Today is preliminary election day in Holyoke. The polls are open from 7 am to 7 pm - the weather is great, and unless your not registered you don't have any reason to not vote. Springfield had a dismal voter turnout was last week, less than 10% of registered voters, but Holyoke City Clerk Sue Egan is expecting over 50% turnout today due to high interest. This is the first time in 44 years that Holyoke has had 4 candidates for mayor on the ballot. Last time being in 1965. We also have 3 candidates for treasurer to choose from today.
The preliminary candidate forum held Sept 14th, was our only chance to compare all the preliminary candidates side by side. Those of us who put the forum together hope we succeeded in our goal of voter education. If you missed the forum you can still read the Mayoral candidates written answers to questions submitted in advance. Scroll down on this page to read them.
After viewing the forum some of my friends sent me back funny messages. Things like, "This is the best you could do for candidates? Fail! Do it again and find better candidates next time."
Well, Like em or not, here are your candidates,
Candidates for Treasurer: David B Donoghue Jon D Lumbra John C Pietrzykowski
It was April of 2006 when everyone first heard that Celebrate Holyoke was canceled. Since then the city has struggled to find a replacement. Brennan's had hosted a summer music series in the city owned parking lot behind the bar as a lead up Celebrate Holyoke, and that event did take up some of the slack, but it wasn't on the same scale as Celebrate Holyoke.
Crush was still reeling from the success of the New Year Gala in January when talk of a summer party first came up, but that idea was shelved for a few months while the group took a breather from event planning.
As Spring rolled into Summer the party wasn't getting off the ground. The idea had morphed into a Block Party, but no planning was taking place. Brennan's own Maple Street festival wasn't going to happen this year, and it seemed neither would a Block Party.
An early effort at regrouping seemed to go nowhere, but a few members kept pushing, kept planning, and by mid June it looked like something was happening. Details of what needed to be done emerged, and a location was chosen.
As planning continued the scale of party grew. Early cost estimates for the event were $600 -$800, but those numbers wouldn't hold for long.
The planning committee kept chugging along. At no point was I on the committee, but I did receive all their group emails. Some days they flooded my inbox. Everyone in the group seemed to instinctively know when something urgent had come up, and before lunch there would be 27 replies.
While planning the Block Party: Over 600 emails were sent. Approx $4,000 was raised. 11 bands were lined up to play. And 1 new drink, the Crushtini, was invented.
At the Block Party: An estimated 3,500 people attended. An untold number of them danced together. And countless numbers of local children wanted to do it again tomorrow.
The Great Holyoke Block Party wasn't as big as Celebrate Holyoke, but I'm still smiling the next day.