Crowds mark Monkton's 250th birthday with food, fun and laughter

MONKTON — The Monkton 250th Founding Celebration on June 24 was a day of fun, food and laughter. Starting the day of celebration was the 5K Race with 70 runners and walkers. Prizes were given for the fastest time of male and female contestants, the winners being Chris Coffey with a time of 18:35 minutes and Lizzie Collins with a time of 21:35 minutes. The race was sponsored by Road ID. Each contestant received a water bottle. Awards were given at the end of the race on the ball field at Morse Park.

Next on the agenda was the parade with 35 parade participating registrants. The parade started at 10 a.m. with bagpiper Tim Cummings in the lead, followed by Co-grand Marshals Charlie Huizenga Sr. and Roger Layn, the Monkton Museum and Historical Society, and Monkton Troop 525 Boy Scouts, plus a procession of bicyclists, walkers, llamas, calves, other animals, tractors, trucks, ’55 and ’57 Chevys, Model T Fords, Rolls Royce, Packard, various wagon floats, Monkton Volunteer Fire Department vehicles and rescue boat and much more. Several senior citizens had special rides in the parade including eldest town resident, 99 years young, Ruth French, riding with her son, Roy. Other town elders included Betty Norris, Bertha Perron, Charlie Weisenbach, Hope Burritt and Bruce and Mae Nye, escorted in various vehicles by the generous drivers. Former Road Commissioner Earl Hanson rode in the town truck with present road commissioner and son-in-law, Wayne Preston. Miss Vermont was also in the parade.

Recreation Committee and CERTS members Pete Aube and Charlie Huizenga Sr. along with three other CERTS members headed the parade lineup and traffic control with the help of a Vermont State Police officer. Parade coordinators Kristen Farrell and Cassandra Corcoran were on hand to keep things running smoothly.

Thank you to the CERTS team for all of their hard work keeping traffic flow under control, putting out cones and helping with parking before, during and after the 5K race and the parade. Also many thanks to the police officer for his help. The 250th Founding Celebration Committee really appreciated all the help they received in making this day a memorable one.

Cheers, whoops of “Happy Birthday, Monkton” and clapping came from the crowd of onlookers as parade participants went by. Members of the Monkton Historical Society passed out replica mini-flags of Monkton’s new flag, which was designed by Linda Reynolds. Beginning at the top of the hill from Silver Street off Davis Road, the parade procession stopped in the Ridge so the grand marshals could hang the Vermont and U.S. flags on the town hall. Ken Weston played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his trumpet and everyone said the Pledge of Allegiance after. 

The parade proceeded up Monkton-Vergennes Road to the Monkton Central School yard where the Bristol Band played music.

In the corner of the Morse Park ball field, the time capsule was dedicated and two red oak trees were planted. The new Monkton flag was also raised at Morse Park and dedicated, with flag designer Linda Reynolds present.

Also at Morse Park, the Boy Scouts had a display of their learned activities including rocket launching, hatchet throwing and other achievements plus they cooked a dessert for the BBQ in their outside ovens.

At the school, displays from the Monkton Historical Society and Monkton Yore group were set up in the hall. The historical society had a “Monkton Quiz” sheet along with displays, “Monkton History” books for sale, “Monkton the Way It Was” books for sale and free bookmarks with information of Monkton history. Also, the historical society gave out free postcards and envelopes that people could take, buy a stamp from the town’s postmistresses and have the town’s cancellation stamp put on them that was designed especially for the day. The cancellation stamp was donated by Troop 525 Boy Scouts.  The Monkton Yore group also had a computer presentation along with their displays.

The Russell Memorial Library’s Strawberry Festival and book sale was set up in the gym. According to Pete Sutherland, “the festival was probably about as big an event as we can imagine, food-wise. Book sales and silent auction were up from normal, too.” No official count was kept but he feels they served hundreds of hot dogs, plus locally grown salad greens and of course strawberry shortcake. Browsers through the books and lunch eaters enjoyed musical entertainment of old-time tunes from Middlebury’s Fiddlin’ Jim Burns and Run Mountain along with a special all-ages community performance of a couple of the Monkton history songs from the Monkton Yore project. Book buyers were delighted with the large variety of donated books for sale from novels, craft books and historical books to auto books and cookbooks, plus many more. The library enjoyed its most successful fundraiser ever.

With the ending of the Strawberry Festival at 3 p.m., the festivities moved over to the rec field on Hollow Road for fun and games along with an open-mike period before and during the BBQ. There were hula-hoops, volleyball, Frisbee and baseball to entertain kids and adults alike.

Winding up the day was the chicken BBQ from 5 to 7 p.m. About 275 people were served. People enjoyed the open-mike performances and visiting with neighbors and friends while devouring their meal of one half-chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, rolls, lemonade and coffee and a dessert made by the Boy Scouts in their open ovens. It started to rain hard at a little before 7 p.m. but didn’t deter everyone’s good time, only got them wet.

The 250th Founding Celebration committee want to say a big thank you to Ken Wheeling for being the emcee for the day and John “Buzz” Kuhns for taking pictures of the entire day’s events. And many thanks to all of the people who donated their time to make the day a success.

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