Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte Voisey’

CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS: A SPARKLING SUCCESS

Monday, December 29th, 2014

By Sara Kay

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With events like New York Champagne Week, which is only in its second year and has already experienced an incredible amount of notoriety, it brings to mind an important question about the future of champagne as not just a celebratory beverage on its own, but a key player in the cocktail world.

The French 75 and the Kir Royale – both cocktails that feature champagne – are staples in the classic cocktail category, but as we’ve seen from events such as this one on Nobember 4th, versatility is the name of the game.

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Champagne and cocktail lovers alike came together for the first consumer event of New York Champagne Week 2014 to see bartenders from around New York City compete for the title of best champagne cocktail. Sponsored by Nicolas Feuillatte, these competitors took over Evelyn Drinkery and created some truly outstanding tipples for people to sip on and enjoy as they talked about all things bubbly.

For Rob Bigelow, Master Sommelier and Senior Director of Wine Education and On-Premise Development for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, the future of champagne cocktails looks bright, and won’t be slowing down any time soon. He says, “It’s my opinion as a master sommelier and the opinion of most mixologists that champagne is the superior choice for sparkling wine in a cocktail, and that has to do with the quality of the grapes it comes from. At the end of the day, it’s just better.”

The competition ended with a bit of a twist; two competitors came away with the first place trophy, that trophy being a magnum bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte and the possibility of having their cocktail featured at Tales of the Cocktail 2015. Marlo Gamora of Jeepney and James Menite of The Plaza Hotel were crowned the two winners of the evening, with Micaela Piccolo of Distilled NYC coming away with the People’s Choice award.

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A tie in a cocktail competition is fairly unheard of, but it signaled something exciting that industry insiders have known for a while; that Champagne cocktails are on the rise. It also means that competitions like these are finally being seen as ways to showcase the creative use of a base spirit like Champagne, and not just for bartender bragging rights or awareness of a certain spirit brand. In a display of excellent sportsmanship, Gamera and Menite accepted their equal first place win with joy, hugging it out and congratulating each other on a job extremely well done.

Gamera’s win with his drink The Pastry War meant first taking on the job of thinking about champagne in a whole new way. He explains, “I never thought mezcal and champagne would go together, I’ve never made a mezcal champagne cocktail before and I figured, why not? Mezcal is a great spirit and champagne as well. I took a dash of absinthe to tie them both together, then added a form of Asian expression from my background into the cocktail to really balance them out.”

Menite had similar sentiment about his approach to creating his winning cocktail, the Doit Anoir, which featured Salerno Blood Orange Liqueur as the base spirit. He notes, “I wanted to do the first egg white champagne cocktail. I’d never seen it done before and I thought it would work really well with the Salerno blood orange liqueur and the Ramazzotti Amaro. I don’t know if Salerno has ever been used as a base spirit, people mostly use it as a mixer. I wanted people to see it can be used as a base spirit. I wanted to showcase the Salerno and the champagne and how well they worked together.”

Whereas most champagnes ring in with a fairly hefty price tag, making working them into a drink menu not the economical choice for using in cocktails, Bigelow believes it’s brands like Nicolas Feuillette that end up coming out on top based on the low price point and the younger and hipper personality.

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Cocktail innovation tends to be the focus for many of these competitive events, but there is also an element of education that comes in as well. Mixologists of this caliber know what makes a good cocktail great, and by discovering that champagne serves as the perfect balancing agent, it’s only a matter of time before the bubbly becomes a regularly featured ingredient in many a cocktail.

Charlotte Voisey, Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons, which provided all the spirits, comments, “It’s nice to see champagne in the industry getting the recognition it deserves. Champagne is a fantastic source of acidity, and that’s the key ingredient in any cocktail to balance everything out, and as we saw tonight, it goes well with every spirit category too.”

The cocktail industry sees its fair share of changing trends, with a particular drink being all the rage one day and yesterday’s news the next day, but when it comes to champagne cocktails, the attitude is fairly clear; they aren’t going anywhere.

