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July 23, 2014
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America’s got talent!

Brian Facquet, left, Diane Walsh and John Walsh host a Bootlegger 21 tasting at the new Prohibition Distillery in Roscoe, NY.


Accepting reality, I stood by as the dog signed pawtographs. Experiencing a sudden desire to drown my sorrows, I decided to call on another new business (www.prohibitiondistillery.com) that has sprung up in Roscoe, and even though their grand opening is still in the future, I strode to the door and pounded on it. Bootlegger 21 distiller John Walsh graciously invited me in, giving me a quick tour of the facility, housed in a retrofitted fire station built in 1929. “New York has become a hotbed for distilleries in recent years,” Walsh explained, while his partner Brian Facquet prepared a sample of gluten-free, handmade vodka. I know nothing about distilling liquor, but (IMHO) these guys have a talent for it and their motto, “Historically Smooth,” rang true. Since I wasn’t driving, I downed a shot (or two) and snapped some pics before heading out the door for Hortonville and its local talent show.

Now in its 27th year, the cavalcade of entertainment has been wowing sold-out crowds for decades, while supporting the Interfaith Outreach United Main Street Thrift Shop (www.mainstreetthriftcallicoon.org) in Callicoon, NY. Held in the historic Hortonville Presbyterian Church, the lineup consisted of 16 acts. Singers, musicians, comics and storytellers took to the stage as master of ceremonies Richard Ross presided as he has done for decades. Ross was amusing and endearing and kept the pace moving along with wit and considerable charm. “This is the best little show in town,” he declared. “We’re all good at something, and tonight you’re going to see some unusual acts!” Between Jim Newton’s washboard rendition of “For No Good Reason at All,” little Curtis Brooks at the piano, the barbershop quartet and Joe Hoffsommer playing “School Days” on a pen (yes, a pen!), it quickly became clear that Ross wasn’t kidding.