Rockingham Meeting House pilgrimage set for Aug. 7

Photo provided

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. – The 116th annual pilgrimage to the Rockingham Meeting House will be held Sunday, Aug. 7, beginning with food and a gathering at 11:30 a.m.

The talk and slide presentation this year, at 1 p.m., will be, “I Could Hardly Keep from Laughing,” by Bill Mares. He co-authored the book by the same title along with Don Hooper. Copies will be available for sale.

The new book draws from the works of over a dozen Vermont humorists, detailing how humor in the Green Mountain State has evolved over the years. It features new cartoons by Hooper, and a foreword by award-winning political cartoonist Jeff Danziger.

Raised in Texas and educated at Harvard, Mares has been a journalist, a state legislator, and a high school teacher. He has authored or co-authored 18 books on a variety of subjects including the U.S. Marines and beekeeping, from workplace democracy to Vermont humor.

He has been a beekeeper for 50 years and was the co-founder of a Vermont brewery. He serves on the boards of VT Digger, the Vermont Brewers Association, and Food4Farmers.

He lives in Burlington with his wife of 50 years, Chris Hadsel. They have two sons.

Refreshments will be available prior to the pilgrimage, so plan to come early, stroll through the cemetery, and sample some light snacks. There is plenty of room in the building for social distancing, and masks are requested if you are not vaccinated.

Built in 1787, the building was used for both town and church events. The church services ceased in 1839; and by 1839 it was no longer used by the town for official gatherings.

The building was restored in 1906 and is currently going through another extensive renovation to repair the plaster.

Designated a landmark in 2000, it is open all season for tours and for special events such as weddings and concerts.

Traditionally, the pilgrimage is the final event of Rockingham Old Home Days and is held in commemoration of the first pilgrimage to the building after it was restored. With the exception of 2020 and the Covid pandemic, the pilgrimage has been held every year.

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