Staff Report

Carnevale Vergennes

Carnevale Vergennes started in 2014 as a way to raise operational funds for the Vergennes Opera House and the Vergennes Partnership (the economic development organization for the Little City). The event has grown exponentially, and last year the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes was added as an additional beneficiary. Each year has a theme, and this year we celebrate the circus on March 4.

Carnevale Vergennes has garnered the attention of the organizers of the original Carnevale in Venice, Italy. In fact, Vergennes City Mayor Bill Benton recently proclaimed Venice a sister city to Vergennes, a gesture that Venice dignitaries will soon reciprocate.

Beyond the sister city recognition, the city of Venice has supplied a special three-day travel package to be included as one of the special prizes at this year’s Carnevale Vergennes. Local residents Andrew and Jeff Fritz are regular attendees at the Carnevale in Venice and arranged for this special relationship. “Similar to the people here in the greater Vergennes area, the people of Venice are very generous and willing to share what they have in the way of cultural enrichment and good will,” said Jeff Fritz. “They are thrilled that this event has been successful here and they wanted to continue to encourage this success with their generous gift and their sister-city support.”

Last year’s event raised over $21,000, providing $7,000 for each nonprofit. “This community, the supporters of these organizations, everyone really, have been incredibly generous,” said Vergennes Opera House President Gerianne Smart. “This has encouraged us to think bigger and better each year and find ways to build upon the previous year’s success. So much is riding on it.”

This year’s Carnevale Vergennes theme is “Il Circo della Vita,” “The Circus of Life.”

Entertainment is being pulled together by Charlotte resident Woody Keppel of Charlotte again this year. He is known internationally as part of the performance duo “Waldo and Woodhead,” but closer to home he produces the “Festival of Fools” in Burlington each summer. Woody is going to be joined by his band, The Hokum Brothers, to get people dancing, as well as a few of his acrobat/circus friends and other musicians to add surprise and fun all night long. And like any good carnival or circus, there will be games for folks to play with fun prizes to win as well as a chance at some of the larger grand prizes that will be announced mid-evening. There will also be multiple “experiences” that guests can sign up for such as a lakeside dining for 12, cocktail parties, special barbeques and more.

The cash bar will be tended by the expert mixologists from Bar Antidote and the food will be provided collaboratively by multiple restaurants from Vergennes: Park Squeeze, Bar Antidote, Black Sheep Bistro and 3 Squares Cafe.

Tickets are available online at the Vergennes Opera House or in town at Linda’s Apparel, Malabar, Classic Stitching and Everywear for Everybody. For more information please visit  Vergennes Opera House or call (802) 877-6737.

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