The Music Roundup 22/10/20

Local music news & events

Channeling Woody: For their first acoustic album and tour, Dropkick Murphys take on the music of Woody Guthrie. This Machine Still Kills Fascists (a nod to the slogan Guthrie wrote on his guitar) contains 10 songs that still resonate almost 80 years later. “He went against the grain, he fought the good fight,” Dropkicks founder Ken Casey said of the folk singer. “One man and a guitar — it’s powerful stuff.” Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:15 p.m., Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord, $48.25 to $90.25 at
• Fauxhemian rhapsody: The month-long Rocktober Festival continues with Kings of Queen, a SoCal-based tribute act featuring Emo Alaeddin in the role of Freddie Mercury. Along with doppelgangers — the final weekend has Kiss-alikes Rock & Roll Over — the Halloween ScrEEEmfest has the uber-bizarre Twisted Sideshow, full of stunts with chainsaws, drills, anvils and swords. Friday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 23, various times, Canobie Lake Park, 85 N. Policy St., Salem, passes $48 to $59 (online only) at
• Rootsy revue: Acoustic musical excellence is in the spotlight at the New Hampshire Folk & Fiddle Festival, including Manchester natives The Spain Brothers doing original, traditional and contemporary songs. Boston-based Hanneke Cassel Band draws from Scotland, Cape Breton and Americana. Rounding out the bill is Green Heron, the region’s own Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and married couple Scott and Betsy Heron. Saturday, Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m., Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester, $29 at
• Women power: Founded by singer-guitarist Celia Woodsmith and fiddler Kimber Ludiker, Della Mae quickly rose to prominence for its powerful musicianship, rounded out by Avril Smith on guitar, bass player Vickie Vaughn and Maddie Witler on mandolin. In 2014 the group won a Grammy for their second album, This World Oft Can Be, and they continue to make advocacy and mentorship a focus of their work. Sunday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., Colonial Theatre, 609 Main St., Laconia, $24 to $35 at
• Rock reunion: Fitting for Halloween, horror punk stalwarts Blitzkid will finally reunite for a month-long farewell run originally slated for 2020; the Escape The Grave tour kicks off in Manchester. Led by singer Argyle Goolsby and the equally aptly named TB Monstrosity on guitar and vocals, they’re a staple of the haunted season; HuffPo’s Zachary Ehren wrote of “the continuous terror they bring to mothers.” Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m., Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., Manchester, $17 and up at

