Slew of fairs, fireworks on tap for July fourth

ADDISON COUNTY — Music? Check. Food? Check. Fireworks? Of course.
With celebrations for the Fourth of July in Addison County ranging from local barbecues and ice cream socials to major parades and time-tested traditions, chances are there are events to suit everyone’s preferences happening somewhere in the county this week.
The challenge, it turns out, is just choosing.
The Vermont Symphony Orchestra will send up the first rocket’s red glare on Thursday night, with fireworks set to cap off the orchestra’s July 1 outdoor concert at Middlebury College. This year’s traveling program on the theme “The Birds and the Bees” will feature music ranging from “Jurassic Park” pterodactyls to Tchaikovsky’s swans, among other favorite tunes.
Grounds at the college will open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 to 18; children under the age of 12 will get in free.
In another nearby musical event kicking off the holiday weekend, Vermont singer-songwriter Patrick Fitzsimmons will play on the lawn at Burnham Hall in Lincoln on July 2. Fitzsimmons will play with longtime musical partner Rob Meehan on bass and backing vocals in a show that starts at 2 p.m. A $5 to $10 donation is suggested.
Bristol holds onto its reputation for being a Fourth of July hotspot with two days of events this year. The annual fireworks display is slated for Friday, July 2, at the recreation field at dusk.
The following morning, the day begins bright and early with the running of the 32nd annual outhouse race, a cherished town tradition. Teams will tug homemade outhouses, often vibrantly decorated, down West Street between Howden and Holley halls. The town parade will follow at 10:30 a.m. This year’s theme is “140 Years of the Bristol Band.”
Hungry? The First Baptist Church will sell homemade doughnuts and coffeecake in the morning, followed by chili and hot dogs and drinks for breakfast and lunch. Other food vendors will take up residence for the day on the town green.
If the traditional Fourth of July festivities don’t suit, amble over to the Hub teen center, which on July 3 and 4 will be home to a two-day hardcore punk rock music festival. See the story on Page 2 for details.
Heading south, Brandon will also ring in the Fourth early, beginning with a food festival and street dance on Friday evening. Food vendors will open up shop at 5 p.m. and Jam Man Entertainment will provide music at 6 p.m.
Games and activities will start in the town park at 9 a.m. on July 3: Look for vendors, a silent auction, and karaoke in the bandstand at the central park.  A parade kicks off at 1 p.m., followed by the Great Brandon Ball race in the Green Park and a bluegrass concert in the town’s central park.
 Pony rides, a petting zoo, DJ, and food and craft vendors for all ages start at 6 p.m. at Park Village, one mile north of Brandon. Fireworks will follow at dusk.
Over the mountains in the White River Valley folks in Granville and Hancock have a busy holiday planned. The fire departments from these two Addison County towns will participate in the Rochester Independence Day parade up Route 100, which begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 3.
The fun will move north to Granville for the third annual chicken barbecue sponsored by the fire department and the Moss Glen Grange. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. at Airport Flats off Route 100. The band Deep Freyed will provide music for dancing. The evening will conclude with fireworks at 10 p.m. Admission is $5 a head.
Organizers said 600 people showed up last year.
In Orwell, the Fourth of July takes on historical flair with historic re-enactments and a focus on the Native Americans who inhabited the area during the Revolutionary War period.
Wes “Red Hawk” Dikeman of Ticonderoga, N.Y., will appear at the Mount Independence State Historic Site on Saturday, July 3, from 1 to 3 p.m. to share his knowledge of the Abenaki Indians and their connection to the region before and during the American Revolution.
Mount Independence, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1776 and 1777 by American troops as a defense against British attack from Canada, and named after the Declaration of Independence.
On the night of July 5 and 6, 1777, the American army under General Arthur St. Clair withdrew from Mount Independence and nearby Fort Ticonderoga after British General John Burgoyne sailed down Lake Champlain in an effort to cut New England off from the rest of the United States.
Two days later at the Battle of Hubbardton, soldiers from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire fought in a decisive rear guard action to halt Burgoyne’s army.
Admission at the historical site is $5 for adults and free for children under 15, and includes a visit to the museum and access to all the trails.
Vergennes will mark the holiday with fireworks on the athletic fields between the high and elementary schools; the show begins at dusk on July 3. Earlier in the evening, the Eagles Club will host a chicken barbecue dinner at 5 p.m.
In Shoreham, visitors may start the Fourth of July weekend off with a full belly: A July 3 fund-raiser to support the lighted flat on the village green begins at 7 a.m. at the Shoreham Congregational Church. Admission to the breakfast — featuring pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, Vermont maple syrup, and more — is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for children ages six to 12, and free for children five and younger.
Later in the weekend, on Sunday, July 4, the Salisbury Congregational Church will hold its 36th annual ice cream social. The event will include ice cream by the cone or the dish with a wide range of toppings, as well as home-baked pie or cake.
What a way to conclude a holiday weekend.
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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