Brookfield is taking two days later this month to celebrate the re-opening of the town's famous floating bridge. In fact, this will be Brookfield's eighth floating bridge — and this time, it's expected to be 100 years before the bridge needs replacement.
Festivities will take place the weekend of May 23 and 24, in the center of Brookfield near Hippo Park, the floating bridge, and the Old Town Hall. Downtown Brookfield will be closed to through traffic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday to make way for the celebration.
Brookfield's floating bridge over Sunset Lake is buoyed by pontoons. According to the town's website, the original bridge was built in 1820 by resident Luther Adams and his neighbors.
Events on Saturday start at 11 a.m. and will include an opening ceremony, parade, music, vendors, food, displays, farm tours, historical talks and activities for adults as well as children. There will be a Town Hall dance Saturday night from 8 to 10 p.m., and the celebration starts up again Sunday morning.
"The Brookfield Floating Bridge is the only bridge of its kind east of the Mississippi," according to an announcement from the Brookfield Floating Bridge Celebration Committee. "There have been seven bridges over the past centuries, and the opening of this bridge marks the eighth bridge traversing the lake. The bridge, designed by T. Y. Lin and constructed by the Kenyon Corporation and Miller Construction, is expected to last 100 years."
Special postcards have been created for the event, as well as first day envelopes, a souvenir commemorative booklet on the past and present bridges and a limited number of Brookfield Floating Bridge Opening Day T-shirts featuring an illustration by Brookfield resident and Vermont Cartoonist Laureate Ed Koren.
The opening ceremony will include the Brookfield Elementary School Chorus performing state song These Green Mountains; a program including Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter and Brookfield Selectboard Chair John Benson, as well as a ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening the bridge.
First to cross the bridge will be a parade including musicians, dancers and antique vehicles representing the years 1936, 1978 and 2015, in honor of years in which floating bridges were installed.