Ferrisburgh news for Jul. 1

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh Day is back! A group of town residents and organizations have formed a committee to once again bring back Ferrisburgh Day after a break of several years.

Ferrisburgh Day celebrates our town’s history, culture, local talent, rural life and landscapes. The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 26, with events scheduled to take place all over town between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Events will be advertised on various digital and print media in order to encourage local residents, visitors and tourists to come and see what our town has to offer. The following groups are organizing Ferrisburgh Day, and will host open houses, workshops, crafts for sale, food to eat and live music: Ferrisburgh Central School; selectboard and Town Offices/Community Center; Ferrisburgh Volunteer Fire Department; Town Highway Department; Friends of the Union Meeting Hall; Ferrisburgh Historical Society; The Rokeby Museum; and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

The Planning Committee invites others to be an official participant in Ferrisburgh Day. Businesses and other groups can choose to participate on a level that works for their organization, whether it be special offers or an open house. The Planning Committee is also seeking donors to support marketing expenses. Official participants will receive a Ferrisburgh Day sign to put outside their business, which will also list all of the donors. Participating businesses will be listed on our Ferrisburgh Day participant list, which will be available to the public. Please contact the Planners for more information: Gail Blasius, [email protected]; Ashley LaFlam, [email protected]; Jean Richardson, [email protected].

Our area schools are actively preparing for fall 2021 with plans for recovery from the effects of COVID on the 2020-2021 school year. Ferrisburgh families and residents are encouraged to keep updates on these plans for recovery and also plans for other improvements to create a solid learning environment for our students. Community input is sought regarding the use of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funds. Information on these plans, in addition to a slide presentation and a community survey, can be found at

Rokeby Museum is open for the season so visitors can now explore the grounds, hiking trails and the permanent exhibition of “Free and Safe: The Underground Railroad in Vermont.” The museum’s exhibits, nine historic farm outbuildings, and trails are open daily from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., from mid-May to late October. In addition, Rokeby will hold several ongoing special museum days.

Rokeby Museum’s 2021 season exhibit explores the career of Rachel Robinson Elmer (1878–1919) and her early twentieth-century success as a professional illustrator.

Exhibiting artistic talent at an early age, she was at first trained by her parents and then, as a teenager, enrolled in a correspondence course to further her skills. She later studied at Goddard College and the Art Students League of New York. During that time, she began her career as an illustrator, producing drawings for her father’s books and works for periodicals such as Forest and Stream and The Youth Companion. From the turn of the twentieth century until her death in 1919, Rachael built a career producing commercial art for major publishers across the United States. From children’s books and advertisements to her popular postcard series, Rachael Robinson Elmer was a modern artist navigating the expanding profession of commercial art.

Rokeby’s “Second Sunday” series will be held on Sunday, July 11, at 1 p.m. Staff member Allison Gregory will discuss Rachel Robinson Elmer’s illustrations and the works of her associated authors in a presentation titled, “History Retold: Rachel Robinson Elmer, Fayette Barnum, and Gabrielle Jackson.” In addition, there will be a gallery talk on Robinson’s career held on Thursday, July 15, at 10 a.m.

The Ferrisburgh Historical Society and Rokeby Museum are partnering to host a public reading of Frederick Douglass’ famous speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” which he delivered on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, N.Y. Community members will be invited to each read a section of Douglass’ speech in commemoration of Douglass’ work as an abolitionist, orator, and visionary.

Readings such as this take place across the country on July 5, however this event is especially important to our community as Roland Robinson of Rokeby brought Douglass to Ferrisburgh in 1843 to speak at the site of the Union Meeting Hall. The public reading will be held on Monday, July 5, at 1 p.m. at Rokeby — contact the Rokeby Museum for alternate location if there is heavy rain. Also, there is a request for volunteers to assist with preparations for this event — if you are able to assist please contact Gail Blasius at [email protected].

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is pleased to announce that they are able to eliminate museum admission fees for the 2021 season, making it free for everyone to visit. The museum will be open May 22 to Oct. 17, seven days a week, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. To ensure easy access and safety for all, the museum experience will be entirely outside with self-guided tour options for guests to explore the three-acre campus. The indoor galleries will remain closed for this season. Visit for more information on how to best enjoy the LCMM this summer.

The Bixby Library is in full swing for the summer and ready to provide a wide range of services for our community. Visit the Bixby website to learn of the many July events such as book clubs for adults and the children’s story times: Events such as the outside story time at the Bandstand on Wednesday, July 7, at 10:30 a.m. will be great fun for the children. Also note that there is a sleepover for stuffed animals on Friday, July 9 — children can drop off their favorite stuffed animal for the party and on the next day view a video of the fun had by all the stuffed animals at their own sleepover.

On Tuesday, July 6, at 11 a.m.–noon, Jerry Schneider, an expert naturalist, will present about “local pollinators” such as bees, bats, hummingbirds, and butterflies, all who help pollinate our orchards, gardens, and forests. Children will learn how to build and maintain habitats that help our pollinator populations. Also, attendees will be able to create tee-shirts with designs using bats and butterflies and other pollinator figures. Note that tee shirts will be available for purchase or bring your own.

On Tuesday, July 20, 3:30–4:30 p.m., in collaboration with the Bixby Library in Vergennes, Rokeby Museum is offering a summer storytime and activity at the museum. Selected books will be geared to elementary-age children but all are welcome to join. Weather permitting, the stories will be read outside among the historic farm buildings. It is suggested that families bring blankets and/or chairs. No pre-registration is required.

Rokeby’s Youth Curator for a Day program will be held on Thursday, July 22, 9 a.m.–noon. This is a great opportunity for youth who are interested in history or museums to learn how exhibits are created with a look behind the scenes of a museum. Youth can examine Rokeby’s collection of 18th century objects and will learn to tell a historical story by creating their own exhibit. The session is for kids ages 10–14 years, with a fee of $35 members/$50 nonmembers. Call 877-3406 or email [email protected] for more information.

Rokeby is holding a cemetery care workshop on Saturday, July 17, 9–10:30 a.m. at the Old Quaker Cemetery on Robinson Road. This event, titled “The Dos and Don’ts of Headstone Cleaning,” is a great activity for youth to learn about local history. Rokeby Director Lindsay Varner will lead the demonstration about methods for cleaning headstones to ensure their longevity. There is a fee of $10, which includes cleaning supplies to take with you. To register, email [email protected].

Note: We are always interested in including a variety of Ferrisburgh-related news in this column, so if you have events that would be of interest, contact Sally Kerschner at [email protected]. You are also able to access these columns and other information about Ferrisburgh news and events by viewing the Ferrisburgh town website at

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