Since the very beginning, this time of year, in this part of the world, has been beset by one over-riding concern:  Will there be enough food to last?

On Monday, Dec. 30, your Altamont Free Library will do justice to this theme by hosting two programs where cooking and eating take center stage.

In the afternoon, starting at 3 p.m., we’ll be sponsoring Junior Iron Chef. Kids will be asked to join together in pairs, and create a dish that includes a mystery ingredient. This couldn’t be anything but fun. Call or visit the library to reserve your spot.

And three hours later, at 6 p.m., we’ll blow the starting whistle (something like a police whistle) on our very first ever Dinner Theater Pot Luck.  It’s an offshoot of our so successful Pot Luck Around the World series; but this time we’ll be headed for Chicago in the Roaring 20s for a murder mystery dinner combination plate.  Sign up at the library if you just want  to eat and watch, or if you’d like a speaking part.  The starting gun goes off at 6 p.m. And a more sensational gun?  Come and see.  And eat.

Special times

The library will be closing at 3 p.m. in the afternoon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  And we’ll be closed all day on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Once upon a time

Celebrate the rich storytelling tradition of Upstate New York with tales and folklore spanning New York State from the Hudson Valley all the way to the Adirondack Mountains.  Watch and listen to Adam on Friday, Dec. 20 at 4 p.m.

 

The Enterprise — James E. Gardner

On track for the library: Kevin Efaw, the food and beverage director at The Cider House restaurant and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has created a gingerbread replica of the Altamont Free Library, once a train station, is five feet long. It is roofed with over 630 York Peppermint Pattie shingles, topped with a cupola built of Kit Kats. Decorations, including coconut snow and doughnut train wheels, were completed by Dan and Jim Abbruzzese and their children and Efaw’s children as well. The station will be on display at The Cider House at Orchard Creek on Dunnsville Road through Feb. 8. As a fund-raiser for the library, chances will be sold for $5 a ticket at the Cider House. The drawing will take place during the Altamont Library Gala at the village hall on Feb. 8.

This month’s wall display in the Altamont Free Library’s meeting room features pastel works from artist Christine Capuano.  A more tightly focused description would note that the works are views of that portion of the Helderberg escarpment visible from the artist’s studio.

They are softly colored, lovely, and true to life  — their own life, place, and arrangement.

Once upon a time

Library intern Adam Hoffman lists folk tales, finding them and telling them as one of his heartfelt hobbies. On Friday, Dec. 20, at 4 p.m., Hoffman will mine the rich storytelling tradition of Upstate New York, offering his own tell tale versions of folklore spanning from the Hudson Valley to the Adirondacks.  All ages are encouraged to attend.

A deal’s a deal

December’s Pot Luck Around the World is something new.  We won’t be traveling to a foreign country. We’ll head instead for Chicago. And not just any Chicago - Al Capone’s Chicago, speak-easy Chicago. Along with dinner we’ll also have a murder mystery to solve, complete with speaking parts for those who would like one. It’s an offer you can’t refuse. The requirements: Bring something appropriate to eat and share; keep your head down; and your mouth, except to eat and sleuth, shut. The date is Monday, Dec. 30, starting at 6 p.m.

High and lonesome

This weekend brings the Victorian Holidays to town. One of the library’s contributions to this delight time is musical. Nina Zanetti, the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer champion will be playing her tunes at the library on Sunday, Dec. 15, starting at 2 p.m.

An opportunity to hear and enjoy something so soulfully unique and skillfully natural is a rare thing.  Please come.

If you’re currently considering your end of the year gift giving, have we got a deal for you, a donation to the Altamont Free Library of $100 or more will get you, along with our heartfelt thanks, a genuine Altamont Life T-shirt. They’re long-sleeved and warmly woven, and highlighted with an Ed Cowley drawing of the (then) train station and (now) library.  They are made by Hanes, and come with Michael Jordan’s own High Five.

One is yours for a minimum donation of $100.

