Two Chances To Find Your Valentine


Did you know that over 50 percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased just six days prior to Valentine’s Day?

Beat the crowds and the limited selections by stopping at Shake Rag Alley’s Valentine Card Sale this Saturday, the 31st from 10am-3pm. Are you one of the procrastinators? No worries, the Valentine Sale will continue on Saturday, February 7th from 10am-3pm.

2015-01-28_11.33.18Shake Rag Alley’s marvelous volunteers have been busy bees preparing hundreds of hand-made, one-of-a-kind Valentine cards for you to deliver to your Valentine. The past three Wednesdays they have gathered in the creative entity that is the Ellery House and produced some outstanding works of art in the form of Valentine cards. The cards come in various styles and include cards for everyone from the grandkids to grandma. Cards range in price so there is something for every budget.

Cookies, hot cocoa and sweetheart punch will be served to shoppers. The Valentine Card Sale is a fundraiser in support of Shake Rag Alley’s creative programming.

- Contributed by Megan O’Connell


Posted in Art, Family | 1 Comment

Weekend Roundup!

Baby, it’s cold outside, but there are lots of reasons to get out and enjoy Mineral Point this weekend. There are events for the film lover, music lover, food lover, 4th-of-July lover and history lover.


bsrThe Ballad of Shovels and Rope: The Driftless Film Festival continues its run of music-themed documentaries this month with two screenings of The Ballad of Shovels And Rope, which captures the tours and detours of a husband and wife as they create and release the critically acclaimed album, O’ Be Joyful. From working for tips to becoming “Emerging Artist of the Year,” the duo uses ingenuity and hard work to create something out of nothing. The Ballad of Shovels And Rope will screen Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Mineral Point Opera House. The documentary is sponsored by Gray Dog Deli, and filmgoers who bring their ticket stubs to Gray Dog after Friday’s screening will receive either a free coffee, tea or domestic beer, or half off a glass of wine.


Broom Street Drifters Facebook page

Broom Street Drifters at Gray Dog Deli: This husband-wife duo from Dubuque plays Americana “tunes to make your soul smile.” Music starts at 8:30 p.m. Gray Dog’s kitchen will be serving dinner late to accommodate filmgoers, and don’t forget your movie ticket stub for that drink special!


4th of July in January at the Walker House: This event will feature thousands of photos a Racine photographer took at last year’s July 4 festivities in Mineral Point. Read the full HSB post here. Picnic starts at 5 p.m. ($10; veterans free), with a sing-a-long at 6:30 p.m. featuring Mike Mitchell. See if you can spot yourself in the photos – the Walker House will reward you with a Walker Buck if you do!

January Thaw concert at the Mineral Point Opera House: The Rural Muscians Forum is bringing its show to the Opera House. Mineral Point musician Katie Burns will open the show, accompanied by Eric Miller on cello and Michael Sherry on drums. Graminy, a Madison-area quintet, will follow with their fusion of classical and grassroots music. Read more about the event in this recent HSB post by Sara Lomasz Flesch.


MPHS facebook page

MPHS facebook page

Mineral Point Historical Society Lyceum: The first lyceum of the year will be at 2 p.m. at the old Farmers Savings Bank on the corner of Chestnut and High streets. There will be an annual meeting and a presentation on early banking in Mineral Point. As Joelle Doye stated in her editor’s note this week in the Democrat Tribune, lyceums “provide an incredible glimpse into our city’s past.”

The Ballad of Shovels and Rope: An encore matinee screening of the film documentary presented Driftless Film Festival. 2 p.m. at the Mineral Point Opera House, $8.


– Contributed by Susan Webb

Posted in Entertainment, Food, History, Music, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

4th of July In January

Two years ago, photographer Linda Webster from Racine, WI visited Mineral Point on the 4th of July.  She was so impressed with the city’s celebration that she vowed to return in order to photograph all the day’s events from the early morning walk/run to the evening’s band concert and fireworks.

On July 4, 2014, Webster and her companion Will Archer snapped 10,000 shots of Mineral Point in all its 4th of July glory.  Here’s just one example:

July 4 image 1

They are coming to Mineral Point this Saturday, January 24, 2015 to exhibit their framed work in the Walker House Gallery and their electronic work in a continuously running CD that includes hundreds of photos. The exhibit is scheduled to be up until June.

To bring even more of July 4th into January, the Walker House is hosting an old fashioned picnic with grilled brats, hot dogs, and burgers served with cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, and root beer floats—all in mini form. The mini food is contrasted with some big entertainment as Mike Mitchell will lead a sing-a-long of patriotic songs.

Adding to the fun, the Walker House will award a Walker Buck ($) to each guest who identifies himself/herself in one of the hundreds of 4th of July photographs.

July 4 image 2Here’s the full line-up for the Walker House’s 4th of July in January celebration this Saturday:

5:00 pm Picnic Begins and Continues After the Concert – $10 (Veterans Free)

6:30 pm Mike Mitchell in Concert and Sing-A-Long – Free

7:30 pm Photo Exhibit Throughout Evening – Free

What a fun way to spend a winter’s night!

And for pre-4th of July Fun, head to the Walker House on Friday night (January 23rd) for another Family Pizza-Pasty-Pasta Night from 5-8pm.

- Contributed by the Hays

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Three of My Favorite Things By Sara Lomasz Flesch

The stars are aligning in Mineral Point this Saturday bringing three of my favorite things together under one roof in the town my husband, Erik, and I have called home since May.

