BENNINGTON >> Area residents will be able to celebrate Independence Day with local firework displays and other ceremonies.
The Bennington Battle Monument will hold the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence on Monday, July 4 at 1 p.m. Local actor Willy Jones will read the document in its entirety. And at 1:45 p.m., the Bennington Rotary Club will observe the National Let Freedom Ring Bell Ringing Ceremony. Thirteen members will each ring the bell from the USS Bennington in recognition of each of the original thirteen colonies at precisely 2 p.m. There ceremony will take place in front of the town office on South Street.
Firework displays will be held in Bennington, North Bennington and Manchester.
On Sunday, July 3, Lake Paran in North Bennington will hold its annual Independence Day celebration and fireworks display, according to Marlene Driscoll, the director of Paran Recreations. The celebration starts at 5 p.m. Cost of admission is $5 per person; for groups of five or more, the cost is $4 per person. Children under age 3 get in free.
Driscoll said Paran Recreations is excited to show off its new lake house, which includes the snack bar and bathhouse.
The lake opens at 11 a.m. and will be open for swimming. People usually arrive before sundown to stake out a spot; people can bring chairs or a picnic setup, Driscoll said.
"It's a great display," she said.
Bennington's fireworks display is on Monday, July 4. Fireworks are scheduled to go off at dusk — between 9 and 9:30 p.m. — at Willow Park, off Park Street.
Manchester will hold it's fireworks display at the Dana Thompson Memorial Park on Monday, July 4. Fireworks will go off at about 9:30 p.m.
'Leave it to the experts'
Each year, fire officials around the state warn the public of backyard firework displays and advise people to attend municipal and public displays.
In Vermont, all fireworks — except sparklers and novelty smoke devices — are illegal except for supervised public fireworks displays.
"Despite the efforts of fire safety officials and the Vermont Fire Service community to educate Vermonters about the dangers of fireworks, each year young children and adults are injured and first responders are called to help," Vermont Fire Safety Director Michael Desrochers said in a press release. "The Division of Fire Safety is asking the public to help prevent injuries and fires resulting from unsupervised and improper use of novelties and fireworks."
In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than one-third of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20 to July 20, 2014 were under 15; nine percent were under five. Sparklers alone caused more than a quarter of those visits.
"Public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals and supervised by local fire departments are a good alternative to personal fireworks use," DFS states on its website. "These displays are the smartest and safest way to enjoy fireworks."
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979