Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Deerfield Valley

Tuesday May 14, 2013

DOVER -- A replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall that is located in Washington, D.C., is making its way to the Deerfield Valley.

"Basically it seems to be getting a good amount of support among the inn owners," said Dover Economic Development Specialist Ken Black. "Unfortunately, it didn't come in time for our event grant deadlines."

Black was referring to a program the board uses to assist events in town that need some financial support.

"The Moving Wall" will be in Wilmington at Mount Snow's Howe Farm Field off Route 100 between June 13 and 17.

On May 7, the Dover Selectboard decided to support the "Moving Wall." The Wilmington Selectboard already pledged $2,000 out of its economic development budget for it and the Dover board ended up doing the same.

The memorial is about 250 feet long and has been touring around the United States for more than 20 years. It requires a lot of time and volunteers to set it up as well as take it down.

The American Legion Nelson E. Pickwell Post #15, which represents both Dover and Wilmington members, is sponsoring the event.

The Wilmington Fund donated $1,000 and other organizations are being solicited to assist with additional funds.

During discussion, Black stated that the "Moving Wall" would be stopping at a few nearby spots.

"(It will be) outside of Boston in a couple locations and upstate New York prior to the Deerfield Valley," he said. "So from that perspective, you're probably not going to get the Boston crowd coming to see it because they're going to go closer to their particular area. (This) made it difficult. But it is an interesting event."

Black recommended the board put up $1,500 for the wall but the board decided to match the Wilmington Selectboard after some discussion.

Advertising has been something that the Kitzhof Lodge owners are working on. The grant from Dover would go towards advertising, too. It is something that the Kitzhof Lodge owners have been working on.

One of the biggest draws, organizers said, would be motorcyclists. So, advertising is going to be featured in motorcycle magazines as well as local newspapers.

"It is a short period but there is a regional component to it," said Black. "(It is) somewhat unique."

He expects the event to bring in about 2,400 visitors.

Dover Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk said he looks at funding for such events by seeing how the money might get replenished when visitors stay at the local inns and dine at the restaurants.

He calculates potential profits of an event by estimating the amount of people and the state's average for what families spend. The local 1 percent tax option revenue then comes into play.

Former Selectboard member Buzzy Buswell urged the board to look at it from a different perspective, not just as a tourist attraction.

"Within a 100 mile radius, you have 350,000 people. Out of those, 8 to 10 percent are Vietnam veterans and by such, may not have been able to make the (Memorial) Wall in D.C., but may be able to see it in the (Moving) Wall," he said. "What about Bennington or Brattleboro and just a little north? (The visitors) are going to have to eat or do something. It may have a backdoor approach to economics in Dover and Wilmington and the Deerfield Valley."

Living History Association member Jim Dassitti was also at the Selectboard meeting. He is responsible for assisting with writing the grant for the advertising and taking care of some financial aspects of the "Moving Wall."

"I believe in this," said Dassitti. "I don't think you're going to have trouble getting the numbers."

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


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