In lieu of Festival of the Hills, Conway to hold fundraising ‘un-tag’ sale to support scholarships

  • Herb Thurber tosses an iron skillet during the skillet toss at Conway’s Festival of the Hills in 2016. The 2021 event is canceled, although there will be an “un-tag” sale on May 22 to raise money for the Festival of the Hills Scholarship Fund. Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

Staff Writer
Published: 5/13/2021 4:14:14 PM

CONWAY — In light of the uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions in the upcoming months and a lack of leadership for committee work, the Festival Board has decided once again to cancel the annual Festival of the Hills.

“It’s been so hard to motivate people,” said board member Pixie Holbrook. “I’m sure it’s COVID-related. We need volunteers to head the bigger committees … and we can’t anticipate what the restrictions will be. We don’t want to be policing our community to do the festival.”

Holbrook said the event, held each October, is typically the most significant fundraiser for the Festival of the Hills Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to graduating seniors from Conway.

However, in an effort to make up for the festival’s cancellation, Holbrook is organizing an “un-tag” sale to raise money for the scholarship fund.

“We’ve had to get creative and figure out how to raise money,” Holbrook said. “We’re asking Conway people to donate their stuff and to donate their time.”

At the “un-tag” sale, which is scheduled for May 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (with a rain date of May 23), sale items at the pre-registered addresses around town will be offered without a price, or tag. Instead, the buyer names a price for an item, and all proceeds are donated to the scholarship fund.

Holbrook said the decision to cancel the festival was made a few weeks ago.

“Originally, it was going to be ‘wait and see,’” she said. “But we can’t get the energy from the volunteers that we need.”

Still, there remained the question of how to raise money for the scholarships. That was when Holbrook suggested the “un-tag” sale.

“I did one a couple years ago when we moved,” she said. “It was really productive. We gave people the chance to donate to either (Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution) or Dakin (Humane Society), and people were really generous.”

She raised about $600 in four hours.

According to Holbrook, organizers have about 20 sites registered for the May 22 event, many of which are in or close to the center of town. One “site” could be a collaboration between family members or friends, she added.

“We’re encouraging people to do it with family and friends, and to make a day of it,” Holbrook said.

Shortly before the event, a list of addresses will be published on the festival’s website,

Cash or check donations toward the Festival of the Hills Scholarship Fund can also be dropped off at any Greenfield Savings Bank, or mailed to Festival of the Hills, P.O. Box 431, Conway, MA 01341.

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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