2014 rmf web bannerThe Rural Musicians Forum (“RMF”), which for more that 25 years has been bringing world-class music and musicians to rural communities in southwestern Wisconsin (and, in full disclosure, for which I serve as Board secretary), is hosting a “January Thaw” concert at the Mineral Point Opera House.

10629246_10102215630825169_2252908218838620751_oThe show, meant to provide a musical escape from winter that supports RMF’s excellent annual Music for a Summer Evening series and associated costs, features Mineral Point’s own Katie Burns (shown at right) as the opening act for what is surely to be an enjoyable evening. (RMF’s January Thaw concert in Spring Green last year featured three acts including Mineral Point’s Cupola and the rocking quartet Better Daze. Half of the latter call Mineral Point home; you can catch the group at Gray Dog Deli on Feb. 13.)

I first experienced the richness of RMF and its impact on community in our part of Wisconsin at a concert at Spring Green’s Unity Chapel more than 16 years ago. A hallmark of the RMF summer concerts is that they are not ticketed and instead a freewill donation is requested. Concerts like “January Thaw,” which are ticketed, are critical to supporting the programming RMF has planned for 2015.

In addition to bringing amazing performers to our rural towns and villages that we might not travel elsewhere to enjoy, RMF also provides nonprofessional singers and musicians opportunities to come together to create beautiful music in summer and winter. For the last several years my husband and I have performed as members of the Taliesin Chorus at RMF concerts at Taliesin’s historic Hillside Theater.

Photo by Dick Ainsworth

The Taliesin Chorus rehearses Brahms “German Requiem” in August 2014. Photo by Dick Ainsworth

Mineral Point’s Monica Dunn and Leslie Damaso have been featured soloists at RMF summer and winter concerts.

On Saturday, after Katie Burns performs on vocals and guitar along with bandmates cellist Eric Miller (who often performs with RFM’s community ensembles) and Michael Sherry on drums, RMF presents Graminy, a Madison Area Music Association-winning quintet that will bring their “eco-acoustic” or “class-grass” fusion of classical and grassroots music to the stage. Graminy’s name is rooted in the botanical word for the grass family, Gramineae, and its music is drawn from grassroots’ deep-earth traditions, from places and ecologies near and far.

Graminy photo by B. Tracy Madison

Graminy photo by B. Tracy Madison

Graminy are Shauncey Ali, a champion fiddler with a degree in botany and a lifelong fascination with the viola; Michael Bell, who plays mandolin and is the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; multi-instrumentalist Chris Wagoner and his wife, Mary Gaines, who perform together as The Stellanovas and host the weekly “Mad Toast Live!” music show every other Tuesday at the Brink Lounge in Madison and broadcast Fridays at midnight on WORT-FM; and guitarist Chris Powers, a professional acoustic musician for more than 30 years who has played and recorded with many string bands in folk, bluegrass, country-blues and jazz. He hosts a weekly radio program on WORT-FM and performs locally with several bands.

In an interview published in this month’s issue of Voice of the River Valley (which, in full disclosure, I edit and publish), Powers explained Graminy’s fusion of classical music with grassroots traditions thus: “It’s a sad truth that bluegrass is still widely disparaged as ‘hillbilly’ in popular media, almost always by people wholly ignorant of that music’s true power and beauty. So, when Mike [Bell] assembled this group, he combined the classical sound of the string trio — violin, viola and cello — with the driving bluegrass rhythms of the guitar and mandolin. The violins double as fiddles, and the cello plays bass lines. You put the classy clichés of classical music on top of the bluegrass stereotype, and voila, people are hearing music in a whole new way.”

Powers said Graminy is finishing their third album, so Saturday’s concertgoers will be treated to new songs with titles like “Dance of the Plants,” “Blackberry Love” and “Mr. Fancy Pants.” They’ll also feature songs from their “Bluegrass Symphony in D,” which won a MAMA for “Best Classical Recording” in 2014.

Powers also told Voice: “We’ve heard nothing but great things about the Mineral Point Opera House, and can’t wait to hit that stage next month!”

I’m pretty sure Graminy will leave Mineral Point with a few new favorite things of their own!

The Rural Musicians Forum sponsors a “January Thaw” featuring Graminy and the Katie Burns Band at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Mineral Point Opera House, 139 High St. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, or free for kids 12 and under. Advance tickets are available at and at Mineral Point’s Longbranch Gallery. For details of RMF’s upcoming summer series, see the website and follow them on Facebook.

Contributed by Sara Lomasz Flesch

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Mineral Point’s Giving Tree


Once there was an old oak tree.

She lived in the Oak Savanna at the Mineral Point Elementary School.  Whenever the children came out for recess she could see them in the distance. The tree wanted to be closer so she could hear the children play and see their smiling faces.


But she was a tree. She could not move.

She couldn’t run for shelter when a scary storm came through town.

It shook her and swayed her and broke her right down.


She laid across the path blocking the way.

The tree was sad.


Then one day, a nice man named John Sharp read about a broken tree in Madison that was put to good use. He told the school about the idea and they agreed to his plan.

The man told the school children that the tree was going to be trimmed and moved to their playground.


When the man trimmed her pointy parts the children climbed on her.


The tree was happy.

And so were the children.


But the man couldn’t move the giant tree all by himself.  He needed some help.  He called Ivey Construction and they brought a great big machine to pick up the tree.


 They moved her out of the savanna and down the street.


The machine set her down in the school playground.




Now the children can play on the old tree every day.


And, the tree is happy.

For more details, read Joelle’s Doye’s report on the school blog, by clicking here.

Contributed by the Hays

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