May 25, 2018

Around Town

Vermont 2A study public meeting Sept. 25

Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission is set to hold a public meeting Sept. 25 at the Williston Town Hall at 7 p.m., presenting information from its scoping study of Vermont Route 2A and collecting feedback from residents on ways to improve the corridor. The study focuses on Vermont 2A from the Industrial Avenue and Mountain View Road intersection to River Cove Road.

Topics of discussion will include traffic, bike and pedestrian facilities, transit stops, safety and ways to create a better experience for all travelers. Light refreshments will be served.

Residents who cannot attend the meeting and have comments or questions can contact Christine Forde, senior transportation planner for CCRPC at or 846-4490.


Vermont Health Connect forum scheduled in Williston 

Lindsey Tucker, deputy commissioner of Vermont Health Connect, will host a community forum at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library Sept. 21 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to help residents learn more about Vermont Health Connect and upcoming health reforms. Tucker will cover topics including who can get coverage, new choices available to individuals and small businesses, financial help available to Vermonters and more.


Art sale fundraiser

Local artist Nancy Stone is set to hold an art sale and fundraiser for a Williston single mom undergoing chemotherapy who needs partial roof repairs. Stone will sell artwork including hand-made cards, drawings, watercolors, acrylics, collage and prints, all at 50 percent off. Stone hopes to raise $1,000. The sale is set for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 294 Old Creamery Road in Williston. To make an appointment outside of the sale, contact Stone at or 879-0243.


Little League annual board meeting

Williston Little League will host its annual board meeting Sept. 25 from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Williston Central School Library. All board seats are up for reelection for a one-year term.

CVS, town see glaring differences over lighting

CVS Pharmacy and the town are at odds over the lighting along the building’s eaves. (Observer courtesy photo by Charis Gade)

CVS Pharmacy and the town are at odds over the lighting along the building’s eaves. (Observer courtesy photo by Chris Gade)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

September 19th, 2013 [Read more…]

Burlington Book Festival to feature local writers

Robin Fawcett, Champlain Valley Union High School drama teacher and Millennial Writers on Stage host, warms up the writers before last year’s event. Several local young writers have been selected to read their works at this year’s Burlington Book Festival. (Observer courtesy photo)

Robin Fawcett, Champlain Valley Union High School drama teacher and Millennial Writers on Stage host, warms up the writers before last year’s event. Several local young writers have been selected to read their works at this year’s Burlington Book Festival. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

September 19th, 2013 [Read more…]

CVU board authorizes bond vote on CVU turf fields

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

September 19th, 2013 [Read more…]

PHOTOS: CVU football

The CVU football team ground out a 27-19 final-minutes victory at Essex High on Sept. 6. (Observer courtesy photos by Glenn Fay Jr.)


PHOTOS: CVU girls soccer

The CVU girls soccer team unhinged the Rice Memorial High Green Knights 6-0 Monday at CVU to hike the season mark to 3-0. (Observer photos by Stephanie Choate)



Williston painters, sculptors, photographers and creative minds were among the hundreds of artists who participated in the South End Art Hop Sept. 6 – 8.


‘New Hampshire Primary’ by Lorraine Reynolds


‘Between Seeing and Knowing’ by Lorraine Reynolds


‘Taylor’ by Henry Reynolds


An abstract geometric piece by Dennis Healy


A stone mosaic by Forrest White.


Erika White stands with a painting she created for Art Hop.


A stone mosaic by Forrest White.

THIS WEEK’S POPCORN: ‘Getaway’ road outrage


By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


One advantage of being a film critic, especially pertinent in the case of Courtney Solomon’s furiously turbulent “Getaway,” is that you get to see movies you’d never pay to see. All of which is my cute excuse for succumbing to the tastes and curiosity of the 15-year-old me. Truth be told, no one had to twist my stick-shifting arm to see this flimsy excuse for a feature length car chase.

[Read more…]

RECIPE CORNER: Too many tomatoes?

By Ginger Isham

I know I have shared this family recipe in the past, but it is worth repeating at this time of year.

Right now, my whole house smells of “Mama’s catsup” cooking on the stove. I used some of my first batch in place of barbecue sauce with spices to cook a thick steak in my crockpot. First, I browned the steak in the cast iron fry pan.

[Read more…]

WILLISTON’S 250TH: A community pageant in Williston’s Chittenden Park

‘The Spirit of Patriotism’ from a presentation of ‘America, Yesterday and Today.’ (Observer courtesy photo)

‘The Spirit of Patriotism’ from a presentation of ‘America, Yesterday and Today.’ (Observer courtesy photo)

By Richard H. Allen

Special to the Observer

In 1920, the “Community Church” in Williston (perhaps a reference to the Old Brick Church) needed electrical wiring, so a community pageant was organized to raise some money for the project. This would be different in some respects from the historic performances mounted in July of 1913 that were part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the town’s 1763 charter. The same venue was chosen. It went by the name of Chittenden Park and in the early 1900s it was used for pageants and picnics. This was the amphitheater along the banks of Allen Brook on Belle Clark’s land. It is located behind what is now the Immaculate Heart of Mary church.

