Thursday May 16, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- When Popolo’s founders committed to their new restaurant, opening day was a speck on the distant horizon. They endured a year of planning, permitting and prepping, followed by months of brainstorming, buying and building. Finally, opening day arrived on May 22, 2012, and Popolo hit the ground running.

"The car metaphor is really apt," says General Manager Gary Smith, "except that we had to create the car from scratch. There are so many moving parts that need to work together and no way to test drive it before we set off on this adventure."

On Memorial Day Weekend, Popolo celebrates its first anniversary with three days of music, food and drinks. All shows are free.

On Friday, May 24, Popolo welcomes The Primate Fiasco, a psychedelic Dixieland phenomenon from Northampton, Mass. A brass section meets a banjo and some drums for a crazy dance-off in the ballroom. The doors open at 8 p.m., and the band hits the stage at 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday, May 25, it’s the first Popolo Open Mic Extravaganza. Driven by music and film veteran Greg "Skeggy" Kendall, the night’s high-beams are on the area talent. Everyone with a tune or a tale is invited to steal the stage for a moment. With the ultimate goal of a dangerous group performance looming at night’s end, the show will careen down the narrow path between genius and madness to praise and prizes.


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To finish off the anniversary weekend, Sunday brunch on May 26 will feature performances by two area favorites, starting with The Break Maids, Vermont’s homegrown all-women trio. They’re something of a blind date between Loretta Lynn and The Violent Femmes and some snappy dressers to boot. The Break Maids play at noon on a two-band bill with Rusty Belle whose barroom country music has been crossing the yellow line for a few years now. Fine songwriting and captivating chemistry is trotted out by brother and sister Matt and Kate Lorenz and rounded out by henchman, Zak Trojano.

For more information, visit www.popolomeanspeople.com.