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Family Fun "On Tap" at the Clark's Sugaring Off Program March 28

For Immediate Release

March 15, 2004

A boiling sap kettle, hayrides, and contradancing are among the many activities "on tap" for the "Sugaring Off" Family Day at the Clark Art Institute on Sunday, March 28. The program will recreate the traditional New England "sugaring off" party, celebrating the maple syrup harvest. Most entertainment and activities will take place between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Early arrivals may help gather sap from maple trees on the Clark's campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free.

The sap collected in the morning will be boiled down over a fire in an old-fashioned iron kettle, reminiscent of the 19th-century sugaring methods seen in the Clark's current exhibition Sugaring Off: The Maple Sugar Paintings of Eastman Johnson. Surrounding the kettle, which will operate from 1 to 4 p.m, will be demonstrations of tree tapping and a display of maple syrup making equipment over the years.

Also from 1 to 4 p.m., Dave Larabee will offer horse-drawn hayrides and oxcart rides around the grounds.

At 1:15 and 2:15 p.m., gallery talks will explore the Sugaring Off exhibition.

Magician Robert Olsen will perform historical conjuring tricks at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m. Olsen, from Old Sturbridge Village, recreates magic from 150 years ago using cards, coins, ribbons, and boxes. Olsen imitates 19th-century American magician and ventriloquist Richard Potter, famous in his day for such illusions as "The Enchanted Egg," the "Nefiskis Box," and the "Wonderful Factory."

Local favorites The Flying Garbanzos will provide the music and calling for contradancing from 1:30 to 2:30 and from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Beginners are welcome.

Throughout the afternoon art making activities for children will include maple leaf napkin rings and leaf rubbing.

A film on today's maple sugaring traditions in Massachusetts, provided by the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, will run continuously in the Clark auditorium.

At 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., naturalist Hank Art will lead 20-minute nature walks on the Clark's 140-acre campus. Walkers will learn how to identify maple trees. Following each walk, Art, chairman of the biology department at Williams College, will sign copies of his new book Woodswalk published by StoreyKids.

Traditional sugaring-off treats such as "sugar on snow," donuts, and sour pickles will be available for purchase.

Sugaring Off: The Maple Sugar Paintings of Eastman Johnson features 15 paintings by American artist Eastman Johnson representing maple-sugar-making traditions in New England. The paintings depict the charm of Yankee life-kettle tenders, storytellers, children with sleds, and "sugaring off" parties. The show also includes stereo card viewers with period photographs, a video about family traditions of maple syrup making in Massachusetts, and maple syrup bottles and pitchers from the 1800s and early 1900s. The exhibition is on view at the Clark through April 18.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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