In Bennington, the five weeks from the first day of August through the Labor Day weekend are a time of inviting events. They’re fun for the whole family, and no invitation is needed.
August 1 is a Sunday, and at the Park-McCullough Historic Governor’s Mansion in North Bennington, it’s an afternoon of “Blues & Brews.” The band is Bob Stannard and Those
Dangerous Bluesmen, the brews by Bennington’s own Farm Road Brewing and other craft brewers. There’s food, too, by J.J. Hatfield Kansas City Barbecue. It all takes place on the lawn and the wrap-around porch at the Mansion. The charge is $45 per person. Showtime is 2 p.m.
The following Saturday, August 7, the very popular 6th annual Summer Homebrew Festival kicks off at 1 p.m. off Depot Street in downtown Bennington.
A word of advice: tickets for reserved admission to the beverage tents are going fast and will sell out. Act now if you want to be able to sample a wide range of craft brews from homebrewers in the greater Bennington region.
If you just want to listen to the live music and have a bite from the many fun food trucks and browse the offerings from the one-of-a-kind vendors on site, there is no admission charge. You can always wash that lunch down at any of the three brew-pubs that are located within walking
distance right in the center of town.
The following weekend is Battle Day weekend, which commemorates the pivotal 1777 Revolutionary War Battle of Bennington. The Bennington Fire Department will be putting on a pick-up chicken dinner on Friday the 13th (reserve ahead by August 1).
On Saturday the 14th, the Bennington Museum will host R&D Island Taste, serving delicious Jamaican cuisine from the Museum courtyard from 12-3 p.m. While you’re there, don’t miss the Robert Frost show (“Robert Frost, At Present in Vermont”) and the “Love, Marriage & Divorce” exhibit too.
Saturday the 14th also sees the 16th annual Battle Day 5K race. The race starts and ends at the Bennington Monument. The starting gun (expect a Revolutionary-era touch) goes off at 9:30 a.m. A half-mile Kids Fun Run follows. Registration forms are available at the Monument Gift Shop or can be downloaded at Battle Day 5K race. There’ll be prizes for male and female overall as well as age-group places.
You’ll notice an encampment of Revolutionary War re-enactors on the Monument grounds. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (try “What did you have for breakfast?”). No doubt the elevator ride up to the observation level of the Monument itself will be popular with visitors, too. It’s open every day now.
On Sunday the 15th comes the Bennington Battle Day parade, beginning downtown at 12:00 noon. Commemorations of the Battle have been held annually since 1778 and the Fire Department has been organizing parades since the 1960s. Monday the 16th is Battle Day itself, a state holiday in Vermont, but you’ll find shops and attractions open – and the Bennington public in a patriotic mood.
Wait, there’s more. Make way for Garlic Town USA on Saturday, September 4, from 10 to 5 p.m. in downtown Bennington. For those who are used to attending the festival at the Camelot Village site west of town, fear not. Covid considerations led to the relocation of the festival to
downtown last year, and to be on the safe side, that’s where it will take place again this year.
Besides taking in the more than 100 garlic-themed stands and craft vendors (grouped in what the organizers call “cloves”), you can enjoy food-truck treats, sidewalk sales from local merchants, live bands, and drink specials from local restaurants. There’ll be kids’ and family activities, too. Everything takes place within a walkable one-mile area, with parking shuttles and tractor rides available throughout the day.
All-access tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door: adults $12, kids under 12 $5, and family passes (unlimited kids!), $30. A list of vendors and information on
tickets and parking are available from the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
Once a month, Phil Holland of Pownal writes on local topics for the Town of Bennington.