Shelburne Falls: Streets ‘mobbed’ for Moonlight Magic

  • The Parade of Lights makes its way down the Iron Bridge during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Costumed MEGAdance Zumba members dance on the Iron Bridge during Moonlight Magic on Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Parade of Lights makes its way down the Iron Bridge during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Parade of Lights makes its way down the Iron Bridge during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hundreds gather throughout downtown Shelburne Falls during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Hundreds gather throughout downtown Shelburne Falls during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Serenata Mandolin Trio performs for an intimate crowd gathered inside the Water Street Barn during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Serenata Mandolin Trio performs for an intimate crowd gathered inside the Water Street Barn during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Luminaries line the riverside during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Luminaria line the Iron Bridge during the Moonlight Magic festival Friday night in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 12/2/2019 1:01:49 AM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Armed with a clipboard, Maria Uprichard, briskly strolled along Bridge Street, performing a final check-in with street vendors.

Uprichard returned to Bosewell’s Books, where she is the manager. There, alongside owners Ken and Nancy Eisenstein, the three prepared for one of their busiest days of the year.

Moonlight Magic, which took place from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, brought hundreds to the streets of Shelburne Falls for an event that blurs the boundaries of community festival and a local Black Friday.

“If the streets aren’t mobbed, it won’t be that successful,” Ken Eisenstein said of Moonlight Magic.

“The weather’s good and people tend to come back year after year,” he said.

This year, a brigade of local business owners and volunteers joined to organize, publicize and execute Moonlight Magic. The effort was spearheaded by Molly Cantor, owner of Molly Cantor Pottery.

“I’m excited to see people in the streets,” Cantor said, as she stood in the street, awaiting the parade.

Cantor and other local business owners expressed feeling more invested in Moonlight Magic due to their efforts. But, even as an organizer, Cantor had a hands-off approach on Friday.

“I’m just having faith that it’s really happening,” Cantor said, of all the planned activities. Like most business owners, Cantor manned her shop as throngs of shoppers meandered in and out.

“I’m so grateful that all these people worked on (Moonlight Magic). So many people worked on it,” Cantor said.

Reflecting on the effort that have gone into Friday’s event, Cantor was optimistic for the coming years.

“Hopefully next year, people will have their (roles),” Cantor said, “If there are more people to evolve these different jobs, it will just keep getting better.”

As a silver of a moon glowed, the Moonlight Magic parade crossed the Iron Bridge that connects Buckland and Shelburne.

Along the bridge were Cindy Peeters and her daughter-in-law, Michaela Giard, bundled against the night’s chill. Friday was their first trek from Greenfield to Shelburne Falls for Moonlight Magic.

“I’ve heard about it for years and years,” Peeters said, noting that she saw ads on her social media accounts about this year’s event. “It was really good PR.”

For Peeters and Michaela Giard, Moonlight Magic was away to get into the holiday spirit and to support local businesses.

During the parade, the pair expressed delight as the Celtic Heels, an Irish dance troupe, danced their way across the bridge.

“This is what I love, the whole small-town thing,” Peeters said.

Nearby, other first-time visitors stood wide-eyed as the float that held Santa and Mrs. Claus went by.

“The elves were funny,” said Matilda Grozier, 7, of Shelburne, Vt. Grozier and her sister, Franzi, 4, grasped mini candy canes and Tootsie rolls that Shriners clowns passed out during the parade.

The girls and their parents, Kate and Ted, were visiting their great-uncle Richard Ginns and his partner, Alice Mural, in Ashfield.

Mural and Ginns have been to Moonlight Magic many times before but enjoy taking family.

“If there’s any little people, we bring them down,” Ginns said.

Although Moonlight Magic promotes small businesses, it has a vastly different feel than other shopping scenes over the holidays, Ginns said.

“In a sense it’s not commercial. It’s great,” he said.

As the smells of barbecue and fried dough wafted through the air, attendees milled around through shops and onto activities, like seeing Santa, painting ornaments at Cantor’s shop, or watching a performance of the drumming group, Ageless Waves of Rhythm, from the Senior Center, inside Greenfield Savings Bank.

Many children and their parents embarked on a scavenger hunt: a visit to 10 locations would help them answer 10 questions, and, once armed with their correct answers, they could pick a key to try opening a Holiday Chest to win a present.

At the Color Wheel, which housed yarns and woven goods, the question was “What kind of wheel is in the shop and what is it used for?”

Siblings Jackson Giard, 7, and Sophia McKusick, 5, found the spinning wheel.

“To make yarn!” Giard exclaimed as he and his sister batted the wheel to make it spin. Their mother, Colleen Voudren of Buckland, made sure their answer was verified by the Color Wheel and the trio headed out into the moonlight to continue their quest.

Reach Maureen O’Reilly at moreilly@recorder.com or at 413-772-0261, ext. 280.




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