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Art-Train-History Festival



      The Railroad Days Festival follows the tracks of the past to the future of St Albans, the Railroad City of Vermont. A visit by Artrain USA is the Festival centerpiece.
      In the ultimate Field trip, most Franklin County schools are preparing to send about 1,200 students in grades four through eight to St Albans to view and participate in the Artrain USA and NASA exhibits.
      Every 10 minutes throughout the school day, small groups of children will converge by bus, car, van, and foot on the Artistry of Space and MAEL exhibits. Please do not offer them leftover Halloween candy.
      The Artistry of Space exhibit on the Artrain includes paintings, drawings, prints and sketches by 78 nationally renowned artists including Jim Alford, James Dean, Peter Max, and Deborah Deschner Iazzo of Middlesex. Their work focuses on the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who lifted man to outer space.
      The NASA Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL) will be stationed next to the Artrain platform at Market and Stebbins Streets in St Albans.
      NASA designed the MAEL to simulate a cross-country flight. Participants engage in aircraft design, calculate weather conditions, access the Internet, and experience virtual reality during the design process.
      The NASA MAEL activities and curriculum support the national math and science standards and process skills, with applications to real-world careers. Students work with aeronautics-related manipulatives at 12 computer workstations. The "World's Greatest Paper Airplanes" program provides step-by-step instructions for constructing very complex models. In a design exercise, students change design parameters (the engines, wings, and fuselage) to craft an aircraft suitable for their cross-country flight. They then calculate the effects changing these parameters have on the flight.
      NASA will host student tours of the MAEL Monday through Friday and afternoon public tours on Thursday November 4. The Artistry of Space will host students on Wednesday and Thursday and be open to the public with the other Railroad Days exhibits November 6-7.
      The fertile area verging on Lake Champlain and near the Canadian border was named St Albans and its first land granted in 1763. Settlers probably named the area after the village of St Albans in Hertfordshire, England.
      European immigrants flooded the region after the Revolutionary War to join French homesteaders from the North. By 1800, Vermont was the fastest growing state in the Union; Franklin County is currently one of the fastest growing Counties in Vermont. Around 1860, St Albans began to grow as a railroad hub. At the turn of this century, 23 parallel rail lines crossed Lake Street in the largest rail freight center East of Chicago. The railroad kindled manufacturing, farming, and tourism throughout northwestern Vermont. Franklin County is now the leading Vermont producer of dairy and maple products.
      This international border region also has a history of smuggling, armed conflict, and intrigue. An Irish invasion of Canada was launched from St Albans. It failed. Confederate soldiers staged a daring raid on St Albans from Canada. It succeeded.
      The Franklin Lamoille Bank is celebrating its centennial anniversary in St Albans during the Railroad Days Festival.
      The brick and granite home of the Franklin Lamoille Bank was originally occupied by the Old Franklin County Bank, followed by the First National Bank, and then the Peoples Trust Company. The Franklin County Savings Bank and Trust Company opened its doors on November 1, 1899, when St Albans merchant Carroll Morton opened the first checking account with a deposit of almost $750.
      In 1865, the Franklin Bank was the site of the northernmost raid of the Civil War when 22 Confederate soldiers robbed three St Albans banks and fled to Canada. The bank robbery will be reenacted on Saturday, November 6, at noon.
      The Railroad Days Festival opens with the Gate Players production, Curse of the Werewolf, a comedy for Halloween, at BFA Theater, Saturday October 30 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.
      The St Albans Free Library will present Twin Falls Idaho at the Welden Theater, Monday November 1 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 or $4 with a library card, at the door.
      An opening reception and fundraiser will debut the major Railroad Days exhibits at the St Albans Historical Museum, 6-9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2. The reception features Artistry of Space and NASA previews plus discussions with NASA artist Deborah Deschner Iazzo and Vermont Teacher in Space Gail Breslauer. The cost is $25 per person. Call 524-2444 for reservations.
      Railroad Days will show a Civil War movie tba at the Welden, Wednesday November 3 at 7 p.m.
      DaimlerChrysler sponsors Artrain USA's Artistry of Space national three-year tour. The New England Central Railroad is transporting Artrain to St Albans.
      Thanks to generous grants from the Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism and the City of St Albans, and the support of Northwestern Medical Center; Comfort Inn and Suites; Franklin Lamoille Bank; New England Central Railroad; Drummac, Inc; S. B. Collins, Clarence Brown, and Ultramar, admission to most Railroad Days events is free.

ArTrain Rides the Rails of Vermont

All Arts Council of Franklin County

Dick Harper, Chair
P.O. Box 1
Highgate Springs, VT 05460
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