BENNINGTON — While Bennington has been celebrating the Battle of Bennington annually since 1778, this year's celebration was bound to be different. With the traditional Fire Department parade cancelled due to Covid-19, planning events that would be both safe for participants and accessible to the community created unusual challenges. "We knew early on that video would be vital," says Celebration Committee co-chair Phil Holland. "We had to design our events for the viewers at home as much as for the small live audiences we allowed ourselves."
"CAT-TV, Bennington's local community cable service, was the essential partner that made it possible to bring our community together for Battle Day," notes Committee co-chair Jonah Spivak. "They hosted our Zoom meetings, and were with us every step of the planning process. Most of all, they did an amazing job throughout the entire weekend of the actual celebrations." The ceremonies both at the Veterans Home and the Bennington Battlefield as well as parts of the parade were shown live, and edited versions of the Sunday ceremonies and reverse parade and of the Saturday night fireworks have been viewed on CAT-TV's Facebook page more than 5,000 times.
In addition to their role in planning and presenting the 2020 celebrations, CAT-TV aired numerous videos of past Battle Day Parades during the lead-up to this year's event. "I'd have to check, but I believe that CAT-TV has televised around 25 years' worth of Bennington Battle Day Parades," says CAT-TV Executive Director Lisa Byers. "I'd like to note in particular the efforts of Mike Cutler — he did a phenomenal job helping put this together this year."
To honor the efforts of CAT-TV and its staff, members of the Bennington Battle 2020 Celebration Committee met with CAT-TV chief Byers and her staff to present a plaque recognizing the station for Outstanding Community Service. Jerry Albert, a member of the Committee and one of the founders of CAT-TV, did the honors. "We are fortunate to have such a well-run and dedicated organization in our community helping to keep our citizens informed and involved," Albert said.