In 2003 Corin Bauer designed large handmade stars for decorations during the Mad River Valley’s Country Christmas celebrations. The stars first appeared on the Fuller House near Bridge Street in Waitsfield.
The stars were hit! Corin was interviewed by The Valley Reporter, Mad River Valley’s local newspaper, and interviewed by WCAX out of Burlington VT.
The following year Corin led hands-on star making workshops so other local businesses and neighbors could learn to make stars out of found materials and subsequently share the light.
Standing anywhere from 3 to 15 feet high and beckoning to visitors and locals alike, they can be found on lawns, shops, businesses, bridges, homes, and barns.
In 2011, following tropical storm Irene, more and more folks started making and displaying stars as a means of lighting up the valley after such a challenging storm.
In the intervening years, Sugarbush Resort sponsored the “Festival of Lights” which encourage everyone to decorate with lights during the winter ski season.
2014 marked the 10th anniversary of the “Festival of Lights” and the theme that year was “Les Etoiles de Nöel” an idea to celebrate Chez Henri Bistro’s 50th anniversary as well as the merchants on Bridge Street who wanted to expand the success of the beautiful lights of the previous years. That winter, Bridge Street shops including The Artisan Gallery, Reign Vermont, The Fuller House and the covered bridge in Historic Waitsfield Village were ablaze with stars. Bridget LaMell’s shop, Reign Vermont, won top honors for lights that year.
Now in the dark days of winter, stars can be seen throughout the Mad River Valley, a 20 mile stretch of winding road from Moretown to the north and Warren to the south.
In 2016 numerous locations displayed five stars together. This display honors the five, Mad River Valley high school teens who were killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 89.
In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Vermont was a leading- light in the United States, our state having extremely low infection and death rates due to the aggressive stance taken by Vermont to prevent the spread of Covid-19 within the state. As the state was leading the way in Covid-19 prevention, Governor Scott suggested that the people of Vermont “light up Vermont”. The people in the Mad River Valley took this to heart and built and displayed more stars and decorated homes with more lights.
When you visit the Mad River Valley during the winter you will see a plethora of stars, likely well over 600. Each year more stars are added to this number. Perhaps this idea will catch on and Route 100 will become Vermont’s Route of the Stars!
Or… are these brightly shining stars here because as the shooting stars fall from the heavens they look for the most beautiful place in Vermont to land and they choose the Mad River Valley.
Many thanks to Dr. Corin Bauer of Waitsfield, VT for providing corrected information for this blog which was updated in May 2020.