Home News and Features Community and Business News in Brief, Aug. 23, 2023

Community and Business News in Brief, Aug. 23, 2023

Art by Heri Crown for the Queer Arts Festival.

Queer Arts Festival Comes to Plainfield on Saturday, Aug. 26

The folks who brought you last winter’s Queer Craft Fair are putting on a summer celebration of local queer creativity and joy. The Queer Arts Festival (QueerAF!) will be held on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Plainfield Recreation Field. An outdoor festival at the confluence of the Winooski River (Winoskitekw in the language of the local Abenaki peoples) and the Great Brook, QueerAF! celebrates rural queer life, art, craft, and performance. 

More than 80 LGBTQIA+ artists and craftspeople will showcase and sell their prints, pottery, jewelry, clothing, leatherwork, paintings, photography, zines, herbal goods, and more. Look for live craft demonstrations and music, circus, theater, and dance performances, as well as food vendors, letter writing to prisoners and queer youth, a community art project, activities and a play area for kids, and more. The event is family friendly and admission is free. 

The event welcomes folks who identify as LGBTQIA+ and arts-loving allies alike. QueerAF! aims to be accessible and inclusive for everyone. Festival organizers invite folks to show their support for the queer community and come revel in queer creativity.

Learn more and get in touch on Instagram at @vtqueercrafts or by email at vtqueercrafts@gmail.com, or check out linktr.ee/vtqueercrafts to see all the festival information in one place.

—press release

Mister Z’s Restaurant Closing

Mister Z’s, the long-standing pizza and pasta restaurant and pub in Barre, will not reopen after the July 10 flood. Carl Vronsky, for Mister Z’s, let The Bridge know by email that “It’s been a tough month for all of us at Z’s. At the present moment I’m still processing.” 

On its website is a message from owners “Mike and Lisa” that says this decision came “after much thoughtful consideration,” and that they have “tremendous appreciation to our incredible staff, our loyal customers, and the supportive Barre community. Thank you.”

—Avi Zimet

Application Opens for New Affordable House in Barre

Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity has opened applications to help build a home at 22 Hill Street in Barre. Buyers must apply for the Shared Equity Program offered by Downstreet Housing and Community Development and be selected by Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity’s homeowner selection committee.

Qualified applicants must be within the income limits set by Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity, based on up to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Applicants must either live or work in Washington or Orange counties, be willing to volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity, and be able to show $500 in a bank account for closing costs.

 The two- to three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath home will be located just off of Barre’s South Main Street with easy access to downtown, and will be within a nine-minute walk of Spaulding High School. The approximately 1,356-square-foot home will be on municipal water and sewer. 

The application can be downloaded from downstreet.org/home-buyers. For more information contact 802-477-1331 or cmoyer@downstreet.org

Applications are due by noon on Sept. 18. Habitat for Humanity builds homes for those living in subsidized or substandard housing that includes unsafe conditions, expensive rent, or being overcrowded.

—press release

Montpelier Strong Auctions Phish Tix

Montpelier Alive and the Montpelier Foundation are excited to auction off four general admission Phish tickets to see the band’s Aug. 26 flood relief concert in Saratoga Springs. Theriault and Joslin, a Montpelier law firm, has donated the tickets to be auctioned off by the Montpelier Strong partners to raise money for business recovery in Montpelier.

In just one month, the Montpelier Strong team has raised more than $1.6 million and are well on their way to meeting their $2 million goal. They have distributed a first round of grants across Montpelier and are looking forward to distributing another round soon. These grants will help businesses move through rebuilding and get them closer to opening their doors.

While the state Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program and other grant opportunities will be helpful for some, it will not meet the needs of most businesses. In some cases, business expenses exceed $500,000. 

The auction link can be found at montpelieralive.com/flood2023, or visit the Givebutter auction platform at givebutter.com/c/I3vaCS/auction. The Auction closes on Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. Questions can be directed to Katie Trautz, director@montpelieralive.org.

—press release

Disaster Unemployment Assistance Deadline Extended

The U.S. Department of Labor has extended the application deadline for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program to ensure that Vermonters affected by the recent flooding can access these important benefits. Individuals within all affected counties now have until Sept. 29 to file initial claims.

The following counties are eligible for DUA: Caledonia, Chittenden, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor.

 In addressing the extension, Commissioner Michael Harrington commented, “It’s essential that we make every effort to ensure Vermonters have the necessary resources and time to access these funds.”

 The new deadline of Sept. 29 provides uniformity for all Vermonters in the affected counties. The state encourages those eligible to apply for the DUA benefits as soon as possible.

 For further information and to apply for the DUA program, visit labor.vermont.gov.

—press release