WALLINGFORD — Wallingford Day is coming back after a long hiatus, according to its organizers.
Maria French said last week she’s seen posters for the event dating back to 1997. It’s been several years since Wallingford Day was celebrated. French said a group of local volunteers, with support from local businesses and others, aims to make it an annual event once again.
This year, she said, it will fall on July 20, beginning with a town-wide garage sale. The sale will run from 8 to 11 a.m. in the village. People living outside the village can still participate by having a table on Main Street. After the sale, festivities will move to the recreation fields. There, people will find food, vendors and games. Hikes and other activities will also be happening in and around Stone Meadow Park. Those up for a walk can then trek over to Elfin Lake for swimming. They can also drive to the lake. A fireworks show is also being planned, she said.
French said the idea to revive Wallingford Day came out of forums organized by the Vermont Council on Rural Development in 2018. The council hosts such forums in communities across the state, facilitating talks between citizens that hopefully lead to locally generated improvements to quality-of-life issues. Among other things, Wallingford’s participants said they wanted more community events, according to French.
French said she and Jen Galusha have been spearheading work on Wallingford Day, meeting with a core group of about 12 people, with 30 in total helping out. French said they’ve done smaller events leading up to this, such as a Halloween house decorating event and Christmas caroling. They also organized a trip to Springfield, Massachusetts, to visit The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum.
French thinks the main reason for Wallingford Day slowing down was volunteer fatigue. People are busy these days, and volunteers are stretched thin, she noted. French said she happened to meet some of the organizers of Chittenden Day, a community event held annually in Chittenden, and got tips on how to avoid over-taxing volunteers. French said it’s important to establish a process for event planning, that way practices don’t have to be reestablished from year to year and people can focus on moving the event forward.
A grant from the Vermont Community Fund in the amount of $2,500 was awarded to the town for Wallingford Day. French said it’s a one-time grant, so the hope is the event will be such a success more will support it next year. Community Bank has also donated $1,000. About half of total expenditures are coming from local businesses and community members, French said. Town Clerk Julie Sharon and Town Administrator Sandi Switzer have also been helping out.