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Reptiles, drummers, icons draw Olde Home crowds.

Byline: Karen Nugent

CLINTON - Hypnotic tribal drumbeating in Central Park yesterday was interspersed with Irish step dancing, puppet shows, a German brass band, venomous reptiles and Russian icons.

It could only mean another successful Olde Home Day for thousands who came out for Friday night's kickoff outdoor free movie in the park, and antiques appraisals; and yesterday's full day of all kinds of activities.

There was a steady flow of youngsters and adults through the always-popular Rainforest Reptiles trailer, a family-run educational exhibit.

As a group of preteen girls gasped with delight over frogs they described as cute, herpetologist Michael K. Ralbovsky, a founder, said this year's exhibit, which is relatively new, has animals from nine states that were rescued because they were illegal pets or seized by environmental police during drug busts and from crime scenes. A monitor lizard and a Gila monster, he said, were found in New Jersey. Mr. Ralbovsky, known as "Mike the Gator Guy," said venomous snakes were drawing the most attention yesterday.

As he spoke, the pounding of drums from participants in a drum circle on the north side of the park became louder.

Dave Curry of Uxbridge, who runs the Milford Open Drum Circle, led the groups, which consisted of toddlers, teens, baby boomers, and senior citizens. Mr. Curry, who supplies drums and chairs, said he usually starts the sets, although anyone is welcome to get a groove going.

"Some people who regularly do drum circles know in advance to come, and others just see us, sit down, and join in," he said.

A former bass player, Mr. Curry has been running drum circles for about seven years.

"This is where I find my love," he said.

One of yesterday's drummers was Cynthia A. Cannon, owner of Sunrise Boutique on High Street - who had her own Olde Home Day booth.

"I'm supposed to be over there," she said with a laugh between drumming, while getting ready to check on things via cell phone.

Ms. Cannon, who brought her own drum, said she belongs to a Northboro drum circle and was delighted that Mr. Curry would be at Olde Home Day.

"I just love drumming. It's such a relaxing type of energy," she said.

A quieter type of energy was happening inside Town Hall, where an art exhibit was also attracting a lot of people.

Laura E. Taylor, one of the event's organizers, said 30 artists submitted 69 pieces of art for the juried show, with categories including oil and acrylic paintings, water colors, photography, and woodcarving.

The best-in-show prize went to Nan Rumpf, an Iowa native who lives in Wellesley. Her winning piece, a watercolor called "Amalgamation," had scattered black and gray images, and could have been taken for a photo collage from a distance.

Paul F. Lowe Jr. of Clinton took first place in oil painting for a portrait of The Rolling Stones; and Chester J. Burzenski took first place in the other category for a wood carving called "The Tower of Babel." Mr. Burzenski said most of his works are done with wood from a 200-year-old butternut tree on Chase Street that toppled during a snowstorm several years ago.

Stephen D. Collins of Clinton took first place in watercolor for a portrait of his wife, Sheryll A. Collins, also an artist who submitted pieces to yesterday's show.

"It captures Sheryll completely," Ms. Taylor said of Mr. Collins' piece.

Donna E. Merriman, another Olde Home Days organizer, said the most highly attended portion of the event was Friday night's outdoor showing of the film "A Night at the Museum." The huge screen is set up in the middle of the park, and viewers watch from blankets and beach chairs.

"It's like a drive-in," Mrs. Merriman said.

She said the Rainforest Reptiles and the Pumpernickel Puppets are always big draws - and indeed large crowds of parents and children gathered at the puppet shows yesterday.

Mrs. Merriman said the crowds yesterday seemed to be a bit smaller than last year, and attributed it to the heat and other events in nearby communities. But she said there were no snafus either day, crediting Clinton High School Excel Club students with setting up and helping vendors unload their inventory.

In conjunction with the movie, the new Museum of Russian Icons overlooking the park on Union Street was opened at a reduced rate for the festival. Bus tours of Clinton, given by Terrance P. Ingano of the Clinton Historical Society, were also new this year.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: (1) During Olde Home Day yesterday, Elizabeth Perez, 15, of Clinton, makes bubbles in the children's play area sponsored by the Clinton High School's Excel Club, of which she is a member. (2) Claire Hutner, 11, of Auburn scales the National Guard's climbing wall.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff Photos/DAN GOULD
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 9, 2007
Words:802
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