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July 4 celebrations set for this week

VERMONT PHILHARMONIC POPS and fireworks highlight The Henry Sheldon Museum Independence Day celebration behind the Mahaney Arts Center on Wednesday. Look for fireworks in Bristol and Vergennes that night, and Saturday in Brandon. Independent file photo/Trent Campbell

ADDISON COUNTY & BRANDON — This is the week for booming fireworks, riveting parades, mouthwatering treats and inspiring displays of red, white and blue.
The Land of Milk and Honey will be awash in Fourth of July sights, sounds and activities — enough that everyone can find a way to mark the 243rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Wednesday is the big night for fireworks in Addison County with official displays going off above three towns.
In Vergennes you can get a head start on Independence Day with fireworks at the Vergennes Union High School sports fields. Park at the elementary or high school — wherever you think you’ll have the best vantage — then look up in the sky at dusk. American Legion Post No. 14 and the Addison County Eagles are sponsoring the Little City display.
Over in Bristol, the fun starts at 6 p.m. with activities on the Bristol Recreation Field, including food and craft vendors, games, raffle tickets and music from DJ Jam Man. Bring a picnic and then enjoy the fireworks at dusk.
And in Middlebury there is top-flight music before the fireworks at the Henry Sheldon Museum’s biggest fundraiser of the year — the annual Pops Concert on Wednesday. The Vermont Philharmonic will perform “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and songs from “Mary Poppins,” with guest jazz vocalist Holli Ross.
Festivities on Thursday, July 4, start early in Bristol — the town that goes big for Independence Day. The Pam Paradee Memorial 4th of July 5K Road Race gets underway at 7:30 a.m., starting at Mount Abraham Union High School and finishing at the town green. Start time for the Outhouse Races — yes, they really push and pull outhouses (of a sort) on wheels down the main street — is 9 a.m. With changing faces every year and real friendly competition, this is a fun way to start the day.
The centerpiece of the day for many is the Bristol Fourth of July parade, which proceeds from Liberty Street down Pleasant to Mountain Street, and back town Main Street to Airport Drive. The theme for this year is “Music of the ’60s.” This is a highlight of summer for many. Craft and food vendors, with live music, will fill the green after the parade.
If you are looking for a quieter form of refreshment, Salisbury is the place to go on Thursday, July 4. The Salisbury Congregational Meeting House in the village will host its 45th Annual Ice Cream Social, which is an afternoon of cones, sundaes and homemade deserts.
For those looking for a thoughtful way to mark the Fourth, Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh on Friday will offer a unique opportunity to experience history by reading aloud Frederick Douglass’s most famous speech, “What to the Negro is the 4th of July?” Originally delivered on July 5, 1852, the famous African American abolitionist castigated the United States for decades of slavery and injustice. Come and add your voice to this statewide public reading sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council, and learn about when Frederick Douglass gave a speech in Ferrisburgh in 1843. The reading starts at 3 p.m.

BRANDON FOURTH
Billed as “the Best Independence Day parade likely to be found anywhere in the state,” the 43rd annual celebration in Brandon will be held on July 5 and 6, and there will be some new changes and fun additions.
The fun begins on Friday at the family-friendly Street Dance from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. with music for all ages by DJ Jam Man Entertainment. Food will be served in Seminary Park (just around the corner and up the hill from Town Offices and Town Hall).
Then there is the parade on Saturday. The construction on Route 7 through town has changed the parade route in recent years and this year will be the same. Parade participants will line up near Arnold District Road before the parade winds through Park Village just north of the village.
In a new twist, this year the parade will begin earlier than usual, 10 a.m., and will kick off a full day of activities for families. Other changes include a community supper, sponsored by Nifty Thrifty, that will feature BBQ catered by Keith’s store in Pittsford. Tickets to the supper are $5, but only 100 will be available. They can be purchased at Carr’s Gifts.
Activities and events will last all day on Saturday at the Park Village Complex. This year’s events include: Annual Silent Auction; expanded family activities including a tug-of-war, 3-legged-race and more; 4th Annual Li’l Debbie Swiss Roll eating contest; karaoke; music and more.
Appropriately, the festivities at Park Village end with a fireworks display at dusk on Saturday.

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