Flooded Communities Hold Winter Light Celebrations

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(Host) Several communities that were devastated by the flood this summer are marking their comeback with winter light celebrations.

This Saturday in Waterbury, children and artists are parading through downtown carrying lanterns.

And next weekend the towns in the Deerfield River Valley are cranking up their holiday lights.

VPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

(Cohen) In the past, Dover had its own winter light celebration. But Mary Wright, a member of Wilmington’s beautification committee, says this year, after the flood, more than 100 businesses and homeowners across the valley are joining in.

(Wright) "All of us in all of our little towns with our small town identities  realized we were all in this together. And that if something happened that was traumatic in one town that that affected everybody in the valley. And the bright lights program is one of the first physical manifestations of our new understanding that we are all here together."

(Cohen) There’s a slogan for the event: "Irene can’t keep us in the dark." But for Wright, whose art gallery was devastated by the flood, it’s more than marketing.

(Wright) "We are here and alive and together. And it also is for the people who come to the Mount Snow Valley to show them we are going forward and doing well."

(Cohen) Besides the lights, there’s a crafts fair and special dinners at restaurants.

Several businesses in Wilmington that were closed by the flood are hoping to reopen by December 10th. Including Mary Wright’s art gallery.

For VPR News, I’m Nancy Cohen.

(Host) The VPR Journalism Fund supports our ongoing coverage of the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. 

This holiday season, we’re looking for your pictures that are emblematic of local business spirit. 

Vermont Valley Lights 

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