44th Annual Chester, Vermont Fall Festival


With Koasek Boles Family

We invite all Koasek members to this great event where we will have our famous member Basket Maker family, The Boles, Valerie, and her two daughters, Megan and Emily. Here, they will have their booth and will also present a talk on basket making. Chief Paul and other members will attend to support our tribe.

Kicking off the fall season on the third weekend of September, the 44th Annual Chester Fall Festival will bring arts and crafts vendors, artisan demonstrations, food vendors and music to the Green in the center of beautiful Chester, Vermont.  This annual event is sponsored by the Chester Rotary Club and is held annually as a hallmark of the beginning of fall here in our New England town. 

Fall Festival will be held on Saturday, September 15th and Sunday September, 16th from 10 am to 4 pm in 2018.  Hundreds of people converge on the Green from all over New England for this annual community event.  Last yearís attendance was one of the best and this year there will be many returning vendors in addition to some interesting new vendors.  

The Boles Family Descendants have many basket makers, Valerie and her daughters Megan and Emily are Abenaki basket makers who completed a three year apprenticeship with Master basket maker Jeannie brink, and have been weaving for an additional 5 years. 

Here are some photos of their baskets:


Open basket with sweet grass

Covered basket


Basket making has been a part of the Abenaki way of life for generations.  Baskets traditionally were used for practical purposes such as carrying food, clothing and other supplies, with a 'pack' basket worn on one's back. Other uses may have been keeping jewelry, beads, or herbs,  in small basket that had covers. Sometimes a temporary basket might be made from birch bark to scoop water. 

Abenaki baskets are still made in the traditional way from two scared plants, the black ash tree and sweet grass.

The 1920's saw a change in the reason baskets were made. Basketry was one of the very few Native American cultural activities that was seen as 'non-threatening' to the settlers, and was allowed to continue. Selling baskets to tourists became a way for the Abenaki to make a small, but needed income in the new economic structure being forced upon them, while still being able to live in a traditional lifestyle. As times changed, and baskets were no longer in demand, the skill of making them began to disappear. There is now a cultural revitalization, and basketry is being taught and practiced again. We invite the public to come and see the art of basket making being done in person, ask questions and learn about this tradition from those who continue to carry it on.

This is a free outdoor event and you will find the Chester Green lined with vendors offering pottery, fine woodworking, fiber art, jewelry, photography, glass, and much more with something of interest for everyone. A Childrenísí Tent and hands on projects at local not-for-profit tents offer activities for children, and there are opportunities to sample local foods and to enjoy mid-day music showcasing Vermont musicians.  Donít miss the famous Beer Garden held at the Fullerton Inn on Saturday afternoon, September 15th, and be sure and take time to stroll through the village of Chester and enjoy its unique architecture and local studios, shops and restaurants.