By Eric Friedman
Whenever you talk to Mad River Valley residents and visitors many will mention that our "sense of community" is what ties them to this place. They identify it as one of the most important facets of why they appreciate living and visiting here. It manifests itself in many ways and for everyone it is a little bit different.
Gathering our people together is vital to developing this sense of community and our annual special events are some of the favorite ways we come together. After a year-plus of being socially distant, we are appreciating these events now more than ever. The fact is that events take a ton of work, they don't just happen. It is important to recognize the folks that take it upon themselves to make them happen.
The most obvious example is the venerable Warren Fourth of July parade. Susan Klein and her merry band of fellow Rotarians have been organizing the festivities forever. The town of Warren plays host and welcomes the world to their tiny village. Another example that's right around the corner is the Round Up on the River, the weekly summer party on Bridge Street (BTW, the first one was on July 7). John, Sarina and the whole Sweet Spot crew came up with the idea and have quickly turned it into a wildly popular Mad River Valley institution.
There are so many other examples both large and small: the Mad Marathon, Valley Players productions, Mad River Valley Anti-Racism Initiative, Mad River Valley Arts Shows, SIPtemberfest, Village Grocery's Sidewalk Art Contest, Sugarbush Brew Grass Festival, Worthy Burger Concert Series, Mad River Valley Ambulance Service’s Father's Day Breakfast, Holiday River of Light and the Mad River Stage Race. The list goes on and on and I am loath to mention any of them fearing how many are being left out.
The point is that we need to make sure that we all appreciate these events and all the hard work and expense it takes to put them on. Especially the ones that occur year after year. We owe them all a huge thank you for making them happen. We also want to encourage others to support them and grab the mantle of leadership and develop special, new events that continue to bring our community together. It truly does take a village and let's be sure to remember that when we think about the "sense of community" that we all hold so dear.
Friedman is the executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce.