There is a rumor circulating around town that the old Cluny farm out on Route 9 is going to be developed into a theme park. I've been authorized by Gerald Cluny, owner of the farm, to clarify the issue.
Gerald has been working on this plan for some time and has finally secured financial backing, as well as County clearance for a 60-acre entertainment complex. The theme of this so-called "Period Park" will be based on late 1960's counter-culture. Many are aware that when the hippie movement fizzled out in the mid-1970's West Coast hippies moved north and settled in or near the area of Eugene, Oregon. It is a lesser-known fact, however, that New England hippies chose southern Vermont, making Brattleboro Eugene's East Coast equivalent.
Because the area is well populated with authentic baby-boomer hippies, as well as younger second- and third-generation hippies, Gerald and his backers believe Brattleboro to be an ideal setting for America's first counter-culture theme park. "Someone has suggested calling it 'Six Bongs over Brattleboro,'" mused Gerald. "We're considering quite a few names, but the current front-runners are "Hippie World" and "Utopia."
Plans are under way for a number of interesting attractions, including: a full-scale replica of San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district, circa 1967, complete with street performers and actors in period costumes; an out-door amphitheater featuring rock groups from the late 1960's as well as nightly showings of Woodstock and other "rockumentaries;" and (perhaps the most controversial feature) what is being called the largest, most complete "Head Shop" in the western hemisphere.
The park will also be home to a vegetarian restaurant, a number of clothing stores, featuring (what else) bell-bottom pants, beads, tie-die apparel with anti-establishment slogans, and a commune-style hotel where everyone shares cleaning and cooking responsibilities.
Some residents of Brattleboro have suggested that the theme park will draw an undesirable element to the area. But, supporters of the project have pointed out that "Hippie World" has the potential to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists annually and will, most likely, prove a big boon to local business.
Regardless, ground will be broken this winter and the park is planning it's grand opening in the spring of 2006.
As Austin Powers would say, "Groovy, baby!"