Yankee Doodle comes to town this weekend
CHARLEMONT — What would summer be in Charlemont without the fireworks, oxen pulls and demolition derbies of Yankee Doodle Days?
This annual three-day festival returns to the Charlemont Fairgrounds starting Friday evening at 6 p.m.
Yankee Doodle Days evolved from an annual cattle show that was started in the mid-1800s and drew farmers from all over the region. Interrupted by the Civil War, the event later resumed, and in 1870, the Deerfield Valley Agricultural Society raised enough money to buy the 17-acre Charlemont Fairgrounds, where the cattle show was eventually held.
The last cattle show was held there in 1934, and in 1952, the Lions Club of Charlemont revived the town fair tradition by starting Yankee Doodle Days at the Fairgrounds. This event lost steam in the 1970s and 1980s, until residents Vaughn Tower and Todd Gerry revived it in 1995.
This year’s acts include Charlemont’s own potential contender for NBC’s “The Voice,” 16-year-old Holly Mae Brown, who is now going by the stage name Holly May. She is a pop-country singer who has auditioned for the TV show and is hoping to learn in August whether she will get a final audition in Los Angeles.
Celtic Heels dance troupe will demonstrate vibrant Irish dance traditions on Saturday, and knife-throwing couple Mike and Rosa Gross, billed as “One Sharp Marriage,” will perform four shows throughout the weekend. They have been performing their knife-throwing act since 2001, and were inducted into the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame, in Austin, Texas, in 2008.
Jody Scalise of Buckland will revive the physical comedy styles of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Marcel Marceau on Saturday. On Sunday, along with the music of Zydeco Connection, there will be a Louisiana line-dance lesson for the “Cupid Shuffle” at 12:30 p.m.
Knit or crochet hats with a group of western Massachusetts knitters, who are collecting 500 winter hats to give to kids and adults in need. The fundraiser is a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s book “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.” You can bring completed hats to donate or join the “Knit-athon.” If you knit or crochet hats with the group, you’ll receive a refund for half of your fair admission.
Here are some highlights:
Ox pull begins at 5 p.m., followed by Classic Car exhibit from 6 to 8 p.m. One Sharp Marriage performs in the tent at 7:30 p.m. DJ Bobby C is on stage from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Atlas Fireworks Show begins at 9:30 p.m.
Celtic Heels dance troupe at 11 a.m., followed by North County Line Dancers at noon. In the tent, Steve Damon leads children’s folk songs and dances, 11 a.m. Birds of Prey with Tom Ricardi on the green at noon.
Jody Scalise takes to the pavilion at 3 p.m. and in the tent at 5:30 p.m. Still Kickin’ plays from 6 to 9 p.m.
Chain-saw carvings at 3 and 5 p.m. Bingo featured in Exhibition Hall from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Horse pull from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; kids’ decorated bike parade at 9:30 am. and kids’ tractor pull at 9:30.
Stoney Roberts’ Demolition Derby starts at 2 p.m. Kids’ coin hunt at 1 p.m. on the green. Zydeco Connection 1 to 3 p.m. and raffle drawing at 4 p.m.
General admission: $6 for adults or three-day pass for $15; children under 12 get in for $3. For online information, go to: