Around Amherst: ChalkWalk Festival set for Saturday

Staff Writer
Thursday, April 27, 2017

AMHERST — Chalk artists of all ages and experience levels will be decorating the sidewalks throughout downtown during the Amherst ChalkWalk Festival Saturday.

The event, running from noon to 5 p.m., which will also include a series of musical performances and lawn games on the Town Common, is the brainchild of Helena Burgueño, a sophomore at Amherst College who observed a similar ChalkWalk in her hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.

Burgueño said ChalkWalk will be a way to celebrate art, community and warmer weather, and allow the various populations in town, including college students, senior citizens and children and families, to interact.

“I thought that having an all-inclusive art festival might be a good way to bring in people from all over town,” Burgueño said.

So far, 10 people are signed up to draw art on the sidewalks, but a registration table will be set up near the corner of Boltwood Avenue and College Street so that anyone can participate. The art will be judged and gift cards from local businesses will be given to the winners.

Burgueño met with Amy Crawley, director of the monthly Arts Night Plus, and Amherst Business Improvement District representatives Sarah la Cour and Ann Tweedy in the year she has been planning the event. The Amherst BID is a sponsor.

“It is a great thing that students from either college feel they can work with and in downtown to create community events,” Tweedy said.

The following day, the Daffodil Run for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County a program of the Center for Human Development, takes place for the seventh year, with goal of raising $60,000 to provide support and recruit mentors.

The race, which has been a 5-kilometer walk and run, is adding a 10-kilometer run that begins at 10 a.m. at Kendrick Park. Participants can arrive early for a warm up by fitness professionals from 50/50 Fitness Nutrition of Hadley. There will also be games, a bounce house and a barbecue at the downtown park.

Big Brothers Big Sisters helps close to 200 children annually, but nearly 160 children are on a waiting list.

Prizes will be award to the first, second and third place male and female runners, as well as the top runner from each age category and for best costumes.

Clock tour

The historic clock at Grace Episcopal Church will be the subject of a tour at the Boltwood Ave. at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, following the 10:30 a.m. service.

Jim Mead, a parishioner who was instrumental in the clock’s mid 1990s restoration, will make the presentation as part of the church’s ongoing 150th anniversary celebration.

Installed in 1868, the clock stopped working in 1915 and remained out of operation for more than 90 years.

The clock, installed in the bell tower by the Rev. George Champlin Shepard in honor of his late wife, Sally Inman Kast Shepard, was just the second public timepiece in Amherst, following one in 1862 at the Johnson Chapel on the Amherst College campus. Grace’s clock was the first that struck a tower bell each hour so that people up to a mile away from downtown Amherst could set their own clocks to a precise time.

Weeekend preparation

A year after a party trashed a pavilion at Mill River Recreation Area and disturbed neighbors with loud noise at the North Amherst site, town officials are gearing up for potential alcohol-fueled activity by not issuing any permits for use of Mill River or Groff Park.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said both parks will be open to the public, but not allowing groups to rent the sites is one of the proactive measures the town is taking for the final weekend in April. Commencement at the University of Massachusetts is scheduled for May 12.

Last year’s event, dubbed the Smith Family Reunion, left beer bottles and beer cans strewn at the park.

Bockelman said both police and fire will be monitoring all areas of the town and will have so-called “impact shifts” with additional staffing.

Farm visit

Simple Gifts Farm was recognized for its environmental sustainability efforts when Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux visited the North Amherst location during Earth Week.

The farmland is preserved through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program and the farm, a steward for the land, uses photovoltaic technology in its operation.

“Simple Gifts Farm serves as an excellent example of what can be accomplished when we work together, preserve land, and improve energy efficiency of farms throughout the Commonwealth,” Lebeaux said in a statement.


MONDAY: Select Board, 6 p.m., Band Room, middle schoool; Town Meeting, 7 p.m., middle school auditorium.

TUESDAY: Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, 6:30 p.m., high school library; CDBG Advisory Committee, 7 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.

WEDNESDAY: Select Board, 6 p.m., Band Room, middle schoool; Town Meeting, 7 p.m., middle school auditorium.

THURSDAY: Town Meeting, 7 p.m., middle school auditorium.