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FallsFest brings eclectic mix of activities, music to South Hadley 

  • Members of the North Carolina bluegrass ensemble Chatham County Line gather around the microphone to sing harmony during their hour-long set at FallsFest at the Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. From left are John Teer on mandoloin, Greg Readling on bass, Dave Wilson on guitar and lead vocals and Chandler Holt on banjo.This is the fifth year for FallsFest which is put on by the non-profit Music and Arts South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • A.J. Proctor, 2, of South Hadley marches off with a free kazoo from the Gerry's Music Shop "instrument petting zoo" during FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. This is the fifth FallsFest put on by the non-profit Music and Arts South Hadley. From left are his aunt Leslie Van Dam, visiting from San Diego, Morgan Provost (background) of Gerry's Music Shop and Zosha Dimock, 9, of South Hadley, who was taking a break from staffing the nearby Girl Scout booth to try out a trombone. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Top: Zosha Dimock, 9, of South Hadley tries out a trombone from Gerry's Music Shop’s “instrument petting zoo.” Left: Sylvia Buzzell of Shutesbury, blows bubbles with Amara Losier, 3, of South Hadley. Below: Local blues, soul and gospel group StompBoxTrio, consisting of John Caban on dobro, vocalist Evelyn Harris and bassist David Rodriguez perform an afternoon set. Right: Rylie LaPierre, 6, of South Hadley admires her “tiger” face painted by South Hadley High School junior Anna Hellyar. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Zosha Dimock, 9, of South Hadley tries out a trombone from the Gerry's Music Shop "instrument petting zoo" with help from repair tech Dale Wright during FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Isabella Rodriguez, left of Chicopee and Mandy Provost, her instructor at Gerry's Music Shop, work through her repertoire during FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. Gerry's had an "instrument petting zoo" at festival but this violin was her own. This is the fifth FallsFest put on by the non-profit Music and Arts South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Sylvia Buzzell, left, of Shutesbury, provides some modeling and encouragement to Amara Losier, 3, of South Hadley in blowing-bubble technique during FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Local blues, soul and gospel group StompBoxTrio, consisting of John Caban on dobro, vocalist Evelyn Harris and bassist David Rodriguez perform an afternoon set for FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. This is the fifth FallsFest put on by the non-profit Music and Arts South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Rylie LaPierre, 6, of South Hadley admires her "tiger" face painted by South Hadley High School junior Anna Hellyar at FallsFest in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • John Cabon provides some percussive instrumentation on dobro during a StompBoxTrio performance of blues, soul and gospel tunes with vocalist Evelyn Harris, right, and bassist David Rodgriguez (not pictured) at FallsFest in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. This is the fifth FallsFest put on by the non-profit Music and Arts South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Doug and Laura Rice of Amherst watch their daughter, Atley, 2, play in the kids fun area during FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. This is the fifth FallsFest put on by the non-profit Music and Arts South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Theo Palermo, 19 months, of West Springfield enjoys every bit of a plum popsicle during FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Lukas Hanes, center, 8, and sister Olivia, right, 5, play with bubbles during a visit to FallsFest with their mother, Bridget Hanes, background left, at Beachgrounds Park in South Hadley Falls on Saturday, July 28, 2018. The Hanes live in Maryland but were visiting with grandparents in Northampton where Bridget grew up. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



Staff Writer
Monday, July 30, 2018

SOUTH HADLEY — After a week of seemingly non-stop rain showers, the weather cooperated nicely on Saturday for a sunny FallsFest at Beachgrounds Park.

The free daylong festival, organized by Music and Arts South Hadley in coordination with Laudable Productions of Easthampton, boasted a wide variety of food, craft beverages, a splash park for children, an “instrument petting zoo,” a local artisans fair, and more.

Sylvia Buzzell of Shutesbury relaxed on a blanket with her partner Susanne of Holyoke and her foster son. Buzzell said she enjoys many parts of South Hadley and she came to the festival for a day in a community she appreciates.

“It’s a great way to be a part of the community at this event that is offering great music and lots of festivities,” Buzzell said. “Especially in the current environment … it’s a great way for everyone to connect and support each other like this, it’s rejuvenating.”

Just about 40 yards away, a large stage set up for nine musical acts rang out with local band Stompbox Trio’s bluesy riffs. As the early evening sun shone down on the park, visitors sought shelter in the cool shade of trees by the edge of the park’s baseball field.

The international musical line-up included Lakou Mizik from Haiti, Latin Grammy award-winner Mister G, and Corazón de Granada from Spain, as well as Ola Fresca from New York and Chatham County Line from North Carolina.

Northampton singer for Stompbox Trio Evelyn Harris’ soulful voice belted out lyrics about a lover leaving on a train, and John Cabán’s Mississippi Delta inspired guitar playing strummed listener’s heartstrings.

“It’s a very nice small town feel, it’s very quaint … (the event) is a good way of supporting each other and we can be the positive things we want to see in the world. That is very important right now,” Buzzell said.

A young South Hadley resident about to enter the fourth grade, Zosha Dimock, visited a tent sponsored by Gerry’s Music Shop that let people try out ukuleles, drums, and different types of brass instruments.

Dimock has played the guitar for the past five years, but she tried a saxophone for the first time, noting that blowing on the reed of the instrument “tickled.”

“I thought it was awesome and I really want to be able to play it,” she said, adding that she likes how the saxophone sounds and that she hopes to sound “jazzy” one day like her father who plays the trumpet.

There were about 40 tents set up for different vendors, community groups, and non-profits. Children played at the park’s playground, took part in martial arts demonstrations, and got to zip down a water slide.

“We want to bring appreciation to South Hadley and especially South Hadley Falls,” said Ira Brezinsky, who chairs the Select Board and helped organize the event. “It is an underserved part of town but it has the history and soul of our town. There are efforts to bring economic revitalization and development to this part of town and this is one of them.”

Brezinsky commended the town for “really stepping up” for the event as he helped distribute water bottles to volunteers near the festival’s entrance. He said that everyone from the Department of Public Works, Police Department, organizers, volunteers, and sponsors worked together to make the event possible.

“Everyone pitches in and makes this thing fly,” Brezinsky said.

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com