WINOOSKI – Today marks the first day in a three-to-five-day experiment that will see Vermont swap up to 50% of its population with residents of other states, primarily New York and New Jersey. Half of the state will either drive or fly out to other states, and will be replaced with out-of-state residents for the duration of the week.
“We really want to show these guests a good time,” said state tourism employee Hope Eustay. “Many of the swappers will be staying with actual families here in Vermont, and from what I’ve heard there are celebratory feasts planned for almost all of our lucky visitors. We’re going to show people that Vermont is welcoming, and a place everyone wants to be!”
Eustay says the idea comes from the television show “Wife Swap,” which has spawned many iterations and imitations. Like the TV series, the “State Swap” initiative also plans to place people of conflicting values and lifestyles together in confined quarters for extended periods of time.
“We need to balance the drama,” Eustay said. “Obviously it’s not interesting if everyone gets along the whole time. We don’t want people to think Vermont is boring. On the other hand, we don’t want people so mad they never come back. It’s a tightrope, to be sure. We’d certainly like to do this again next year if it all works out.”
By the end of the weekend, the state will have the data in hand, and we will all know if the correct balance was struck, between the numbers of racist uncles and hippie communists. Until then, enjoy your time out of Vermont, or with your visitors.