Vermont Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities and Other Offbeat Stuffby Robert Wilson
A fun, accessible read for travelers and non travelers alike Vermont Curiosities is part zany Vermont guidebook and part Who's Who of unusual and unsung heroes, this compendium of the state's quirks and characters will amuse Vermont residents and visitors alike.See more details below
A fun, accessible read for travelers and non travelers alike Vermont Curiosities is part zany Vermont guidebook and part Who's Who of unusual and unsung heroes, this compendium of the state's quirks and characters will amuse Vermont residents and visitors alike.
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The Strolling of the HeifersBrattleboroYou’ve heard of the Running of the Bulls, in Pamplona? On eight consecutive days every July at 8:00 a.m., a rocket alerts this entire Spanish town to the knowledge that two dozen cranky, 1300-pound bulls have been released on a closed, half-mile-long public street. Their goal: To vent their fury and frustration on the abysmally slower and foolhardy two-legged creatures who for their own reasons are trying to outrun them. But what Brattleboro’s annual June “Strolling of the Heifers” festival lacks in melodrama and derring-do (people have been killed during the masochistic spectacle held a month later and 3,500 miles away), it more than compensates with its pure celebration of a rural way of life, and an expression of gratitude to the farmers who drive it.The highlight, of course, is the iconic parade: 100 flower-laden Holstein and Jersey cows–and occasionally a Guernsey or two–making their way down Main Street to a cheering crowd, followed by draft horses, tractors, jugglers, clowns, fire eaters, and Turkey Hill Dairy employees giving away thousands of cups of ice cream. But it wouldn’t be a dairy festival without a milking contest, music by the Heifer Brass Quartet (and at least a dozen other jazz and classical groups), a Dairy Princess Pageant, and a Royal Farmers Feast and Farm Tour. Many festival-goers are sure to be in town the night before the parade, when local farm families are honored for the decades of work they’ve done to keep southern Vermont’s agricultural tradition alive.So the Strolling of the Heifers not only kicks off National Dairy Month each June, but is a way to protect and promote Vermont’s agricultural heritage in residents’ daily lives. It has raised more than $100,000 for educational programs for more than 80 schools in Windham County, including a scholarship program that will fund farmers and agricultural students. Related factoid: The 162,000 cows living on Vermont farms are said to produce more than 2.6 billion pounds of milk a year–or more than 16,000 pounds per cow. We’ll do the math: That’s 44 pounds per cow per day. According to Common Errors in English Usage, “factoid” was once an ironic term indicating that the “fact” being offered was not actually factual. It adds that a number of sources have taken to “using the term to mean ‘trivial but true fact.’ As a result, the definition of ‘factoid’ is hopelessly confused and it’s probably better to avoid using the term altogether.” In Vermont Curiosities, “factoid” is used but sparingly, and only to denote a trivial but true fact. We regret the hopeless confusion that may follow.
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