Vonnegut Celebration

Vonnegut Celebration

Sturgis Library, in partnership with the Barnstable Historical Society, Tales of Cape Cod, The Barnstable Comedy Club, Cape Cod Art Association, Barnstable Fire Department, Cape Cod Beer, Village businesses, churches, and organizations will host a weekend-long celebration of the life and writings of Kurt Vonnegut.  Vonnegut, who lived on Scudders Lane, is well known for his numerous novels and essays, including the powerful Slaughterhouse-Five.  He was a Sturgis Library Trustee, an active member of the Barnstable Comedy Club, and wrote some of his most successful novels right here in Barnstable Village.

The Vonnegut Celebration will be held on October 10, 11, and 12 — Columbus Day weekend — of 2014.

vonnegut label finalTo kickoff this special event Cape Cod Beer has produced a special beer in collaboration with the Sturgis Library

When Brewmaster Todd Marcus was approached by Ted Lowrie, President of the Board of Trustees of the Sturgis Library, to somehow participate in the upcoming Columbus Day weekend Vonnegut Celebration, the idea of special beer quickly came to mind.  Together with the brew crew and the library staff, brainstorming began on a name and beer style.  This of course is never as easy as it sounds, and dozens of names were suggested.  Given that Vonnegut was captured during the Battle of the Bulge in the Wallonia region of Belgium where Saisons are most famous, the style seemed perfectly appropriate.  His capture led to the writing of one of his most famous works: Slaughterhouse-Five.  This, combined with a candid photo provided by Vonnegut’s daughter showing Kurt relaxing in front of a barn house door on Scudders Lane, led to a moment of clarity and Kurt’s Farmhouse Saison was born.

Saisons are a complex style of beer traditionally brewed in the winter and stored for the farm hands to drink over the summer and harvest months.  They tend to be fruity or spicy but not sweet and have a have a slight earthy yeast tone to them.  While this beer will be distributed from Plymouth to Provincetown in 22 oz “bombers” and on draught, consideration was given to the fact that it would also be served at the Library’s Chowderfest, which culminates the Columbus Day weekend Vonnegut Celebration.  With a slight lemony tartness and a dry finish, the beer will pair nicely with food  – especially chowder!

Kurt’s Farmhouse Saison will be released on Friday September 12th with a collaborative release party taking place at the brewery from 4-6pm.  Foods made with the beer and appropriately Vonnegut themed or named snacks will be served.  The beer will be available starting that date in 22oz bottles and on draught at the brewery and in selected locations.  Use the brewery Beer Finder to find places carrying this particular product at Find.CapeCodBeer.com


August and September, 2014

  • Cape Cod Times Books Editor Melanie Lauwers and Sturgis Library Director Lucy Loomis will join Laura Reckford on Sunday Journal
  • Banned Books discussion, including books by Vonnegut, with Anne Speyer
  • Melanie Lauwers, Jill Erickson, and Lucy Loomis join Mindy Todd for a discussion of Vonnegut’s work and the event on “The Point” on WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station
  • Vonnegut-inspired Writing challenge
  • Vonnegut exhibits
  • Sale of Vonnegut books and collectibles
  • Raffle of unique Vonnegut items
  • Limited edition Vonnegut beer will be unveiled by Cape Cod Beer

Unless otherwise indicated, all programs are open to the public on a first come first-served basis, and admission is a suggested donation or free. 

Friday, October 10th, 2014

  • Cape Cod book sale begins at 10 AM.  On sale will be books & nonprint material on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and New England and by Cape Cod authors.  Sale will run throughout the Columbus day weekend.
  • Stop by Sturgis Library to pick up a program, view exhibits, shop in the Book and Gift Shop, and purchase tickets for ticketed events.
  • TICKETED EVENT. Wine and Cheese Reception at Sturgis Library, 5:30 to 6:30 pm  $18 per person admission includes reception and lecture at Tales of Cape Cod at 7 PM (below).
  • TICKETED EVENT.  Talk by Don Farber (Vonnegut’s friend, lawyer, agent) at Tales of Cape Cod, Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 7 pm, followed by discussion and remembrances of Vonnegut by audience members.   $18 per person admission includes wine and cheese reception starting at 5:30 at Sturgis Library (above) and lecture.

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

  • You’ve Never Been to Barnstable? Village Walking Tour with Nancy Shoemaker of the Barnstable Historical Society, at 10AM.  Meet at the Barnstable Historical Society.  Park at Sturgis Library or St. Mary’s Church.
  • Hotdog Lunch at the Barnstable Fire Station at 12 noon and Touch-a-Truck event for kids and families.
  • Talk by Julia Whitehead, Director of the Kurt Vonnegut Public Library in Indianapolis at Sturgis Library at 1:30 pm.
  • Showing of film “Slaughterhouse-Five,” at Barnstable Comedy Club at 3 pm with discussion of the film and book to follow.  Discussion will be led by Tim Miller, film critic of the Cape Cod Times, and Anne Speyer, Librarian at South Dennis Library.
  • Vonnegut Panel Discussion with Marc Leeds, Mark Vonnegut, Don Farber and Julia Whitehead at the Unitarian Church of Barnstable at 7 pm.

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

  • The Art of the Doodle at Cape Cod Art Association  at 11 am.
  • Lecture/presentation by Marc Leeds, author of The Vonnegut Encyclopedia : An Authorized Compendium at 12:30 PM at Sturgis Library.
  • Concert by the Bert Jackson Trio at 2 PM the Barnstable Village Courthouse Stage behind the County Courthouse.  This program is sponsored by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.  In case of rain, the event will be held at St. Mary’s Church.
  • Staged reading of Happy Birthday Wanda June at Barnstable Comedy Club 4 pm followed by discussion
  • TICKETED EVENT.  Chowderfest  with Vonnegut Beer at Sturgis Library at 6 PM.  Chowder, cornbread, beer, and more!  $25 per person.