Guess what? We don’t have to scale 10-foot snowbanks in order to get to downtown Amherst anymore! We can finally “think spring” with signs that it actually might come after all.
With spring comes a renewed vibrancy in downtown and all the new possibilities that we can dwell in, to paraphrase Emily. It has been a very, very long winter and even hard-core New Englanders like myself found it trying.
But the worst appears to be behind us and the fun and sun of spring and summer await. We can get out and catch up with neighbors, visit favorite establishments and speculate on when and where all the daffodils will come up. Thousands of bulbs were planted in downtown last autumn by Amherst in Bloom and the BID.
Who remembers where? We can find them together on April 24-26 when we all gather for Downtown Daffodil Days! Downtown will be hopping that weekend and there’s truly something for everyone.
After the long winter, it will be refreshing to meet on Saturday at the Town Common for the Sustainability Festival or put on our jogging shoes on Sunday for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Daffodil Fun Run at Kendrick Park. You’ll need to work off all the yummy treats from the many downtown restaurants that will be participating in the Dessert Crawl on Saturday afternoon. While munching away you can peruse the masterpieces created by local artists as part of the Chalk Walk that morning.
Once you’ve managed to take in the abundance of activities and events of Daffodil Days, you can look forward to the Rotary Club Community Fair in late May and the Taste of Amherst in mid-June. Both events epitomize all that is great about downtown Amherst. They provide a place for folks to congregate, laugh, play and eat. They represent a wonderful collaboration of restaurants, businesses and civic organizations committed to a vital and engaging community.
Who hasn’t run into just about everyone at both events? Watching children scream on the rides at the fair or adults filter in and out of the beer and wine tent at the Taste is timeless.
Amherst is lucky to have these and many other “institutions” that bring downtown alive. What we have is special and Spring is when we can start to dream all over again. Yes, it’s hard now to think about when your car rattles from pothole abuse and your fingers are still gnarled from the cold and snow shoveling. But the planning is underway and many are already preparing for the events that will bring downtown back to life. And not just breathing but singing in full operatic glory. Spring is here which means summer is right behind.
With summer will come concerts in the parks, crafts fairs, farmer’s markets and other beloved activities that can be shared amongst all generations and community members. Just more opportunities to greet old friends, make new ones and experience the unique character and feel of downtown Amherst. One of the greatest things about a sunny day in downtown Amherst is the surprise and spontaneity. You never know who you will run into, where you will go to chat over coffee, or who will then join you for lunch and a stroll through the shops. Or if you’ll end up tossing a frisbee or kicking a soccer ball around the Common. Or if you’ll end up napping in Sweetser Park or watching your toddler chase a butterfly for the first time.
It has definitely been a long and snowy winter here in downtown Amherst but aren’t you now looking forward to what’s next? It somehow makes it all the sweeter to see the flowers and feel the warm grass when it seemed like it would never come. Enjoy spring in downtown Amherst!
Sarah la Cour is executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District.