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  • Writer's pictureTodd DeGarmo

Balsam Bees at Big Moose Community Chapel

Here's another video in the series From the Archives, based on my grant-funded research documenting the folklife and traditions of our region from 1986 to 1994, that led to the creation of the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library.

In this episode, we drop in on the Balsam Bee hosted by the Big Moose Community Chapel, on Big Moose Lake, in the Adirondacks of New York. These photographs, interviews, artifacts, research and program files continue to be archived at the Folklife Center.

You can still participate in the Balsam Bees. Here's what they say on the Big Moose Community Chapel's website:

"The Balsam Bee is a fun family event where people gather in the basement of the church to make decorative balsam pillows. These pillows are the top-selling item at the annual Chapel Bazaar. There's work for balsam grinders (using our antique hand equipment that turns boughs into piles of clean needles), pillow "stuffers", and sewers of all sewing abilities." They also need help gathering the fresh balsam boughs. And as with so many church events, refreshment will be served.


For more information:

To learn more about this year's Balsam Bee, check the Big Moose Community Chapel's website

Adirondack Balsam Pillows: Folk Art, Tourist Art, or Subsistence by Todd DeGarmo, in the special issue, Folk Arts in New York State: A Public Forum. Journal of the New York Folklore Society, Summer-Fall 1989, Volume 15, No. 3-4

Balsam Traditions (a poster series) by Todd DeGarmo. Adirondack Museum and Crandall Library, 1992. Includes 5 thematic posters: Balsam Bed, Balsam Cures, Christmas Trees, Balsam Bee, Souvenirs. for an assortment of balsam pillows and balsam covers that are part of the Folklife Center’s permanent folk art collection.


Todd DeGarmo, founding director, The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library, 518-792-6508 x237.

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