Bellows Falls plans thank-you barbecue

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BELLOWS FALLS — The Bellows Falls Village Trustees are going to throw a party to say thank you.

A barbecue to be exact.

The village trustees voted unanimously last week to put on a barbecue to thank residents "for sticking with us," as Village President Deborah Wright put it, through a time of turmoil as the village's paid fire department was eliminated and replaced with a volunteer one.

"It's an outstanding idea," said Trustee Jonathan Wright, who is not related to the village president.

The board didn't set a date or how it would finance the community-wide free event or even the menu.

"Obviously, businesses would help," said Trustee Jonathan Wright, who runs Cafe 7 in The Square.

Village President Deborah Wright had suggested the community barbecue at the end of the trustee's monthly meeting last week, saying the village had gone through some "big issues, a lot of tumultuous times," in the past year.

"We're always asking people to support us," said Trustee Stefan Golec. "It's a way of saying thank you."

Deborah Wright said in the past the trustees had put on a spaghetti dinner for the police and fire department, with support from the business community.

During the discussion, the trustees said they wanted to hold the event before the weather changed, and they said they would be reaching out to the Greater Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as the Bellows Falls Downtown Alliance.

The barbecue could also be used as a way to "meet your officials," and also as a recruiting tool for the fire department, which is now staffed by volunteers.

Jonathan Wright said the event could also help market Bellows Falls to the region, to include southern Vermont and southwestern New Hampshire, "that we are open for business."

Wright and others have said recently that downtown sidewalk and paving projects have cut into business in the downtown area.

"I think it's a great idea. The village has taken a big hit," said Trustee Gary Lique. "It will highlight the village."

Trustee James "Jiggs" McAuliffe had left the meeting early and didn't vote on the proposal, and the other trustees noted that McAuliffe would have asked how they would finance the celebration.

"Stay tuned, we'll have a date for you," Deborah Wright said.

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