“Whether it’s a cocktail or champagne straight up, it’s always going to be a good time,” says Gamera. “And, to quote Coco Chanel, she said t’here’s only two times that I drink champagne, when I’m in love or when I’m not.’ Anytime is a good time for champagne, even if you’re feeling down or feeling up. Champagne cocktails are always going to be there.”

We’ll cheers to that.

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LADIES WHO LUNCH

Monday, July 8th, 2013

1st Annual Dame Hall of Fame Luncheon is on July 18th
By Francine Cohen

TOTC 2012 Dame Hall of Fame luncheon table set

Follow the hats on July 18th and you’ll notice that the ladies are at it again – celebrating their past accomplishments and looking towards an even brighter future that will be revealed at this year’s Dame Hall of Fame luncheon at Tales of the Cocktail 2013 (www.talesofthecocktail.com). This the day for some serious celebrating of the strides women have made in the spirits industry, and all are welcome at this celebratory luncheon held at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel (www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/neworleansroyalorleans).

Returning sponsor Hollis Bulleit, World Ambassador for Bulleit Bourbon & Rye, explains why she and her brand are coming back for the sophomore year of this event that is co-sponsored by LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), “The Dame Hall of Fame means to me that I get to celebrate with my peers the breaking of another glass ceiling. It is a place for me to be proud of my accomplishments and taking the risk to add a feminine perspective and queer perspective in an industry that up until quite recently had a lot of rules on the right way to enjoy brown spirits.”

Having women lead the way on the right way to enjoy brown spirits, and spirits of every hue, is a far cry from the days when when women weren’t even allowed in bars. Now they’re shaking up the entire industry as mixologists, bar owners, ambassadors and more. It wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing dialogue and mentorship that LUPEC engenders throughout the year and, since LUPEC events are not simply brand commercials, that is why organizers decided to add an engaging educational component to this year’s luncheon via a Q&A session that will foster spirited conversation. LUPEC NYC President Lynnette Marrero notes, “It is important for LUPEC events at Tales of the Cocktail to be a chance for brands to interact with our members and to share their unique brand stories with our fan base.”

TOTC 2012 Dame Hall of Fame Lillet ladies talking

The luncheon’s supporting brands

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LIBATIONS LET FUNDS FLOW TO END HUNGER

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Cocktail Lovers Gather to End Childhood Hunger on May 18th
By Francine Cohen

NoKidHungry MCC auction invitation

Proving that the Manhattan Cocktail Classic isn’t just all about feeling good courtesy of good drinks, Small Screen Network presents a Chef’s Table charity cocktail benefit on Saturday, May 18th from 7-10 as they partner with anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength to support their No Kid Hungry campaign which works to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. (www.nokidhungry.org)

With one in five children experiencing food insecurity it’s imperative that funds be raised to put an end to this unacceptable reality. Hopefully Saturday night’s benefit and live auction will put us one step closer to that scenario when we can say that no child in America will go to bed hungry.

Please join Small Screen Network, host mixologist Charlotte Voisey of William Grant & Sons (www.grantusa.com), Chefs Fredrik Berselius of Aska (www.askanyc.com), Anna Boiardi of E! Networks Playing with Fire www.annaboiardi.com/bio.html, Kathy Casey www.kathycasey.com and Linnea Johnsson linnea-johansson.com, along with the ever lively host and auctioneer Billy Harris (www.billyharris.com) for a memorable evening of nibbles, libations and unlimited opportunities to open your pocketbooks liberally for such exclusive prizes Small Screen (www.smallscreennetwork.com) has curated as:

Rare Bottle of Scotch Tun 1401 & Trip to LA for Private Tasting, Dining and Bagpipe Lesson

Your Own Video Series on Small Screen Network

Large Format Dinner For Twelve at David Chang’s Momofuku Ma Peche

Tilit Chef Culinary & Bartending Kit from Cocktail Kingdom Package


Music provided by David Higgins www.davidhigginsband.com

Tickets available here in limited quantity: www.secure.strength.org/site/Ecommerce?store_id=6301&JServSessionIdr004=uix67gcxk2.app205b

PORTRAITS FROM THE BAR: MIGUEL CALVO

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Illustration by Jill DeGroff, Story by Miguel Calvo

Wandering about the Loisada, marveling at the transformation of the neighborhood. I lived there thirty years ago, in a 5th floor walk up for which I paid $135 a month. Back in the day when Yerba Buena was something you surreptitiously procured on the street, lit up, and passed around to your buddies on the stoop.

