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FallsFest brings eclectic mix of activities, music to South Hadley

FallsFest brings eclectic mix of activities, music to South Hadley

SOUTH HADLEY â€" After a week of seemingly non-stop rain showers, the weather cooperated nicely on Saturday for a sunny FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park.

The free daylong festival, organized by Music and Arts South Hadley in coordination with Laudable Productions of Easthampton, boasted a wide variety of food, craft beverages, a splash park for children, an “instrument petting zoo,” a local artisans fair, and more.

Sylvia Buzzell of Shutesbury relaxed on a blanket with her partner Susanne of Holyoke and her foster son. Buzzell said she enjoys many parts of South Hadley and she came to the festival for a day in a community she appreciates.

“It’s a great way to be a part of the community at this event that is offering great music and lots of festivities,” Buzzell said. “Especially in the current environment … it’s a great way for everyone to connect and sup port each other like this, it’s rejuvenating.”

Just about 40 yards away, a large stage set up for nine musical acts rang out with local band Stompbox Trio’s bluesy riffs. As the early evening sun shone down on the park, visitors sought shelter in the cool shade of trees by the edge of the park’s baseball field.

The international musical line-up included Lakou Mizik from Haiti, Latin Grammy award-winner Mister G, and Corazón de Granada from Spain, as well as Ola Fresca from New York and Chatham County Line from North Carolina.

Northampton singer for Stompbox Trio Evelyn Harris’ soulful voice belted out lyrics about a lover leaving on a train, and John Cabán’s Mississippi Delta inspired guitar playing strummed listener’s heartstrings.

“It’s a very nice small town feel, it’s very quaint … (the event) is a good way of supporting each other and we can be the positive things we want to see in the world. That is very important right now,â € Buzzell said.

A young South Hadley resident about to enter the fourth grade, Zosha Dimock, visited a tent sponsored by Gerry’s Music Shop that allowed people to try out ukuleles, drums, and different types of brass instruments.

Dimock has played the guitar for the past five years, but she tried a saxophone for the first time, noting that blowing on the reed of the instrument “tickled.”

“I thought it was awesome and I really want to be able to play it,” she said, adding that she likes how the saxophone sounds and that she hopes to sound “jazzy” one day like her father who plays the trumpet.

There were about 40 tents set up for different vendors, community groups, and non-profits. Children played at the park’s playground, took part in martial arts demonstrations, and got to zip down a water slide.

“We want to bring appreciation to South Hadley and especially South Hadley Falls,” said Ira Brezinksy, who chairs the Select Board an d helped organize the event. “It is an underserved part of town but it has the history and soul of our town. There are efforts to bring economic revitalization and development to this part of town and this is one of them.”

Brezinksy commended the town for “really stepping up” for the event as he helped distribute water bottles to volunteers near the festival’s entrance. He said that everyone from the Department of Public Works, Police Department, organizers, volunteers, and sponsors worked together to make the event possible.

“Everyone pitches in and makes this thing fly,” he said.

Luis Fieldman can be reached at

Source: Google News Music

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