This “ideal spot” had “no good automobile road into the park.”  Drivers would have to park in the meadow and take the walk down into the area. The “setting of trees, sloping hillside, brook running over the stones” could not…”be rivaled,” according to the Burlington Free Press.

The pageant, entitled “America, Yesterday and Today,” was presented on Aug. 11 and 12, 1920. Walter J. Cartier of Burlington, a 23-year-old auto mechanic who apparently had a drama background, was hired to direct the show and provide the costumes. He was the local representative of H. Buchholz & Son, a theatrical supply company from Springfield, Massachusetts.

There were four episodes and a closing: Spirit of Indian Days, with a corn dance, the renewal of prosperity and a peace pipe ceremony; Spirit of the Wilderness, with butterflies, flowers and a wood nymph dance; Pioneer scene, where “man overcomes the trees” and tames the land; Spirit of Patriotism, which welcomed an overwhelming number of civilized pursuits (art, drama, church, school, “little town interests” and many others, including forest preservation.) No faction of society was to be left out. The grand finale was a pledge to the flag and the singing of “America” with six ethnic groups represented.

The large majority of the people listed in the program as organizing the various groups were Williston residents. One exception was Miss Grace Cashman of Burlington, the solo dancer in the “Wilderness” episode.

So had Williston grabbed a unique opportunity to present an original play? No. It had been staged nationwide about 350 times in 1917 alone, so it had a successful track record. “America, Yesterday and Today” was written by Nina Lamkin, a physical education instructor at Northwestern University, author of pageants and Chautauqua lecturer. The script for the program is filled with short speaking parts in flowery language; many allegorical dance routines with specific instructions on the movements and spots where the town name could be inserted to give the production a local touch. Thirty-seven musical numbers are listed. The recommended cast could vary from as little as 80 to as high as 500 citizens. This generic pageant was in direct contrast to the July 1913 presentation that had eight scenes, many of them specific to Williston’s history, and probably written by Williston citizens.

The printed program for the Williston presentation included several paid advertisements, mainly from Burlington businesses. But two Williston firms were represented. One was C. G. Austin, Oak Hill Store that had “A variety of goods at the lowest possible prices to guarantee good quality,” where “Courtesy and Service [is] Our Motto.” The other Williston advertiser was J. R. Forville, in the Brick Store, who sold Diamond and Blackstone tires and Hood’s tennis wear and featured the sale and installation of Louden’s barn fixtures and Pine Tree milkers.

The Free Press estimated about 500 people attended the first night in perfect weather. The second night the Honorable James Hartness spoke. He was running for governor and paid tribute to the pioneer spirit in America, past and present. He cited the service of young men in World War I when they rose to the challenge. The Free Press noted that he “carefully refrained from any utterance that could be tortured into politics.” Dancing followed the program with music from a 10-piece orchestra from Sherman’s band.

Williston was not unique in its presentation of the two historic pageants in 1913 and 1920. The pageantry movement was in its heyday in the early 20th century as it was promoted by such diverse organizations as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Playground Association of America, and progressive educators like John Dewey. The push for such pageants was in part a reaction to the boisterous and unsafe celebrations that marked holidays in some cities where alcohol and fireworks took center stage. There was also an emphasis on recapturing the true meaning of American history by the more genteel groups that felt the lower classes were losing sight of the important reasons for such celebrations as Independence Day.

Pageants served a purpose in entertaining and educating the public, and imparting a feeling of pride and patriotism. As Lamkin stated in the foreword to the script, the themes of the pageant “strengthen community life…and build a stronger patriotic loyalty through binding together groups of people who have common interests.”

But usually the past was glorified and non-conforming truths ignored. For example the scene involving Indians is all peace, love, and gratitude for the bountiful corn harvest. No mention of disease, broken treaties, and forced relocation by the white man. Warfare with fellow tribes was all in the past.

The 1920s were a time of rapid change in the United States. Prohibition was underway and women had just received the right to vote. Automobile ownership was greatly increasing and modern forms of entertainment, such as radio programs and movies were making inroads, so tastes in leisure time activities were shifting. Historical pageants would not maintain the importance they held before World War I. In any event the Free Press saluted “the public spirited people of Williston…on their enterprise in providing for the presentation of spectacular community pageants.”