Master of ceremonies

Chris Trapper has his own show to do

From late spring to summer’s end, Chris Trapper was on the road, supporting headliners. He opened for a tour starring Sammy Hagar and George Thorogood, did a run with Pat Benatar and her husband guitarist, Neil Giraldo, and played some dates with John Hiatt. Each night was an introduction of sorts, though Trapper has been making music going back to his days with Boston buzz band The Push Stars in the 1990s.
“I just described myself as the appetizer for a very rocking main meal,” Trapper said in a recent phone interview, noting he did but four songs to precede Hagar and Thorogood. He’ll have more room to stretch out when he does an evening solo at the Music Hall Lounge in Portsmouth, on Oct. 22. “It’s going to feel great to play a full set again.”
Not that Trapper minds his role as a palate cleanser. Delivered in a husky sweet voice, his songs have an easy familiarity. He’s wry with the raucous “Keg on My Coffin,” and emotive on “Under Blue Stars,” which leads off Cold Water Waltz, his most recent album. Perhaps his best-known song, the soaring “This Time” was sung by Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the 2007 film August Rush.
He spent much of 2019 opening for Rob Thomas, who co-wrote a song on the new album. “The one thing Rob said about me repeatedly was ‘You’re a very good master of ceremonies’ … I have some ability to get the crowd’s attention; even if they don’t know me, I can always try a few things.”
A mid-summer house concert in upstate New York, during a break in shed touring, put it in perspective for Trapper.
“Songwriting at its core has always been about finding commonality among us,” he said. Playing on a backyard stage, he watched an approaching storm. “There was lightning in the distance, kind of coming closer, but it wasn’t raining yet. I had a literal lightning bolt moment — that it was my job to make people feel less alone.”
Trapper is aware of the thin line between art and selling. “You can start to feel a little bit stuck in the vanity of it all,” he said. “But I started to feel like there is a sense of purpose to this [and] that process makes me feel less alone also. When you’re writing or singing a song, you’re trying to find those things that connect us. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. I think I’ve become a decent support act because even people who don’t know me will walk away feeling that they do.”
For the past few years, Trapper has booked space on a cruise ship, “trying to build a little culture around my music and community…. I do a few concerts, a Q&A session, a meet-and-greet, we have dinner every night, and also there’s a lot of after-hours disco dancing — my dance moves definitely look problematic,” he said. “A lot of people on the cruise were the base of my favorite people who I see on tour, so it ended up being a total lovefest.”
Though he wouldn’t mind a big hit or two, Trapper is content.
“I have always wanted to have kind of a John Prine career, where you have to play a couple of songs that people need to hear, then basically play whatever you felt like playing,” he said. “People would love it because the quality of material was always good. That’s been my goal. … I always have a few things that I definitely have to play, and the rest of the stuff is pretty variable.”
For his upcoming show, “I basically do everything, early Push Stars, some of my solo stuff and some off the new album,” he continued. Last year saw a Push Stars holiday record with all but two originals, When Christmas Comes Home. Trapper enjoyed the effort. “I stretched my songwriting muscles for that. Writing original Christmas songs is not the easiest thing to do … there’s only about five or six themes you can latch onto, and they’ve all been done a billion times.”
On Cold Water Waltz’s tongue-in-cheek “Out of the Limelight,” he hints at the promise of his early Push Stars days as he sings about an Austin band on their comeback tour.
“With my band it was funny, because we had some of the struggles that I joke about in that song, like the lead singer being a mess,” he said. “I of course I was in certain ways, but I stayed stable enough to stay in the business.”
Next February Trapper will be back in the area, opening for ex-Great Big Sea singer Allen Doyle in Concord. “I actually wrote about seven Great Big Sea songs, so Alan sings some of my stuff on his tour, and we always get up and collaborate for a couple of songs,” he said. “We’re old friends at this point.”

Chris Trapper
When: Saturday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m.
Where: The Music Hall Lounge, 131 Congress St., Portsmouth
More: $22 and $32 at

Featured photo: Chris Trapper. Courtesy photo.

Halloween Ends (R)

The infectious nature of violence is the real boogeyman in Halloween Ends, the allegedly final installment in the Laurie Strode/Michael Myers rebooted-ish Halloween series.

This movie is also about the awesome recent career of Jamie Lee Curtis. She served up Laurie in the last movie, 2021’s Halloween Kills, largely from a hospital bed, which feels like a pretty rad way to collect your franchise check. Since restarting the Halloween franchise with Halloween in 2018, where she got to play a gun-toting revenge-seeking prepper, she’s been in Knives Out and played Deidre Beaubeidre in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Curtis is, at 63, living the life and even though these Halloween movies aren’t setting the world on fire for me they have, in total, given me a new appreciation for Curtis for being able to get fun work in movies past the age when Hollywood usually allows women to have that. (Also, for what it’s worth, they’ve made some good money at the box office.) “Good on ya, Jamie Lee Curtis” might actually be my strongest takeaway from this trilogy as a whole.
We’ve had a little time jump since Halloween Kills, which I guess took place in 2018 (the same in-universe night, I think, as 2018’s Halloween). It’s now four years later. Laurie Strode (Curtis) is still dealing with the death of her daughter (Judy Greer) at the hands of Myers at the end of the last movie. She lives with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) still in the same death-town of Haddonfield, Illinois, but now in a proper house in a regular neighborhood. She’s decorating for Halloween, writing about surviving all the Michael Myers violence and even awkwardly flirting with Frank (Will Patton), longtime friend and police officer. But even in happy moments she finds herself buried in the grief of the Myers killings. People blame her for all the death and destruction and she feels that the evil and violence of those actions have spread, not just to the Halloween Kills vigilante mob but to crimes perpetrated through the town over the last four years. One of the most gruesome, which we see in the movie’s opening scenes, happens in 2019 and features college-ish-aged Corey (Rohan Campbell), called in to babysit for a boy when his parents go to a Halloween party. The kid tries to scare Corey by locking him in the attic, but what happens next leaves Corey pegged as a new town boogeyman.
In the present day, Laurie sees Corey getting picked on by some high school kids and feels sorry for him. She takes him to the hospital to be treated by Allyson, who takes an instant liking to Corey. It is once again Halloween time and the tentative new couple goes to a party, where there are masks and angry townsfolk and instances of casual violence. Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney as “The Shape”), not seen since 2018, lurks in the corners but does he see in Corey prey or something else?
Look, I’m not going to pretend that this movie is super deep. It is still mostly stabbing and screaming and masked figures doing a power walk after running-in-terror victims. But there’s some “what is the nature of evil” and “how does hate spread” musings, often delivered by Curtis, between all of that, which gives the movie at least the veneer of thoughtfulness. We also get fountains of stage blood and some pretty gleeful squish noises, so I don’t feel fans of the seasonal classics will be disappointed. I did also appreciate the overall lo-fi quality of the movie, with its out-of-time setting (from clothes to hair to the fact that the whole town is glued to the rock radio station, there is still a general late-1970s/early 1980s vibe) and its quip-free, linear-plot-development no-nonsense approach to the story. There is almost something wistful about the whole endeavor, like you can feel a bittersweetly smiling Curtis saying “aw, I’m going to miss all this knife-welding.”
Halloween Ends ultimately feels like it’s delivering vibes more than a scary story, but if you’re in the mood for Halloween-season fare, I feel like you could do worse. C+
Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language throughout and some sexual references, according to the MPA on Directed by David Gordon Green and written by Paul Brad Logan & Chris Bernier & Danny McBride & David Gordon Green, Halloween Ends (sure it does) is an hour and 51 minutes long and is distributed by Universal Studios in theaters and via Peacock.

