VELCO turns 60, holds fundraiser

RUTLAND – Vermont Electric Power Company marks its 60th anniversary on Thursday, October 27, with a fundraiser for the Greater Rutland Makerspace. The event, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Vermont Farmers Food Center, will feature music, food and demonstrations by small-scale manufacturers along with a short presentation on VELCO’s past, present and future. Admission is $20 per person. Proceeds will go to an effort, backed by Rutland Economic Development Corp., to open a maker space on Quality Lane.

From left, Terry Skorstad of Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, Rich Tulikangas of the board of Vermont Afterschool and Cheryl Thalmann of UVM Medical Center enjoy the recent networking event at the Hilton.

Hilton marks 40th, in 70’s style

BURLINGTON — The Hilton Burlington and Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce teamed up for a Sept. 21 ’70s Throwback Party, on the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Hilton Burlington. disco balls, mood rings, disco dancing, foods from Pringles and Bugles to Jell-o molds, and a ’70s attire contest added to the retro feel of the evening. “It’s 40 years today for the hotel,” said Jeff Webb, general manager at Hilton Burlington. “It started out as a Radisson, and had a relatively short stint as a Windham Hotel.

Phoenix Books will use its new van to expand its participation in book fairs and other off-site events.

Phoenix Books eyes off-site events

There is a brand-new van parked in front of Phoenix Books in Essex Junction, and it is all decked out in colorful decals identifying it as the property of the store. If customers can’t come to their stores, in Burlington, Essex, Rutland and Chester, then maybe the books can still get to customers. “There is an untapped market for increased sales to off-site customers, and we need a vehicle to get the books to those customers — and those customers need to know who is bringing them their books,” said owner Mike DeSanto. Phoenix Books intends to capitalize on a potential to compete in school book fairs, business-to-business relationships, off-site author events, supporting authors at their speaking engagements and creating mobile bookstores for large community events. The van will allow Phoenix to do this in the market areas served by all four locations.

New series highlights state’s tech industry

BURLINGTON — Vermont’s booming technology sector will get a boost this month from a new weeklong series of events. Burlington’s inaugural Innovation Week, from Oct. 14 to 22, will feature programs highlighting the vibrant energy of the creative technology sector in the Queen City and throughout the state. Innovation Week will be bookended by Hack VT, a 24-hour hackathon during which competitors build apps to assist with state progress, and Vermont Tech Jam, a two-day job fair and tech expo that showcases Vermont employers and products, along with student projects. The Innovation Week schedule between Hack VT and Vermont Tech Jam features several spotlight presentations in numerous areas, from food, beverage and agriculture to energy efficiency, health care and software technology.

Valerie Brosseau (center), executive director of ANEW Place, referees a “throw down” during her agency’s Rock Paper Scissors Tournament at Burlington International Airport last month. Eventual champ Ray Racine, of Hallam-ICS in South Burlington, is in the red T-shirt at left.

‘Sky’s the limit’ for local events at Burlington’s airport

BURLINGTON — Mention Burlington International Airport and most people’s initial thoughts likely involve travel — coming and going. Whether for vacation, business trips or picking up visiting family or business colleagues, the airport is typically about arrivals and departures. Increasingly, though, BTV is hosting opportunities for Vermonters to come to the airport and stay a while — to do business, learn, celebrate, or support local causes. BTV has become a popular venue for a wide variety of events, ranging from conferences, trade shows and charity fundraisers to live music and even weddings. And Gene Richards, BTV’s director of aviation, loves it.

Ryan Blanchard, a furniture maker at ShackletonThomas, makes a rolling pin out of maple wood at the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event in Bridgewater on Friday.

Woodworking event returns to ShackletonThomas

BRIDGEWATER — From Colonial times to today, woodworkers have been supported and celebrated throughout the Northeast, notably in Vermont. The evolution of hand tools has been gradual through the generations of artisans. Friday, Oct. 7, kicked off a two-day Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event hosted by ShackletonThomas in Bridgewater. On Oct.

From left, Matt Murawski and Zac Freeman pose for a photo with Freeman's dog, Roux. Murawski,  Freeman and Shane Niles (not pictured) are bringing three new events to central Vermont on Oct. 8.

Brew fest, races team up for big impact

RANDOLPH — Three new events, including the first Central Vermont Brew Fest, are coming to the Randolph region Oct. 8. Organizers hope that holding the brew fest and two new races on the same day will draw a big crowd to central Vermont and bring lots of customers to local businesses. Shane Niles, president and co-owner of One Main Tap & Grill, is leading the effort behind the brew fest; Zac Freeman is organizing the Braintree 5 Gravel Grinder, a 35-mile dirt-road bicycle race; and Matt Murawski is heading up the Vermont Foliage 15, a 15-kilometer running race with a shorter 5k option. The brew fest is from 2 to 8 p.m., the Gravel Grinder starts at 11:30 a.m. and the Foliage 15 kicks off at 1 p.m.
The brew fest, a 21-and-over event, offers free parking and has Vermont bands playing throughout the day.

Amy Kirschner (left), coordinator of VBSR Marketplace, networks with Cielo Mendoza of Johnson Law Group during VBSR’s recent event at Nathaniel Group, Inc., in Vergennes.

Nathaniel Group hosts VBSR Get-Together in Vergennes

VERGENNES — Nathaniel Group, Inc. (NGI) hosted the September networking “Get-Together” for members and guests of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, at its headquarters in Vergennes. Event sponsors included Go! Vermont, Johnson Law Group, Let’s Grow Kids, Merritt & Merritt, SunCommon, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Vermont Trophy and Engraving, and Vermont Web Marking Summit/Curve Trends Marketing. Joel Melnick, president at NGI, called the date of the event a happy coincidence. “As it turns out, today marks our 29th anniversary,” he said.

Manufacturing Day is October 7

The fifth annual National Manufacturing Day is scheduled for October 7, and October is Manufacturing Month in Vermont, as officially proclaimed by Governor Peter Shumlin on August 4. At last year’s Manufacturing Day, thousands of manufacturers across the U.S. opened their doors to guests in a coordinated effort to help illustrate what modern manufacturing means and inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Local celebrations may feature open houses, public tours and career- and education-related activities designed to increase public awareness of manufacturing. In addition to the day-long national celebration on Oct. 7, Vermont participants are encouraged to shine their own spotlight on manufacturing by hosting events throughout the month of October and to register their events for free on the national website, www.mfgday.com, for easy discovery by members of the public.

Mike Reilly Photo

Party highlights new Garden Barn

ESSEX JUNCTION — A perfect summer evening set the tone for celebration and networking when The Barns at Lang Farm hosted a Summer Garden Party on Aug. 18 in Essex Junction. The event served as a networking event offered by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (LCRCC). Event sponsors included Comcast Business, Farrell Distributing and Top Hat Entertainment. LCRCC members and guests were treated with appetizers from Catering By Dale and craft beers from Zero Gravity.