WOODSTOCK - In today’s world the connection made to the farmer when eating your local fruits, vegetables, dairy & meats is clearly made, but what about the connection to the wood dining table your family gathers around each night? There are hundreds of products we use every day in our own homes that are crafted from Vermont’s prized northern hardwoods. From the quality wood cabinetry storing your favorite tableware set in your kitchen, the wide plank flooring throughout your home, the large hutch displaying your family’s china, the fine furniture that is handed down from generation to generation; these products create warmth and life in your home and there is a unique story behind each piece of wood.

The story starts with the dedicated landowners that manage the forests covering 78% of our state. Quality hardwood logs do not grow overnight from a sapling, but stand for many decades under the careful stewardship of woodland owners. The people behind the trees are Vermont’s woodland stewards, foresters, loggers, or sawmill operators who put the raw materials in the hands of woodworkers. This story is shown full circle from tree to table at Vermont’s premiere Forest to Table event; the 11th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture, Woodworking & Forest Festival.

On Saturday & Sunday, September 27 & 28, 2014 you are invited to the Union Arena on Route 4 in Woodstock, VT during Vermont’s beautiful foliage season. The event is located on the Crossroad of Vermont Byway in a town named as “The Prettiest Small Town in America.” Our partner event, Forest Festival weekend, will be right down the road at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park on Elm Street. As stated by Vermont’s National Park you can “Walk through one of Vermont's most beautiful landscapes, under the shade of sugar maples and 400-year-old hemlocks, across covered bridges and alongside rambling stone walls. This is a landscape of loss, recovery, and conservation. This is a story of stewardship, of people taking care of places - sharing an enduring connection to land and a sense of hope for the future.”

Take advantage of the opportunity to visit directly with the craftsmen and hear their unique stories while purchasing from more than 40 companies on exhibit. The products for sale that weekend include not only fine furniture but exquisite bird carvings, hand turned bowls, unique cutting boards, solar wooden lights, beautiful inlaid jewelry, and fun toys and games.

Vermont is home to award-winning wooden toy manufacturer, Maple Landmark Woodcraft located in Middlebury, who has also been a long time vendor at the event. The company is the recent recipient of Baby Maternity Magazine’s Top Choice Award for its maple wood baby teethers. With so much concern about plastics, vinyl, and unwanted chemicals the wooden teether is a perfect choice when you really want to know what you’re getting. All are finely sanded with no finishes applied.

For the toddler, the Company also won Creative Child’s Toy of the Year Award for its Schoolhouse Naturals Farm Playset, made of natural maple with laser engraved details. The barn is constructed of building blocks, offering many variations. Extreme Expeditions uses similar components and is the “Hot Wheels” for 1-year olds – all solid maple and very safe.

According to owner Mike Rainville, the wooden toy market has changed as consumers move into “gadgets” for their kids much sooner. Toys today are designed for a younger audience, many in the 1-2 year old range.

The company has been crafting wooden toys, gifts, and games for the last 35 years. What began as a “garage” enterprise now employs about 40 people, including four generations of Rainvilles. The most recent addition is son Adam who just graduated with a degree in engineering management and finance. Younger son Andrew who is currently in college is spending his summer producing videos for the company’s website (www.maplelandmark.com). Meet dedicated craftspeople just like the Rainvilles that are invested in being innovative and creative in responding to consumer demands and concerns, most notably in the trend toward green products and environmental sensitivity.

Our woodworking demonstration space provides entertainment for all to savor. Tasty food, hands-on activities, live music, and more will delight all ages. The National Park will host additional woodworking and sawmill demonstrations, horse drawn wagon rides, forest walks, educational workshops, and other events for the whole family. A short, complimentary shuttle ride is available to transport attendees between locations with free parking.

There is something for everyone! So mark your calendars to be in Woodstock, Vermont this fall. For more information please visit www.vermontwoodfestival.org and www.nps.gov/mabi . You may also email info@vermontwood.com or call the VWMA office at 802-747-7900. The festival runs from 9:30am-5pm on Saturday and 10-4:30pm on Sunday. Admission is $10 for those 18 and over, which helps to support the Vermont wood products industry; those under age 18 are free and welcome. All Forest Festival Park activities are free.

The VWMA's mission is to support the industry in Vermont and promote its long-term viability by expanding members’ presence in the marketplace, ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials, increasing workforce skill and acting as responsible employers and community members. Visit www.vermontwood.com for more information on supporting the wood products manufacturing industry in Vermont.

 

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