WILMINGTON — Memorial Day activities are returning to the city this year after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
“I think Wilmington will be thrilled to have something come back on Memorial Day Sunday,” said Janet Boyd, who is helping to organize a rubber duck race fundraiser as part of the celebrations. “We’re all looking forward to getting back to the new normal, but until you do you don’t know what it will be.”
Angel Balch, past president of the Rotary Club of Deerfield Valley and vice district governor, cited COVID-19 as one of the reasons the parade was not held this time. But mostly it’s because the organizers wanted to “relax” after the last two years of hiatus, she said.
“We thought the BBQ and the ceremony were the most important things to focus on right now,” she said.
Meg Staloff, program coordinator for the downtown organization Wilmington Works, said she wasn’t sure stores would be doing anything special over Memorial Day weekend “besides opening doors since it’s usually such a busy day.” She invited the Morris Dancers to return but hasn’t heard back.
The Rotary Club will host their barbecue in front of Memorial Hall on Sunday, May 29 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
“We will also open the hall to visitors during this time,” said Balch. “The Wilmington Historical Society will have some old photographs of local veterans and old uniforms on display, and Rotary will have the hall decorated.”
The Duck Race benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation will take place at 12pm. Rubber ducks ride down the Deerfield River as part of the event.
Boyd said the race hadn’t taken place for two years during the pandemic, but this time will mark its 33rd year.
“We just have to hope the water level is below 8 feet,” she said, adding that the event was previously canceled because ducks couldn’t stand in the water.
She is currently collecting prizes for the race.
“We are very excited to be contributing to Make-A-Wish again,” she said.
Tickets will be sold on the bridge at Dot’s of Wilmington on race day beginning at 10:00 am. Boyd noted that the money raised for the foundation in southern Vermont is used to fulfill the wishes of children with critical illnesses in the southern part of the state.
On Monday, May 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Memorial Hall, the Rotary Club will host a Memorial Day ceremony with Col. Renee Bloom of Albany, NY, as the keynote speaker. Balch said members of the women’s charity would sell poppies at the door.
“We’ve pretty much set the program, but we’re just awaiting confirmation from our presenter,” she said. “We will be featuring a quilt made by the women’s group Quilts of Valor. The Twin Valley Middle High School Choir will sing a few songs.”
Balch said the plan is to hold a parade next year.