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MONTPELIER — It’s official: Bennington is throwing a big party in 2027, and everyone is invited.

Gov. Phil Scott has signed an executive order creating a 250th Anniversary Commission to plan, coordinate and promote observances and activities recognizing the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Bennington, and the Green Mountain State’s role in the American Revolution.

The plan is to mark anniversaries beginning with the Green Mountain Boys’ capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 — the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776; and the Battle of Hubbardton and Battle of Bennington in 1777.

To observe these events, Vermont will join other states and the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission “to encourage remembrance of our past, celebrate the present and look forward to a promising future,” Scott’s office said in a press release.

“I want to thank Governor Scott for his continued commitment to the 250th anniversary celebration. Creating the commission through an executive order will allow us to begin planning for events and celebrations,” state Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, said.

“Bennington will play an important part in Vermont’s 250th anniversary celebration because of our incredible history, notably highlighted by the activities related to the Battle of Bennington,” added state Rep. Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington. “As we continue to deal with COVID-19 and its challenges, the planning for this statewide celebration shall be a positive focus for Vermonters.”

“I’m very happy that the governor has chosen to keep this effort moving forward despite the challenges of the pandemic. How we remember our history defines who we are today, and is the legacy we leave to future generations,” said Jonah Spivak, a Bennington historian who is among those leading the local efforts to commemorate the 250th.

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“Celebrating the founding of our nation, the founding of our state, and the victory at the Battle of Bennington is both our duty as citizens and our joy as patriots to help preserve our shared ideals of freedom and unity,” Spivak said.

Legislation to create the commission had been considered in the state legislature, but was held back by the coronavirus.

Spivak has urged residents to begin thinking big about local initiatives that that could have a lasting impact on the Bennington area — something that would add to the experience of visiting historic sites like Monument Circle, the Bennington Museum and Old First Church.

The 250th Anniversary Commission is hoping to involve residents, visitors, educators, students, cultural institutions, historical societies, the business community and state and local governments in recognizing the importance of revolutionary history, and how it still resonates in society.

The commission will be comprised of the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the state historic preservation officer, the state librarian, representatives of the Vermont Historical Society, the University of Vermont, as well as appointed representatives of geographic and racial diversity.

This membership will include a Revolutionary War historian, member of a Revolutionary War reenactment group, a representative of a Vermont history museum, and members of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. Planning will begin next year for celebrations planned from 2025-2027.

Full details of the commission are available in the executive order.

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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