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Ferrisburgh gathering to talk about Prohibition, view DVD

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents are being given a chance to see a sneak preview of the new Public Service Broadcasting documentary “Prohibition,” the latest work by filmmaker Ken Burns, whose previous efforts include multi-part series on the Civil War, baseball and jazz.
A 25-minute preview DVD of Burns’ latest film — Vermont Public Television will broadcast the full five-and-a-half-hour effort in three segments in early October — will be shown at the Ferrisburgh Town Offices and Community Center at a Sept. 27 meeting that will begin at 7 p.m.
But its organizers hope the DVD screening will be just the dessert for an evening co-sponsored by VPT and the Ferrisburgh Historical Society.
Steve Alexander, a Ferrisburgh resident who is Addison County’s representative on VPT’s Community Council, said the town, along with others along Lake Champlain, played a major role during Prohibition. With alcohol outlawed in the U.S. from 1920-1933, smugglers made good use of harbors that could be easily accessed via international waters, including those in Ferrisburgh.
“I do know it happened a lot in Lake Champlain, from what I hear,” Alexander said. “There was probably more alcohol in the United States in Prohibition than there was when it was legal.”
And in discussions with historical society member Silas Towler, Alexander came to understand some in Ferrisburgh remember well those days and events, and their tales could be the main course.
“I’m hoping some of those people will show up and relate (these stories),” Alexander said.
With that in mind, VPT and the historical society agreed on the co-sponsorship. Alexander believes the town’s historical society members have the connections needed to “make things happen.”
“The reason I connected with the historical society … is I’m hoping it is a vibrant discussion,” he said.
Burns’ three-part documentary is scheduled to run on VPT on Oct. 2, 3 and 4, starting at 8 p.m. each evening.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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