HOLDEN, Mass. — The sun shone over Holden Days once again Saturday, with the community gathering in the heart of Holden for a daylong celebration of the town’s rich history, talented people and thriving businesses.
Thousands of visitors roamed the many booths that showcased local crafters, organizations, restaurants and businesses that make Holden their home, taking part in a tradition that has spanned 33 years and continues to be the town’s biggest annual event.
“The crowds have been incredible this year,” said Jennifer Stanovich, executive director of the Holden Area Chamber of Commerce, explaining that the day brings everybody in town together.
“I like to think we need this; this cheers people up,” she added. “That’s what it’s all about — community. Our goal is to make this whole day upbeat, and it has been.”
In fact, for more than three decades, the Holden Days event has proved strong even in the face of the elements; when last August’s Hurricane Irene barreled up the coast, the event still saw a tremendous turnout.
This year, anyone within earshot of town center would be drawn in by musicians as lively and jovial as Celtic-rock group Dicey Riley and local talents like Erin Ollis.
“The bands have been fabulous,” said Stanovich. “We've had a good mix this year, and people walking into the area because of the sound.”
The day went flawlessly, Stanovich said, “because we have volunteers that really know their jobs, and they carry us through.”
For instance, members of Fellowship Church of Holden stepped up to help with the event.
“They called and said, ‘What can we do? We can give you at least 25 people,’” said Stanovich, who was thrilled. “Nobody’s ever said that to me! So they have been helping with everything from collecting trash to putting the tables out. They were with us since 6 a.m. and they’re with us until 3 p.m., so I’m so grateful.”
Additionally, Holden police, firefighters and EMTs were out to ensure that people were safe throughout the day.
“At the end of the day, I’d like people to think that Holden is a really neat community. I’m proud of my town,” said Stanovich. “It’s so nice to see my neighbors and my friends, and think about the new people I met today. I’m supporting local businesses — what's not to love? It’s great.”