|Mahen eyes the 8 ball|
Strip clubs in Vermont are like the Mouse-deer exhibit at the zoo – a few people go because they feel bad for them, but it’s not what brought them there in the first place. It’s no fault of the strippers or their undisguised waltz, but more a testament to the state for its lack of need of such a place. If they do exist in Vermont (which I’m sure they do) I’ve never been and would be hard pressed to track one down – and trust me, we tried.
There are no casinos or flashy clubs. The bars are nothing fancy and the dress code is simply “please come dressed.” This is where maple syrup was born and high fashion came to die. It’s the home of flannels, Michael J Fox and Ben & Jerry’s and there are definitely more trees than people. It’s here that I am happy and it’s here that I wanted to have my (albeit second) bachelor party hosted.
I asked my brother that if he was going to throw me a bachelor party, I wanted it to be in Vermont. He didn’t bat an eye. Accustomed to my peculiar idea of a good time, he saw nothing out of the ordinary with my request. I can’t say the same for the rest of the crew, but for Chris, he understood. He’s watched as my childhood fascination for Vermont grew into an odd obsession with everything having to do with the Green Mountain state.
I came here to snowboard when I was 10-years-old and spent many fall weekends with my family high above the small village of Ludlow. From pumpkin picking to weekend drives and estate sales, everything about Vermont drew me closer to its core – so much so that I spent my first year of college here at Castleton State College. Since that year, I’ve come back for only one weekend out of each year. I was desperate to make my last weekend as a single man a Vermont weekend.
With the exception of our incredible 5-bedroom cabin in Chittenden Vermont and enough alcohol to kill a moose (another Vermont trademark), we needed something to appease the rest of the crew – most of which did not share the same circus-like attraction for one of the most impoverished states in the union. After a quick visit to the Vermont Welcome Center, Nick, Smed and Carckle had the solution – we would go to the Vermont State Fair. Our car agreed, although Sammy’s cousins, Mahen and Viran (or Bebop and Rock Steady as they were named this weekend) were a bit perplexed at why on earth we’d actually elect to do such a thing for a bachelor party. To their defense, it’s a valid question.
The Vermont State Fair is a big deal here. With the exception of an influenza epidemic in 1917, the VSF has been spitting out rural excitement for the last 166 years. For locals it’s THE event and to miss it is to miss out on a year’s worth of pent up excitement. Each year in September the Rutland Fair Grounds flood with tie-dyed shirts, mullets, overalls and every other hippie stereotype you can conjure up. Aged and decaying carnival booths line the pathway to barn exhibits, pig races, ox-pulling competitions and of course the 4H Rabbit Showmanship Awards. In awe, we take the path, shoot the clowns face for a stuffed monkey and make our way to the live tiger exhibit.
It’s weird. I know that. And maybe the fair was bit much for two guys from London, a faux Floridian, a newly-minted father and a bunch of guys who just really wanted to get drunk and watch naked woman, but for me it was the icing on the cake. It was the conversation piece over dinner (which I have no memory of by the way) and it was one of the things that brought on laughter well into the evening. It was one of many bachelor party firsts, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
So hats off to you Chris for pulling it off and a grand thank you to Chris, Smed, Jeff, Carckle, Nick, Tommy, Dave, Mahen and Viran. I had the time of my life and something tells me you did too.
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a luxury mink rebel flag blanket
And tie-dye to boot