Thursday, September 12, 2013

Who'll Stop The Rain

The center of the storm N. Pleasant Street 7:00 PM

The threatening skies unleashed a targeted downpour so sudden it made the crowd shriek, then sent them scurrying for cover: exhibitors tents, awnings of storefront businesses or below what's left of the urban tree cover in the downtown.

Block Party central to norther end of closed off roadway

Up until that time (6:55 PM) the crowd was starting to grow, as everyone seemed to enjoy walking amiably down the very center of what is normally a busy roadway through the heart of downtown Amherst.

 Block Party northern end near Kendrick Park

Still, the crowd seemed a little smaller than last year's gathering.  Perhaps the National Weather Bureau "Severe Thunderstorm Watch" earlier in the day covering the entire four hours of the party (6-10 PM) had something to do with it.

Although last year the maiden event had to contend with a mosquito borne illness alert over Eastern Equine Encephalitis where town officials -- including the Board of Health -- issued stern  warnings against outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.

Lady on stilts enthralls the kids ... well, except for the superhero on left

By 9:00 PM with the rains coming and going the crowds had thinned

Food concession stands not doing a very brisk business

So maybe it's a classic sophomore slump, or maybe people fear thunderstorms more than mosquitoes.

Either way, the concept of bringing together a broad spectrum of citizens young and old into a safe, secure brightly lit downtown for a night of food, fun and entertainment is a sound one.

Besides, third time is the charm.

AFD Engine 1 and Ambulance 1 were stationed at DPW one mile from Central  Station  to avoid congestion in town center


Anonymous said...

Check out MassLive to see pictures of lots of people having fun.

Larry Kelley said...

Dave is a great photographer (but I did beat him by seven minutes).

Anonymous said...

We are at a higher level of alert for EEE than we were a year ago. The town says on its website that ALL evening activities are to be cancelled.

The block party should have been cancelled according to Amherst's own website and state guidelines. The storms were just karma. BTW, UMass has cancelled evening activities...if they really mean it.

Even in lefty Amherst business trumped safety. Hypocrites.

Walter Graff said...

As I said, Amherst does what's good for Amherst and the money pocketed.

Walter Graff said...

Posted on: August 13, 2013
Town Issues Updated Eastern Equine Encephalitis Advisory

Our community has been identified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to be at “High” risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a rare but very serious disease transmitted through the bite of a very specific species of nighttime mosquito. Town Manager John Musante and Health Director Julie Federman today urged Amherst residents to limit evening outdoor activities and take common sense precautions.

Due to this situation, we have decided in consultation with town staff, DPH and the MA Mosquito Advisory Group to restrict outdoor activities in Town-owned parks, conservation areas (including Puffers Pond) and recreation areas from dusk to dawn when the mosquitoes that transmit the disease are active. This does not affect activities during daylight hours.

When going out after dusk and later, residents are advised to wear long sleeves, long pants, socks, and insect repellant, and to avoid areas where mosquitoes are prevalent such as swamps, fields, the Norwottuck Rail Trail and low lying areas. At home, make sure your doors and windows have screens.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself at or view the Town of Amherst Health Department EEE Frequently Asked Questions at

Town staff will work closely with our partners to monitor changing environmental conditions and plan to provide regular updates in the coming weeks.

This ban will be lifted when we have the first frost which kills adult mosquitoes.

Anonymous said...

There were 3 mosquito repellent spray stations set up. Two at either end and one in the middle.

Anonymous said...

What a fun time! Glad it didn't rain for the first hour.

Larry Kelley said...

Me too.

Fenway617 said...

This seems like a great deal of work for one night. Or even 4 hours. Why not do it on a weekend day or on Columbus Day and start it at noon?

Larry Kelley said...

In Amherst, we tried to avoid talking about Columbus.

Anonymous said...

The goal is to bring students and townsfolk together for the same event. Students often go home for Columbus Day. For example, Amherst College gives 4 days off.

Anonymous said...

You guys know that Columbus wasn't an American, right? He was an Italian sailing for Spain that was one of the nastiest people around. Any of you ever take a history class?

Walter Graff said...

"Columbus wasn't an American, right... one of the nastiest people"

Then he fits in perfectly with Lord Jeff, Amherst's patron saint of genocide and suffering.

Walter Graff said...

"The goal is to bring students and townsfolk together for the same event. Students often go home for Columbus Day. For example, Amherst College gives 4 days off."

I don't get this. So are you saying that a poorly organized and run even like the block party might make these kids want to stay because if you are it is utterly laughable.

Anonymous said...

"I don't get this."

Walter, you got that right. You sure don't get it.

Pronziville pyramiders would make terrible pets said...

"Walter, you got that right. You sure don't get it."

What's not to get?

I mean, a teeming mischief of caterwauling, intensively hypocritical, back stabbing, Prozac and egomania addled "elites" standing naked in front of their bathroom mirrors pep talk telling and toasting themselves day in and day out because this community (which they practically own) owes them



Yeah, I think everyone "gets" it.

The question is, when will you?

Anonymous said...

What the heck are you talking about? You are completely incoherent.