Last year, the Thunderbolt crowd decided to get the town's statue of President William McKinley in the mood.
ADAMS, Mass. — A group of volunteers are hoping to build on this year's Thunderbolt Ski Race by adding a winter festival.
For the last few months the Pro Adams group has begun planning "Thunderfest" at the Discover the Berkshires Visitors Center and on Hoosac Street to supplement the historic race. The event will feature both indoors and outdoors events like children's games, a "Taste of Adams" cook off, live music and vendors.
"It's just a natural extension of an already awesome event," David Bissaillon, a member of Pro Adams and co-chairman of the event, said on Wednesday. "It's really an event for the town of Adams to showcase ourselves."
Bissaillon said talks began months ago and things really began to take shape when the town's Events Committee and the Thunderbolt Ski Runners jumped on board to help organize it. Now, the three groups are seeking local businesses, bands, restaurants and organizations to join in the fun.
"We're beginning to reach out to the local business community," Bissaillon said. "We want to showcase our downtown businesses, our restaurants, our taverns."
The race will be held on the morning of Feb. 11 and the Thunderbolt Ski Runners typically hold an evening event, but in between there is a gap that the group hopes to fill with the festival. From noon until 4, the festival aims to keep the race crowd, which numbers in the thousands, in the downtown.
Bissaillon said he has already begun working on permitting. Part of the presentation was to ask the board members to judge the cook off. The board fully supported the group's efforts and raved about how "wonderful" it was that the group took it upon themselves to organize it.
"Speaking for myself, If there is anything I can do to help — I'll park cars, I've done it before — just ask," Chairman Arthur "Skip" Harrington told Bissaillon. "It's so wonderful that a group of volunteers is doing something positive for the community."
The Pro Adams group formed about a year ago and has taken it upon themselves to help market the town. It consists of about 10 volunteers.
The basic outline of the event has been formed but the details and funding still have to be finalized, Bissaillon said.
The race is a 1.6-mile downhill run that began as a tradition in 1935 when it hosted the state's championship downhill skiing race. The last formal race was help in 1948 but local skiers have resurrected race.
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