Featured photo: Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween Kills.

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine, 384 pages)

You know when a book’s protagonist is really hard to like but, for reasons that you can’t quite understand, you root for her anyway? That is Carrie Soto.
When we meet Carrie, she’s 37 and has been retired from professional tennis for six years. After watching Nicki Chan match her Grand Slam record, she decides to come out of retirement and win back her spot at the top of the tennis world.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has created a character in Carrie who is so real, I keep expecting her to show up in daily sports headlines. But her name appears in fictional media stories time and again, as Jenkins Reid uses sports commentary and news articles to help shed light on what the world thinks of Carrie. And the world sees her exactly as she is: supremely talented but ruthless. In fact, she was given the nickname of “the Battle-Axe” when she was in her prime.
We see some of that ruthlessness during a press conference that takes place during her first event back, the Australian Open. One of the reporters asks if there’s truth to her comeback being a stunt. Carrie responds, “I’ve proven so far that my game is outstanding. So everyone can whine and moan all they want about me being here, but I’ve earned the right.”
Another reporter asks about her upcoming match, to which she replies, “I’m gonna crush Carla Perez and anyone else I play on my way to the final. I’m going to hold their beating hearts in my hand.”
That’s Carrie, inside and out. She’s as abrasive internally as she is externally; it’s not just a show for the media. She’s hard on everyone else, and she’s equally hard on herself. We see this in the thoughts that permeate her mind during her games, including during a tight match against Natasha Antonovich, one of her more formidable rivals.
“I do not look at my father. I do not want to see the worry in his eyes. I tell myself: Do not let her win this set. You are either a champion or a ****up. There is no in-between.”
Rarely, we see Carrie’s vulnerability. She puts a hard wall up against Bowe Huntley, a fellow tennis pro with whom she’d gotten too close to in the past. She has the chance to train with him again, and she imagines a scenario in which she does let him back into her life.
“He’ll say something wonderful at some point, and I’ll start to believe he means it, despite all evidence to the contrary. And then I’ll start to like him or love him or feel something that I swear I’ve never felt before. And then one day, when I’m in too deep, he’ll stop liking or loving me, for one reason or another. And I’ll be left with a hole in my heart.”
Also softening the storyline is Carrie’s relationship with her dad and coach, Javier, a former pro himself. Their relationship, at first, seems all business; when Carrie trains with him as a child, Javi is demanding and has what some might see as unrealistically high expectations. But as the story goes on, we see how deeply he loves her and just wants her to be happy. And Carrie’s feelings for him change, seeming to soften over the years. She had fired him as her coach during her pre-retirement career, but she agrees to work with him for her comeback. Javi becomes a likable character, an endearing foil to Carrie’s hard-headedness.
Carrie Soto is Back is very much about tennis, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up, even if you care nothing about sports in general or tennis in particular. I’ve never played tennis, never watched more than a few minutes of tennis, and never really cared to. But Carrie is tennis, and who she is is expressed through her intense tennis practices, tennis games and tennis relationships.
It helps that Jenkins Reid has done her homework. According to an Aug. 29 interview on The Cut, Reid has played tennis for fun, but “I don’t think I’ve ever won a game, let alone a set or a match. … I had to learn it all for this book, and I’m very insecure about it. Did I learn it right? I don’t know, guys. I’m an imposter. I’m trying really hard. I’m trying to learn as much as I can so that I can give you a good time.”
Jenkins Reid has done just that. Carrie Soto is Back is a good time, not in spite of Carrie’s brashness — or the intense focus on tennis — but because of it. A-

