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The Main Events

Stuff you don't want to miss this year


Published August 25, 2008 at 5:48 p.m.

When you come to school, you’ll probably get a calendar full of important dates for the year — fall break, parents’ weekend, finals week, graduation, that kinda thing. But what about awesome off-campus events? Somebody’s gotta remind you to mark your calendar for the Burlington Zombie Walk. And you shouldn’t spend four years here without experiencing Mardi Gras, Burlington’s best street party and parade. We can’t let you make that mistake.

So here’s a list of what not to miss this year. It includes massively popular festivals such as Art Hop and the Jazz Fest, as well as vintage Vermont fare. We threw in a few of our favorite fringe events for good measure. You can find up-to-date information about these and other off-campus happenings in Seven Days, or at



Champlain Valley Fair

The Champlain Valley Fair is the perfect introduction to the Green Mountain State. Don’t miss the Maple Shack, the live llamas or the “best cock contest.” August 23 - September 1, Champlain Valley Expo, Essex Junction, $10. More info: 878-5545,

South End Art Hop

You don’t have to be an art major to appreciate this eclectic open studio showcase. Creative types of all stripes will dig the Art Hop’s outdoor installations, live music, readings and the popular “Strut” fashion show. Much of it is concentrated along the funky and entrepreneurial Pine Street corridor. Be sure to stop by the Green Door Studio (see p.82), where Drew Cameron and his fellow Iraq Veterans Against the War make protest art. Seven Days always celebrates its birthday Friday night with an annual open house. Stop in. September 5 & 6, various Burlington venues, free. More info: 855-9222 or

Vermont International Film Festival

Sundance it ain’t, but this annual screening of peace and justice documentaries showcases important stuff you won’t see at the multiplex. October 9-12, various Burlington venues, various prices. More info: 660-2600,

The Great Vermont Corn Maze

The drive to Danville takes a while, but this gigantic, seasonal corn maze is definitely worth the trip. And you’ll catch some great fall colors on the way. August 1 - October 19, 1404 Wheelock Road, Danville, $9. More info: 748-1399,

Burlington Zombie Walk

Imagine this autumnal scenario: You’re shopping on Church Street, minding your own business, when suddenly, a group of bloody creatures appears on the pedestrian mall, and they’re screaming about eating your brain. No, it’s not the zombie-pocalypse — it’s just Burlington’s annual Zombie Walk, the most fun any living dead creature can have. Tired of being alive and lame? Then take part in the insatiable bloodlust. Dress in your best post-mortem getup and join an army of the undead as they parade through downtown Burlington wrecking havoc. Do George Romero proud. And you can recycle your costume for Halloween.

Election Day

You can register to vote in Vermont — before October 29 at 5 p.m. — or get an absentee ballot in your home state through the city clerk there. Just do it. November 4. More info:



Queen City Rail Jam

Take a ramp, a rail and some local music, toss ’em out in the middle of a busy downtown street, and you get the Queen City Rail Jam. Brace yourself for some sweet moves from American and Canadian Pro-Ams. November 9, St. Paul St., downtown Burlington, free. More info: 660-3200

Penguin Plunge - BTV

Wanna see a bunch of people in silly outfits throw themselves into Lake Champlain in the dead of winter? Who doesn’t? February 7, 2009, Burlington Waterfront, free to watch. More info: 863-5222 or

Winter is a Drag Ball ’09

You don’t have to be gay to go to this People With AIDS Coalition benefit gala. Don your fishnets and fake eyelashes and dance the night away with the “girls” from the House of LeMay. February 14, 2009, Higher Ground, South Burlington. More info:

Magic Hat Mardi Gras

This fun-filled celebration turns Burlington into New England’s own New Orleans — if New Orleans were freezing and founded by repressed, tight-fisted Yankees. People young and old pack the streets and beg for beads as businesspeople and nonprofit staffers parade past on festive floats. You should definitely bundle up and brave the cold for this hot jamboree. February 28, 2009, downtown Burlington, free. More info: 658-2739 or

U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships

Arguably the biggest sporting event in Vermont, the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship is a boarding fan’s dream. If you go, smile for the TV cameras — last year, it was on NBC. March 16-22, Stratton Mountain Resort, Stratton, free to watch. More info: 297-4000 or



Geek Week

Fans of Dungeons and Dragons and physicist Richard Feynman won’t want to miss this week of quarky fun. Last year, they held a workshop on “Ethical Hacking” followed by music from The Mathematicians. Mid-April, Langdon St. Cafe, Montpelier, some events free. More info: 223-8667

Green Mountain Film Festival

Vermont’s capital city has its own indie film fest. Stick around after the flicks for discussions with filmmakers. March 20-29, various Montpelier venues, $7 w/student ID. More info:

Vermont Maple Festival

Vermont is known for its maple syrup, and this annual post-sugaring season celebration is a great place to get a taste. Try some maple on shaved ice. You’ll never go back to Aunt Jemima. April 24-26, downtown St. Albans, various prices (more than half the stuff is free). More info: 524-0444 or

Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day

On one glorious day each year, Ben and Jerry’s scoop shops give ice cream cones away for free. It’s best to enjoy this springtime celebration with a large group of floor-mates — head up to to the B&J on Church Street right after your last class. Little known fact: You can consume as many cones as your heart desires during store hours. Late April 2009, Church St., Burlington, free. More info: 846-1500 or



Vermont City Marathon

More than 8000 runners compete in the Vermont City Marathon — there’s a relay, too, so you can run it with your friends. Easier still, just cheer on all the sweaty guys wearing nipple tape. Memorial Day Weekend, 2009, registration fee to run, free to watch. More info: 863-8412 or

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

Stick around after graduation for this 10-day, city-wide, live-music extravaganza. Big-name acts play the Flynn, and the free shows on Church Street last until the wee hours. Plus, finals are over, so you actually have time to party. Late May - early June 2009, various Burlington venues, various prices. More info: 863-7992 or

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