Mayor’s Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger Invites Community to Celebrate Citys 150th Birthday


February 18, 2015
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 Amy Barcomb

Mayor Miro Weinberger Invites Community to Celebrate City’s 150th Birthday
Celebration to Include Community Photo, Fire Station Tours, Contois Auditorium Improvements, Music, Cake, Lantern Parade
Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger invites the entire community to celebrate the 150th birthday of the City of Burlington this Saturday, February 21, 2015.  Saturday’s birthday events will include a community photograph on the back steps of City Hall, an open house at Fire Station #1 on South Winooski Avenue, a speaking program in Contois Auditorium along with the unveiling of Contois capital improvements, music, cake, a lantern parade up Church Street, and so much more. 
“This celebration will provide an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going as a City,” said Mayor Weinberger.  “It will be fun, family-friendly, and memorable – we look forward to having community members from all over Burlington join us for what will be a great birthday party.”
Schedule of Events for Birthday Celebration
On February 21, 1865, Burlington was incorporated as a city.  A.L. Catlin became the City’s first Mayor and, later that year, the Burlington Police Department opened its doors as the City’s first Department.  To recognize the 150th anniversary, an exciting schedule of events, made possible through significant underwriting by KeyBank, has been created, including:
  • 12:00-3:00 pm:  open house and tours at Fire Station #1 on South Winooski Avenue, featuring the Department’s original Hose Cart from 1858 – chili will be served
  • 3:00 pm:  community photograph by photographer Sandy Milens on the back steps of City Hall – join your friends and neighbors for an “I was there” moment in history as the City’s 150th birthday is captured on film
  • 4:00-5:30 pm:  birthday celebration in City Hall’s Contois Auditorium
    • Burlington Police and Fire Department Color Guards will welcome guests
    • Vermont Philharmonic Winds, made up of local music educators and other professional musicians, will perform several of John Philip Sousa’s Marches
    • Speaking Program
      • Ame Lambert, Chief Diversity Officer, Champlain College
      • Mayor Miro Weinberger
      • Congressman Peter Welch
      • Vince Feeney, Burlington historian
      • Chief Mike Schirling, Burlington Police Department
      • City Council President Joan Shannon
    • Group of Burlington youth will sing a newly-commissioned song written by Pete Sutherland
    • Unveiling of updates and capital improvements to Contois Auditorium (more information below)
    • Many birthday cakes decorated by students from Burlington schools
  • 5:30 pm:  lantern parade up Church Street with willow and tissue paper lanterns crafted by participants of workshops at Burlington City Arts in January led by artist Gowri Savoor and lighting installation by Craig Winslow on Burlington City Hall
  • All Day:
    • Participating merchants on the Church Street Marketplace will be celebrating all day with retail sales of 15% off, food and beverage specials, and the Marketplace will feature enhanced lighting
    • View the photo exhibit, “Burlington Then and Now: 150 Years a City” in City Hall’s Metropolitan Gallery
Events at Fletcher Free Library
Additional events will be taking place at the Fletcher Free Library, including:
  • 11:00 am:  Movers and Shakers in Burlington's History: Talk by Vince Feeney – local historian and author discusses the history of Burlington and some of the lesser known personalities who helped build the Queen City – followed by a panel discussion with Burlingtonians speaking about life in Burlington from the 1930s through today
  • 12:30 pm:  Growing Up in the Queen City – residents from teens to elders talk about what it is/was like to grow up in Burlington
  • 1:00 pm:  Little Jerusalem: Burlington’s Jewish Community – film screening and discussion with Aaron Goldberg, who is featured in the film – documentary tells the story of the many Eastern European Jews who sought a new life in Burlington’s Old North End from the 1800s to World War II.
Information about Contois Auditorium Ceremony
Please note that tickets to the Contois Auditorium portion of the 150th celebration, which have been available for free and open to all on a first-come, first-served basis, are all reserved.  For those community members who were unable to reserve a ticket, please note that the Contois Auditorium event will be aired on CCTV Channel 17, with overflow viewing space available at Church Street locations including Church and Main, Halvorson’s, Sweetwaters, Ri Ra, Scuffer Ale and Steakhouse, and Church Street Tavern.
Contois Auditorium Improvements – New Chair Campaign
The celebration also will feature the unveiling of much-needed improvements to Contois Auditorium, including upgraded accessibility and audio-visual equipment, room darkening shades, and new chairs.  Chairs for Contois Auditorium may be purchased for a $150 donation and, each gift will be honored with a personalized nameplate on the chair.  Chair donations may be made by check payable to “City of Burlington” with the word “chair” in the memo line and mailed to City Hall, 149 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401 or online at
“Contois Auditorium provides a much needed community gathering space,” said Joan Shannon, City Council President and Chairwoman of the Chair Fundraising Campaign.  “It’s not uncommon that the hall is packed at City Council meetings with Burlington’s engaged community members who want to weigh in on the Council’s decision-making process.  But Contois isn’t just the ‘Council’s Chambers,’ rather it provides meeting space for a variety of other civic groups, performance space for music and theatrical groups, and even ‘convention space’ for small businesses. Contois is the ultimate ‘multi-purpose’ gathering place in our City, and we’re so lucky to have it!”
Our Sponsors
Burlington’s 150th celebration and the new chair campaign generously have been underwritten by KeyBank.  Additional sponsors include Hanson and Doremus Investment Management, Merchant’s Bank, Northfield Savings Bank, Symquest, and through private donations. Local Fox 44/Local ABC 22, WOKO, WKOL, and WJOY are media sponsors. 
To learn more about the 150th celebration, please visit
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