What to pair with osso buco

A robust red for a robust dinner

Over the weekend, we were invited to dinner at a friends’ house. I asked what we could bring, and the response was: the wine! I then asked what was being served. Beef osso buco, made with locally grown organic beef, was the response. Immediately, like a Pavlovian dog, my mouth started to water.
Osso buco, translated as “hole-in-the-bone” from Italian, is a slow-cooked shank crosscut of meat. It originated in northern Italy and traditionally was made with veal, but beef and lamb are also popular. The recipe includes a mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery, that fundamental base for all stews and braising. There are numerous recipes for osso buco, some calling for tomato paste, others not, but a traditional addition is gremolata, a mixture of parsley, orange peel and garlic, as a side or included in the final steps of the hour-long slow cooking of the dish. The singular appeal to this dish is the intense flavor and richness imparted by the marrow found within the bone. Osso buco is typically served on a bed of mashed potatoes or polenta.
“How wonderful does all this sound?” I thought to myself.
Following a couple of days of rain, the skies have cleared to a deep blue, a beautiful backdrop to the incredible colors of fall we are blessed with every year. With warm days and cool nights, we begin to enjoy the late growing season of our gardens turned into hearty fare. And so the question arises: What kind of wine do we begin to roll out, to pair with this shift in menu?
The wine should be able to stand up to the richness of the food that is slowly simmered in thick sauces. This is the time we set aside the cabernet sauvignons and even the lighter sangioveses and opt for wines with “tooth.” A malbec or a grenache and syrah will pair nicely. Among my favorites are the wines of the south of France, the wines of the Rhone River Valley. The wine I brought to this dinner was a bottle of Domaine de la Charbonniere Vacqueyras that for the moment isn’t available in New Hampshire. Fear not, though, as New Hampshire has several wines from the Vacqueyras appellation that are superb.
One wine worth recognition is Les Seigneurs de Montrevel Vacqueyras (available at the New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets, priced at $29.99 and reduced to $24.99). I found this to be an equal to the bottle brought to the dinner. It is a blend of 60 percent grenache, 30 percent syrah and 10 percent mourvedre. The color is a deep red. To the nose, there is an abundance of black cherry, wild berry, plum. This follows through to the tongue with subtle textures of dark chocolate and oak, from the time spent in barrique. This wine needs decanting.
The Vacqueyras appellation is in the southern Rhone wine region. It is primarily a red wine region, with some white and rosé wines being produced. It lies alongside the Gigondas and Chateauneaf-du-Pape appellations, who both grow the same varietals but are more prestigious. The Vacqueyras wines are more approachable, frequently offered at half the price of the others. Slight differences in terroir, their soils and exposure to sun and winds add complexity to those finer wines. However, the wines of the Vacqueyras should not be dismissed and offer one the invitation to try a wine that would otherwise be dismissed because of price.
Enjoy these beautiful fall days with a hearty slow-cooked meal, joined by a bottle of wine that will stand up to the robust flavors of this simmering delight. Enjoy the fruits of your harvest with a bottle of wine from the Rhone River Valley that seems to be made to fit exactly with that wonderful meal.

Fred Matuszewski is a local architect and a foodie and wine geek.

