Summervale brings together fun, family and farms

Meredith Rathburn, Staff writer

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Walking around Summervale reminded me of the classic film “Footloose,” with the rustic barn and twinkle lights, the small town energy and folk music. 

With the smell of apple cider and flowers in the air, families and farmers gathered for a celebration in support of the vibrant agriculture industry of Vermont. 

Summervale, held August 24, hosted local vendors, performers and farmers to enjoy and celebrate the season’s harvest.

Summervale is hosted by the Intervale Center, a non-profit organization based in Burlington whose mission is to strengthen community food systems by sustaining farm land, initiating large-scale composting and much more. 

The Intervale aims to make sure the environment stays healthy while providing food for the community, according to their website. 

The Intervale Center was founded in 1988 and is a 360-acre plot of farmland located along the Winooski River in Burlington, according to their website. 

Junior Julia Roy said the festival reminded her that Burlington is more than a college town. 

“It’s so nice to be around people that aren’t college students. It really gives perspective and reminds me of being around family,” Roy said.

Summervale represents the core values of the community so there are many people involved to make sure the long-standing tradition sticks around. 

Mandy Fischer, the Development Director for the Intervale Center is passionate about the history of the center, she said. 

“It began about 15 years ago, but it wasn’t called Summervale. It started as Thursdays at the Intervale and it was this really chill community event,” Fischer said. “It just grew and grew from there.” 

There are about eight Summervales each summer, occurring once a month, each with a new variety of musical guests and food vendors according to the Intervale website. 

Volunteer Coordinator Corey Burdick said volunteers are integral to hosting the event. 

“Some come back year after year, but then this year we’ve had a ton of new people,” Burdick said. 

“We have people volunteering who are in their 70s and college students. It’s everyone together and I think it’s really therapeutic.”

Vendors doled out oven-fresh pizza from American Flatbread, deep-fried broccoli from a local food truck called The Broccoli Bar and creamy Lake Champlain ice cream. 

The festival is a reminder that the tradition of eating locally is not just a lifestyle, but a culture woven into the state of Vermont.