Eagle Street Beach Party rolls right on through summer shower

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NORTH ADAMS >> What will a little rain possibly hurt when you're already in a bathing suit?

For what its founder believed to be the first time in the event's 18-year history, the Eagle Street Beach was drenched in rain on Friday.

Despite the ominous clouds and eventual deluge, hundreds still flocked to play on the one-day-only downtown beach.

Launched by Eric Rudd in 1999, the Eagle Street Beach Party has been a staple of the community's revolving lineup of summer events, allowing residents who might not have the ability or time to make it to an oceanside destination the chance to feel the sand between their toes.

Rudd envisioned the beach party as a community art installation in and of itself, with hundreds of children and adults filling the city's tiny historic street and playing in the sand, which is donated every year by Specialty Minerals in Adams. The pop-up street beach becomes a living canvas, brought to life by hundreds of little artists making works of their own.

"Who knows how Michelangelo got started? Maybe he fiddled with some sand," Rudd said.

At just 11 months old, Destiny Waschak attended her first Eagle Street Beach Party with her mother, Amanda, and grandparents, Robert and Theresa Phaneuf. The environment provided plenty of new stimulation — and a pail to chew on —for Destiny.

Meanwhile, 8-year-old Keira Martin carefully went about constructing a miniature city, featuring homes and a river, using a pail and some planning.

"I've got one granddaughter making a turtle and the other is making a city," said Carol Martin, Keira's grandmother.

The event was put on once again thanks to donations from several local businesses and volunteers, who helped spread out sand throughout the road and set up the small pools to splash in.

To create the sandy landscape, city workers began their day at about 7 a.m., and begin hauling the sand from Specialty Minerals into the city. By about 1:30, workers carefully begin dumping the sand down the road, leaving it to volunteers to even the piles out.

The family-friendly portion of the beach party runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., then remains open until 10 for adults to gather on and kick back.

After the last margaritas were poured and the beach cleared, city Department of Public Works employees still had a long night ahead of them on Friday. According to Timothy Lescarbeau, the city's commissioner of public services, the cleanup happens the same night and typically takes four to five hours, sometimes even longer, to sweep up the sand and other debris.

The city typically holds on to the sand for winter use on roads or to supplement the shores of the Windsor Lake beach.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376


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