House tour

The library’s annual Gingerbread House construction program is packed to the rafters. All the registration slots are filled.  But everyone has the opportunity to view the colorful results of this annual event.  The houses will be on display at the Masonic Temple during Victorian Holidays on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Same day – more fun

Also on Sunday, Dec. 15, starting at 2 p.m., the library will proudly present Nina Zanetti, the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. The dulcimer can make a high, lonesome sound, and it can make you want to do a whirling dance.  And just under the Helderberg Escarpment is as fine a place to hear one as you could possibly find.

Storytelling with Adam

Celebrate the rich storytelling tradition of Upstate New York with tales and folklore spanning the state from the Hudson Valley all the way to the Adirondack Mountains. Meet at the library on Friday, Dec. 20, at 4 p.m. 

You have to love democracy. You have to love voting: yes or no; up or down; this one or that one.  Polling places are special areas — like National Parks, or sure-thing fishing holes.

And nobody loves voters, or a polling place like the Altamont Free Library.  Each year the AFL holds an Election Day Bake Sale.  Dessert makers from all over the village bring their very best sweets to sell.

It is rumored that some voters time their arrival at the firehouse to coincide with that of a particular chef with a particularly favorite sale item.

The library raised over $900 in the one-day event this year. To those who baked, and to those who bought – a simple, heartfelt Thank You.

Houses of gingerbread

Once again the library is sponsoring an annual Gingerbread House Candy Decoration Extravaganza.  It’s always at the top of the children’s Christmas fun list.  The date this year is Dec. 11 and the time is 4 p.m.

The Enterprise — Ron Ginsburg

A walk on the spooky side: Ephraim, the constantly lost warlock, played by Patrick Thomas, left, looks a little undone by an encounter at the Altamont Free Library on Oct. 29, at the start of a historical tour presented by the library and the Village of Altamont Archives and Museum.

The Enterprise — Ron Ginsburg

Leading the way with lantern light, the spirit of Roger Keenholts, Altamont’s beloved historian, played by Marc Smith, sojourns to the Severson Cemetery on Brandle Road where John Van Aernam, Jacob’s brother, is buried. About 50 people participated in the walk through history.

The Enterprise — Ron Ginsburg

Reading history, the spirit of Altamont’s first fire chief, Harry Fellows, portrayed by Tom Person wears tall rubber boots and the original 1919 Altamont fire helmet during the Oct. 29 walk through the village’s past.

The Enterprise — Ron Ginsburg

The spirit of Jacob Van Aernam, played by Norman Bauman, leads a tour on Oct. 29, starting from the Altamont library and taking in historic sites, people with ghostly spirits, throughout the village.

The Enterprise — Ron Ginsburg

A graveyard comes to life during Altamont’s Ghosts, Witches, and Warlocks Oct. 29 tour as Gitty Severson, right, played by Connie Rue who owns the Severson Cemetery property, has a mirthful exchange with the witch Agatha, portrayed by Marijo Dougherty, the village archivist who helped organize the tour.

The Enterprise — Ron Ginsburg

A dance with the past: The spirit of historian Arthur Gregg, played by Dan Brown, is confronted by a witch, portrayed by Alexa Brown, who, right in front of the Gregg home tries to hide his book notes. The scuffle was all part of the fun on the Oct. 29 mile-long tour of the village.

Question: What was the first library in the eastern United States to give young patrons the opportunity to play Kids’ Trivia? 

Answer:  (Could be) The Altamont Free Library (Maybe). 

And we’re planning to play again this Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m.  We’ll be offering fast, fun questions on all topics, and also providing – this is Not Trivial – snacks.

If a weekday without school sometimes starts getting boring toward the end of the day, stop in.  Play with your head.

Something to consider

If you make a donation to the library in memory of a loved one, their name will be read at our annual gazebo lighting ceremony in December.  The Library Lights form is available on our site and at the library.

Foody news

We’ll have to go some to surpass last month’s Potluck Around the World stop in France.  But our recipes are rich, our noses are keen, our confidence secure, and our paprika freshly ground.  This month we’re headed to Hungary.  The date is Monday, Nov. 25, starting at 7 p.m.  There are appropriate cookbooks here at the library.  

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