Simple Sausage Rolls

If you still are thinking about sausage-based appetizers after last week’s cheesy sausage balls recipe, you are in luck! This week I have another bite-sized, sausage-centric treat.
This recipe requires only six ingredients and is really easy to make.
Let’s talk about those ingredients. I personally prefer hot sausage for its flavor. If you like sweet sausage better, it’s a fine substitute. Also, if you can’t find bulk sausage, buy links and remove it from the casings. For the bread crumbs, you need to use regular dried or panko. The dry element allows them to absorb moisture from the sausage when it cooks. Finally, you can use dairy or non-dairy milk, but you do not want to use vanilla-flavored.
I highly recommend mixing the filling by hand, so that the ingredients are well incorporated. That said, your hands are going to be messy afterward. Be sure to have hot water and soap ready!
For serving, I enjoyed these rolls as is. They are full of flavor. However, I know many people enjoy dipping. You could serve these with any one of the following: marinara, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and maybe even pesto.
Another delicious snack recipe is at your disposal. Time to start building your weekend snack menu!

Michele Pesula Kuegler has been thinking about food her entire life. Since 2007 the New Hampshire native has been sharing these food thoughts and recipes at her blog, Think Tasty. Visit to find more of her recipes.

Simple sausage rolls
Makes 24

½ pound bulk hot sausage
1 egg
¼ cup finely diced yellow onion
½ cup dried bread crumbs
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix sausage, egg, onion and bread crumbs, using hands to combine well.
On a floured surface, roll out puff pastry to a 12×10-inch rectangle.
Cut into three 12×3⅓-inch rectangles.
Divide filling into thirds; place in middle of pastry strips.
Close pastry, pressing seams together on side and ends.
With seam side down, cut each section into 8 pieces.
Place on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
Brush with milk.
Bake for 20 minutes or until sausage is cooked and pastry is golden brown.

Featured Photo: Simple Sausage Rolls. Photo courtesy of Michele Pesula Kuegler.

In the kitchen with Danilo and Amanda Portillo

Danilo Portillo and his wife, Amanda, of Plaistow are the owners of Rico’s Burritos (, and on Facebook and Instagram @ricosburritosfoodtruck), a food truck specializing in street tacos, burritos, burrito bowls and other authentic Mexican options with a Central American twist. The truck launched this past June, but both Danilo and Amanda Portillo have worked in the restaurant industry since they were teenagers. They met at a local Mexican restaurant just over a decade ago and, according to Amanda Portillo, had talked about launching a food truck for a few years before jumping in. Rico’s Burritos gets its name both in inspiration from the couple’s son, Ricardo, and for the Spanish word meaning “tasty” or “delicious.” The truck has a regular presence at venues across northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, including at Griffin Park (101 Range Road, Windham) and Peters’ Farm (3 Cross St., Salem). The Portillos will also be at Plaistow’s annual Pumpkin Lighting Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. on the Town Green.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
Danilo: A knife … because I cut everything — the meat, the parsley, the lettuce, the onions and cilantro.
Amanda: He mostly works on the flat top and I help put together all the burritos and bowls and everything, so I guess a must-have for me would be a pen to take down the orders. If I didn’t have a pen, that would be really bad.

What would you have for your last meal?
Danilo: A sushi boat … loaded with everything, pretty much.
Amanda: I think I would have to go with chicken tikka masala.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
Amanda: I guess I’m just going to roll right with my chicken tikka masala and go with Kashmir [Indian Cuisine in Salem], because that’s where I’d get it.
Danilo: The Common Man. I do love the fresh bread that they have with butter, and the steak is good, with baked potatoes and veggies.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from your food truck?
Danilo: John Cena.
Amanda: I’m going to go with Adam Sandler, just because he’s a New Hampshire native and he’s always been one of my favorite actors. … I wouldn’t be super intimidated with him because he seems like he’s just so low-key.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?
Amanda: I’m definitely going with the pork carnitas street tacos. … It’s [on] our grilled corn tortillas, with melted cheese, diced onion, fresh cilantro and our house sauce. They’re so good.
Danilo: I like the California burrito that we did as a special [with] mango pico [de gallo], avocado, cheese, rice and beans.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
Amanda: I feel like food trucks are trending in New Hampshire, more than they were before. When we first started talking about it a couple of years ago, there weren’t even half as many food trucks around, I feel like, as there are now.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Danilo: I like when we do baked haddock with fresh salad, and some veggies and some rice.
Amanda: I’m going to go with a steak dinner with salad and broccoli, and rice pilaf as well.

