Published: 10/18/2022 14:51:06
TURNERS FALLS – Autumn reminds us every year that nothing gold can stay. The Great Falls Festival is no exception, as Saturday’s event will mark the end of a twelve-year tradition.
“Over the past 12 years, we’ve had an amazing time putting on an amazing festival for our community,” organizer Michael Nelson wrote in an announcement posted on Facebook. “We are so proud of all the fun and excitement we have brought to Turners Falls since 2010. An event of this magnitude, however, requires an unfathomable amount of planning and execution and my team of volunteers are beyond exhaustion.”
Nelson said he had no idea the festival, formerly known as ‘Pumpkinfest’, would grow into such a massive event when he first planned it with a group of friends. . In recent years, the festival has attracted up to 10,000 people. Ending tradition, Nelson said, will allow organizers to make up for lost time, with rigorous annual planning having consumed summer after summer that would otherwise have been spent with family.
Public reaction to the announcement was mixed, Nelson said. Some responded sympathetically, thanking Nelson and other organizers for their work over the years. Others criticized the decision as reckless for the community, arguing that the festival is too important to be interrupted.
“We absolutely understand people’s opinions on this,” Nelson commented.
He argued that the public’s disappointment with the end of the tradition is “really a testament to its importance”. While Nelson claimed the ‘Great Falls Festival’ moniker will be permanently retired, he encouraged those who criticize the decision to take the reins, noting that he and his friends “would be really happy to help them organize something similar. “. However, put in a position to take on those responsibilities themselves, he said most people had “respectfully declined”.
Until the end of this year’s festival, however, Nelson said he and other organizers were determined to “bring it to a successful conclusion” with “an exciting big hurray”. As has been the case every year, this year’s event will be highlighted by a range of performers across multiple stages. Between four main performance areas, the entertainment will be presented in a variety of mediums ranging from live music to line dancing. Headlining the music lineup will be indie alternative band James Blonde, performing from 6:15-8 p.m. at Scotty’s Stage in Peskeomskut Park. The complete program of artists is available on bit.ly/3RT5FpH.
Around 160 vendors will be in attendance, ranging from First Street to Seventh Street.
Avenue A will be closed to vehicular traffic at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the festivities beginning at noon and continuing until 8 p.m. A free shuttle will be provided from Turners Falls Secondary School and Sheffield Elementary School from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or [email protected]