A Celebration of Charlotte

Sevi Burget Foster spent time interviewing participants of the fundraiser about The Charlotte News.

On Sunday, May 5, Philo Ridge Farm hosted a family-friendly fundraiser for The Charlotte News. That is, not The Citizen, as Vince Crockenberg, president of the board, made clear.

“We are not this paper,” he told the sizable crowd, holding up the latest edition of the for-profit paper, The Citizen. “We are this paper,” he said, waving the colorful front cover of the May 2 issue of the paper.

The event was more than a fundraiser; it was a love song to local. Philo Ridge gave farm tours and catered, giving up their chic veranda for stuffed buns, meatballs and colorful crudités. “There’s so much diversity in what they’re doing here,” Suzanne Lourie commented. Her daughter, Isabelle, works at Philo Ridge. “And, it’s close!” The farm is extending its hours, so it will be open seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The Beer Glass Trio performed live music, their name a composite of the three members’ names: Julia Beerworth (Beer), Joshua Glass (Glass) and Tim Swanson (Trio). Formed in 2010, Joshua Glass remembers that the musicians “combined our force into a supergroup of superfriends.”

Shelburne Tap House, which will be opening its expansion, the Charlotte Tap House, this August in the former Wildflower Farm property off of Route 7, kept the demanding masses hydrated. Their selection ranged from beer to juice boxes.

Along with the juice, the younger demographic kept busy with the kids’ table, designing their own front pages for The Charlotte News. One eager participant, who operates under the alias “Woob,” drew over 10 covers. All at the table seemed to be having a good time. Charlie said his favorite part of the event was “running around in the field.” Charlotte’s favorite part was the Philo Ridge food. And Julie declined to name a favorite part but threatened to write a report on me, writing a report.

The threat is plausible. In Vince’s speech, he mentioned that of the 165 writers contributing to The Charlotte News this past year, 17 were from Charlotte Central School. In fact, the CCS Journalism Club wrote appreciations about their mothers published in the last issue.

Farmer Dave Quickel is one of the contributing writers. He raffled off a CSA share to his business, Stony Loam Farm, to support The Charlotte News. “It’s a great paper,” he says. “It’s got that hometown feel.”

The News board is committed to covering more local news, and that means the paper needs more writers to work on assignment covering local news and events. All of the donations at the event have been put toward hiring those new writers.

Bob, who was on his way to “buy a beer and make a donation,” appreciates that the paper comes free. He has lived in Charlotte for less than a year. Lisa Crispin enjoys reading the Selectboard coverage. “It’s really great to have that kind of insight,” she says.

Nearly everybody said that they like the photography. Laura loves Katherine Arthaud’s book reviews. Laurie Thompson likes the variety in the paper. John Limanek appreciates that “it doesn’t seem to always be leaning one way.” And they both enjoy reading Edd Merritt’s columns.

All in all, Vince didn’t need to spell out the difference between The Citizen and The Charlotte News. Everybody had their own reasons they chose to read The Charlotte News. It’s why they were there, apart from the food, music and beer. Everyone came to support the oldest nonprofit community newspaper in Vermont. Their donations ensured that The Charlotte News will continue on its path to its ultimate goal: being the best community newspaper in Vermont.

Sevi is a senior at Vermont Commons School and an intern at The Charlotte News