Fried pollock with sides of slaw and macaroni salad
The lilacs are in glorious full bloom here in Washington County, adding great gobs of color to the roadside scene as I tooled my way to Salem on Friday and the Knights of Columbus’ annual “Moby Dick” fish fry.
As you can see from the photo, the portions were more than generous for the $9 admission. Pollock was fried to perfection in a kitchen truck outside Holy Cross Church. The parish ladies set out a buffet of sides, including at least five interpretations of cole slaw and two macaroni salads, one with hard-boiled egg, the other without. I couldn’t help myself: I had two servings. And then dessert, a brownie with vanilla ice cream.
Was there a rule that everyone in the basement dining hall had to be retirement age? Where were all the young people? Apparently, anyone under 70 has no idea where the good food is. I had a blast introducing myself as the new guy in town and chatting up the longtime residents.
Owner Joe Messina give an evening tour of the vineyards
Then it was a 25 mile drive in the pickup to Amorici Vineyards in Valley Falls and the kickoff event for the annual Cambridge hot air balloon festival in June. For the bargain price of $10 you got three glasses of wine from a choice of the vineyard’s product, plus an all-you-can-eat buffet of cheese, hors d’ouevres and desserts. I particularly liked the chocolate mousse-in-a-cup. I took home a bottle of Amorici’s excellent dry Riesling, as well as some rose and a bottle of “apple honey port.”
Who knew they were making wine in Washington County?
This is an important week coming up in these parts as voters across New York will be giving thumbs up or thumbs down to local school budgets. Here in Cambridge, the school district is seeking approval of an $18.8 million budget, up $1.5 million, one of the largest increases in the area. The district wants to add five teaching positions. The cost of health insurance is up $348,500 and pensions will cost an extra $324,000.
Get out your checkbooks, taxpayers.
Meanwhile, the federal budget “sequester” is making itself felt even here. Should the sequester continue, according to one report, Head Start services in New York State may be eliminated for as many as 4,300 children. In Washington County, Head Start has had to cut $201,370 from the budget.
Meanwhile, all kinds of things are happening in our town of Cambridge. Local Brownie Girl Scout Troop 3627 recently visited the Second Chance Animal Shelter to donate collars, food bowls, pet food and other items purchased with proceeds from their cookie sales. The girl scouts would like to thank everyone who bought cookies this year.
The Cambridge Food Pantry, on the first floor of handicap-accessible Embury United Methodist Church, will be open from 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday, and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays, “with few exceptions.”
Today is opening day of the Cambridge Farmer’s Market, which has moved back to its original location in Railroad Park across from the Cambridge Hotel. This is the largest farmer’s market in Washington County, open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the growing season.
You can win a hot air balloon ride, sponsored by the Cambridge Valley Chamber of Commerce, by making a purchase at any number of participating stores. In fact, I was entered after buying some decaf coffee at the food co-0p this week. The winning entry will be drawn by the balloon festival committee June 6. The winner should report to the chamber’s merchandise booth around 6 p.m., or well before the expected take off.
On Wednesday, May 22, from 4 to 6 p.m., kids can “climb in, on and through” a variety of trucks and cars that work in the community. Light food and refreshments will be served at the event in Bob Durrin Memorial Park.
Students at Cambridge Central School are engaged in a “read-a-thon” in which they raise a penny for every page they independently read, proceeds to go to the school’s “family in need” program. Battenkill Books has volunteered to partner with the students.
Green Bridge Gallery is slated to open its doors in early June in the forefront of VARAK Park. The space will feature works by regional artists. “My hope is for this gallery to be a wonderful addition to the Cambridge Village,” said gallery owner and artist Meaghan Wilkins.
The town of Greenwich will be celebrating its third-annual “The Battenkill runs Through It” beach and music festival on Saturday, June 1. There will be tasty ribs from Boneyard BBQ as well as entertainment by the Roadhouse Rhythm & Blues Band.
Meanwhile, the Battenkill Conservancy encourages those who appreciate the river (said to offer some of the best trout fishing in the U.S.) to take part in the “Give Back By taking Out” river cleanup today. Battenkill Valley Outdoors, located off Rte. 313 in Cambridge, will be making canoes available free of charge to all who participate and will shuttle groups to key locations.
Don’t forget the chicken and biscuit dinner scheduled for 5 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Salem Thursday May 23. Takeouts will be available: $10 for adults, $5 for children.
The Highland Quilters Guild was scheduled to meet yesterday at the Methodist Church in Argyle where Donna Skellie was to teach a class on “slash your stash.” Attendees were asked to bring “a bag of leftover fabric smaller than fat quarters, ruler, rotary cutter, and a clear shoe box or two.”
Friday, May 24, is the scheduled opening reception for a new art show, “In the Sanctuary of the Bird’s Nest,” sponsored by the Hoosick Art Guild at the 120gallery90 on Church Street in Hoosick Falls. The show in the 120 Gallery consists of “a series of transformed, abandoned birds’ nests from Hoosick Falls.”
Renssaelaer County Dairy Princess Lindsey McMahon reports attending an ice cream social at Vandderheyden Hall in Wynantskill. “At the event,” said McMahahon, “we manned a dairy trivia wheel that the kids took turns spinning in order to test their dairy knowledge.”
Things don’t look good for the proposed civic center in Glens Falls. The plan was to pool resources with other municipalities to fund the center. But Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond said he’s not sure what can be done to entice neighbors to join in and that the regionalization effort “doesn’t seem to be building a lot of momentum.”
Meanwhile, local Glens Falls film artist Michael Kazlo II was to open the world premier screening of his latest epic, “Cryptid,” this weekend at Jerry Aratare’s Cinematheque movie house on Main Street in South Glens Falls. The movie features a creature with 74 teeth, six eyes, two legs and “all stomach.”
“It’s about a creature created by a mad scientist for a shady bunch of government agents,” said Kazlo, who is also known for his vampire movie, “Blood Lust.”
At a recent meeting of the White Creek town board, town historian Marilyn Robinson reported on past activities of the Ku Klux Klan in the area. She said they “burned crosses, broke windows and frightened Catholics from attending church services.”
Robinson also noted that softball season will start Friday night.
Finally, congratulations to the Arlington Middle School Robotics Team of Arlington, Vermont, for placing first at the 2013 Botball Regional Tournament for Robotics, hosted by NASA and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
This year’s theme, “The Mars Sample Return Mission,” challenged students to build and program two robots to collect samples on Mars for a return to Earth.
This edition of The News from Up North was culled from actual news reports in the Washington County area and is presented here for the enjoyment and edification of our readers. As always, stay alert and please drive carefully.