By RUSSELL JONES
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 this year, 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).
Brandon Recreation Department’s Bill Moore said the dance has been a favorite of residences for several years and this one should be no different. Off street parking is available and free shuttles will leave every half-hour from Rite Aid, the Post Office and the American Legion on Friday and 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.
“We moved to Park Village two years ago,” Moore said. “We’ve always done the fireworks near there, where we hold the Carnival, so it made sense to move the event there and there’s also a great gathering place in the middle.”
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.
Moore said they are hoping for good weather and think the change may help.
“We hope that moving to the 10 a.m. start time will help beat any afternoon storms that can build up once it gets hotter,” he said.
Activities and events will last all day on Saturday as the fun moves north to the Park Village Complex after the parade. The list of this year’s events include:
• Annual Silent Auction – (Gym building) Bid on a wide variety of items for all ages, including day passes to Vermont attractions, gift baskets, a host of local options for lodging, locally made artwork, gift certificates for restaurants, services, local events and more, from 9-10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Expanded family activities following the parade include: tug-of-war, 3-legged-race, splat the rat, flamingo-ring toss, pool noodle throw game, giant foot race, traditional ring toss, giant pong, skee-ball, plinko, giant kerplunk, a dunk tank, bounce house, and a mini-pond fishing game from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
• Vendors serving food 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4:30 – 9:30 p.m.
• Live music with a concert by Moose Crossing following the parade.
• 4th Annual Li’l Debbie Swiss Roll eating contest – Open Youth and Adult Divisions! 12:30 p.m.
• Karaoke with Tenacious T, after the live music 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
• The Nifty Thrifty Community Supper – (Gym building) Buffet BBQ tickets only $5, limited to first 100. 5-7 p.m.
• DJ Jam Man spinning family favorites from 6 p.m. to fireworks.
• Fireworks display at dusk.
If you would like to walk or ride in the parade, applications are available at the Brandon Free Public Library and Brandon Town Offices. If you would like to be a vendor, contact Jean Lamarre at 802-247-8179, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Businesses with an item to donate to the silent auction can contact Bobbie Torstenson at email@example.com. If you have other questions, contact Bill Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-247-3635 or Debbie Boyce at email@example.com or 802-345-0056.