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Street Smothered In Sand For Afternoon Beach BlastBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, July 19, 2006
North Adams - At the July 19 noon hour, Eagle Street looked much like any city street, paved and ready to accommodate vehicles and pedestrians.
|Cheyenne Wimpenney, 2, at a July 19 Eagle Street Beach Party in North Adams.
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By 4 p.m., the street was smothered from end to end in soft, white sand, and families were staking out their sand-sculpting territories.
By 4:15 p.m., the eighth consecutive Eagle Street Beach Party was in full swing, with children and adults gathered on the sandy surface to create sand art, socialize, and just have fun.
Mayor's Office of Tourism and Culture Rod Bunt was on the street and he watched as the event progressed.
When invited to join North Adams City Councilor Marie Harpin and some young friends, Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless took a moment to help sculpt a sand flower. Capeless, challenger Judith Knight and state senate candidate Democrat Christopher Hodges campaigned during the beach party.
"This is one of the fun things that make the city different," Bunt said. "It's such a great event."
The first "beach party" was brought to the street in 1999 by area artist and property developer Eric Rudd. The event is now sponsored by Rudd and the city, with the city donating the trucks that carry over 250,000 pounds of sand to the street, as well as the manpower that spreads the sand from curb to curb. Specialty Minerals Inc. of Adams donated the sand. City workers clear the street of the sand after the party ends and the sand is used on city streets during the winter months.
Katelin Runberg of New Marlboro, N.Y. is among those participating at a Leadership Academy hosted at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Runberg was part of a contingent that visited Eagle Street as the sand was being spread.
When told what was about to occur on the street, Runberg voiced her surprise and her approval.
"That's just amazing," she said of the three-hour street-to-beach conversion. "I've never seen anything like it, except maybe on television. I really think it's great."
The city and surrounding area is a very pleasant place to be, Runberg said.
"The people are great. And it's so beautiful, so picturesque; it's like a town you would see in a picture."
"Sculptors" In Action
Travis Murach, 13, and his seven-year-old brother Nicholas Murach, both city residents, were eagerly filling plastic buckets with sand and planning their projects.
"I'm going to make three things," said Travis. "I'm making a tiger, a lighthouse, and I don't know what the third thing is yet."
"I'm not sure what I'm making; oh, yeah, wait, I'm making a castle," said Nicholas.
Sara Pontier, 8, said that she was experiencing the beach party for the first time.
"Playing with all the toys and playing in the sand is the most fun," she said.
Music and Politics
By 5:30 p.m., about 800 people - most dressed in bathing suits or shorts, tank tops and flip-flops - were on the sidewalks or playing in the sand. Straw, cloth, and even a few cowboy hats were perched atop numerous heads as protection against a blazing late afternoon sun.
Surrounded by sand and lots of toys...it doesn't get much better than this!
Plastic pails, shovels, and other sand toys were donated by the Adams Cooperative Bank and were made available to the children for free. Small pools of water were on hand for splashing, wading, or to use as a sculpting aid. Many families brought their own supplies, including spray bottles filled with colored water that was used to dye the sand and add color to the sand art.
The party was the site of some political campaigning as well. State Senate candidate Democrat Christopher Hodges was seen on the street as was incumbent Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless and the lone challenger, attorney Judith Knight.
Live music added to the beach atmosphere. The band Papa Bodhran Ran provided the entertainment from a temporary stage erected near Molly's Bakery.
Prizes were awarded to those who sculpted and carved sand figures. Among the prizes were about 100 Steeplecats baseball team tickets.
Rudd made his way up and down the "beach" throughout the event.
"This is the eighth beach party, and it seems like we were just here yesterday [at the 2005 party]," he said. "People really love this."
Jacob Bugbee, 1, of Stamford, Vt., was ready to party with shovels in hand. Jacob's aunt Nancy Dargie, also of Stamford, Vt., accompanied Jacob and his brother Matthew Bugbee and her children Megan and Alex Dargie to the Eagle Street event.
Rudd organized the first beach party as part of the Contemporary Artists Center "Downtown Installations" art exhibit. The free beach party has become a popular city summer tradition and is held during July.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.
|This evening was for the children. It's to bad the politicians had to show up. There is a time and place for everything!|
|from: An upset grandparent||on: 07-20 00:00:00-2006|
|This was the firat time I have gone to this beach party, My choldren really enjoyed it, I wish that NA could do it more then once a year, |
I look forward to next year.
|from: Lee Koloc||on: 07-19 00:00:00-2006|
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