Burlington City Arts

Official Flag of Burlington, Vermont

ADOPTED November 27, 2017
The new Burlington city flag was designed by Owen and Lucas Marchessault of Burlington. The flag was raised for the first time during First Night on December 31, 2017.
Owen and Lucas' flag design was selected and adopted as the new city flag by the city council on November 27, 2017.
Owen and Lucas Marchessault present their flag design to the city council on November 27, 2017
“Congratulations to Owen and Lucas Marchessault on the selection of their design, which beautifully conveys our city’s history, character, and natural environment, as the new City of Burlington flag,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “It is fitting that a design created by two Burlington students should be chosen to replace the City’s original student-designed flag. Thank you also to Burlington City Arts for leading a process that involved more than 100 entries and engaged over a thousand Burlingtonians in selecting a new flag. I will be honored to officially unveil the new flag at First Night, and look forward to seeing it fly over City Hall – and many other parts of the City – for years to come.”

Public online voting ended on Friday, November 17. Residents were asked to rate the design and artist statements of the seven finalists from zero to ten. 1,427 residents participated in the voting phase; Owen and Lucas' design received the highest score. 

Owen and Lucas' design was one of 138 designs submitted for consideration. Molly Abair, Owen and Lucas’ mother, shared their creative process: "We watched the Ted talk together (very inspiring!) and then we drafted several ideas over the course of several days and finally agreed on a final design concept. It was truly a collaborative effort. The three of us worked together, each providing input on the colors, the number of peaks, the thickness of lines, etc.

The twin brothers are honor roll students at Edmund's Middle School and play soccer in their free time. "I was going to the City of Burlington website to obtain an update on the impending teacher's strike and happened upon the Burlington City Flag contest,” Molly said. “I showed the boys, and we decided that this would be the perfect project for them to work on during the strike while out of school."

The Marchessault family worked together to create a final design that includes a representation of:

  • The sky, representing looking back to our rich history and ahead to the unknown future with perpetual hope
  • Snow covered mountains - an indelible backdrop to our city
  • The Green Mountain State, Burlington’s commitment to the environment, and education
  • The breakwater, which protects Burlington’s spectacular waterfront, and
  • Lake Champlain, which sustains and enriches our community and lives.    
A committee made up of community members reviewed each of the 138 submitted designs and artist's statements before selecting the seven finalists. All submissions were anonymous during the selection process and reviewed based on the Five Basic Principles of Flag Design*:
     1. Keep it Simple: A flag should be so simple that a child could draw it from memory.
     2. Use Meaningful Symbolism
     3. Use Two to Three Basic Colors
     4. No Lettering or Seals
     5. Be Distinctive or Be Related and the submission requirements.
Jeff Harkness, Joyce Sheely, Megan Charles, Paula Willoquet Marcondi, Lila Woodard, Richard Dean, and Ted Kaye
Ted Kaye, renowned flag expert and the author of Good Flag Bad Flag, led the committee during the selection process. The committee was comprised of: Jeff Harkness, owner of HARK; Megan Charles, senior at Champlain College; Lila Woodard, a 10th grader at Burlington High School; Paula Willoquet Marcondi, Dean of Creative Media at Champlain College, Richard Dean, City Councilor; and Joyce Sheely, English teacher, and Burlington resident.

Burlington joined cities across the country in updating its flag to capture the spirit and character of its community today. Mayor Miro Weinberger first announced the City flag redesign project at a City Council meeting in January 2017. City Council unanimously endorsed the public redesign competition, and the Mayor selected Burlington City Arts, the City of Burlington’s cultural planner, to lead the public competition process. In keeping with the spirit of community unity from the 1990 contest that led to the current City of Burlington flag, all residents of Burlington were encouraged to submit a design. This year’s competition was also opened to those who work or own a business in Burlington.

The official flag design of the City of Burlington shall be freely available for public use and reproduction. Use the links in the sidebar to download the necessary files.

Click the image below to view the flag raising ceremony.

The previous flag (shown above) was designed by then-eighth grader Cara Wick as part of a leadership project in 1990.


*North American Vexillolgical Association, and Ted Kaye. Good Flag, Bad Flag: How to Design a Great Flag. PDF. Boston, MA: North American Vexillological Association.