The Mad River Valley remembers five teens with constellations of holiday lights

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 6:00 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - As dusk settles over the Mad River Valley, a trail of twinkling lights appear. They flicker on everywhere along a 20-mile stretch of winding roads — from Moretown in the north to Warren to the south; in barn windows, storefronts, trees, and front yards. Soon, the hills are aglow.

Displaying wooden stars wrapped in strings of lights is a beloved holiday tradition in the valley. But in October 2016, the stars were imbued with new meaning after a wrong-way driver on Interstate 89 killed five local teens. Six years later, the star displays stay up long after the holidays — symbols of hope and resilience in the darkest time of the year, as well as a physical reminder of the real-world stars whose lives were cut short in 2016.

Darren Perron spoke with Seven Days’ Rachel Hellman, who wrote about the ongoing memorial for this week’s issue.