Ancient stories, new stories, and roasting goats. Liars and old-timers, ancestors and harvest feasts. Singing with wide-open mouths, skipping, parading, dancing until the streets are full like pebbles on an alley, of maidens with flowing ribbons and hair and velvet dresses tightly bound with lattice-like bustiers. Radiating halos of gold and orange flowers, leaves of oak and aspen and willow circling the heads of a Harvest Mother and her round pregnant belly, a tiny blond fairy, eyes pulling, a straw boy impishly pinching his brother.
Goblets of wine and libations overflowing and spilling into the streets running with townspeople and aspen leaves and the falling of summer into winter, this one pivotal point of equal day and night.
In this week we celebrate balance. Of an ancient. A modern. Male and Female. Of old and new. Nature and technology. Of past and future. Of fertility and death. Of summer and winter and the delicious golden space in between.
This Week at Vinotok
The Botsie Spritzer Memorial Liar’s Contest: Thursday, September 19, 8 p.m., The Eldo, $10
The Eldo is transformed and community members gather to tell and hear tall tales, whoppers and adventure stories from the community with prizes for the best liar. Bring your tales of lusty Green Men and bawdy Maidens. Stretch it out, make it tall. See who our next representation of wild male nature will be. This is the night we welcome our new Green Man.
Community Feast: Friday, September 20, 5:30 p.m., 100 block of Elk, $20 in advance; $25 at the door; children under 12 $10
Vinotok hosts the farm to table Community Feast provided graciously by Mountain Oven. Enjoy all local, organic, fresh and seasonal food lovingly prepared with the skilled hands we’ve come to know. The menu (subject to change to seasonal availability) will include such delicacies as fresh garden salad, artisanal sourdough breads, roasted roots vegetables, assorted fermented vegetables, cider-braised beef and cabbage, pinto bean and Heirloom tomato chili, and fresh fruit cobbler. Montanya’s will provide seasonal drinks at a cash bar.
The evening begins at 5:30 p.m., with Marcie Telander, D.Div., performing the ancient, non-denominational Handfasting Ceremony where couples, families, friends, partners and the entire community join in sharing vows and promises of re-commitment for a healthy, transforming future.
The feasting begins right after the ceremony. Later, live music by local musicians follows (bring your musical instruments), and poetry and short story reading by local writers (bring your words). There will also be a wreath-making station.
This is a zero waste festival, so you must provide your own cup, plate, bowl and silverware. None will be provided. Dress warmly as this is an outdoor event. In case of inclement weather, protected space will be provided. Tickets are on sale at Rumors and the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum. Tickets do sell out so get them early.
Saturday, September 21, beginning at 5 p.m., free
Mumming by cast and crew 5 to 7:30 p.m. Elk Avenue and adjoining restaurants and pubs
Mumming is a dramatic tradition that finds its roots primarily in medieval England and Ireland.
The Vinotok Theatre Troupe, composed of community members, will mum the restaurants and pubs of Elk Avenue. They will perform a small “preview” of the bigger, and later, production, enticing guests of local establishments to join them in the streets for the feature presentation. As tradition dictates, both in medieval times and in Crested Butte, in exchange for their entertainment, mummers receive food and drink.
Trial of the Grump, 7:30 p.m. (ish). Elk Avenue in front of the Eldo
Here we see the true battle of the mumming plays of yore. Sir Hapless represents the encroachment of the industrial world and technology. Sir Hapless is both foolish and destructive and can also be very dangerous. To oppose Sir Hapless, the Dragon comes forth, a genderless character representing nature, deep earth, good fortune and everything wild. The dragon is powerful, unpredictable and fierce while also being very beautiful.
The two begin their frightful dual, until the Harvest Mother stops it. The Harvest Mother is Gaia, the mother of all, of the earth and all the deities. She is the symbol of fertility, and in the harvest season, of the earth’s bounty. She pronounces, “We cannot survive without balance in this world.” When the Harvest Mother talks, people listen.
Meanwhile, the Green Man is frolicking his way through the 12 maidens, representing the 12 months of the year. The Green Man is a promise—that spring and vegetation will return once again. He is the masculine energy to balance the Harvest Mother. The Green Man is virile, vivacious and lusty. But even the maidens can’t sustain the Green Man’s energy, and he is dying.
The Grump becomes the scapegoat. Reminiscent of the effigies of Eastern Europe burned on the boss man’s lawn as a rib, The Grump is stuffed with our own grumps, grievances and woes. The Grump, even though given a fair trial by the Magistrate who is representing justice and fairness, is sentenced to burn and with it the negative energy of the community.
Procession to the Four-way Stop and Bonfire 8:30 p.m. (ish), Elk Avenue to the Four-way Stop
The cast and crew lead the community down Elk Avenue to the Four-way Stop, The Grump in tow, to meet his demise. The bonfire and burning of The Grump will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. and put out by 10:30 p.m.
How to Participate
Bring your music, poetry and stories
Liar’s Night on Thursday, September 19 is the time to bring your tall tales and whoppers. But if you write poetry, short stories, essays, rants, or songs, or compose spoken word, we invite you to share your creativity at the Community Feast on Friday night, September 20, around the fire. At this time we also invite musicians of all kinds to bring their instruments for community jam sessions.
Children are invited to be Faeries and Straw Boys on the stage with the Harvest Mother during the street theatre production in front of the Eldo on Saturday. Dress your child up in a costume of the times and perch them on stage around the Harvest Mother for the show. We will provide adult parent supervisors who will be on the stage with the children.
In Slovenian traditions, effigies were burned on the boss man’s lawn as a rib. These effigies have morphed into The Grump, a symbol of what we want to release from the previous year—what has blocked us. It is giving to the flames our grievances, to make room for what we want in the new year.
Happy Vinotok, friends and neighbors.
For questions about Vinotok, contact Molly Murfee at 349-0947 or email@example.com.