Downtown Athol gears up for final Fourth Friday Festival

  • Main Street Athol. Staff file photo/Paul Franz

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 8/9/2022 3:35:50 PM
Modified: 8/9/2022 3:32:32 PM

ATHOL — Vacations are over, kids are getting ready to return to school, and — another sign that portends the end of summer — the last of downtown Athol’s Fourth Friday celebrations will soon be in the books. The final event for 2022 is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m.

Mary Holtorf, one of the organizers of the monthly festivals, told the Athol Daily News, “Of course, we would love a booming crowd, but it’s been growing with each event. We’ve had good weather, so that has helped. I think people are finally starting to get used to being able to go out and go to events like this. So, it’s been growing and we’re happy with that.

“We’ve been getting a couple of new vendors at each event, and we’ve been able to add some stuff, thanks to a Cultural Council grant. We now have a magician. So, we’ve been able to add things like that and it’s really coming along.”

Holtorf said downtown businesses are beginning to see the Fourth Friday Festival as a plus for bringing more people into Athol’s traditional retail core.

“We’ve been getting a lot of good feedback,” she said, “and we’ve had a couple of merchants who have started to participate more, which is really nice. The daycare center — Pre-K-Kidz — they did a really nice thing at the Shark Fest for the kids. They had a little game where the kids could hop around and avoid the shark; they even had a few parents doing it, too.

“So, we’re seeing a little more participation. It depends from event to event, but everybody seems to be enjoying it and we think it’s going to continue to grow.”

A lot of people have been asking about the now-defunct Tool Town music series, according to Holtorf.

“We’re kind of hoping they’ll see this — not as a replacement for it — but something where people can go and sit and enjoy some music for a couple of hours.”

Bike helmet give-away

Holtorf said an addition to the Aug. 26 event is a bike helmet giveaway.

“Javan Fox will be there,” she explained. “He was badly injured in an accident on his bicycle, and his helmet saved his life. So, his Eagle Scout project has been to collect a lot of helmets, and money to buy helmets, to give out to kids. I think they’ve got a couple of hundred helmets and they’re going to set up at the event and be handing out helmets. We really want to get out the word on that.”

Other activities taking place at the event include entertainment from musical storyteller Eli Elkus, who will perform from 4 to 7 p.m. in front of the old Unitarian Church. Magical Mike the Magician will perform from 5 to 6 p.m. in the lot next to Privilege 351 barbershop. There will also be a blacksmith demonstration at Tintagels Gate. Deja vu Women’s Consignments will be selling tickets for a raffle and will be giving a 10% off discount to everyone donating school supplies for back-to-school.

Businesses whose doors will be open include Tintagels Gate, Los Agaves, Déjà Vu, Flirtations, S&S Appliance, Privilege 351, Home Collections, Athol House of Pizza, Miss Monet’s Dance Studio, Pre-K-Kidz, and the North Quabbin Recovery Center.

Vendors on site will be North Quabbin Masons, Troop 8 Boy Scouts, Heavenly Goddess Spa Products, Steve & Amy’s Reptiles, Grateful Henna, KW Kountry Prim, Freedom Ranch Farm, Pops Sweet Harts Ice Cream, Brushfeather Creations, Shed Boutique, Awakening Renewal, Trio Talent Search, and the Athol Area YMCA.

Holtorf said organizers, including Tintagels Gate’s Diane DiPietro and Ann Willhite of Déjà vu, will, once this final event for 2022 is over, begin planning for next year.

“We’ll obviously have a meeting to wrap this up,” she said. “We don’t do the event in September. We just do this for the summer. But we start planning right away.

“We’ve gotten some very nice funding from the (Athol) Cultural Council and we’re going to look for more funding as we go along.”

Greg Vine can be reached at

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