By David Voegele
Executive director of Essex CHIPS
Birdies, trophies, Czars, and rackets raised high – oh my! What a day! The 2019 Vermont Birdie Bash was a Blast! Close to 100 players and spectators gathered on Sunday to enjoy the second year of a family friendly athletic competition at the Albert D Lawton School in Essex. 36 trophies were awarded to teams with names like “Highway Robbery,” “Pterodactyls with Ties,” “Feathered Friends,” “Game On”, “Mad Mittens”, “Essex Elite,” “Golden Finches,” “Vegan Shrek,” “Three Racketeers,” “Liam’s Lions,” and “Birdie Bandits.”
The 2019 Vermont Birdie Bash was blessed with three benevolent Czars – State Representative Dylan Giambatista for the Early Bird tournament, Eliza Kuchuk for the Brunch Bird tournament and Dominque Sweat for the Snow Bird tournament. Each Czar was served by a loyal assistant, known as the Earl of Essex.
The Czars issued the official proclamation that began each competition, and conducted the tournament traditions, such as the “Charging of the Courts,” the “Raising of the Rackets,” and the “Taking of the Birdie Bash Pledge.” The Czars also awarded the Championship and Spirit trophies at the end of each competition. The parting words of each Czar to the players were, “And thus the tournament ends. Go forth, my subjects, and prosper!”
The Bash was a joyous event with lots of laughter, custom-made team uniforms, spectacular playing and a bit of uninhibited dancing. State Representative Giambatista commented, “This is so much fun. Next year I’m going to recruit our other state representatives as a team.” Marc Allen, a local AmeriCorps member said, “The Birdie Bash was a fun event that seemed to really bring the community of Essex together.”
According to Jennie Lutton of Williston, “The Vermont Birdie Bash was the perfect antidote to cabin fever! We had a wonderful time and look forward to next year. Everyone was so friendly and good-natured. The Czar and Earl of Essex did a great job keeping us all going and having fun.”
Averi Preston, a senior at Essex High school had this say: “The Birdie Bash was tons of fun. It was great to see so many community members supporting Essex CHIPS and having a lot of fun!” Another EHS senior, Gregg Galati commented, “This was terrific. We had much a blast. And we won!”
The 2019 Vermont Birdie Bash was a day of family fun, as well as a fundraiser for programs serving local youth. The preliminary estimate of donations raised is over $3,000, a 50% increase from the 2018 Birdie Bash, and very close to the event goal of $3,500.
Many thanks to the wonderful sponsors of this great event, including Rotary of Essex, the Albert D. Lawton School, Key Bank, Ashe Insurance, International Coins and Currency, The Edge, Bolton Valley Resort, Planet Fitness, MetroRock, Community Bank, Peoples United Trust, City Market, Summit Chiropractic, and Sweet Clover Market.
Youth, adults, schools and businesses all engaged to strengthen the community. That is the Birdie Bash!