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Monday, Mar 4, 2024

Midd Night Stroll returns to downtown Middlebury for 2023 festivities

The Midd Night Stroll will take place on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 this year.
The Midd Night Stroll will take place on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 this year.

Midd Night Strolls is back this year, welcoming students and community members to enjoy discounted deals in stores, live performances, illuminated falls and holiday cheer.

The event is a part of the Very Merry Middlebury initiative hosted by the Better Middlebury Partnership, a civic organization dedicated to supporting local businesses in Middlebury. This year, the strolls will take place on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

On Dec. 7, Middlebury students can expect to find a little extra student-oriented fun in town, as the Student Government Association (SGA) has partnered with the Better Middlebury Partnership to host Midd Kid Night for a third year. Students can visit the heart of downtown and enjoy hot cocoa, food trucks and performances by music groups, such as The Avenue, a group that began when guitarist Samuel Medina ’25 and frontman Jared Ahern ’25 met as students at Middlebury. 

Orlando Caceres ’25, co-director of student experience, said he is especially excited for this year’s event after working to make it a special occasion for students.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to be rewarded after a really difficult semester,” Caceres said. “The goal is for students to get as much out of the event as possible.”

To ensure students are able to take advantage of all the event has to offer, Caceres and the SGA have worked to make the event more accessible this year, arranging shuttles that will take students into town from ADK Circle on campus. Additionally, students will have the ability to pick up $10 of Middlebury Money, which can be used at almost any of the businesses in the town of Middlebury at any time. 

The SGA and BMP intend for this check to encourage students to venture into town to stimulate the downtown economy and build local community. In past years, it has done just that, according to Vermont Book Shop Manager Amy Graham.

“It’s fun to see students who might not otherwise come in our stores come and check us out, and then they might decide to come back again,” Graham said. 

Students are integral to the success of local businesses, and the partnership between the SGA and BMP has helped to facilitate a growing relationship between the town and the school. Caceres said he is thankful for the partnership because the differing goals of the two allow them to create initiatives that improve both the town and the college as well as the sense of community between them. 

“[The partnership] is mutually beneficial because they’re looking out for one side and we’re looking out for the other and together we’re trying to make it work for everyone,” Caceres said.

Graham added that local businesses are appreciative of the effort to bring students into town and include them in the community.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Graham said.

Students, too, have taken note of the effort to bring the town and college community together. Liza Toll ’24 said she enjoys Midd Kid Night, not just because it's an opportunity to get off campus on a weeknight, but also because it makes the college feel less isolated.

“As students, we spend so much time on campus doing college-centered activities, but we live within a larger community, too, that we’re so often separated from,” Toll said.

Over 30 merchants will offer extended evening shopping, special deals and promotions during the two Midd Night Strolls. Other Very Merry Middlebury events include free horse and wagon rides through town, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a Hot Cocoa Hut and Midd’s Winter Night Bar.

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