Good weather, crowds highlight Festival on the Green 41

ELIZABETH RODRIGUEZ, THE lead singer and fiddler of the Canadian-Cuban quintet Okan, gives a magnetic performance during Middlebury’s 41st Festival on the Green.

MIDDLEBURY — From July 7-13, festival-goers from across the state and especially Addison County enjoyed splendid summer weather for the 41st Annual Middlebury Festival-on-the-Green.
“Attendance this year was very strong,” said festival chair Pat Boera Tuesday. “Most evenings we saw between 500 and 600 people and on Friday night, about 800 people were spread all up the hill in every direction you could see.”
Despite light rain on Saturday evening, the annual Street Dance was packed and even featured the talents of a few experienced swing dancing couples, along with music from the Vermont Jazz Ensemble.
This year’s festival was particularly notable, as the event will not be held on the green in downtown Middlebury next year, due to construction on Middlebury’s two railway bridge underpasses. Next year, Boera says, “we are hoping to work with the town to secure space at the Middlebury Recreation Park.”
The festival was previously held at that site in 2014 and 2015. If the relocation occurs, Boera anticipates that the organization will reach out to local restaurants with food truck operations to provide food and drink for people there. “We get approached by vendors every year who want to participate, but we really feel it’s important to encourage people to spend their evenings at Middlebury’s restaurants, grabbing takeout to bring to the green for a picnic or coming down after dinner,” said Boera.
This year, about 40 volunteers contributed to the event. “Our youngest volunteer was five years old and our oldest was 75,” said Boera.
Boera acknowledged that the festival organizers “tend to stick with what has worked well for 40 years,” so that things don’t change much, but this year’s event included one particularly notable new performance as a pre-show to the Brown Bag Special on July 11.
“Mimes are quiet by nature, so when you book one, you have to wonder if they will be able to hold the crowd, but Chris Yerlig was just wonderful,” said Boera of the Massachusetts-based performer. “He will certainly be invited back.”

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