Blog Seeing Stars

Blog Seeing Stars

Our soggy June continues but, rain or shine, the Fourth of July is approaching and everyone in the area is gearing up to celebrate with fireworks, festivals, and parades. There's nothing like the familiar charm of a small-town parade. When the people marching up the street—the giggly girl and boy Scouts, solemn veterans, and local dignitaries—are your family, friends, and neighbors, you truly feel the community spirit of this holiday.

Although Rutland doesn't hold a parade on the Fourth, we don't have to travel far to see a good one. Our neighbors in Brandon organize an Independence Day parade billed as Vermont's largest, and it may well be; it lasts a good hour. My friend, the wonderful folk artist Warren Kimble has for many years donned a pair of red-and-white striped trousers and bright blue tailcoat and led the parade as Uncle Sam. And after the color guard, marching bands, kids on bicycles, Shriners, tractors, farm animals, and floats have all gone by, Warren miraculously appears again at the end, riding in a golf cart. Afterwards, there are picnics and cookouts all over town and then, of course, the fireworks. Rutland boasts not one, but two impressive fireworks displays, and I never have to choose between them—I have a fine view of each from my porch.

If you're making dessert for a Fourth of July gathering, but don't want to bake cookies, I have an idea I'd like to share. Cookie cutters make great stencils, and a frosted sheet cake is the perfect canvas. Instead of one of those flag cakes with the strawberry stripes and blueberry stars for the Fourth, try this: Just set a star-shaped cookie cutter lightly on the frosted cake, shake some colored sugar inside, then carefully remove the cookie cutter. Set it on a different part of the cake and repeat, either with the same color or a new color. You can use cutters of different sizes and even overlap the shapes for an interesting pattern. Or mix the stars with our flag-shaped cutters. Keep the cake flavor simple—chocolate, vanilla, or lemon—and serve fresh fruit on the side. It's impressive and easy, and a very appropriate way to celebrate America's birthday.

Have a happy, and safe, holiday!