Arts, Dining & Entertainment

Bookstock Literary Festival gathers in Woodstock for three-day festival

By Stephen Seitz

WOODSTOCK – Visitors from all over are expected to descend on the Woodstock Green July 24-26 for the annual Bookstock Literary Festival. Book sales begin at 9 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. on July 24, opening day. Food and exhibitor tents will be open on the Green from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the same hours on Saturday. On Sunday, hours are from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Every year, readers, writers, publishers, booksellers and crafters come together for three days to celebrate the art of the book. Besides presentations by authors and performers, activities include food, book signings, a large used book sale, and even a poetry walk at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park nearby.

More than 25 authors, small publishers and craftspeople will be under the vendors’ tent.

Bookstock’s executive director, Ron Miller, said a broad range of talent would be represented this year.

“We’ve brought together more than 40 authors, poets, a couple of musicians, a photographer and a filmmaker,” he said. “We don’t have any great stars, but we have some really great regional authors and people doing a lot of interesting things. People come to Woodstock from all around the Upper Valley, and beyond. We get visitors from Florida, New Jersey, other places, who time their visits to Vermont so they can attend the festival.”

Events will take place at the Town Hall Theatre, the public library, the Historical Society, the ArtisTree collective on Main Street, and the North Universalist Chapel Society on Church Street.

Jay Craven, of the Northeast Kingdom’s Kingdom County Productions, will be bringing his latest film.

Craven “worked with students at Marlboro College and other colleges,” said Miller. “The young people made the film in many ways, with some supervision. It was a great educational experience, and Jay will describe how that worked. The film is called “Peter and John.” It was shot in Nantucket, based on a short story and takes place after the Civil War. It’s a beautiful film.”

Peter and John will be shown Sunday, July 26 at 2:30 p.m., in the town hall theatre.

A popular New York City nightclub singer will kick events off events on Friday, July 24, at the town hall theatre at 8 p.m. Daryl Sherman will be singing popular standards from the “American Songbook” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“We’re very excited,” Miller said. “She’s a big hit in New York City. She plays in clubs, and the New Yorker just did a little blurb on her. She’ll be singing standards from the Tin Pan Alley era. The connection we’re making to literature is by calling it ‘The Poets of Tin Pan Alley,’ and looking at their lyrics. That should be a really fun show.”

Another highlight: former Vermont governor Jim Douglas will be discussing The Vermont Way, a memoir of his years in Montpelier leading America’s most politically blue state.

“He talks about being a Republican governor in the most liberal state in the country,” Miller said, “and what that experience was like. Everybody likes him. He’s very personable. Our program committee says he’s a delight to work with. He’s very responsive.”

There will be something for the children, as well. The Yankee Bookshop will be holding a treasure hunt featuring the mysterious and well hidden Waldo.

“They hold the ‘Where’s Waldo’ hunt every year,” said Miller. “Little Waldo figures will be hiding in about 30 stores and other locations around the village. Kids can go all around the village and find them. When you find them, you can take them back to Yankee Bookshop, hand in your card, and win a prize.”

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