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Turners Falls Block Party insurance issue solved

TURNERS FALLS — The town will continue to underwrite the annual block party on Avenue A by sheltering the event under town insurance.

With little time to go before the Aug. 10 Turners Falls Block Party, obtaining and paying for event insurance had provided a last-minute hurdle for event organizers after the usual system came into question.

This week, however, Town Administrator Frank Abbondanzio said the town’s insurer advised him the town can cover an event by designating the steering committee as a special municipal entity, provided the event does not involve alcohol.

Begun by a quasi-municipal entity in 2007, the event remained under town insurance through the passing of the torch to a school-focused nonprofit in 2011. This spring, two volunteers stepped forward to take the helm after the previous directors announced they would no longer run the event, but the insurance became an issue.

Selectmen questioned whether it was possible or proper to cover a non-town-affiliated event with town insurance, but in the end voted to allow the move for this year only and subject to the insurer’s verdict.

Abbondanzio said the Board of Selectmen this week appointed the volunteer directors as a special municipal entity, making them eligible.

The second eligibility requirement, the absence of alcohol, differentiates the block party from other downtown events. Unlike the Franklin County Pumpkinfest, the Montague Soapbox races and the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival — begun and still run by independent volunteers — the block party does not include a beer tent. So that second requirement won’t require changing the event.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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