Shrimp ceviche
From the kitchen of Danilo and Amanda Portillo of Rico’s Burritos

1 pound extra-large shrimp
½ of a large red onion
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cucumber
1 large tomato
2 jalapenos
1 avocado
5 limes
½ cup ketchup
1½ cup Clamato juice
2 teaspoons Tapatio hot sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the shrimp for three minutes and season with salt. Place in an ice bath for about five minutes. Dice up all of the vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze in the juice from all five of the limes. Add the ketchup, Clamato juice, Tapatio hot sauce, garlic powder and onion powder. Cut each shrimp into three pieces and add to the bowl. Mix everything together and chill for 30 minutes or more. Enjoy with fresh tortilla chips.

Featured photo: Danilo Portillo (left) and his wife, Amanda, of Rico’s Burritos.

Raise a glass to fall

Fody’s Tavern introduces fall festival in Derry

When Fody’s Tavern acquired a 40-by-60-foot tent in January 2020 for its inaugural winter festival in Derry, co-owner Maria Foden could not have imagined just how critical that investment would be.
“I mean, we’ve probably used that thing a thousand times now,” Foden said. “It was just good fortune … because when everybody else was shut down because of Covid and we were trying to scramble to get outdoor seating ready and everything, we already had the tent. So we were very lucky, because we were able to have so many seats outside early on.”
After skipping a year in 2021 due to pandemic concerns, the winter festival returned for a second year the following January. Now, a new similar event is building on its success — the first Fody’s Fall Festival is happening on Saturday, Oct. 22, and will include all kinds of locally sourced food and beer samples, Foden said, along with live music, a stein hoisting competition, children’s games, giveaways and more.
“We’re essentially mirroring our winter festival, so it’s going to be literally 10 hours of just fun entertainment, [with] great music and food, all outdoors,” she said. “We’ll have all sorts of fall goodies … for people to buy, and samples, too.”
From noon to 4 p.m., the festival will be open to attendees of all ages, with pony rides, face-painting and other activities and games available for the younger crowd. Then, beginning at 4 p.m., the event will transition into a 21+ outing. In addition to beers from several local breweries — Rockingham Brewing Co. of Derry; and Long Blue Cat Brewing Co. and Pipe Dream Brewing, both of Londonderry, to name a few — the Boston-based Ghost Tequila, a chief sponsor of the festival, will offer samples of its own.
Food samples will be provided by some local vendors as well. Fabrizia Spirits of Salem, for instance, will have some of their own limoncello-infused desserts in addition to some of their liqueurs, while Theresa Zwart of 603 Charcuterie is providing several types of locally made cheeses and other products commonly found at her wildly popular charcuterie classes. Additionally, Foden said that the tavern will likely offer a special menu of seasonal options.
“We’ll probably just do easy things that, when people are out there enjoying themselves, they can just grab a snack,” she said. “The whole restaurant will be open for full dinner and lunch service as well, so if people want to go in and sit down and get a meal during the festival, they can.”
A full schedule of live local music is also planned, with each act broken out into two- to three-hour performing increments. From 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a stein hoisting competition, a tradition at many Oktoberfest celebrations that originated in Germany and is now a competitive sport. Participants are given a stein filled to the top with beer that they must hold by the handle out in front of their bodies with one hand for as long as possible. The person who can hold it for the longest time without breaking form or spilling their stein is declared the winner.
Once night falls, Foden said, attendees can gather around a fire pit, and there will also be a special LED light dance show.

Fody’s Fall Festival
Saturday, Oct. 22, noon to 10 p.m. (kids’ activities will be available from noon to 4 p.m.; after 4 p.m., the event is 21+ only)
Where: Fody’s Tavern, 187½ Rockingham Road, Derry
Cost: $10 general admission; additional charges apply for food, drinks and pony rides
More info: Visit or see “Fody’s Fall Festival” on Eventbrite to purchase tickets
Event is held outdoors, so be sure to dress appropriately. A potential rain date is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29.

