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2009 is big year for international Champlain events

FERRISBURGH - Vermont will commemorate the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's exploration of the lake that bears his name with a variety of special events, programs and exhibits that kicked-off Dec. 31. The Lake Champlain Quadricentennial is a year-long event.

"The Lake Champlain Quadricentennial is an exciting opportunity for visitors and Vermonters to celebrate, learn and deepen our appreciation of Vermont's fascinating history, rich culture and scenic landscape," said Bruce Hyde, Vermont's Tourism and Marketing commissioner. "Vermont is looking forward to hosting thousands of visitors from around the world throughout 2009 for this historic event."

Samuel Champlain, a French explorer from Brouage, France, was also the founder of Quebec City in 1608. Quebec celebrated its Quadricentennial in 2008 and has officially passed the torch to Vermont for 2009.

Arriving at Lake Champlain from the north in early July 1609, Champlain and his guides entered the lake in a fleet of 24 canoes. The 400th anniversary commemorates this important historical moment in the region's history-the first contact between European and Native American cultures in Vermont's Champlain Valley-and the cultural contributions of the people living in Vermont today.

Events taking place in 2009 will include a host of musical performances, art exhibits, bike and paddling tours, culinary events, history and natural history tours, interactive activities, cultural demonstrations and community festivals. One of the main signature events in 2009 will be the Celebrate Champlain Burlington International Waterfront Festival July 2-14. The festival will feature regional and international Native American, Franco-American, Quebe ois and French performers, music and dance, along with a massive parade and fireworks on July 11 in Burlington.

Signature 2009 events:

June 19-20 - St. Albans Franco-American Heritage Festival Signature Event, St. Albans Celebrate the long, rich cultural heritage of Franco-Americans as well as the natural history of the Lake Champlain region. Musical performances, historical exhibits, recreation, art displays, geneology, and much, much more

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