Spirits high at 18th North Adams Downtown Celebration
Photo Gallery | 18th annual North Adams Downtown Celebration
NORTH ADAMS -- Stilt-walkers, live music and pony rides were on hand as hundreds flocked to the city center Thursday for the 18th annual Downtown Celebration.
Keith Bona, city councilor and owner of Berkshire Emporium and Antiques, was expecting an influx of customers by 8 p.m., after visitors had explored all that was offered outside.
"I think events downtown keep morale up," he said. "There are a lot of business networking groups, but this is great for socializing."
The annual event gives residents a chance to catch up with friends they wouldn't normally see, he said.
"And where else would you see a Stormtrooper walking around," he said, pointing to someone walking past his store dressed in the Star Wars garb.
Eagle, Holden and Main streets were all closed to anything but foot traffic for the three-hour festival.
Families with children, seniors and groups of teenagers packed the street, perhaps lured by live music and smells of food vendors.
A popular attraction for all ages was activities and demonstrations sponsored by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, inspired by Teresita Fernandez's "As Above So Below."
Nick Langner and Rebecca McBrien, both interns at Mass MoCA, showed off some activities reminiscent of what you would see in science class.
"Our theme is elements -- earth, wind, water and fire," Langner said.
"We wanted to do something hands on," McBrien said.
Children could play with bubbles or try their hand with a balloon toss.
The highlight for passersby young and old was the eruption of a papier maché volcano, which took place on the hour.
Also at the festival, a dunk tank was on hand where attendees could soak local celebrities, including City Councilor Benjamin Lamb.
Numerous businesses and organizations provided give-aways to attendees and passed out information to the public.
Parents lined up for car seat checks, provided by the North Adams Ambulance Service, and for the Berkshire County Sheriff Office's child ID station.
Children beamed when approached by stilt walkers from the arts group Mortal Beasts and Deities, who soured 10 feet higher than the tops of their heads.
Other performers included magician Johnny Mystic, Berkshire Dance Theater, Berkshire Line Dancers, dysFUNKcrew and J Star Gymnastics.
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