I kept hearing about a wonderful little bar called Mayahuel and knew I must visit. Just as I was about to cross the street, I saw a familiar face. It was Miguel Calvo. I explain to Miguel my mission: I’ll take you there! says he.

So we walked up 6th street and entered this gorgeous little grotto of a bar, enveloped in exquisitely carved wood and mosaic tiled designs. Miguel ordered us two Palomas from the very capable bartender, Jose Mena, and they were sublime. He then began to tell me about his father, a story so richly woven, it could have been lifted from a Carlos Castaneda novel.

During the 1960’s, Miguel’s father, Wilfredo Calvo Bono, was an architect in Cuba who designed schools and hospitals. When he refused to join the Communist party, the government required that he work in the fields cutting sugar cane for two years. Finally permission was granted for him to leave the country. By this time his mother was seven months pregnant and would not have been allowed on the plane, so she wrapped herself in a girdle to hide her belly. Miguel was born prematurely soon afterwards. His parents immediately sought refuge with his aunt, “Auntie Doctura” a doctor who lived in Madrid. She took them in and there they lived for several years. During this time his dad, with no other means to support his family, began to make paintings to sell on the street. He painted one thing only and hundreds of them… mushrooms. Every single species of mushrooms that had ever been categorized –which he carefully rendered from a scientific volume he had procured. The paintings were small enough to fit into a suitcase. Tourists loved them and they sold extremely well.
By the time Miguel turned seven, they moved to Ohio, where his dad worked as an architect for many years. Now in his later years, his father has embarked on a most unusual project after receiving a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation – creating Mondrian-like designs chalked onto football fields by tractor, then photographed from above in a plane!

Miguel has been working in the hospitality and design industry for most of his life, from owning his first place, Global 33, to designing Stephen Starr’s first restaurant: The Continental Martini Bar.
If you were lucky enough to have attended the incredible William Grant & Sons party at the World War II Museum last year during Tales of the Cocktail, you’ll understand that Miguel creates multi dimensional events that are nothing short of spectacular. “I love the soul of an event and dreaming them up.” He tells me. “I create events where the marriage of drink, food, and design galvanize peoples’ senses.”

While completing this profile, I learned that Miguel is setting off to Colombia to work with the Wayu Indians to develop designs that have been accepted for the furniture store, West Elm. It is evident that from a creative and adventurous father came a son who not only followed suit, but continues to expand the medium- and possibly even change some lives.

Favorite Drink: the Papa Doble. “While building the rum bar at Cienfuegos, I had the great fortune to hear Charlotte Voisey explain rums in great detail. She reintroduced me to the Hemingway Daiquiri and rums in general.”

Papa Doble

2 oz White Rum
½ oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Grapefruit
1 oz Lime

Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain into chilled stemmed glass.
Garnish with a Marasca cherry and lime wheel on a pick.

Jill DeGroff is the author and illustrator of “Lush Life; Portraits from the Bar”. To see more portraits from the bar, visit her online Rogues Gallery at www.saloonartist.com

HENDRICK’S GIN’S ENCHANTED FOREST OF CURIOSITIES

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Or how one brand took the juice out of the bottle for a tangible experience
By Vincenza Di Maggio
Photos by Fine Young Man Productions

Have you ever taken Lewis Carroll’s advice and tried believing in “as many as six impossible things before breakfast?” You probably have without even realizing it; for instance, during your brainstorming meeting as you fiddle with your pencil and try to “think outside of the box,” racking your brain for creative ways to market your brand to an audience.

