Joann Ernehouse

Here are more reasons for "Why I Love Bennington."

The Battle Day Parade will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary on Aug. 17. It will be a great parade starting at 12:30 from the old middle school on East Main and continuing to its destination at the Fire House. From the Miss America Scholarship Program we will have Miss Vermont riding in the parade. Vermont’s Outstanding Teen will be in the parade as well. I understand Fire Works are part of the festivities.

The Bennington Croquet League is wrapping up another season. It is almost like getting that first whiff of crayons that remind one that fall and back to school is just around the corner. Both the original Thursday group and the Tuesday group have had a marvelous season. On Tuesdays the Mt. Anthony Country Club has been just wonderful to us. Our Awards Banquet will be held on August 19. It is bittersweet as we never enjoy having to stop playing! I still hope to help organize a tournament so we can all get together at least once a year.

The Chamber of Commerce has just received a lovely award from the Vermont Special Olympics for our continuing support. We will now look for a nice place to hang the plaque downstairs in the reception area.

Remember to go to the Bennington Monument on Aug. 16. There is the 5k race and other activities to enjoy. The Monument is the most visited of all the Vermont State Historic Attractions. We are very fortunate to have it and the wonderful staff who take such good care of it and all the visitors.


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Speaking of Visitors -- our Welcome Center numbers are still on the rise. Maybe all the trade shows, ads, and postcard campaigns are beginning to show results. Also, once people have stopped they seem to build it in to their regular itinerary. No wonder. The Team up at the center are very helpful and knowledgeable. "Thanks" to them for making Bennington a great place to stop.

Downtown Businesses are working hard to keep their windows clean and full of nice displays. This helps put our best foot forward as visitors are looking at us as they come in for their vacations. The flowers are extra attractive this year. I understand that First Friday was a huge success with stores and attractions offering special activities and staying open until 8 p.m. The influx of traffic from the Southern Vermont Art & Craft Festival certainly attended our events and enjoyed our town tremendously. High marks to the Bennington Museum’s Rockwell Models Reunion which drew around 300 guests.

The Chamber is now gearing up for another terrific Southern Vermont Garlic Festival on August 30 and 31. We have a huge number of vendors who always provide an amazing variety of fresh garlic and herbs, garlic products, and foods, plus our beer tent with plenty of seating, live music, children’s activities, demonstrations, access to the Shops at Camelot Village and much more! With admission still only $5 for adults and $1 for kids; it is a real family event. Plus, remember it is recognized as one of the Top Ten Garlic Festivals in the World. Our volunteers make this the great event for our community that it is -- and we thank them!

My grandson has finished golf camp at Mt. Anthony Country Club. He had a wonderful time and received nice encouragement on his game. He is nine and loves to come to Bennington for visits. He even went to the Chamber Mixer last week which was at the Country Club, so he felt right at home. They provided a beautiful venue out on the patio and a lovely buffet. Thanks to all our members who enjoy hosting these networking opportunities for the Membership. Everyone enjoyed the Mixer and we look forward to the next one.

Please pick up your M2M cards at the Chamber Office. Scan it with your smart phone and you can read the Member to Member Discount page on our website as you go shopping. Also businesses should consider offering a discount to members to encourage foot traffic through your door. The process is extremely simple. Call Marie at 802-447-3311 and she will load the information onto our web site.

See you all at the parade.

Joann Erenhouse is Executive Director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce.