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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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A tradition that is pure Vermont


By Dave Sellers

I can't think of words that express accurately how I feel about dividing the Fourth of July between Warren Village and Sugarbush. Words like: stupid, inappropriate, silly, wrong, and so on don't come close, so here is the long version: Having been part of each celebration from 1965 to now, having floats in each parade, helping with the fairgrounds events and blowing fireworks off from the Warren Cemetery the night of the bicentennial, the day we buried the time capsule behind the bandstand, I see the extraordinary joy and appreciation on visitors' faces when they experience the entire town dedicated to recognizing the INDEPENDENCE of this awesome nation.

Warren becomes a true pedestrian experience. You find a way to get in town (it shouldn't be too easy; this nation wasn't easy to start on track; in fact, it is still working the bugs out of the system) and it's walking from there on. The pathways to the fairgrounds, the dancing in front of the Warren Store, and merely wandering around, cooling off in the various swimming holes in the village, meeting and greeting old friends likely in costume along the way. It takes the entire day to take in all of this in the tiny village along the Mad River and Freeman Brook.

This is a tradition that works. This is a tradition that is pure Vermont. This is a tradition that can't be replaced. It has never occurred to me from the day Emma Ford called and asked the Prickly Mountain boys and girls (we were boys and girls then) to enter a float in the parade, that the whole concept would need protection. The fairgrounds events from horse and oxen pulling, to the baseball games, midway, dancing, have been an essential part of the times. It's safe, you can take the pathways back and forth, kids can be left on their own while parents dance, cars are out of sight and you can feel the good energy that comes back when a village works. We need villages in America, and this is an example how it works.  

So, it is NOT GOOD to slice off an essential part, load people back in cars and go to a resort for half the day. No matter how good Sugarbush is, even if mountain rides are free, and ice cream is free and the parking lots are convenient, taking an essential part of the Fourth in Warren out will kill it. DON'T DO THIS.

Dave Sellers lives in Warren.

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