Wednesday August 14, 2013

ELIZABETH CONKEY

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- Vermonters will celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Bennington this weekend with a full schedule of activities.

Town offices will be closed Friday in observance of Battle Day and festivities will begin at 11 a.m. with a sausage, hamburger and hot dog lunch available for purchase at the Bennington Fire Department’s 130 River St. facility.

This year marks the 49th year that the Bennington Fire Department has organized the town-wide weekend celebration, according to Richard Knapp, parade chairman for Bennington Fire Department, which includes a chicken barbeque dinner on Friday (cost is $10 per person), kids’ activities and a sports parade on Saturday, and the annual Battle Parade on Sunday.

The three-day event coincides with the Vermont State Firefighters Association conference, to be held in Bennington Friday through Monday. Saturday’s VSFA Sporting Event Parade is set to kick off at noon Saturday at the Bennington Fire Station.

Sunday’s parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. sharp and will run from Main Street to the Fire Station. Knapp said the parade, which will last for about two hours, will include 13 floats, a variety of bands and musical groups, and appearances by the local VFW, American Legion and Elk’s Club members.

"One of the reasons we continue to organize these activities is to bring tourists to the area," said Knapp. "To encourage them to visit our restaurants, our stores and our hotels.


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We hope that what we do draws a crowd."

Better Bennington Corporation Executive Director John Shannahan also noted the importance of the annual community event.

"The parade is not only a time to honor our local heroes," he said, "but also an opportunity to invite people to town."

Marylou Chicote, site administrator at the Bennington Monument said that there will also be a plethora of historically-centered activities for the masses this weekend.

Revolutionary reenactors will set up an encampment in the field around the monument and spend the night on Saturday in full character as a part of the living history portion of Battle Day weekend.

The reenactors will hold musket and artillery demonstration for adults and special programs for children as well.

For the athletically inclined, there will be a 5k road race Saturday, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. and the race kicking off at 9:30. A kids’ "Fun Race" will follow the 5k.

Chicote also noted that two authors will hold book signing events at the monument both on Saturday and Sunday. Gregory Edgar will spend Saturday among reenactors at the Monument field, while Ben Rose will meet with readers at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bennington Museum.

To learn more about this weekend’s festivities, visit www.betterbennington.com or www.benningtonbattlemonument.com.

For questions regarding the parade, call the Bennington Fire Department at 802-442-1051.

Contact Elizabeth Conkey at econkey@benningtonbanner.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.