Well, here’s some inspiration for you… Imagine an enchanted forest growing inside of a warehouse, occupied by a bar built inside of a tree trunk measuring nearly 10 feet in circumference, a bearded lady serving cocktails out of a wishing well, a flourishing garden of giant sized mushrooms, a fountain of flowing water infused with cucumbers and rose petals, and wood sprites frolicking about, all the while paying no mind to the fact that it is snowing… indoors… as sparkling butterflies flutter from tree to tree.

Impossible, right? Think again.

Hendrick’s did it. The delightfully curious Hendrick’s Gin (www.hendricksgin.com) – named the world’s best gin by the Wall Street Journal (www.online.wsj.com) – took creative thinking to a whole new level and proved that no idea is too outlandish.

Hendrick's Brand Ambassador, Jim Ryan

Anything is possible. So believes Joanne Birkitt, Senior Brand Manager for Hendrick’s Gin who explains, “We created the concept for the Enchanted Forest of Curiosities last year as a unique way through which to invite consumers to experience a journey into the world of Hendrick’s. That journey is intriguing, unexpected, peculiar and, of course, filled with

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BE THE ACME BARTENDER

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

When mixing cocktails isn’t enough
By Michael Neff and Sean Kenyon
And Francine Cohen

Photo courtesy of Cherry Heering

This year at Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com) there was so much knowledge and fun flying around between the plethora of seminars on everything from ice programs, to rotovapped scotch (www.theglenlivet.com), brand ambassador roles, effective menu design and all the great parties (Thank you Charlotte Voisey and Miguel Calvo for taking us back to the 1940s with your William Grant Portfolio Shore Leave party www.grantusa.com)

Of course, when it comes to fun, it would be impossible to leave out the week’s big fundraiser, Pig & Punch, which was created by the Bon Vivants (www.bonvivants-sf.com) and raised $6,000 for Kingsley House (www.kingsleyhouse.org). The rain couldn’t dampen anyone’s joy about being there.

But one less than joyful refrain was heard again and again; overheard at the pool, in passing in the Hotel Monteleone’s lobby (www.hotelmonteleone.com), and late at night whispered in the doorway of the Alibi…word on the street was a plea for a return to bartending and all that that encompasses- in short a shift towards the mindset that service is king and elitism is out.

Two well spoken and seasoned bartenders made this the topic of their columns in the esteemed publications to which they regularly contribute. On the left side of the country, in Denver’s Westword.com Sean Kenyon opined about titles on business cards and what they really should represent. On the right, on Serious Eats.com Michael Neff had a few choice words to say about bartenders after being inspired by his daily interaction with the busy bartender at Acme (www.acmeoyster.com).

You can read all about it here:

Behind the Bar
Sean Kenyon knows how to pour out both drinks and advice. A third-generation bar man with 25 years behind the bar, he is a student of cocktail history, a United States Bartenders Guild-certified Spirits Professional and a BAR Ready graduate of the prestigious Beverage Alcohol Resource Program. You can often find him behind the bar at Euclid Hall (www.euclidhall.com) and here most weeks, where he’ll answer your questions.

I just returned from Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, the biggest cocktail party/bartending/spirits convention in the world. While looking through the stacks of business cards I collected, I found the following lofty titles for bartenders: Mixologist, Master Mixologist, Master Bartender (says who?), Cocktail Chef, Liquid Chef, Craft Cocktail Specialist, Cocktailian, Cocktail Artist…
All just fancier names for one job. Bartender.

My father — who, in fact, is a bartender — used to say,

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SPIRITED STUDY. SUBSIDIZED.

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Eight Tales of the Cocktail Apprentices Receive Scholarships

In 2010, Tales of the Cocktail®, the world’s premier cocktail festival held annually in New Orleans, announced a new, $25,000 scholarship program developed exclusively for former cocktail apprentices. After an intensive judging process, eight former apprentices from across the country were selected to receive funding for everything from advanced bartending courses to develop a universal language for describing cocktails and spirits.

“It was inspiring to review the scholarship applications,” said Charlotte Voisey, a member of the scholarship selection committee. “We are very grateful for this opportunity to further our mission, by providing unique, educational opportunities to such talented industry professionals” said Paul G. Tuennerman.

The Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program is the latest piece of the ever-growing Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP). The program was founded in 2008 through a partnership between Tales of the Cocktail®, Cointreau and the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation (NOCCPS) to give up-and-coming cocktail professionals the opportunity to learn from the world’s most influential mixologists while at Tales of the Cocktail®.

Twenty-nine former Cocktail Apprentices submitted applications for a wide range of topics and programs across several different categories. Applications required a detailed explanation of course of study and presentation of findings, as well as a pre-established mentor in the field of study. A scholarship selection committee made up of key apprentice leaders, NOCCPS members and the Tales of the Cocktail team reviewed all the applications in a multi-step process.

The first two rounds were reviewed on a variety of criteria with absolutely no applicant information visible to reviewers. In the third round, the selection committee took into account the applicants’ credentials, places of employment and years of experience with Tales of the Cocktail. The final round was a discussion format that focused on the scores, not just within each category, but also as whole. With this, the selection committee considered the amount of potential impact each proposed project could have on the industry.

Two of the scholarship winners are members of the 2010 Cocktail Apprentice leadership team and thus on the selection committee. These two members of the selection committee were not permitted to review applications in their initial categories, had limited participation in the discussion of fund allocation in different categories and even sacrificed some of the funds available to them in order to see more applicants awarded scholarships. They also did not have advance notice of review criteria and other applications.

Applicants who did not receive scholarships this year are encouraged to apply next year, as this program is an on-going initiative of Tales of the Cocktail®. The selection committee is eager to see the results of these projects, as well as, collaborating with one of this year’s winners to choose the grants in 2011.

The 2011 Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship recipients are:

Mike Ryan (Head Bartender, Sable Bar and Restaurant – Chicago)
Class of 2009 and 2010 CAP Team Leader

$3500.00 to attend the Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) class in New York City
BAR is an independent organization comprised of six of the world’s leading spirits and cocktail authorities dedicated to educating, guiding and propagating the healthy, enlightened and responsible use of beverage alcohol products. Students study in-depth bartending techniques, base spirit production, tasting and usage as well as the history of the craft in an intensive five-day spirituous equivalent to a Master Sommelier course.

Navarro Carr (Bartender, The Sound Table – Atlanta)
Class of 2010

$1500.00 for “A Journey Into the World of Rhum Agricole”
“A Journey into the World of Rhum Agricole” is an educational excursion to Martinique-French West Indies to visit a variety of rum distilleries. The overall objective is to gain a better understanding of how Rhum Agricole is produced from sugar cane harvest to bottling. Navarro will have the rare opportunity to travel to an A.O.C. designated region and experience how terroir, cane selection, harvest methods, fermentation, distillation and maturation play a role in producing specific Rhum Agricoles. Upon returning to the states, Navarro will present his research to several bartending education organizations.

Thomas Klus (Bartender, Teardrop Cocktail Lounge – Portland)
Class of 2010

$2500.00 for “A Bridge to Islay”
Tommy will be partaking in an immersion internship primarily with Master Distiller
Jim McEwan at Bruichladdich Distillery in Islay, Scotland as well as several other regional distilleries with the goals of learning the complete distillation process as well as creating a bond between the U.S. and Islay to help preserve the traditions and culture of the island. Thomas will become an Islay Ambassador upon return, working not only to educate the U.S. on Islay, but continuing to work with the distillers there to help them understand and adapt to the needs and desires of bartenders working with their product.

