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North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard is doused by water falling from the 35-gallon bucket in the new North Adams splash park on Thursday.

Splash Park Opening Makes a Big ... Well, Splash

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Children of all ages came out to mark the opening of the splash park on Thursday. Find more photos from the event here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Temperatures already had soared in the 80s on Thursday morning at the new North Adams splash park at Noel Field as a group of hot and eager children was gathered to wait for the official opening of the city's latest recreational offering.

But the park was dry, and Mayor Thomas Bernard said it would stay that way until he gave his official remarks.

Which would last about, say, 45 minutes, he teased a group of children waiting with bathing suits and baited breath.

"I've been practicing the whole time," he told them, eliciting a chorus of "noooooos" from the kids.

At 11 a.m. sharp, though, right on time, Bernard and a group of officials from the city's Parks and Recreation and Water departments stood in front of the first of two blue ribbons tied to water elements. And he said only a few words before the first ribbon was cut.

"We're going to have a lot of fun today, right, everybody?" Bernard said before thanking the state and local officials who made this latest improvement a reality, especially the public service employees who tested the park to ensure it was ready to be open. "These guys worked tirelessly. It's a great team we have here."

After that team cut the first ribbon, water sprouted from several of the green and blue features, eliciting shrieks of joy and surprise from those who joined the celebration. Then it was time for Bernard to move to the main event: cutting the second ribbon and standing below the giant bucket feature. Hamming it up for the kids surrounding him, Bernard talked about how he didn't have anything like the splash pad when he was growing up.

"If we were lucky, we had a hose, and we had a sprinkler," he said, continuing to tell stories. "And I'm going to stand here, and I'm going to talk some more, because there's no chance anything is going to happen."

The kids all laughed and cheered, because they knew what was about to happen. The mayor kept talking, and sure enough, a few minutes later, the bucket filled up and tipped over, dropping its 35 gallons on the all the kids -- and the mayor.

"It's terrific. It was a long time coming," Bernard said a few minutes later as he dried his face, talking about how the city crews had worked hard to test the splash pad over the last few days, including holding a "soft opening" earlier in the week. But he was happy to hold the grand opening on the holiday, he said.

"We had to do it on the Fourth of July," he said.

Bernard also said he was happy just water had fallen from the bucket, as he had wondered if the workers had a special ice bucket challenge-style surprise waiting for him.

"They didn't give me any special treatment," he said.

The splash pad is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily throughout the summer. Fall hours will be announced at a later date.

But on Thursday, it was all about the kids of all ages running around, laughing and cooling off.

"It was good," said one shy and wet little boy from Adams.

"It was a good day to open it," his father agreed.

 


Tags: children & families,   family,   Noel Field,   public parks,   

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North Adams Rallies For Win in Rain-Shortened La Festa Baseball Exchange

By Rick DuteauiBerkshires.com Sports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass - North Adams struck just before Mother Nature did on Saturday night, as the local team rallied to a 9-5 victory over the Boston North End Dodgers, just before weather shortened the first game of the annual La Festa Baseball Exchange at Joe Wolfe Field.
 
The two sides met for the 29th straight season in the yearly event in which each club travels for a two-game series. Although Saturday’s action was halted in the top of the sixth inning due to a lightning storm that swept quickly through the area, the teams meet again on Sunday morning for the second game. North Adams will also travel east in August for a pair of games hosted by the Dodgers in Boston.
 
Things may have ended in a draw had North Adams not struck for its final scoring burst in the bottom of the fifth inning, as it scored four runs to break open a 5-5 score with the deciding margin of victory. Landon Champney got it going after he led off by slicing the ball past third base for a double, and he then scored the winning run on a throwing error after Tristan Garner walked and attempted to steal second to draw a throw.
 
The home team kept piling on in the fifth to increase its lead. Garner came in on a passed ball, Chase Vanderwoude walked and later stole home and Owen Gagne smacked a single past third, advanced on a balk and then crossed the plate following a wild pitch.
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