Independence Day Activities
The Bennington Independence Day celebration will take place on Thursday, July 4, beginning at 4 p.m. at Willow Park. There will be a variety of food and craft vendors, and the Crossover Cloggers will perform from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by Buddy Madison’s acoustic music from 6 to 8 p.m. Fireworks will begin at 9:30.
Community members and visitors are invited to join Bennington Rotary Club members on Thursday, July 4, in the ringing of the original bell from the USS Bennington. This annual event includes a reading from the Declaration of Independence and a ceremonial ringing of the bell for each of the 13 original colonies. Each year a community group is asked to ring the bell for the 14th time, symbolizing Vermont’s entry into the union as the 14th state. This year, the recognition goes to the students from the Village School of North Bennington, represented by Head of School Tim Newbold, in gratitude for their donation to Rotary’s ‘Share the Heat’ fuel assistance partnership with Green Mountain Power. Arrive by 1:30 p.m., as program will begin at 1:40. Both adults and children will have a special chance to ring the bell themselves after the program ends.
The USS Bennington was an Essex-class aircraft carrier that served the U.S. Navy from 1944 through 1970. When the ship was de-commissioned, its bell was entrusted to the Town of Bennington, and it is displayed year-round in front of the Bennington town offices at 205 South Street.
Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center at 783 Townshend Road will host the Vermont Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday, July 3, starting at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks finish out the evening. Flashlights are suggested to help you find your way back to your car in the dark.
Celebration starts with a parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 7, beginning at the State garage and ending at the Mountain Marketplace Plaza. The Lions Club’s annual Duck Race follows in the river behind Jelly’s Deli. Fireworks will start between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m.
Pack a picnic basket and celebrate the sound of summer in Vermont with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, July 2, at 5:30 p.m. at Hunter Park on Main Street/Route 7A north. The will concert conclude with a fireworks display accompanying Tchaikovsky’s famous ‘1812 Overture’ and the beloved marches of John Philip Sousa.
Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, will host a communal reading of Frederick Douglass’s fiery 1852 speech, ‘The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro.,’ at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 4. Discussion and light refreshments will follow. Douglass, a former slave and leading abolitionist, begged the race question at an event in Rochester, N.Y., commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 5, 1852. “Fellow-citizens,” he began, “Why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” Hildene joins the Vermont Humanities Council, Community Change Inc., and others in this statewide effort to think about and discuss race and citizenship more than a century and a half later. The text of the speech is available at vermonthumanities.org. For more information, call 802-367-7960.
The Town of Manchester is hosting another year of Independence Day celebrations on Thursday, July 4, at the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park off Bonnet Street. Festivities start at 11 a.m., and include free swimming at the pool, live music and fireworks at dusk (approximately 9:30 p.m.). Food will be available to purchase, or bring a picnic.
An Independence Day parade takes place Wednesday, July 4, starting at 11 a.m. in Belmont Village. A barbecue follows at 11:30 a.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall next to Star Lake with live music.
The Town of Ludlow will host a fireworks display Wednesday, July 4. The festivities will begin at 7 p.m. with a concert by Chris Kleeman, and conclude with fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m. The event will be held at the West Hill Recreation area located at 239 West Hill Road.
The second annual Salem Fourth of July Parade and Art & Plow Fest will take place on Thursday, July 4, to showcase the region’s arts and agriculture. A variety of activities are planned. There will be food vendors and an artisans’ marketplace from 4 to 8 p.m. on the green at the Train Depot on North Main Street, plus kids’ activities, pop-up art shows, a barbecue, and a parade beginning at 5 p.m., followed by live bluegrass at 6. A full schedule of events can be found at salemnychamber.com.
The Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site, located off of Route 67 in Walloomsac, N.Y., will offer an early tour of the main areas of the First Engagement of the battle, beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 7. Some driving is required to travel between the three stops. Visitors will meet under the flagpole. For more information, call 518-860-9094. Tours of the battlefield may also be arranged by appointment.