Black Fly Festival [SIV26] | Stuck in Vermont | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Black Fly Festival [SIV26] 

Published May 22, 2007 at 9:35 a.m. | Updated June 26, 2015 at 11:34 a.m.

Blackfly_3Adamant Vermont is a remote town nestled between Montpelier and Calais. 

During the early blissful summer months, Adamant is over run with menacing swarms of pesky, blood-sucking black flies.  Residents wear thick netting to avoid the red, itchy welts that appear post-black fly attack. 

Five years ago Cindy Cook decided to fight back creatively by organizing the Black Fly Festival. If you can't beat 'em, well, you can at least have a good time celebrating their buggy awfulness.

Blackfly_7On Sunday, May 20th, the 5th Annual Black Fly Festival festivities included a Fellini-esque parade, a bug-inspired pie contest and a black fly anthem song writing contest.

Proceeds benefit the Adamant Co-op which is at the heart of the town (literally) and helps to bring the tight-knit community even closer together.

(And their two-seater out house does just that!  Someone mentioned as I exited, "With two seats in there, we could have sat together."  I think she was kidding.)

Adamant was once a quarry-town called Sodom but the name of the town was changed when the post office protested. Like most small towns, Adamant's history sounded a little different depending on who you talk to.  Beautiful Sodom Pond continues to breed black flies. 

Blackfly_9Local Ethan Allen impersonator, Jim Hogue led the parade on a stunning black horse and did his best to capture a black fly for me. 

Across the brooke is a music school which has brought new life to the town and above the co-op are the studios of local artist, Janet MacLeod who is also the current Adamant Co-op President.   

I learned how to say "black fly" in Abenaki and why the tri-cornered hat was invented (yes, two people just happened to be wearing them, go figure).

I also met a gaggle of local kids who obliged me with a horror movie re-enactment of a Black Fly Attack and some energetic farm girls who swatted flies and made wonderful faces.

The residents of Adamant are an arty, quirky, political hodge podge of good-hearted people who know how to throw a feisty Black Fly Festival.

PS While editing this vlog I got the distinct impression that insects were crawling all over my body and that I had itchy bug bites left over from Sunday.  Ethan Allen said that a black fly could hide under your watch band and then bite you two days later so it is possible that this happened to me as well.  More than likely though, editing a video about creepy crawlies makes one rather paranoid.

PPS Check it out, hopefully the compression on this vlog is a slight step up. I am working on it!


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About The Author

Eva Sollberger

Eva Sollberger

Seven Days senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger has been making her award-winning video series, "Stuck in Vermont," since 2007. New episodes appear on the Seven Days website every other Thursday and air the following night on the WCAX evening news. Sign up at to receive an email alert each time a new one drops. And check these pages every other week for insights on the episodes.

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