A belated thank you from the fall     

    Happy Winter Solstice!  ‘Tis the season to be grateful and so I want to send a long overdue thank you to all who made and make Vinotok happen every year.
    While my mother would be thoroughly embarrassed for my tardiness, it is perhaps worthy of commentary on its own merit.  Here we are constantly busy – running from job to job and task to task.  Time flies in Paradise, even as we beg for some glorious moments to stand still.
    And so, the contemplative darkness the Winter Solstice brings reminds us to stop. And be thankful.  For all the people in our lives who make them easier and brighter when times get tough or we are overwhelmed.   Three months ago we gathered together around an astounding fire, honoring light and life, death and rebirth, cycles and community.  That fire, in essence, was in preparation for this very moment – so that we do remember that the sun does always return, dark days begin to become sunnier, and we’re all neighbors and friends and in this big theatrical shindig called life together.
    In my roles with Vinotok I am constantly amazed at the absolute dedication, creativity and energy that drives this festival.  People do not participate to gain recognition.  Not a single person is paid for the thousands of cumulative hours it takes to put it on.  People offer their talents and commodities gladly and without question.  Truly, it is the entire community that contributes to Vinotok – because of passion and love towards honoring the swells of the seasons and each other (and, ok, brazenly letting our hair down).  As such, Vinotok emerges as one of the most authentic, grass-roots, mind-blowing, significant, bonding, tear-jerkingly beautiful, outrageous, fun festivals I know of.
    Even a earth based festival run by a bunch of free-natured freaks needs money for ordinary things like permits and insurance, and so first we thank the Bed and Breakfast District, Elizabeth Anne Bed and Breakfast, the Ruby of Crested Butte, Purple Mountain Bed and Breakfast, Brick Oven Pizza, Pitas in Paradise, Donitas, the Dogwood Cocktail Cabin, the Last Seep Bar and Grill and Ryce Asian Bistro.  
    Second I want to give a deep gracious bow to the Core Vinotok Council – the movers, shakers, thinkers, doers and inspirationalists that put this wild thing together.  To Godmother, Seer, Guide, Intuition Expert and Wise Woman Marcie Telander; Small Cast Director, Supreme Town Liaisonn and Right Hand Woman Denise Reinert; Feast Masters Kevin and Jenny McGruther; Stage Manager JJ. Reimer; Decoration Queen Nancy Wicks; Liar’s Night Wenches Extraordinaire and Supreme Spirit Watchers Gail Bartow and Dawne Belloise; Head Maidens Theresa Henry and Jamie Sibulkin; Head Torchbearers Roman Kolojedge and Mark Schweisow; Fire Crew Wizards and Green Men Brian McClain and J.W. Smith; Vinotok Fire Chief Bob Wojtalik; Town Crier and Earth Drummer Jackson Melnick; Faerie Supervisor Kami Garvy; Drum Wrangler Jen Robinson; Costume Designers Sharon Reimer and Blair Neely; Grump Creator Joe Bob Merritt; Grump Coordinator Krista Powers; Face Painter Dawne Horne, and Sound and Light Master “Two Stars.”
    To the Cast and Crew of the Vinotok Theatre Troupe, who more than earn their share of free libations through countless hours of volunteer work.  To Storytellers Adele Bachman and Jim “Deli” Schmidt, Harvest Mother Sarah Moore, Magistrate Peter Bogardus, Dragon Bekah Hulseman, Knight Zach Matthias, Leper Moss Wagner and of course the ever virile and vivacious Green Man Karl Plembeck. To the lovely Maidens Ann Moore, Kalie Bishop, Kat Sauter, Kerry Curtis, Stacey Straub, Emilie Winslow, Angela Firoetti, Nikki O’Connor, Molly Long, Alex Pogue, Brandi Withers, Jennifer Hodge and Cayla Vidmar.  Flagbearers Marie Millington, Katie Penfield, Derek See, Emily Goughary, Alix Kline, Green Man William Conoley, Trumpeter Greg Pettys, Sean Matusewicz and Rita Flemming.  Strong and fearless Torchbearers Chad Reich, Jake Perlmuter, Jeremy Wagner, Carlos Velado, Mark Robbins, Mike Leoni, Brian Smith, Jason Redden, Rafael and Mike Greene. The Small Cast Players Rich Driscoll, Kyle Ryan, Jay Osborn, Cayla Vidmar, Roxana, Marie Millington, Timbre Kegermann and Heather Ardis.  Drummers Layne Ludwig, Mark Malcuit, Jeremy, Mike, Chip and Geoff.  Firespinners Erica Fitzgerald, Chris Sullivan, Dickie Brown, Sharon Reimer and Calvin.  The ever applaudable Fire Crew of Green Man Elliot Stern, Mark Phwah, Shane Neidert and Jeffro.  To the crew of All Things Grump-Like Jeff Clark, Luke Ventura, Matt Ventura, Bryson Darvel, Chuck at Western Slope Connection, Craig Burbank and Ben Eaton.  Belly Dancers Marie Del Vecchio and crew.
    To all the restaurants and pubs who open their doors so their customers can experience the Vinotok Mumming Play.  To the businesses and people who lend us flatbeds, tools, cauldrons, barricades, gift certificates, promotion, food, space libations, talent and time: Mask Maker Joe Peterson; Big Iron Tattoo, Annette Akelson, Mikey’s Pizza, Mountain Spirits, Crested Butte Farmer’s Market, Ryan Loughlin and Colorado Barnwood, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, the Alpengardener, Rocky Mountain Trees, Misty Mountain Two, Teocali Tamale, Ginger Cafe, Camp 4 Coffee, Majestic Movie Theatre, the Sunflower, the Eldo, Bill and Marcy Stamm, Blue Moon Books, Rumors Coffee House, Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, the Crested Butte News, KBUT, Beth Buehler and the Tourism Association, Alan Bernholtz, Dan Morse, Kimberly Metch, Depot Caretakers Gail and Andy Sovick.  To the Marshals Office, Fire Department, Crested Butte Town Offices, Town Council, the Parks and Rec Department, Mountain Express, Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce, Radio Shack, Gunnison Arts Center and Gothic Mountain Waste Solutions.
    And to all of you who brought your music, your poetry, your storytelling.  To the Mood Makers and Street Dancers, Straw Boys and Faeries, and to each and every one of you that came out and put your own unique energy into this Greatest Little Festival On Earth.  And if you’ve never experienced the wonder of Vinotok – mark your calenders for the Fall Equinox weekend in September.  We do it every year.  Phenomenal.  Truly.
    Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Enjoy the Light…
    Molly Murfee
    Vinotok Conductor and Mojo Mama

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