October 21, 2017

Fourth festivities underway

Residents of Lefebvre Lane ride on their neighborhood float during last year’s parade. (Observer file photo by Stephen Mease)

Residents of Lefebvre Lane ride on their neighborhood float during last year’s parade. (Observer file photo by Stephen Mease)

July 3: Town band concert; ice cream social; library book sale
By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
As Americans across the nation gather to celebrate Independence Day, residents and visitors will flock to the village center for Williston’s Fourth of July activities.
“It’s a truly small-town community feel,” said Kevin Finnegan, director of parks and recreation. “It really is nice… it’s tradition. Folks really enjoy what we have going on out here.”
Williston’s events began Wednesday night with the family bike race at the community park. On July 3, the library book sale begins, open from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Williston Central School gym.
“We are packed,” Library Director Marti Fiske said of the book sale. “You can get a really great bargain. Where else can you find a practically brand new hardcover book for two dollars and another hardcover book for a dollar? Our prices haven’t changed in years.”
The Friends of the Library use the proceeds from the book sale to support programming and buy extra copies of popular books, especially children’s books. Fiske added that organizers are “desperate” for volunteers. Anyone interested should call the library before it closes at 6 p.m. on July 3 or email Fiske at marti@williston.lib.vt.us
The annual ice cream social and town band concert begins at 7 p.m. on July 3.
“The ice cream social is spectacular,” Finnegan said. “You wouldn’t think a small town ice cream social would be such a draw, but I’m going to guess we get a couple thousand people on the green. That green is packed.”
Another Williston tradition, the Firecracker 5K Fun Run, starts at 6 p.m. at the Community Park Field House. Registration begins at 4:45 p.m. and the entry cost is $10.
On Independence Day, Williston residents will join those in town and cities across the country to hit the pavement in a Fourth of July parade.
After a minimal showing in recent years, Williston’s Fourth of July organizers are hoping to revitalize the once-spirited neighborhood float competition.
“It’s been a couple years since we’ve had competition,” Finnegan said.
The winning float gets a block party sponsored by the Williston Recreation Department.
“Really what we’re looking for is some effort,” he said.
The annual parade begins at 10 a.m. and runs along Route 2, from the Johnson Farm to Old Stage Road. Finnegan said 35 marchers or groups have registered so far, but he expects approximately 50 or 60 participating groups. Anyone interested in marching in the parade should call Finnegan at 878-1239.
Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: best neighborhood entry; best business entry; best theme; best community organization or group; best church; best band; best entry with music; best individual; best entry with children; judges’ favorite car; judges’ favorite tractor; judges’ award.
After the parade, food will be for sale on the village green from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parade awards will be presented at the bandstand on the green at 12:30 p.m., and children’s games are set for 12:35 to 1 p.m.
Williston’s annual frog jumping contest is set for 1 p.m. The tradition’s founder, resident Bill Skiff, will read his new children’s book, “Willie the Jumping Frog,” before the contest begins.
The second day of the library book sale runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Williston Fire Department will host an open house on July 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The open house includes station and fire truck tours, fire extinguisher training and car seat inspections and a Jaws of Life demonstration at noon.
The Williston Community Food Shelf is also hosting a “Fill a Fire Truck” food drive. An antique fire truck will be parked on the town green, and residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable, undamaged, in-date food items to donate.
In the evening, residents can gather for the fireworks, which begin at dark—organizers estimate the start time at 9:30 p.m—at Allen Brook School. Musical entertainment and food vendors begin at 7 p.m.
“I would say that our fireworks stack up with anybody’s,” Finnegan said.
Finnegan strongly encouraged residents to park at Williston Central School and utilize the free shuttle running from the school from 7 p.m. until dark, then back again after the show. Cars can no longer be parked in the grass field by Allen Brook School, reducing parking availability there by a couple hundred cars. Parking at Allen Brook should be reserved for those who need it. In case of severe weather, the rain date is July 5.


  1. intervalefoodhub.com.Thanks for mentioning the Intervale Food Hub, Jake!

    The Intervale Food Hub partners with The EDGE Sports & Fitness in Williston and Essex to deliver local food subscriptions year-round.

    We are just about to start deliveries to The EDGE for our upcoming Fall/Winter season. If anyone is interested in participating, you can learn more at http://www.intervalefoodhub.com.

    Kendall Frost
    Intervale Food Hub Marketing Manager

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