By Tom Eastman
HAPPY GRADS, DADS, MOTORCYCLE AND BLUES Weekend, as mid-June get into full gear here in this vibrantly green, blossoming (and motorcycle rumbling) beautiful valley.
We join all in saluting this year's Kennett High and college grads and wish them all the best as they set sail into the unchartered waters of their young lives! The KHS Class of '17 graduates at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17.
That's also the day of this year's Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Auto Road Race. That follows what has already been a busy week for the "Road to the Sky," as General Manager Howie Wemyss and gang hosted motorcycles-only days on Monday and Thursday. Marketing Director Crispin Battles tells us there were big crowds, which comes as no surprise, given both days' great weather.
"It's been a great day today. Generally, it's been perfect weather," said Crispin Thursday afternoon, a 50-center of a blue-skied day.
June 17 is also the annual Minis On Top sunset meet and greet event on the auto road, as more than 200 Mini Coopers are expected to rally there for a drive followed by a cookout at the base. Honk if you love minis. For more, visit www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com.
FATHERS' PLAY: Fathers, meanwhile, will be duly feted on Father's Day, June 18, whether at backyard cookouts or lunches/dinners out on the town by their families. Many attractions such as Attitash/Wildcat, the Conway Scenic Railroad and Cranmore are offering special deals, so be sure to check them out so the dad in your life can lay for free with the purchase of a full-priced ticket. For more, visit www.visitwhitemountains.com.
BLUES: It's already been a fun week for live music and blues, given the MWV Riders' 10th annual Rally in the Valley, with live music at several venues earlier in the week and continuing for the end of the week today and tomorrow, with Swamp Dog at Horsefeathers at 4 p.m. Friday and the Dean Machine at Abenaki Trail Restaurant (also at 4 p.m.) Saturday.
Proceeds benefit the MWV Riders' trade scholarships. For more, visit www.rallyinthevalley.net.
Matt and the Barn Burners played at the Red Parka Pub in beautiful downtown Glen on Thursday as part of the Rally in the Valley. And, on Tuesday, in a non-bike event, the Parka hosted its annual wild and crazy Beach Party, which always transforms the popular venue into a slice of Hampton Beach or the Laguna Beach for one night only. Best beer belly, best tattoo, best bikini, best beach bod — you get the drift for the usual contests. We're sorry we do not have this year's winners, but we can always guess.
RED BLUES SEASON FINALE: Looking ahead to this Sunday, Father's Day, the RPP will close out its winter/spring Red Parka Pub Blues Series with what promises to be yet another stellar show by guitarist Bruce Marshall and smokin' hot blues harmonica legend James Montgomery. The show takes place during the totally civilized hours of 5:30 to 9 p.m., so we hope to see you there! For details, call (603) 383-4344 or visit www.redparkapub.com.
THAT BLUES SHOW will be a great way for local blues fans to end a rockin' blues weekend, as the 11th annual Maine Blues Festival (www.mainebluesfestival.com) returns to nearby Naples, Maine, for Father's Day weekend, June 16 through 18.
More than 50 Maine blues acts will play at 10 different venues, including blues cruises on the Songo Queen II, with Saturday being the busiest day and music beginning at noon and continuing well into the night. Music continues on Sunday with music once again beginning at noon.
Blues aficionado Roy "the Skiing DJ" Prescott of WMWV's Wednesday night "Blues Summit" show tells us that he and the WMWV will have a booth at Rick's Café and that he will be introducing some groups on the WMWV stage, so be sure to look for Roy, who does so much with his weekly program to keep the blues alive locally.
You gotta love the name of some of the blues bands at this year's festival: Trailer Trash, Neckbone, Poke Chop and the Other White Meats, Juke Joint Devils ... you get the idea. Other groups performing include Dr. Dann and the Brothers Blues Band, the Denny Breau Trio, the Downeast Soul Coalition and Mike James and the Blue Lions, to name a few.
Along with the White Mountain Blues and Boogie Festival (www.whitemountainboogie.com) that takes place in Thornton set for Aug. 18 through 20 at the August, the Maine Blues Festival is one of this writer's favorite musical events of the year. You run into many friends from the valley at both events, and both are just down-home, fun summer festivals to enjoy.
IN OTHER MUSICAL NEWS, Maine singer-songwriter David Mallett accompanied by bassist Mike Burd gave a wonderfully intimate Cold River Mini Radio Series concert at the Wildcat Inn and Tavern last Saturday.
Dave played many audience favorites, including his "Inch by Inch (the Garden Song)," and talked about his 10 years in Nashville in the early 1990s. Next up in the Mini Concert Series is Vanessa Trouble — stay tuned for details.
DON'T miss local psychic Sara Moore at the Theater in the Wood June 17, and looking ahead, be sure to head to the Farmstand Bed and Breakfast in Chocorua June 23 for the next in the Barn Series concerts, featuring the talented Celtic group, Croga (www.crogamusic.com). For tickets, visit www.thefarstand.net. Doors open at 6 p.m., an hour before showtime. Hosts Kimball and Neysa Packard note they will be debuting their new barn screen doors, along with a new people door. created by musician Peter Heimlich.
IN HAPPY BIRTHDAY greetings, we salute one and all, including: local personality George "Mountain Mouth" Cleveland (belated) June 15); Chrissy Guptill Geary, Susan Dugdale and Eugene Shannon (June 16); Noreen Medley (June 17); ever-fit trainer Alexis Jennifer Brochu, Tara Viscardi Egan and life coach Howard Stanten (June 18); globe-trotting travel guide Gayle Baker and Chuck Sutton (June 19); Executive Chef Rick Spencer of the Gibson Center (June 20); Elsie Limmer, Realtor Joy Tarbell and Donna Dawson (June 21); and Cindy Fowler Goslee (June 22).
HAPPY FIRST DAY of summer come June 21, as the solstice arrives at 12:24 a.m. Wednesday. After the long cold spring, we're ready — bring it on.