Around Amherst: Town to host yearly Fourth of July celebration

Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

AMHERST — Amherst will celebrate Independence Day with a traditional community event on the University of Massachusetts campus on July 4.

When fireworks are launched around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, it will bring a conclusion to the celebration that begins at 5 p.m. in the fields behind McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Noah Kramer, a Leisure Services and Supplemental Education intern and the coordinator for the event, said activities will include a kids carnival, burlap races, a pie-eating contest and hot air balloon rides.

New this year will be body marbling, where people can dip their hands into acrylic paint that will give them temporary red, white and blue acrylic paint tattoos, and a photo booth where people can pose in front of a large American flag.

Four additional bands means more entertainment, Kramer said. These bands will include Beast Mode, Bomba de Aqui, Sunshine Brothers Inc. and a high school band called Glass House.

“There will be live entertainment throughout the entire event, ending with the Amherst Community Band,” Kramer said.

Booths will include one for the Amherst League of Women Voters, where information about voting and political candidates will be available, and another for the Community Emergency Response Team, which will offer First Aid.

LSSE Director Barb Bilz said people can park in UMass lots for a $5 parking fee, a suggested donation to offset the costs of putting on the event. Some of the carnival attractions, as well as the food, also have fees, but plenty of activities will be free, Bilz said.

Buses provided by UMass Transit will have three routes bringing people to and from the celebration.

Bilz said she anticipates at least 5,000 people to attend the event, with many thousands more watching the fireworks from locations in Amherst and Hadley.

Only strong storms would likely force the postponement for a day, Bilz said.

Tours of local gardens

“Old Lands, New Gardens” is the title of this year’s Garden Tour, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Six gardens will be featured, and each has been created by the current homeowner.

The tour also features the Simeon Strong House at 67 Amity St., along with its 18th century garden.

Tickets are available in advance for $20 for members of the Historical Society and $25 for nonmembers and available at the Hadley Garden Center on Route 9, A.J. Hastings on South Pleasant Street and at the Simeon Strong House. On the day of the tour, ticket prices rise by $5.

Farm dedicated in North Amherst

The North Amherst Community Farm recently installed a plaque near the Simple Gifts Farmstand store dedicated to the memory of Edwin and Chester Dziekanowski, the brother farmers who long owned the land.

The plaque reads: “Dedicated to the memory of Edwin Dziekanowski (1936 – 2014). Edwin’s lifetime of work, as well as that of his brother Chester, and their parents before them, provided the foundation on which this new form of the farm was built. The vision and generosity of his extended family made the transition possible. As this farm feeds the North Amherst community on into the future, the legacy of Edwin will be preserved.”

The land was purchased from the Dziekanowski family for $1.2 million in 2005.

Historical Commission members sought

As of Sunday, the Historical Commission will only have three members, not enough to hold public meetings and make decisions on such matters as requests under the demolition delay bylaw.

Anyone interested in serving on the commission is encouraged to fill out a citizen activity form on the town website.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said he intends to interview qualified applicants prior to an appointment.

New provost at UMass

John J. McCarthy was recently named provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMass by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

McCarthy, who begins his tenure Sunday, is a longtime faculty member and administrator who was previously appointed acting provost a year ago.

“During the past year John has impressed all stakeholders with his consultative approach and ability to balance competing interests,” Subbaswamy said in a statement. “He is a tireless worker wholly dedicated to the success of this institution.”


FRIDAY: Finance Committee, 10:30 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.