Attendance at Ludlow's annual Vermont State Zucchini Festival may haven fallen off somewhat in the early 2000s, but last week's festival came back with a roar-proof that a good community event idea has a lot of staying power.
Record attendance Aug. 14 helped sparked a welcome revival, of sorts, to the fun state festival. And as we all know, Vermont is a zucchini grower's Garden of Eden-and this year's early start to a hot, sunny summer has produced a bountiful crop of zukes. Attendees enjoyed everything from batter-dipped zucchini flowers-a northern Italian delicacy-to other equally tasty Vermont foods and beverages.
The annual festival is sponsored by Ludlow merchants and businesses with Okemo Mountain resort being the title sponsor. Both sponsorships helped get the word out to the public and the advance publicity appeared to have paid off handsomely.
The event kicked off last Saturday with a zucchini flags event, sidewalk sales, fun for the kids with the Little Zuke Fun Zone and Bouncy House and a big book sale at the Fletcher Memorial Library.
The afternoon included the Black River Academy Museum's ice cream social-free ice cream that attracted the budget minded-and punch and cookies at the Ludlow Baptist Church downtown. A chicken barbeque at noon along with the BRAM Cookbook Dinner held at the Cafe at deLight on Main Street offered plenty of good food for festival goers.
At Veterans Memorial park, attendees perused the vendor and craft sales with awards handed out to the biggest zucchinis.
Sunday wrapped up the final event of the festival with the Ludlow Rotary Club's Duck race at the Depot Street Bridge.
With this summer's enthusiasm for the Vermont State Zucchini Festival in full flower-pardon the pun-next year's event promises to be even bigger and better.