,” said Danyow. “The clips are short so just wait a minute and something will strike a chord.”
The original Internet Cat Video Festival launched in 2012 thought the Walker Art Center in Minnesota. “The live event gathers fellow feline fanatics to watch a curated collection of cat clips ? from six second Vine videos to short films and everything in between ? in a social environment,” reads the Walker Art Center explanation.
The Town Hall Theater and Homeward Bound license the reel from Walker Art Center and clip the showtime to a family-friendly 60 minutes with 79 cat videos.
Last year’s fest was a sell-out success, raising nearly $3,000 for Homeward Bound and Town Hall Theater. “This year’s video fest is a giggle-inducing mix of old favorites and new classics, suitable for everyone,” said Rice. “We all need to get out of the house after Thanksgiving, whether to work off the turkey or to stave off boredom. This is the perfect event for the post-Thanksgiving doldrums because it’s for a good cause, it’s reasonably priced, and cats are hilarious.”
Get ready for some real-good belly laughs, which, by-the-by, are worth an estimated 50 calories burned, said Manley. “Come and laugh your way to a better you,” joked Rice.
Besides the hour of entertainment, a cat-themed quilt made by Sharon Walker of Shelburne (no relation to the Walker Art Center) will be raffled off at 5 p.m. Walker is a volunteer and fosters cats and kittens for Homeward Bound. There will also be two adoptable cats at both showings for audience members to meet. Danyow reports that the Middlebury shelter has taken in 534 cats and kittens this year; they have adopted out 668; and still have 110 cats and kittens on (site or in foster care) who need forever homes.
Through the month of November, Homeward Bound is having a $9 special on senior cats (over 9 years old) ? normally the adoption fee for a cat is $90.
Don’t miss this year’s event, it might be the last. “Next year there will be no Cat Video Festival from Walker,” said Rice. “So, we will take the festival to the dogs.” Stay tuned…
Info and tickets at www.townhalltheater.org, (802) 382-9222, at the THT box office, or at the door.

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