Fort Salem Theater and Gardenworks Present “Farm-to-Table Dinner Theater at the Movies: Route 30 Arts & Agriculture”

SALEM — Fort Salem Theater and Gardenworks are at it again. The two businesses, which have collaborated for the last six summers in Farm-to-Table Dinner Theater and Cabaret, pairing locally sourced dinners with locally produced entertainment, take that concept one step further on Saturday, September 16, with what they call “Farm-to-Table Dinner Theater at the Movies: Route 30 — Arts and Agriculture. A Multimedia Live Music Event.”

“Remember years ago, before the internet, when communities used to gather to watch slides and home movies?” asks the Fort’s artistic director, Jay Kerr. “People had gone on trips and wanted to share their pictures with the neighbors. You’d tolerate the slides, and then have coffee and cake.” The goal, say the hosts for the evening, has been to make their movies and slide shows more than tolerable. And chef Rob Southerland’s dinners always trump coffee and cake. And precede the show.

Route 30 parallels the White and/or Black Creeks for at least half its length. It provides mountain views at each end, the Adirondacks to the west and the Taconics to the east. Its fertile fields change texture and color throughout the year. Incorporating for this event a block of County Route 153, East Broadway west from the Courthouse Community Center, County Route 30, a sixteen mile long county road from Main Street in Salem to State Route 40 in Hartford, boasts several businesses based on art and agriculture, and is home to some of the region’s most celebrated historical buildings.

Some of the area’s prominent artists have sketched and painted Route 30’s buildings and fields. Nationally acclaimed artist Gretchen Dow Simpson depicted a residence on West Broadway at the edge of the village for the cover of the New Yorker magazine thirty-five years ago.

Music will punctuate several slide journeys along the route, provided by Lynne and Jay Kerr, who operate and perform at the Cabaret at Fort Salem Theater, and whose musical credits included stints at some of Manhattan’s finest nightspots prior to their relocating to Hebron. The evening will touch on contributions by other “newcomers” whose work has been inspired by the area’s unquestioned beauty, all balanced by folks whose families have lived here for generations. Art, architecture, and businesses will be profiled in slide and film shows, many accompanied with the live music.

In conjunction with the event, Salem Art Works director Anthony Cafritz will display SAW-generated sculptures specifically coordinated with their temporary homes at Fort Salem Theater in town and Gardenworks on the outskirts of town. Several depictions along Route 30 have been on display at the gallery at Gardenworks, including three watercolors created by Elizabeth Cockey specially in honor of this event.

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The former Fitch Tavern, licensed in 1787, food, spirits and lodging at the midpoint between Manhattan and Montreal, located at Milliman’s Corner on Route 30 in the town of Salem. Currently owned by artist Irene Schultz. Featured in Fort Salem/Gardenworks event. Photo by Lynne Kerr.

The Log Village at the Grist Mill, in Hartford, was built in 1782. Many of the oldest  buildings in Salem, which celebrated its 250th birthday in 2011, make their home on Route 30, including the Fitch Tavern (1779); the Alexander McNish House (1794); the McCartee House (1796), and the Old White Church (1797). The midpoint for travel between Manhattan and Montreal in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is found on Route 30 near Milliman’s Corner, giving true validity to the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce slogan, “In the Middle of Everywhere.”

Seating is limited for this happening; reservations are required. Dinner begins at 5:30 PM with appetizers, part of a four-course meal; the multimedia presentation begins when dinner ends. Pricing for the event is all-inclusive at $65. For more information, visit the theater’s website (fortsalemtheater.com) or call the box office at (518) 854-9200.

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