Life in Williston: Fourth of July the Williston way

By Karen Wyman

Inevitably, the Fourth of July makes us all swell with pride for our country, but the events our town offers should also make us honored to call Williston home. My husband and I got our first introduction to the community many years ago by joining friends for Williston’s Independence Day celebrations. It was this inside look that made us see past the facade of box stores and realize that Williston has much more to offer. Ultimately, reveling in this family-friendly atmosphere inspired us to raise our own family in this amazing town.

The festivities begin this year on July 2 with the family bike races. The theme of getting outside and getting moving continues on July 3 with the Firecracker Fun Run. After all of this exercise, you can then reward yourself at the Ice Cream Social (cheering and encouraging your friends and family from the sidelines deserves a treat, too!). The Town Band performs while everyone enjoys their ice cream, and it’s a great time for kids to see friends they haven’t seen since school let out. My personal favorite event occurs on the third and fourth this year: the annual library book sale. It is such a thrill to walk into the gym and see endless rows of neatly organized tables displaying all sorts of books in excellent condition. I spend hours browsing through the items, and without fail, I leave with an overflowing box of treasures to add to our family library. There is truly something for everyone at this delightful sale (lugging books deserves an ice cream, too!).

The most anticipated event that occurs is probably the parade on the Fourth. It’s always fun to watch the floats representing various town organizations, businesses and neighborhoods, and who doesn’t like having candy thrown to them? Following the parade, there will be many activities throughout the day, including a Fire Department open house, children’s games and a frog jumping contest. Please note this is a B.Y.O.F. event, so make sure you carve out plenty of time to catch your own amphibious version of “I’ll Have Another!” I also highly recommend stopping by to enjoy the delicious chicken lunch at the Williston Federated Church, or the all -American menu of burgers and hot dogs that will be offered on the Village Green. A holiday celebration is never complete without breaking bread with family and friends.

Luckily, there is some downtime before the celebration resumes again later in the evening. This makes a great time to take advantage of the one-day free admission for Williston residents to cool off in Lake Iroquois. To keep the Williston spirit alive, it’s also a perfect opportunity to support our local businesses. My family loves to stop by either Vermont Meat and Seafood or Shelburne Meat Market Williston and choose some fresh meat or fish to grill for dinner. We also love to pick up a patriotic apple pie or a fresh berry pie from Adams Farm Market for dessert!

The party begins again at 7 p.m. at Allen Brook School. This is my family’s favorite event—there is a bouncy house, a DJ and fair food! What is better than that? Tons of people roll into the school at dusk to claim their spot for the fireworks, but it seems few people take advantage of this carnival atmosphere that occurs earlier. Wouldn’t you like to watch your neighbors compete in a limbo, hula hoop or dance contest? It’s definitely a fun way to unwind after a long couple of days. As darkness falls, it’s finally time to grab a blanket and some bug spray and get ready for one of the best firework displays in the area!

I hope to see many of you out enjoying Williston during this action-packed holiday. You should even bring your friends from out of town; you never know—they too may fall in love with this side of our town that outsiders aren’t usually privy to. But consider it fair warning: you may all want to find your frogs now, because we have been “training” Mr. Freddy Longlegs since May!

Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for seven years, and lives with her husband and twin 5-year-old daughters.