Nicholas Jarrett and Brad Farran (Bartenders, Clover Club – Brooklyn)
Class of 2009 and 2010

$5,000.00 to create a green, zero-impact bar to be used in future bar designs
Working with a green industrial designer, Nicolas and Brad will develop the logistical infrastructure to assemble a functioning bar system with zero impact, one that recycles or reuses all byproducts of daily operation from materials to discarded garnish to grey water. This design will be put to the test in one of the most grueling event spaces, Burning Man 2012. From there the techniques used will be refined and made available for others to incorporate into their pop up bar setups at events throughout the world as well as into permanent bars.

Rhiannon Enlil (Bartender, Cure – New Orleans)
Class of 2008

$3,000.00 for a Cocktail Timeline Website
Rhiannon will create a web-based, visually-organized encyclopedic timeline of cocktails. This historic reference guide will start with eight key New Orleans cocktails and expand from there, giving users a single readable line with more in depth information available at their choosing depending on their desired topic of study. This site will not be a narrative, rather a user driven research tool based solely on factual references which will be archived into the site, not only making original source material easily viewable to all researchers, but also preserving it in one easily searchable location.

Don Lee (Bartender and Consultant, New York)
CAP Team Leader for Class of 2008, 2009 and 2010

$5,000.00 to study Descriptive Language of Spirits and Cocktails
Working with one of the industry’s foremost sensory analysts, Don Lee will create a collaborative project to develop a universal scientific language to describe the flavor profiles of every major spirit category and basic cocktail family. The project will start by using a series of planned blind tastings with groups across the country to amass descriptive data. Once a comprehensive language of general taste perceptions is created, a more formal panel of trained tasting experts will be selected to analyze and describe specific bottlings and cocktails with this new language. The new language will not favor or endorse any one brand but help the industry as a whole to better describe and understand spirits and cocktails in a way understood by all. All non-discriminatory, non-competitive, non-brand specific information will be shared freely on a website for the benefit of the community.

Sharon Floyd (Bartender, Iris – New Orleans)
Class of 2010

$2,500.00 to study “The Botanical Bar”
The shared histories of the apothecary, bartender and the medicinal properties of alcohol are familiar to most today, but much understanding is lacking where the specific plants are concerned. Sharon will embark with an Ayurvedic medicinal practitioner on a comprehensive study of herbs and plants most used in the cocktail world. Their research will ultimately result in a comprehensive reference work of herbal medicine as it relates to spirits and cocktail creation allowing for further creative collaboration between these two worlds.

Sudeep Rangi (Bartender, Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco)
Class of 2010

$2,000.00 to study a “General Theory on Drunkenness”
Drawing upon his degree in Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology and Philosophy from Emory University, Sudeep will examine how we can attempt to understand drunkenness not as a temporary form of lawlessness, but as a necessary biological and social function. Expanding on the works of Mikhail Bakhtin, Sudeep will attempt to answer the question of what social function do bars and the consumption of alcohol play throughout history and across societies. He will also examine how this function is a part of the natural human condition by examining the tension between the lawlessness drunkenness produces in the mind and societies attempt to simultaneously regulate individuals. Ultimately his goal is to synthesize the work into a book and his future legal work.

ROCKS STARS – TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2010 TOP 5

Friday, July 30th, 2010

By David Ransom

Photo courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail

Rules are made to be broken, and while Rocks Stars, originally conceived as a profile column focusing on “Movers and Shakers” in the sprits industry, will for all intents and purposes remain that way, from time to time I may just throw in some thoughts on experiences I have along the spirits trail that I find need some play.

To that effect, I would like to bang a few keys on the keyboard, updating you on this year’s 8th Annual Tales of the Cocktail conference held in New Orleans this past hot and steamy week, by bringing to light what I consider to be the week’s top five events:

Here we go, in no particular order, except the last one:

5. Wednesday evening’s Beefeater Welcome party. Held in the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, This “welcome party” had it all: Alice in Wonderland characters floating through the room, trapeze artists floating through the air, and some beautiful cocktails with the “always classic” Beefeater gin, made by some of the world’s great bartenders, like Jamie Gordon and Audrey Saunders, while others, like Tony Abou-Ganim and Dale DeGroff roamed the room. A great way to kick into the week’s festivities.

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