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Little City’s upcoming celebration packed with events

VERGENNES — Thousands of visitors on Saturday — and Friday evening — will join the city of Vergennes’ roughly 2,750 residents in celebrating Vergennes Day, the community’s annual late-August city-wide celebration.
The event, sponsored and organized by the city and the Vergennes Area Chamber of Commerce, has established itself as a substantial draw since its inception in the late 1970s.
Organizer Marguerite Senecal, the information specialist for the Addison County Chamber of Commerce, with which the city-area chamber is affiliated, said crowds have remained steady in recent years.
“(It’s been) good. Can’t complain much on that,” Senecal said.
Most events — including musical acts, 75 craft and food booths, horse-drawn wagon rides, the Little City 5-Kilometer and 10-K Race and Walk that opens Saturday’s park festivities at 9 a.m., and the Lions Club chicken barbecue dinner that serves as a day-long backdrop — still center on the city’s central green.
The park will also host the first event on Friday night. For the third year in a row, Vergennes Day is really Vergennes Day- and-a-half: Popular band The Hitmen will play for a street dance on Park Street from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday.
Senecal said the versatile band has proven to entertain all ages during the previous two years, and the dance has been a big draw.
“It’s well-attended. People love it. The Hitmen are really good,” Senecal said. “It doesn’t matter who people are, they like it.”
Also on Friday evening, the Vergennes Union High School cheerleaders are raising money and will offer a bounce house and a food table.
The first available stop on Saturday opens at 7 a.m. — the Vergennes Fire Department will serve a pancake breakfast between that hour and 10:30 a.m. During the day, the fire department will also show its 1925 truck and offer a display on fire protection and slide shows on local fires and on department training.
At the park, music acts include two new offerings — the Vermont Ukulele Association and Rehab Roadhouse — as well as local favorites the Vergennes City Band, The Galaxies, Take Two and the LC Jazz Band. All will play on the city bandstand, with the first performance beginning at 10 p.m. and the last at 2:30 p.m.
Offerings at the park will also include painting of kids’ hands and a railroad exhibit.
As well as the park, other attractions this year will be centered at VUHS, including one new item: A RE/MAX hot air balloon will offer tethered rides, weather permitting, behind the school from 10 a.m. until noon. There will be a suggested donation, and all proceeds will go toward offsetting the costs of future citywide events.
Senecal, who has coordinated events in recent years, said she is particularly excited about the hot-air balloon.
“I have tried for seven years to get that balloon for Vergennes Day,” she said.
Also at VUHS on Saturday will be radio-controlled miniature airplanes at the baseball field from 10 a.m. until noon, a demonstration of chainsaw art by “Carvin’” Marvin Chamberlin from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a display of specialty vehicles, antique engines and Vermont Army National Guard vehicles from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Other venues are scattered through downtown. The Bixby Library is holding a book sale and hosting the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad, which will offer food and goodie bags, and Safe Kids Addison County, which will inspect bike helmets and fit a limited supply.
St. Peter’s Parish Hall features a rummage sale, while the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes will provide games for all ages and face painting.
And, of course, the Rotary Club will stage its annual Rubber Duckie race at the Otter Creek falls. Potential winning inflatable waterfowl will be available at the Rotary’s booth on the city green.
As of late last week, Senecal said those booth spaces were going quickly: Only 20 of 75 were still up for grabs, and she had yet to find the time to place calls to promote slots. 
“I’ll fill them,” she said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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