Joann Erenhouse

This Fourth of July the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. reopens after extensive development and renovations. The new Visitor Center, Campus, and Galleries celebrate in style at the Grand Opening on July 4.

The Bennington Rotary hosts the National Bell Ringing Ceremony on July 4 in front of the Town Office. The program begins promptly at 1:45 culminating in the ringing of the U.S.S. Bennington Bell at 2 p.m. to coincide with bells rung all across the United States at that time. Plan on arriving at 1:30. Our own Alexina Federhen, Vermont’s Outstanding Teen who is a student at Mount Anthony High School will be there to sing the National Anthem. She also lent a hand at the Great Race making friends with the crowd.

The Great Race enjoyed a gorgeous day Sunday a week ago. Helping serve the teams their lunches at the Fire House, I got to hear from so many of them how much they enjoy Bennington’s hospitality and what a beautiful state we have. There were a great variety of vehicles to see. Of course my 5 year old grandson’s favorite was the blue Hemmings truck. His dream is to one day be allowed to sit in it.

The Bennington Monument is always active on July 4. Willy Jones will read the Declaration of Independence which has become a real classic performance. Dressed in colonial garments, Phylis Chapman will educate the younger set with kid’s games. Jeff Grimshaw will be marching a contingent up Monument Avenue from the Catamount Statue to the Monument in time to hear the reading by Willy Jones.


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A great day for America and for the birth of our United States will be re-lived right here in Old Bennington. Call the Monument for more information at 802-447-0550.

Check out the graves at the Old First Church where Hessian soldiers and Patriots are buried. Visit the Bennington Museum and see Revolutionary War army uniforms and equipment. Stop in to The Bennington Center for the Arts and visit the Native American Art Gallery for a look at the culture that existed before the Europeans ever dreamed of coming to the "New World." There are so many historic sites in Vermont and in the Bennington Area. Get a book from the Library or from our two bookstores on Main Street and learn about our early American and Colonial period. If you think last winter was hard -- try doing it without electricity, central heating, indoor plumbing, cars, super markets, t.v., cable or computers! We are pretty lucky they didn’t just give up.

I have been on vacation this past week. It has given me the chance to catch up a little with my family. I really enjoy them all and don’t get to see them much. My boys were such fun when they were growing up. Now I get to have each of my three grandsons one week each. As the little one said last week: "I wish I could live here all the time." As long as I live in Bennington, they will always have that option.

Happy July Fourth -- Enjoy the fireworks.

Joann Erenhouse is executive director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column appears weekly in the Banner.