CityFest Brings Community Together for 150th Anniversary Celebration

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Thursday August 20, 2015

The City of South Burlington wears many hats: it’s home for many, it’s a workplace, it’s a place to learn, it’s a place to recreate, it’s a place to raise a family. It also recently observed its 150th birthday, which brought together friends, family, and neighbors at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday, August 15 to celebrate the occasion.

Thanks to the partnership between the Rotary Club of South Burlington and the city, CityFest 2015 turned into a memorable community celebration. In an effort to recognize the city’s history, residents, businesses and organizations, there was a full slate of activities to be enjoyed by all.

Throughout the day, people enjoyed the Rotary Craft Fair, the Vendor Village displays, and South Burlington Recreation and Parks and Community Library activities. The Touch-a-Truck area provided an opportunity to explore military vehicles as well as the fleet from the city’s Public Works, Fire & Rescue, and Police departments. The US Border Patrol and VTANG display offered a chance to get an up close and personal view of a variety of helicopters. Carnival rides and bouncy slides, USTA Tennis demos, ice skating at Cairns Arena, Wheeler Nature Park tours, and the Vermont Federal Credit Union Home Run Derby offered a variety of fun activities throughout the day. The ArtsRiot Food trucks and beer garden provided an assortment of tasty local foods and craft beer. Live entertainment was featured all day from the stage at the Rotary Bandshell. Performances from Contois School of Music, the VT Original Music Competition, and the Smokey Newfield Project were enjoyed by all.

Around 4 p.m., everyone convened for the official celebration ceremony, sang Happy Birthday to the city, and enjoyed Klingers birthday cake. To round out the party with a grand finale, the evening concluded with fireworks.

“The main thing for us was to get families here, and that’s what we did,” Rotary Club President John Buechler said. “The City of South Burlington has a wide variety of residents. About 25 percent of households have kids under 18 years old. We wanted something for everybody.”

“I want to give as much credit to the Rotary as possible,” Councilor Tom Chittenden said. “I hope this becomes an annual event.”

“This is a great example of a community pulling together with a community-based non-profit like the Rotary,” City Manager Kevin Dorn said.

“It takes a village. South Burlington is a fantastic community. Talk about community spirit!” Recreation and Parks Director Maggie Leugers said.

City Clerk Donna Kinville prepared the time capsule, which will be opened again in 50 years for the city’s 200th anniversary in 2065, and she announced that a South Burlington Historical Society is in-the-works.

“We are so proud of this community,” Council Chair Pat Nowak announced after recognizing past and present city leaders, volunteers, and the community at large. “…We can’t buy the brain trust that we have here, so thank you!”

Much has changed since the first town meeting in 1865, when the city consisted of about 700 residents. Today, with a population of over 18,000, South Burlington continues building its history, and continues to build a strong sense of community along the way. More CityFest pictures on pages 8 & 9.

SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent