Cheap thrills

By ELLEE DEAN  |  June 14, 2006
Haskell Opera House
First Friday art walk, free (culture will cost you a night in front of the tube.)
Every first Friday of the month, Portland opens its local art galleries, studios, museums, and alternative art venues to the public. Access to the Portland Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, and the Artist Studio Building is free. Self-guide your tour. Sift through visual poetry, vintage-car paintings, Michael Monster’s old cartoon-and-horror film-influenced mixed media; and down free refreshments. We’ll TiVo Hogan Knows Best. (Other worthy Fridays include Boston’s MFA First Fridays and Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s second-Friday Gallery Walk.
First Friday Art Walk | Portland, ME

Killington mountain bike package, $35 (a dive over the handle bars will cost you your face.)
It’s a sunshine, green-mountain, cool-breeze sort of day. We’re cruising over 40 miles of trails with our $3 dollar Killington all-bike-trail, all-lifts, and lodging package. On a tight and technical single-track, tires gripping root and rock gardens, brake pads purring like a kitty-cat, we flipping see it. We wouldn’t stop for a squirrel, a chipmunk, a shrew, or even a chickadee — we are not cute or cuddly. But that damn sweaty toad, bigger than a small dog, releases a throaty moan through warty jowls that quakes our very core. Our toe loses the pedal. Our palm pumps the brake. Our face hits the dirt. Concussed, we can’t sleep, we can’t drink, and we can’t have sex — we try, and it only makes the headache worse. On our next trip to Killington we’ll wear our shin guards, knee guards, forearm guards, elbow guards, finger gloves, chest protector, and helmet. The toad is toast.
Killington Resort | 4763 Killington Road, Killington, VT

Three-day/two-night roots-reggae festival, $85 (camping will cost you a shower and three days/two nights of eau de port-a-potty.)
In mid August, Newport, Vermont, hosts a three-day, two-night roots-reggae festival. Smoke up; camp out in tents, truck beds, and back seats; and listen to one-drop tempos and Rastafarian rhythm guitarists’ skanky backbeats. This year’s line-up includes Ethiopian Dread, Rebel Tumbao, Jah-N-I, and the Berklee College Bob Marley Ensemble. Too cheap to break a hundred? Sunday day passes cost $15.
Vermont Roots Reggae Festival | August 11–13, Newport, VT

Green Mountain Chew Chew Food Festival, $5 (a sighting of the resident Lake Champlain Monster will cost you all credibility.)
On the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, Burlington, Vermont, hosts the annual Green Mountain Chew Chew Food Festival. Sample conch fritters, alligator, and maple-mustard sweet-potato fries. Listen to steel drums and Western swing, or Mr. Charlie’s Blues for Breakfast and the Stockwell Brothers’ Folk-Rock and Newgrass while tasting fried plantains and Mark’s meatball minis. Five dollars buys nine tokens, and tokens buy heady new flavors like pumpkin-cream-cheese whoopie pie. Fork over your incredulity and you might see Champ, the snake in the lake.
Green Mountain Chew Chew Vermont Food Festival | June 23–25 | Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont

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