Vinotok and the Trial of the Grump. 9-21-08

(Last Updated On: September 18, 2010)

Crested Butte has a lot of traditions and character (and characters), and the Vinotok fall festival is up there with any of them. I love Vinotok, mostly because it’s just another sign that winter is right around the corner. This year marked the 22nd annual festival, which was started as a way for the newcomers to Crested Butte (skibums) and the oldtimers (miners of slavic descent) tried to create a tradition to share together. This led to storytelling nights, a “liar’s night” to see who could tell the biggest lie, and a community feast. The culmination, however, is the mumming and the trial of the grump.

The mumming begins at 5:30, when all the people in the Vinotok street performance gather and travel to all the bars and restaurants in Crested Butte to let everyone know of the upcoming festivities. Apparently this tradition has its’ roots in 13th century England. Rob, Sydney, Brittany, Jay, Amber and I were at the Gourmet Noodle with some friends when the mummers stopped by. Notice that they all have cups with them. Perhaps mumming is just an excuse to drink.

Our friend Gutter…

The Harvest mother (usually the most pregnant woman in town):

The green man (more on these characters in a minute…)

Rob and Sydney with Sir Hapless and the Dragon behind them:

After dinner, we headed out to Elk ave to see the show. Here’s the storyline:
Sir Hapless represents “progress” and industry, while the dragon represents Earth and nature. They have a duel, until the harvest mother says they need to stop and find balance.

Then there’s the Green man. He’s making his way through the 12 maidens (12 months) and is the promise that spring will return again. He’s got a great job at Vinotok- he pretty much gets to make out with every woman he sees. Our friend Gutter was the green man last year, and he said that it’s a big responsibility to have a good night as green man to ensure a good winter the following year. Word is that Gutter never made it home last year, and we had a record snowfall. Hopefully this year’s green man is up to the task.

Anyway, the Grump becomes the scapegoat for all our worries. He represents everything bad that you want to let go of. Boxes are placed in town for a couple of weeks and everyone writes down the things that are bugging them. All those scraps of paper are then placed in the Grump and burned with him. When the Grump goes up in flames, all your cares will go away with them. Being a fair town, we always have a trial, but in the end, the Grump is always sentenced to death by fire. The Grump:

This video does a much better job of explaining the trial than I did (I tried to embed, but I have no idea how) Seriously, this TR is worthless without this video.

Vinotok Trial 08 from frank konsella on Vimeo.

Everyone makes their way down Elk ave to the 4-way and the Grump is set in the bonfire. A little video:

You can see his eyes as he is about to be set on fire:

A few minutes later…

After that, the maidens and other performers dance around the fire:

Anyway, that’s about it. As much of a dirty, stinky hippyfest as Vinotok sounds, it’s really fun. Brittany, Rob, Sydney, and Crested Butte’s newest residents Tom and Laurel all got to check out their first Vinotok last night. I’m pretty sure they all had a good time, or maybe that was just all the booze 😉 Hopefull last night’s Vinotok was a complete success and CB will again be having a record setting year 🙂

Frank Konsella

Frank loves snow more than anything... except his wife.  He ensures his food is digested properly by chewing it 32 times before swallowing.He is a full-time real estate agent serving Crested Butte and Gunnison and would be honored to send you his monthly newsletter.

Frank Konsella

Frank loves snow more than anything... except his wife.    He ensures his food is digested properly by chewing it 32 times before swallowing. He is a full-time real estate agent serving Crested Butte and Gunnison and would be honored to send you his monthly newsletter.

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