By Katie Trautz After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Montpelier Alive has announced the return of the July 3 Independence Day Celebration in Montpelier. The day-long festivities include a food truck festival, family entertainment, a mile-long road race, community parade, musical performances, and a fireworks show. Attendees can expect all the traditional favorites: family fun, fried foods, and fireworks, along with some new additions for 2022.
“Montpelier Alive is excited to bring back a diverse, creative, and entertaining festival to our capital city,” said Montpelier Alive Executive Director Dan Groberg. “After two hard years, it will feel amazing to bring the community together at this wonderful community celebration.”
Perhaps the biggest change in 2022 is the new FamilyFest on the Main Stage on the Statehouse Lawn. FamilyFest is a replacement for the Family Olympics that took place in past years, maintaining a kid-friendly atmosphere while accounting for COVID-related concerns and the desire to expand family-oriented entertainment. Montpelier Alive hopes to reignite the flame for family fun by offering an eclectic variety of performances this year.
FamilyFest kicks off at 2 p.m. with Jon Gailmor, local songwriting star from Elmore. Humor and audience involvement are integral parts of any Jon Gailmor performance. He is known for his “original, relevant, irreverent, children’s, American, international, and totally absurd tunes.” Gailmor has performed for audiences “prenatal through prehistoric” in a diverse collection of settings nationwide. Gailmor is passionately committed to the power of music, emotions, and laughter, and, boy, do we need all of them now!
Following Gailmor’s set, KeruBo takes the stage at 3 p.m. Born in Kenya, KeruBo is a singer/songwriter and Afro-jazz artist now living in the Burlington area. KeruBo sings African folk music, Afro Pop, and Afro jazz — from African laments to more modern arrangements. KeruBo’s music is about healing and preserving African culture and heritage while highlighting social issues affecting vulnerable minorities such as women and children.
Finally, at 4 p.m., Big Nazo and Providence Drum Troupe will join forces for an out-of-this-world spectacle. Big Nazo features go-go dancing monsters, mischievous mountain trolls, bizarre extra-terrestrials, and hilarious human-animal hybrids who “take turns invading stages and street corners while Intergalactic Zoo-Keepers and Mad Scientists weave cosmic tales of ridiculous wonder.”
The puppet troupe hails from Providence, Rhode Island. Their work has appeared on stages, streets, and schools throughout New England as well as in independent films, TV projects, and festive extravaganzas throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. You might have spotted these inter-galactic performers at the Festival of Fools in Burlington a few years ago. The giant puppets return to Vermont to grace the stages of our capital city.
The Big Nazo experience will be elevated at Montpelier’s July 3rd Celebration by the addition of the Providence Drum Troupe. The troupe is composed of musicians, acrobats, hoopers, lasers, and dancers from near and far who create funky beats with positive interactive energy. Be ready to dance and mingle with creatures from outer space at this fantastical performance experience on the Statehouse lawn. After their stage performance, Big Nazo and Providence Drum Troupe will also participate in the parade lineup.
The July 3rd festivities are supported by National Life Group, Union Mutual, Community National Bank, and North Country Federal Credit Union. Additional sponsors include the city of Montpelier; Cody Chevrolet/Cadillac; Denis, Ricker, and Brown; Central Vermont Medical Center; Green Light Real Estate; Washington Electric Co-op; Casella; and media sponsor ORCA Media.
Katie Trautz is the event and communications coordinator for Montpelier Alive. She teaches and performs music on the side, and lives in Montpelier with her family. To volunteer with Montpelier Alive or the Montpelier Garden Club, email firstname.lastname@example.org.