Bennington 4th of July Celebrations

Re-enactor Michael Chapman reads the Declaration of Independence, and Patricia Leon Johnson stands by to ring the USS Bennington Bell as the honorary bell ringer on behalf of the SVMC.

Bennington Fourth of July Celebration Plans

All are invited to celebrate Independence Day with a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a car parade, a bell ringing ceremony, and fireworks.

A dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence starts the July 4th events at noon at the Bennington Battle Monument. The reading features living historians Michael and Phyllis Chapman and concludes at about 1 pm with a car parade for all attendees from the Monument to the parking area behind the Town Offices at 205 South Street.

Those driving are encouraged to decorate their vehicles if they wish. A police escort will lead the group to the next event, the ringing of the main bell from the ship USS Bennington which is located in front of the town offices.

The car parade will include The Veterans of Foreign Wars Riders (president Joe Bison) and American Legion Riders (president Dan Lyle); both groups are local charitable organizations and are officially sanctioned by their parent organizations. We appreciate their service!

Nationwide bell ringing on July 4th was instituted by Congress in 1963 to commemorate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, after which bells rang throughout that city.

This tradition is upheld annually by the Bennington Rotary Club. During the ceremony, 13 Rotarians will ring the USS Bennington’s bell to honor each of the 13 original colonies. Since Vermont is the 14th State to be admitted to the Union, that place is held for a “Fourteenth Bell-Ringer.”
This honorary role is reserved for a person or organization that has made a significant difference in making our community a better place to live. The Bennington Historical Society is being honored this year, and the bell will be rung by Joe Hall on behalf of the Society.

The bell ringing will begin at approximately 1:30 pm once the group from the Battle Monument arrives. After the ceremony, attendees can ring the ship’s bell themselves.

A fireworks display will be located at Willow Park off of East Road. The fireworks start at dark, approximately 9:30 pm. The rain date is Saturday July 9. The event starts at 5:00 pm with a performance by the Crossover Cloggers. There will be music by Buddy Madison from 5:30 – 9:30 pm. Food is available for purchase (hotdogs, burgers, fried dough, soda), a “Bohemian Roots” vendor with dresses, hats, dreamcatchers, etc., and a lemonade stand will also be on site as well as a vendor selling nuts and fudge. Alcohol is not allowed. Additional parking is available at the Mt. Anthony Union Middle School on East Road.

The photo shows last year’s reading of the Declaration of Independence by Michael Chapman, and Patricia Noel Johnson standing by to ring the USS Bennington bell as the honorary 14th bell ringer on behalf of the SVMC.