Organizers hope Fitchburg festivals attract crowds this weekend

By Elizabeth Dobbins,

UPDATED:   09/28/2017 02:32:43 PM EDT

FITCHBURG -- From the sounds of metal-on-metal to the melodies of live music, this Saturday will be a full day of events for downtown. 

Organizer hope two back-to-back festivals -- the Blacksmith Art and Music Festival and Main Street Live! Fitchburg's Music Festival -- will bring residents from around the area to Fitchburg. 

The day begins with the Blacksmith Art and Music Festival, now in it's 14th year. Organizer Achla Bahl Madan expects more smiths than ever before. 

"We have a lot more blacksmiths than ever before competing," she said. "The word around the blacksmith community is now spread out and we have both the schools that have (competed) in the past." 

Madan, who also owns ACHLA Designs, said she expects about 30 blacksmiths from students to professionals to compete for $5,000 in cash prizes from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Riverfront Park. 

Bob Valentine, a professional Blacksmith from Goshen, Connecticut, will judge the entries and give a live demonstration. 

The event will also feature live music from Zack Slik, vendors selling arts and crafts, food and activities for children. 

As the blacksmithing winds down, the bands will start to play -- the first at 3 p.m. across from Riverfront Park, according to Meredith Geraghty, director of community organizing at NewVue Communities. 

The event -- a reimagined version of last year's Porchfest@North of Main -- was created to draw people downtown.

"You could start at 10 in the morning, go to the Blacksmith Festival, spend a couple hours there, then spend your whole afternoon at the music festival, then spend your evening at the gala or at karaoke," Geraghty said. 

In total 16 bands and a storyteller are expected to perform at seven spots on Main Street and Boulder Drive from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

The event is a collaboration between downtown businesses, Fitchburg Pride, the city's Community Development Department, Fitchburg State University, ReImagine North of Main, Eddy's Music Co and NewVue Communities. 

"This event is another example of placemaking in our city, allowing residents and businesses to come together to build community," said Tricia Pistone, project director at ReImagine North of Main, in a press release. "This event is intended to showcase the diversity of art and culture in Fitchburg's downtown neighborhood." 

Main Street will be closed between Prichard and Oliver Street for an afternoon of performances by local bands and many music genres from bluegrass to rock to R&B. 

Foodtrucks and art activities hosted by the Revolving Museum and Gallery Sitka round out the events attractions, Geraghty said. 

From there residents can attend an art opening at Gallery Sitka, a gala at Christ Church or live music at downtown businesses like the Local Spot, Chaibo, Beemers and Destare, she said. 

"This area is really rich in art and culture," Geraghty said.

Read more: