Thunderfest Draws Crowd To Downtown AdamsBy Andy McKeever
06:52PM / Saturday, March 02, 2013
Matt Cebula handled long lines for Wandering Star Brewery, which was one of multiple vendors at Thunderfest. More photos are available here.
ADAMS, Mass. — While there was no Thunderbolt Ski Race this year, more than 1,500 people still showed up to the Adams Visitors Center on Saturday for Thunderfest.
The event was intended to build on the ski race but the Thunderbolt has been canceled the last two years. Still, hundreds flocked to the downtown to indulge in food, drinks, children's games and live music at Thunderfest.
"The crowds arrived early, which is great. It tells us that we built a following and people are looking forward to it," said David Bissaillon of Pro Adams, a volunteer group that put on the event.
Bissaillon said it is difficult to estimate crowd numbers because many had come and gone at different times but the general consensus is that somewhere around 1,500 people attended during the five-hour event.
Thunderfest was started last year. This is the third festival over the past year that Pro Adams has done — it also put on Ramblefest to coincide with the Mount Greylock Ramble.
"Everybody is happy, having a great time and shaking off the winter blues," said event co-Chairwoman Andrea Stump while looking over the crowds of people to attend this year's event.
The second Thunderfest included switching from judges to the attendees in selecting the chowder contest winners. For $1, festivalgoers were able to sample a dozen chowders from local restaurants and cast their votes for their favorite. An estimated 400 people cast votes. Adams' own Haflinger Haus won as favorite and Cliff's Barbecue, of Buckland, won most creative.
Additionally, a second beer vendor and new food vendors from outside of Adams join in the festivities.
But the main attraction of featuring local vendors and musicians has remained the same.
"We're really trying to create some staple events in Adams," Bissaillon said. "These events have become Adams' signature."
While the event may have successful this year, organizers are really hoping to couple it with the race, which could bring hundreds more downtown.
"Our goal is to have the race. That would bring in at least 300 more people," Bissaillon said, emphasizing that the event would never happen if the Thunderbolt Ski Runners hadn't rejuvenated the race.
"This is a celebration for them," he added.