Alliance works to boost Shrewsbury community

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(Host) Small towns all over Vermont are looking for ways to preserve and promote their uniqueness, in an era when that’s becoming harder to do.

In Shrewsbury, a sprawling, mountainous town of eleven-hundred people just south of Rutland, some people decided to become civic boosters by forming a community alliance.

And as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, they’re about to learn if it’s working.

(Keck) Carol Calotta owns the Crisanver House – a bed and breakfast in Shrewsbury. She says a lot of the cohesive sense of community in Shrewsbury disappeared when the village stopped holding town meetings every March, and instead conducted business by Australian Ballot.

So, she and a local artist named Barbara Pafume and others in town began brainstorming on how to bring back a sense of community and promote local businesses.

(Calotta) “The ideas were extremely varie – snowmobile tours, contra dancing, flee markets, art exhibits. And we’ve kind of condensed and brought a lot of those ideas together for the Memorial Day weekend.”

(Keck) The group organized and formed the Shrewsbury Community Resource Alliance. Their first official event is the Shrewsbury Open Weekend, over Memorial Day.

(Calotta) “On that weekend we’ll be having a farmers market, a flee market. The historical society will be open. The church is providing a luncheon. We’re having a contra dance. Two studios are open. Two inns will be serving afternoon tea with scones and finger sandwiches.”

(Keck) Calotta says they chose Memorial Day Weekend to capitalize on Vermont’s popular open studio weekend – when artists throughout the state welcome visitors to their studios. Many Shrewsbury businesses will be taking part. And Calotta highly recommends a stop at the town’s historical society museum.

(Calotta) “Something else that I think is interesting is the revolutionary war cemetery that’s located in the town center. How often do you get to go visit a cemetery where there are revolutionary war soldiers buried there?”

(Keck) Maps will be available to make the tour user friendly. Calotta says that while they hope to boost local business, she says the community alliance has already achieved its first goal – boosting community spirit.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck.

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