Summer fun at Hijinx in Adams


ADAMS — Three-year-old Zandyr Stimpson eagerly took hold of the long brass nozzle of the Indian Water Tank, used to fight wildfires. The North Adams youngster aimed the nozzle at the small wooden targets displaying Smokey the Bear's picture. With a determined look, he began pumping away shooting a stream of water, knocking over a few of the targets.

Next up for Zandyr, a seat behind the wheel of a fire truck from the Adams Forest Warden Department.

"I like to drive it," he told his mother, Nicole Duquette.

"Every time he sees a fire truck, we have to investigate. He's a very bright boy," Duquette said to an Eagle reporter watching Zandyr in action.

Second assistant chief of the town's forest warden service, Griffin Willette, says he enjoys seeing kids come by and learn that fighting fires on a mountain side or heavily wooded area, isn't easy.

"A lot of times we have to go in with just a backpack water pump and handle tools as we don't have hoses long enough," he said.

The Adams Forest Warden Department was on hand at Bowe Field on Sunday afternoon for the annual Adams Hijinx festival. Once a downtown summer block party, this year's event of nearly 70 vendors, live music and kid-centric games and activities was moved to a new venue on a new day and new time of day.

Once part of the Susan B. Anthony Days celebration, three years ago it morphed into Adams Hijinx with new organizers, but remained a night time affair on Park Street, blocked off for three hours of pedestrian-friendly games, food and music.

This year, the hijinx took place at the home of the Adams Agricultural Fair because it was a better venue, according to lead organizer, Annmarie Belmonte.

"Bowe Field has toilets and the pavilion," she said.

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Moving the event from a Monday evening to a Sunday afternoon, as well as a new venue, might take some getting used to, but Belmonte believes it was the right call.

"We have a nice crowd, not an overwhelming crowd and the consensus is people enjoy the move," she said.

The hot weather might have helped keep attendance down from previous years. However, Belmonte said she will take the sunshine over the threat of thunderstorms predicted for Monday evening, when the event would have taken place.

Rain has postponed the event the past two years from late July to mid- or late August.

With an occasional light breeze and the pavilion for cover, those at Adams Hijinx were enjoying themselves on a storm-free afternoon.

Ten-year-old Geneviere Lagess found herself, almost willingly, become part of Omer Black's sleight-of- hand performance.

The North Adams magician convinced the young girl to stick her head in a guillotine. Black promised she would survive unscathed.

"I've never messed this up. It's my first time. It's magic," he told his still somewhat unwilling participant.

Finally, Geneviere put her neck below the "blade" and Black dropped it clean through. She pulled away with a big smile on her face.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at and 413-496-6233.


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