May the best chilis win

Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-off returns

If you think you make the best bowl of chili around, here’s your chance to show it off — the Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-off, returning to Goffstown Ace Hardware on Saturday, Oct. 22, is a friendly competition and fundraiser that will feature a variety of homemade chilis available to taste from local community members and restaurateurs.
Chili entrants are welcome to bring a slow cooker of their best batches by 10:30 a.m., with sampling beginning at 11 a.m. No pre-registration is required for entrants, nor for tasters who just want to come and vote. Prizes in the form of Goffstown Ace Hardware gift cards — $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place — will be awarded to the winners.
“We started doing it … just sort of casually, and now people are really excited about it, and so we keep doing it in October,” said event coordinator Pat Barss of Goffstown Ace Hardware, who herself took home second place in last year’s cook-off, her first year participating as an entrant.
The cook-off was introduced in 2018 as one of several fundraising events sponsoring Goffstown Ace Hardware owner Karen Henderson’s annual running of the Boston Marathon. While they did have to skip a year in 2020 due to the pandemic, Barss said they experienced a great turnout at last year’s cook-off, with around 15 chilis for attendees to sample.
“There are chili competitions all over … and I guess the word gets out,” she said.
But part of the draw of this cook-off is that you’ll never know what’s in store to taste until the day of. In the past, Barss said the event has been known to feature all varieties of chili, from traditional beef chili to some white chilis, vegan or vegetarian chilis and even a venison chili. While any individual can enter, the cook-off in the past has garnered participation from local agencies like the Goffstown Fire Department, as well as The Village Trestle and some other restaurants in the area. All of the slow cookers are placed under tented tables out in front of the store. Each entrant is assigned a number that’s displayed in front of the chilis, enabling attendees to blind taste each one and vote for their favorite. Some people, Barss said, have even turned the cook-off into their own lunch outing.
“We have little sampling cups … and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” she said. “If most people are there to sample early, then … some of the [slow cookers] are cleaned right out.”
Vote counting will take place at the conclusion of the cook-off around 1 p.m. Donations will also be accepted during the event, with proceeds benefiting Boston Children’s Hospital.

Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-off
Saturday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Goffstown Ace Hardware, 5 Depot St., Goffstown
Cost: Free to enter in your chili or attend as a taster; no pre-registration required
Entrants are asked to bring their chilis to Goffstown Ace Hardware by 10:30 a.m. First, second and third place prizes — Goffstown Ace Hardware gift cards of $100, $75 and $50 — will be awarded. Proceeds from gathered donations will benefit Boston Children’s Hospital.

Featured photo: Scene from the Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-off.

The Weekly Dish 22/10/20

News from the local food scene

Come, we fly! Have you seen Disney’s Hocus Pocus 2 yet? Decorated candy apples featured on screen in the film were made right here in New Hampshire, at Nelson’s Candy & Music in Wilton — that’s according to owner Nancy Feraco, who told the Hippo she received a special phone order nearly a year ago for a large quantity of them. “We didn’t know it at the time, but they were for the filming of Hocus Pocus 2 in Rhode Island,” Feraco said in an email, adding that the apples were prepared for use in the film by Nelson’s confectioner Maria Marini. Feraco even recently brought her whole Nelson’s candymaking crew together at the nearby Copper Kettle eatery on Main Street for dinner and a special screening of the film. Leading up to its release, Feraco said she had been “dying to tell people” of Hocus Pocus 2’s connection to the Granite State. “We have been keeping quiet about it as we didn’t know if those shots were edited out or not … [but] we never guessed it was part of the plot,” she said. The film was released Sept. 30 and is available to stream now on Disney+. Visit
• Brews and tunes: Join Twin Barns Brewing Co. (194 Daniel Webster Hwy., Meredith) for a harvest festival on Saturday, Oct. 22, kicking off at 10 a.m. with a full schedule of live local music acts all day. Also included will be several local food trucks, a cornhole tournament with prizes, and specialty brews — Twin Barns even just held a release party last week for a seasonal Pumpkin Fest ale, declared the official beer of the upcoming New Hampshire Pumpkin Fest in Laconia on Oct. 29, according to the brewery’s Facebook page. Tickets to the harvest festival are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Funds are being raised for student music education, with event proceeds benefiting the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Modern Band Initiative. Visit
• OakCraft Pizza coming to Salem: Nashua’s OakCraft Pizza will soon open a second location inside the Tuscan Village development in Salem, according to recent announcements made on the company’s website and social media pages. Construction on the new space is underway and regular updates will be made on its progress, the posts read. OakCraft Pizza owner and Hollis native Rick Carvalho opened the fast-casual eatery in Nashua’s Amherst Street Village Center in September 2021, specializing in made-to-order wood-fired pizzas cooked in an imported Italian oven. The restaurant offers completely customizable options on an assembly line before your pie reaches the end, along with additional items like cheesy garlic bread, salads, meatballs with red sauce, and hand-filled whoopie pies. Visit or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @oakcraftpizza for updates.

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