Friday July 5, 2013

WILMINGTON -- Have you ever seen a large group of people go for a Guinness World Record?

"We believe there is no record on file for the longest stroll line dance," said Wilmington Village Stroll Committee member Lisa Sullivan. "We have submitted to the Guinness World Records but haven't heard back. If we don't, we're just going to document the whole thing, which is what you do anyway, unless you have an official come out."

On July 6, there will be a line dance across the new footbridge at the Wilmington Village Stroll. There will be someone filming the event to document the "stroll" line dance.

Those who want to participate can meet at the boardwalk outside the Jim McGrath Gallery and Pickwell's Barn on Main Street in Wilmington, where there will be quick lessons for people to learn moves for the line dance. No dancing experience is necessary.

"The lessons are very basic," said Sullivan. "A couple weeks ago, we did a practice night. About 18 people showed up just to practice and see how it worked on the bridge."

At 7:45 p.m., everyone will meet by the new footbridge donated to the town last month. That's where the Village Stroll will begin. Organizers hope to have over 100 people participate in the line dance.

The idea came about during a Village Stroll Committee meeting, when members decided the theme would be based on dance. Then a line dance was suggested.

Throughout the year, different events that could be categorized as a type of stroll occur in downtown Wilmington, including the Blueberry Block Party, which is being held Aug. 3 on South Main Street. On Sept. 22, there will be the Wine and Harvest Festival's Soup and Wine Stroll. Both are organized by different groups.

The Wilmington July Village Stroll started six years ago. The committee that organizes it was created then, too.

"The original Stroll started as a way to promote bears in the valley," said Sullivan, referring to painted bears that were placed around town, similar to moose found in Bennington.

"It took off from there. People really enjoy the Stroll. It's a nice time where locals, second homeowners and visitors go downtown to socialize and shop," she said.

This year, the Stroll Committee took advantage of the new 1 percent local option tax events fund. The money was used to pay for some advertising. Organizers hired someone to design a poster for the event as well as tap dancers.

The dancers will be roaming around downtown. They will put on shows in different parts of town, with Anthony Manuel leading the troupe.

Events start at 5 p.m. and go until about 8 p.m., rain or shine.

Family musician Les Julian will be performing at Pettee Memorial Library at 5 p.m. A limbo contest will be held at Bartleby's Books at 6:30 p.m. The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce will be handing out hunting sheets for a scavenger hunt, where a Chinese auction will be held later.

The Ann Coleman Gallery is hosting the "Sumptuous Summer" show, while the lawn of the Crafts Inn will feature artists exhibiting their work all weekend. People are also encouraged to check out the galleries of Jim McGrath and Skip Williamson.

Junior Iron Chef teams and local restaurants will be giving out free food samples.

"Strolls are great for the village and bringing people who may not normally get the opportunity to visit and shop," said Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold.

According to a press release, fancy dress is encouraged. People should wear their favorite dance era outfit for strolling on the bridge. Prizes will go to the best dressed.

"Poodle skirts, flappers, country, salsa, anything goes," the press release stated.

To learn more, visit Facebook.com/wilmingtonvillagestrolls.

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