Saturday February 16, 2013

DOVER -- There’s a lot to do in town, even when the winter is over.

On Tuesday night, Dover Economic Development Specialist Ken Black talked to the Selectboard about events that the town has supported in the past, with approval from the board. He also discussed funding that would assist these events in the next fiscal year.

Black spoke of the Wine Harvest, a film festival that Phil Gilpin Jr., of Green Mountain Marketing, is bringing to the Deerfield Valley, a flower symposium and an annual event presented by Mothers For Daughters.

The events he mentioned, "all occur at the same period except for the Blueberry Parade," which is sponsored by the Dover Historical Society.

There is a limited events budget of about $39,000, which includes other town favorites such as Dover Day and fireworks displays.

The budget also includes the Adventures Challenge, another event which Gilpin Jr. had some funding approved by the board a few months ago. That event will bring outsiders to the area, with the help of special deals and promotions. Gilpin Jr. said last year was a success, so this year, he asked the Selectboard for help funding, so he could get more advertising for the event.

The board and Black agreed that the Mothers For Daughters event has had a large turnout in the past. Participants ride motorcycles more than 100 miles in a route that goes from West Dover to New Hampshire then back to West Dover again. The event raises money to fight breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

At a Selectboard meeting in the past, Adam Levine, owner of the Valley View Saloon, has said that although he doesn’t run any part of the event at his establishment, the event has brought in people, who have returned to the restaurant even when that particular event was not taking place.

Last year, the Blueberry Parade received $6,000 from the town.

"They have indicated that they had 3,500 people (show up) for the entire festival," said Black.

He also mentioned that "either by luck or coincidence," there has "always been good weather" for the parade.

The West Dover Fire Department is also celebrating its 50th anniversary on the same day as the Blueberry Parade. It has asked for $2,000 for additional funds, which would go towards hiring bands and other things that the National Fire Protection Association won’t be covering.

The fire department is already investing a lot of money into several activities surrounding the anniversary date. An inflatable castle was mentioned as one of the items that the department would be renting for the event.

"The Fire Association is picking up a variety of other things," said Selectboard member Buzzy Buswell.

Another board member thought that since the parade is valley-wide, it should just be a part of Dover Day.

Dover Day is usually in September, though. While, the Blueberry Festival is usually in July.

"The idea is to beef up the parade," said Linda Anelli, Dover Economic Development Specialist Assistant.

Buswell went on to suggest the possibility of holding the Blueberry Parade only once every other year.

The Historical Society has requested $2,500 to keep the Harris House Museum open longer, before, during and after the parade.

The board discussed options for measuring attendance in the museum during the parade. One recommendation was that someone could hold a ticker, to see how many people go into the encampment. The idea is to see if it is worth it to help fund the museum being open longer and later.

The board is waiting to hear from the West Dover Fire Department. It will help the board decide upon knowing exactly what the plans are for the funding it is requesting.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.