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Independence Day weekend is here, and Bennington County is planning to mark the Fourth of July holiday with parades, cookouts and fireworks.

In Bennington, the celebration begins at 12 p.m. at the Battle Monument with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. That’s followed by a car parade to Town Hall, including rider groups from Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts.

Once there, members of the Bennington Rotary Club will ring the U.S.S. Bennington bell to honor the original 13 colonies. That’s expected to take place at about 1:30 p.m.

The 14th bell ringer is an honorary role reserved for a person or organization that has made a significant difference in making the community a better place. This year’s honoree is Joe Hall, a Bennington history buff, on behalf of the Bennington Historical Society.

After the ceremony, attendees can ring the ship’s bell themselves.


Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. They’re also potentially dangerous, and the Division of Fire Safety on Thursday encouraged Vermonters to enjoy public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals under controlled settings.

In Vermont, it is illegal to purchase, possess, transport, store or discharge fireworks without first obtaining a permit from your town.

The state allows the sale of novelty devices, such as sparklers, but recommends they should not be used by children, unless under close adult supervision.

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The tip of a sparkler burns at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to cause severe third-degree burns.

The following is a listing of fireworks displays this weekend:


Lake Paran is hosting its annual 3rd of July fireworks celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Food trucks, live music, games and fun will be followed by fireworks at about 9 p.m. Admission is $5 per person with children 3 and under free, and $20 per family up to five members, with additional members $3 each. To volunteer, email


Fireworks are scheduled for Monday evening at Willow Park, with grounds opening at 5 p.m. Fireworks are expected to start at about 9:30 p.m. There will be music by Buddy Madison, food for purchase and additional vendors. The event is free. The rain date will be July 9.

MANCHESTERAn expanded fireworks show honoring the 50th anniversary of the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park will begin at 9:30 p.m. Monday at the park with viewing areas at the McClellan and Eckhardt athletic fields (next to Applejack Stadium). The Manchester Lions Club will sell food items. Parking is available at the park, Manchester Elementary Middle School, Riley Rink and in downtown Manchester. The park will also offer an extended open swim at the town swimming pool from 12:30 to 8 p.m.

Visitors are reminded that grilling food is not allowed on McClellan and Eckhardt fields.

Greg Sukiennik covers government and politics for Vermont News & Media. Reach him at

Greg Sukiennik has worked at all three Vermont News & Media newspapers and was their managing editor from 2017-19. He previously worked for, for the AP in Boston, and at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.


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