Bridport turns 250, plans big birthday bash

 

BRIDPORT — The town of Bridport will be throwing itself a big birthday party in June, and everyone is invited.

Bridport is one of 10 Addison County communities that will be marking the 250th anniversary of their town charters this year. Many towns will mark the occasion with special ceremonies, potluck dinners and displays of old photos and other historical memorabilia.

But Bridport has decided to go all-out with a three-day celebration that kicks off on Friday, June 17 and will include fireworks, amusement rides, a parade and plenty of food.

“I think it’s great,” Bridport Selectwoman and event organizer Susan Stocker said of the townwide bash, which is being called “Bridport Celebrating 250 Years — Past, Present and Future.”

Local taxpayers in March agreed to earmark up to $15,000 for the celebration, though organizers are optimistic they won’t need to spend that much.

Stocker outlined an impressive slate of activities, most of which will take place in or near the town park at the village center.

Things will kick off at 5 p.m. on Friday with the opening of carnival rides on the town park. Folks will be able to cool off in style with creemees that will be served up by the Bridport Fire Department. Recreational activities will last until 9 or 10 p.m., depending on the size of the crowd, and the amusement rides will be offered throughout the three-day event, according to Stocker.

On Saturday, July 18, rides will open at around 10 a.m. Bingo is being organized, and lunch will be available through the Town Line First Response organization, of which Stocker is president.

Vermont State Police troopers have been invited to demonstrate their canine program as part of ongoing activities at the park on Saturday afternoon, followed by a dinner also served up by Town Line First Response.

Saturday’s main attractions will be in the evening, beginning at 8 p.m. with a street dance with music from “The Jesters,” and old-time rock and roll band. Stocker said plans call for Middle Road to be closed off for the dance, expected to last until midnight. The night skies will come alive at dusk with a fireworks show, to be viewed from the town green.

Sunday’s featured attraction will be a parade that will kick off at 10 a.m. Organizers have invited all of the county fire departments to participate, and of course Bridport’s firefighters will be out in full force.

Other participants will include Miss Vermont Caroline Bright, Miss Outstanding Teen Erin Connor (of Bridport), Miss Addison County Outstanding Teen Rachel Howlett, and Miss Vermont Princess Jenna Howlett. The Howletts hail from Bridport.

A second Miss Vermont Princess, Abigayle Pierro of Bridport, will also march in the parade, which will begin at Bridport Central School on Crown Point Road, head up Middle Road, and end at the town park. Once at the park, parade participants and spectators will be able to partake in the Bridport Fire Department’s annual chicken dinner, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Festivities will draw to a close Sunday afternoon following a square dance, likely to be staged at the Bridport Masonic Hall. Dancing will be called by Jack Whipple.

Organizers are hoping for good weather for the three-day extravaganza, during which residents and visitors will be encouraged to have fun and learn a little more about the town’s history. To that end, the local historical society is working on some display materials, according to Stocker.

Specially made T-shirts marking the Bridport birthday are being made and will be available for sale, Stocker said.

Anyone seeking more information about the celebration or wanting to participate in the parade should call Stocker at 758-2504.

“Bridport is a very nice town,” Stocker said. “It’s still small enough where everyone knows everybody and everyone helps each other out, no matter what.”

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.


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