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Board discusses Warren's annual Fourth of July celebration -- or will it be at Sugarbush?

11/29/2007

By Kara Herlihy

This year will mark the 60th anniversary of Independence Day celebrations in Warren. What better way to celebrate than to move it to Sugarbush Village? 

On Tuesday night, November 27, Susan Roy of the Mad River Chamber of Commerce presented very preliminary 'conceptual' plans to move the Fourth of July festivities from Brooks Field in Warren to Lincoln Peak at the Warren Select Board meeting.

The Fourth of July falls on a Friday this year, and for safety and parking reasons, she said, the chamber thinks Sugarbush would make an ideal location for the events that normally take place at the field near the Warren Elementary School.

EASIER

"Logistically, this would be better for parking, safety, easier to get in and out and it would be easier to collect the donation from participants," Roy said.

If the celebration were to move, Sugarbush's signature summer toys would also be available, including the zip line, Frisbee golf, and chairlift rides. Roy also mentioned possibly including an 'antique car element.'

Members of the public were on hand to provide feedback on the possible switch. One person spoke up regarding the possibility that Sugarbush would profit from hosting the event.

CONCEPTUAL

Roy said the event change notion is "still in its very conceptual stages" and she "isn't sure if people would have to pay" to use Sugarbush's activities," adding, "it is not the intent that Sugarbush buy the event."

While the Fourth of July seems far off, plans are already started for the event which typically draws upwards of 10,000 people. Roy ran the event last year and hopes to negotiate a way for three Valley towns to share the expense.

Select board chair Mac Rood called the notion, "a major change" and "something that would have to be brought up at Town Meeting."

FIRST QUARTER

Town Meeting might be too far off, however. Roy said she would like feedback and a decision from the select board 'early in the first quarter,' which is rapidly approaching.

Rood called the event "very traditional" at Brooks Field, and members of the public assured that the celebration had been taking place there for at least 50 years.

Select board members also said that it would 'change the character'' of the Fourth of July, and would attract 'a different crowd.' Select board member Burt Bauchner said that the Fourth of July was the "biggest event in this town."

SENSIBLE

Roy said that this year, as the Fourth of July falls on a Friday, would be 'the most sensible year' to make the switch as more people than usual will be around.

Rood said that perhaps "an off year" would be easier for trial purposes.

The select board said they 'needed more time to consider the idea' and would likely bring it up at Town Meeting, if that wasn't too late.

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