Gearing up for the Fourth

ADDISON COUNTY — As the Fourth of July draws near, Addison County is gearing up to celebrate 236 years of American independence. No matter how residents like to spend the holiday, there are events in the area for all who want to put on the red, white and blue during the week of July 4.
Activities in Brandon, Bristol, Vergennes and Fort Ticonderoga include musical performances, contests, food, and an annual outhouse race, not to mention many fireworks displays. 
Bristol’s Independence Day celebrations will begin on July 3 at 6 p.m. Activities will be held at the recreation area ballpark and will include food and craft vendors, games, and live music from the Bob Levinson Trio. The night will end with the a fireworks display beginning at dusk.
Events will continue the next morning at 7:30 a.m. with the annual 5K Road Race in memory of Pam Paradee. The race will begin at Mount Abraham Union High School and will end at the town center green.
Somewhat less serious competition continues later in the morning with the Great Bristol Outhouse Race. Starting at 9 a.m., spectators are invited to cheer on their favorite teams of entrants pulling outhouses down West Street to the finish line. 
Next on the list of events is the oldest continually run parade in Vermont. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., the parade will feature color guards, firetrucks, bands and floats. The grand marshal will lead “Bristol’s 250th Birthday” parade, starting at the corner of Liberty and Pleasant streets.
Additionally, the Bristol Federated Church will be holding its annual pie sale the same day from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the town park. Pie will be sold for $3.50 a slice, or $18 for a whole pie.
Festivities on the town green will begin after the parade beginning at noon. This centerpiece of the celebration in Bristol will include food and craft vendors, pony rides, and an inflatable family fun center. The main event always features an award-winning group, and this year the musical guest will be Helen Weston.
July 3 also marks the start, as well as the end, of the Independence Day celebrations in the city of Vergennes.
Activities in the Little City center around American Legion Post 14 on Armory Lane, which will host an open house starting at 6 p.m. and will offer live musical entertainment.
The Legion will also offer its annual fireworks display at the conclusion of the evening.
The town of Brandon kicks off its Fourth of July celebrations on the evening of Friday, July 6. The Food Fest and Street Dance at Central Park is intended to provide a night of dining, dancing and fun for the whole family. Food vendors will open at 5 p.m. and the street dance runs from 6 to 10 p.m.
The festivities will begin again on Saturday, July 7, at 9 a.m. with the celebration’s main events. Morning activities include food and craft vendors and karaoke in the bandstand of Central Park. Additionally, a silent auction will be held at 10 a.m. in the back of the park. A bounce house and games for all ages will be available behind the Brandon Inn.
The town’s annual parade kicks off at 1 p.m. at the top of Park Street and ends at Route 73 near the post office. This year’s parade theme of “Over the Rainbow” should inform floats, and there will be bands, cars and even a few politicians.
The action continues late into the afternoon with the Wildwood Bluegrass Band playing in Central Park from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. Shortly after, the Great Ball Race will begin at 3 p.m., with balls on sale in Central Park for $5 each until 2:30 p.m. Participants have the chance to win up to $600 in total prizes.
The day will come to a close on Saturday night at Park Village with a fireworks display beginning at dusk. Food and craft vendors will be available for purchases starting at 6 p.m.
The schedule of events for the Fort Ticonderoga Fourth of July celebration promises to honor the tradition of the day at this historic site. According to organizers, visitors will experience what it was like living at the brink of the American Revolution.
The day will begin with a flag-raising ceremony at 9:30 a.m. headed by the local fife and drum corps. Three guided tours of the fort will start shortly after, beginning at 10:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.
Visitors are invited to become more acquainted with the lifestyle of the colonists during musket demonstrations held at 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. A king’s garden march will run at the same time to learn about how soldiers used music to communicate. There will also be a garden tour from noon to 3 p.m.
A fife and drum concert will start at 12:30 p.m. Audience members will be invited to sing along to American classics that will include “Yankee Doodle” and many more patriotic songs.
From 12:45 to 3 p.m. the Seven Months Emergency Service will be holding a reenactment of the life in the soldiers’ barracks. Visitors may ask soldiers their thoughts on independence and life in the 13 united colonies.
The day at the fort will come to a close with the lowering of the flag at 4:30 p.m. by an armed honor guard, and the site will close to visitors at 5 p.m

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