On February 26, 2021

Bethel’s “UN-Town Meeting” keeps Town Meeting Day traditions alive during Covid-19

Town Meeting Day is one of Vermont’s oldest and most treasured traditions. While most towns have cancelled in-person town meetings this year due to Covid-19, Bethel is pioneering a creative alternative. The Bethel Revitalization Initiative is hosting the world’s first virtual “UN-Town Meeting” on Town Meeting Day (Tuesday, March 2, from 5–6:30 p.m. on Zoom).

UN-Town Meeting is not Town Meeting. It’s not an official, warned municipal event. There won’t be voting or budget discussions. It will instead give community members a way to keep the best parts of Town Meeting alive: chatting with neighbors, hearing community updates — even eating pie!

The event is free and open to all community members, but everyone must register at bu-vt.org to get the Zoom information. The BRI also offers Zoom links and tutorials on the website for those who need help getting connected.

UN-Town Meeting will include several events, with a full agenda to be posted soon:

  • “Speed neighboring:” Meet new neighbors and chat with friends in a set of short, random, breakout conversations.
  • Town & legislative updates: Updates from legislators and Bethel groups on what’s happening, what’s coming up, and how to get involved.
  • Volunteer opportunities: Connections to local groups and committees looking for help and ideas
  • Bethel began featuring free pie at Town Meeting several years ago as a way to encourage visiting and conversation, and the BRI has even found a way to offer pie for
  • UN-Town Meeting. Voting this year will be by Australian Ballot, with polls open on March 2 from 8 a.m.– 7 p.m. at the White River Valley School. All voters are welcome to pick up a free slice of pie outside the polls and bring it home to enjoy during UN-Town Meeting. Ann Fuller, who is launching the new HailBrook Broken Stove Bakery in Bethel, will be baking pie and packaging single servings following Covid-19 safety precautions.

Registration will be open at bu-vt.org through 5 PM on March 2; anyone with questions about UN-Town Meeting can email betheluniversityvt@gmail.com.

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