BURLINGTON, Vt. – After a year like no other, the City of Burlington held its first large organized gathering since the pandemic began with the annual July 3 fireworks celebration.
The Fourth of July has been anticipated as a big milestone for Vermont and the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for months now, and a little rain didn’t dampen people’s spirits.
People near and fair waited in anticipation for the festivities, saying they were excited to finally be around people without worrying about staying safe.
“We thought this would be the best opportunity for us to enjoy being here, as well as see the first Fourth of July Fireworks in over a year,” said Pratap Thapa, who was visiting from New Hampshire.
“We’re just really excited to kind of find normalcy,” said Aly Elish-Swartz, visiting from Long Island, New York.
It’s easy to forget where we were just a few months ago, when it wasn’t a given the celebration would be possible. Just ask Burlington Parks Director Cindi Wight, who may be the busiest person in Burlington on days like this.
“We knew we wanted to do something, but we weren’t sure what that something would be,” Wight said. “It was really hard, it was hard on our staff trying to plan for an event where you don’t know what you can do.”
Before the fireworks got underway, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and other leaders gathered at Battery Park to honor Burlington’s victims of COVID-19 and dedicate a memorial stone to those who sprang to action when the community needed it most.
“What I’ve learned over the last 457 days and what I think this community should hold on to and long remember is that even in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, the people of Burlington are capable of forging incredible progress.”