Ceili at the Round House Celtic Festival, March 23-24

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Where in Wyoming do you find live Celtic music all day and night, group dancing, jam sessions, workshops, children’s games, crafts, lectures, Irish food, whisky tasting and home-made wines and cider? Ceili at the Roundhouse Celtic Festival!

Now in it’s 10th year, the annual Festival will happen again in Evanston on March 23-24.  You’ll want to brush up on your pronunciations and Shrek accent. You might say “We’re goin’ ta Ceili (kay-lee) at the Roundhouse Celtic (kel-tic) Festival in Evanston.”  Once you’ve got that down, head on over to Evanston for the liveliest weekend in Wyoming.

Headline entertainment is different each year, and this March will include Teada and Socks in the Frying Pan, both from Ireland (you have to come to hear the story behind the name!), and Molly’s Revenge from the US west coast. Nine other regional bands will also provide music all weekend. The Festival is supported in part with a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.

2015_03_20-celtic-festival-_079 (2016_11_26 19_18_26 UTC).jpgThe Festival draws 2000+ people and is held at the historic Roundhouse & Railyards Complex. These old buildings have been beautifully restored and have heated floors, allowing for the perfect indoor Festival. The Roundhouse, Machine Shop, Visitors Center, and Superintendent Building in the Complex offer thousands of indoor square footage and take festival-goers back to the 1800s.

Ceili at the Roundhouse Celtic Festival is put on by Evanston’s own, grassroots arts organization, The Arts Inc. The Festival was started in 2009 in hopes that it would be an event that would draw out-of-towners to Evanston for a cultural weekend of arts and entertainment. Founder Carolee Bowen, Executive Director for The Arts Inc. dreams that someday, the Festival will take over the whole downtown Evanston area. The Festival is on it’s way to doing that with more visitors coming each year.  Accommodations aren’t a problem, Evanston has over 1000 hotel rooms. For more information, go to the Festival webpage- www.EvanstonCelticFestival.com

–Carolee Bowen, Executive Director, The Arts Inc.

Atlantic City, Wyoming, Voices from a Powerful Place: a book to celebrate the tiny town’s 150th Anniversary

AC book softcover front.jpgThe Atlantic City Historical Society set out in fall 2015 to publish a book to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary – 1868 – 2018 – of a tiny gold mining town perched on the southeastern tip of the mighty Wind River Range.

The Fremont County Visitors Council shot-gunned the society’s invitation to storytellers – poets, songsters, artists and photographers – to 94 media outlets throughout Wyoming and beyond.

The historical society’s rolls reckon 70-plus. Society members meet annually the last Saturday in August to tour some historic site near Atlantic City. About 50 folks attend. The 2016 gathering offered the perfect opportunity to extend the call for submissions.

At the society’s October 2016 board meeting three members – LeAnn Woodhouse, Amy McClure and Marjane Ambler – volunteered to form a committee to oversee the book’s publication. The publications committee worked with me – the editor, another volunteer – to plan and carry out the work needed to bring the book to life.

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Atlantic City, Wyoming

More than 50 contributors sent 102 written submissions and more than 2,300 visual images that spanned the town’s 150-years to present spectacular examples of a community and its culture.

Atlantic City Historical Society annual membership dues are $10. The kitty isn’t flush, and the organization uses its funds to print free walking tour maps. The society needed an infusion to pay for the book’s design and printing so the committee applied for a Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund grant, and they got it! The committee mailed letters asking for donations from society members, neighbors and businesses. The quest netted a flood of support – money that more than matched the WCTF’s generous grant.

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Giesler Store, 1895

The grant allowed the committee to hire Roger Carpenter, a professional graphics guru in Laramie, to design the book, and, wow, what a job Roger did!

PBR Printing in Cheyenne printed 400 soft covers and 100 hardbacks and promised a November 15th delivery. The society sent a press release for a launch date of the 16th at the Fremont County Pioneer Museum in Lander.

The launch drew 150 folks from three counties. The hardback books sold out, and so did half the soft covers. KTWO-TV in Casper aired segments of the launch on its 5 and 10 o’clock news broadcasts, and the Lander Journalpublished the launch story on its front page. Folks from across Wyoming and beyond called with orders. Between November 17th and December 17ththe books had sold out. The society delivered and mailed books to 16 states outside Wyoming and to 25 towns within the state.

The society has ordered another hundred hardbacks and another 500 soft covers to prepare for the town’s two-day 150th anniversary celebration on July 5th and 6th, 2018, and the society’s annual membership meeting on August 25th.

The Atlantic City Historical Society heartily thanks the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund for its belief in the book project and its generous grant that allowed the society’s book to be published.

— Bob Townsend, editor

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Laura Jane Musser Fund: Rural Arts Initiative

Laura Jane Musser Fund

Through the Rural Arts Initiative, the Laura Jane Musser Fund hopes to assist nonprofit arts organizations to develop, implement or sustain exceptional artistic opportunities for adults and children in the areas of literary, visual, music and performing arts. In recognition of Laura Jane Musser’s life-long commitment to excellence in the arts, and with awareness that pivotal and life-changing experience can occur for individuals through introduction to and participation in the arts, the Fund hopes to encourage and excite a wider population to appreciate, learn, and participate in the arts. General operating grants of up to $10,000 will be considered for this initiative. Applications will be accepted online through the Fund’s website from February 16 – March 16, 2018.

The geographic area for these initiatives is Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Texas (Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, and Starr counties only), and Wyoming.  For the Rural Arts initiative, applications from Minnesota are limited to Aitkin, Becker, Cass, Clay, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Mahnomen, Todd, and Wadena Counties. The complete guidelines are available at http://www.musserfund.org.