Montpelier Alive is excited to enter 2024 with many hopes and visions for a brighter year, following a challenging year. We look forward to all our downtown businesses reopening and new ones setting up shop in the empty storefronts. One such new opening is Naive Melody Instrument Exchange at 95 State Street. Stay tuned for their grand opening. Other businesses devastated by the floods are reinventing themselves in new locations (stay tuned!). Restaurants Namaste and Filibuster are tentatively opening this month; we’ll announce all these changes in our weekly newsletter and on social media.
Our city closed 2023 with a bang, including a variety of events across town to ring in the new year, from African drumming and dancing to kids’ storytelling and crown making, movies, food, music, and partying. In 2024, we look forward to upcoming events, including a total eclipse on April 8th, with Montpelier being in the “path of totality." We’re expecting thousands of visitors to come into Montpelier to view it. We celebrate the return of the Green Mountain Film Festival, which runs from Thursday March 14th to Sunday March 17th, its 23rd year after a 3-year pandemic-driven hiatus. We’re excited to launch a new event promoting our city’s diverse restaurant scene. Our focus also turns toward creating a more resilient downtown, through the Montpelier Commission for Recovery and Resilience. This group was created after a series of public meetings, with the purpose to serve as a partner for the city and to coordinate the many working groups advancing flood recovery and resilience projects. Its next Public Forum is February 15, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Montpelier High School.
We checked in with some of our downtown businesses to hear their hopes and visions for the coming year. The general theme was a flood free year and the hope that people continue to support the downtown! Rauli Fernandez, co-owner of Rabble Rouser, told us he's now established a protocol for future floods and hopes that businesses stay strong. Liz Walsh, owner of the Drawing Board and the Print Shop, said that now that this end of town is coming back, with the recent reopening of Aubuchons and K Sherpa on Main Street, she hoped people could more easily find her store. DJ Barry, owner of The World Cow (whose slogan is we're all spots on the same cow), said his business will continue to “grow the herd. Every cow we create promotes peace and spreads kindness on a worldwide scale.” He’d like to see more local cow murals, having lost two of them. Julianna Jennings, owner of J Langdon, hopes to give back all the love she received after the July flood. Bobbie Rohem, owner of Roam hopes to be open in the spring and back to business as usual. Sharon Whyte Estes, owner of Athena’s Attic, summed it up for the coming year: “It’s an ongoing recovery process; continued patronage is crucial to staying alive”.
Thanks to all for their ongoing commitment to Montpelier Alive and our wonderful community. We certainly are Montpelier Strong!