EAST FAIRFIELD — Renovations to the Meeting House on the Green are on schedule as the 26th annual Jig in the Valley looms ahead.
Granted, the Jig is more about the green than the Meeting House. The performances, the ice cream, the best seats are all on the grass in front of East Fairfield’s premiere show hub. During the Jig, the Meeting House itself hosts only the silent auction.
But wouldn’t it be nice if those who have been previously unable — those with a physical handicap, say — could enter the Meeting House this 26th Jig on July 29? Or if the Jig’s roughly eight hours of performances could come from the Meeting House’s newly constructed outdoor stage?
Nancy Shaw, a Jig organizer, thinks so.
“We’re crossing our fingers,” Shaw said.
The Meeting House’s renovations are on schedule, according to Shaw.
“The footings and walls have been poured, forms stripped, and the cement will cure for a few more days,” she said. “The stairs will be constructed.
“Next it will all be back-filled, and the inside filled with stone and earth. A slab poured, pavers laid.”
The last renovations are a ramp to be built along the former church’s east side and the installation of railings.
Shaw said the Jig in the Valley will go on regardless of where the construction is or isn’t.
Shaw is one of the Fairfield Community Center’s governing members. As such, she also oversees the Meeting House and the Jig. The community center acquired the Meeting House in 2011 both to preserve the building itself and to expand the center’s community programming.
A Vermont Arts Council grant and donations from individuals — including in-kind donations from local contractors — makes these renovations possible. The Meeting House received the grant, to the applicants’ surprise, during summer 2017.
The renovations are essentially a handicap accessible entryway and an outdoor stage space replacing simple stone steps.
Local developer Jim Cameron is the project’s general contractor.
In scheduling this year’s performance season, Meeting House organizers purposefully left all of July, and most of August, open for construction.
Mary McGinniss and the Selkies — who perform covers ranging from Hoagy Carmichael to Annie Lennox over Cajun accordion, percussion, saxophone, electric bass — was the Meeting House’s most recent performance on June 23.
To read the full story pick up a copy of Tuesday’s Messenger.