2020 Bennington Battle Day Plans

Schedule and Information for August 15 & 16, 2020
Bennington Battle Day is on the Way!

Although the Bennington Fire Department’s traditional parade had to be cancelled this year due to Covid-19, a group of citizens has planned an original series of patriotic events for Battle Day weekend. Bennington Battle Day is a Vermont state holiday that commemorates the patriot victory fought between American and British forces on August 16, 1777 in nearby Walloomsac, New York. It falls on a Sunday this year.

The Bennington Fire Department will kick off the weekend’s festivities with a pick-up Chicken Dinner on Friday the 14th at 4 p.m. at the Firehouse; tickets must be purchased in advance. The BFD will also deliver within a 5-mile radius. On Saturday, two events are planned. At 2:00 p.m. at the Congregational Church Barn on Monument Circle, Phyllis Chapman of Vintage Visitors will speak in honor of the centenary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote as of August 18, 1920. Then, at 3:30 p.m., the Bennington Historical Society and the Friends of the Bennington Monument will conduct a walking tour of Old Bennington where you will learn the stories of the buildings and monuments of Vermont’s oldest town. The tour begins at the Monument; masks and social distancing required.

On Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m., a display of high-altitude fireworks will be visible to people in Bennington from their front or back yards; public gathering is discouraged. The following morning, Sunday, at 11 a.m., there will be a ceremony at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington to honor representatives of the 18 categories of workers that the Governor deemed “essential” in his executive order of March 24. Two local students will speak about the Battle itself, and Bennington resident Mary Ruefle, Vermont poet laureate, will read two poems, including one by Robert Frost. The ceremony, which will be cablecast by CAT-TV and GNAT, will end with the firing of a cannon by members of the 2nd Continental Artillery of the Sons of the American Revolution. The public is asked to stay home and watch the ceremony on TV. 

Following the ceremony, a “reverse parade,” a motor parade led by fire trucks and rescue vehicles from Bennington and surrounding communities, will leave from the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and pass through town on its way to the Veterans Home.

Residents of Bennington and surrounding communities are encouraged to drive their own car or truck in the parade by downloading an application at the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce website. SIGN UP TODAY using the online form located here.

Participant in the reverse parade are asked to tune their radios to WBTN 1370 AM which will be broadcasting music selections chosen by Lynn Sweet, music director of the MAUHS. The town center will be decorated with patriotic banners, and a large American flag will hang near the entrance to the Veterans Home. While the parade is in progress, weather permitting, Black Hawk helicopters from the Vermont National Air Guard will be making a landing at the Veterans Home.

Additionally, the Bennington Museum is putting together a virtual tour of local historic sites related to the Battle that may be visited online. At the Bennington Battlefield, seven miles west of the center of Bennington over the New York line on Route 67, a ceremony honoring those who fought in the Battle will take place at 4 p.m. on Battle Day on the hilltop where American militiamen bravely assaulted German troops fighting for the British on the afternoon of August 16, 1777. The ceremony is by invitation and limited  to 50 persons and will also be carried on TV where we hope everyone will watch. Stay safe!

We will celebrate creatively in 2020!