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Committee seeks to involve community in three-day event

Date: 4/11/2014

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE – After three years of presenting “Discover Holyoke,” the Passport Holyoke committee is planning some major changes to the event.

According to Melissa Boisselle, the director of the Wistariahurst Museum and the president of the group, the one-day event will expand to three days and will be conducted this year on Oct. 10, 11 and 12 – Columbus Day weekend.

The planning committee met on March 31 at Holyoke Heritage State Park. The group includes representatives from some of the city’s cultural entities such as the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, as well as interested citizens.

In the past events the goal has been to encourage people from both within the city and throughout the region to participate in historic and cultural events, Boisselle said. The goal has been to stimulate tourism to the city as part of an economic development plan.

Now it is the feeling of the group that changes should be made. “We need a new face, a fresh vision of what Holyoke offers,” Boisselle said. “We need more partners at the table.”

Boisselle said the group would like to involve area schools as well as institutions and organizations in offering activities. It is also seeking a new name for the three-day event.

Boisselle said the group has brainstormed ideas and know they want to present activities within the visual and performing arts, outdoor recreation, history and food.

Already on board for the fall event is Jurassic Roadshow, a traveling exhibit of fossils from the Connecticut River Valley that shows the history of the region, Boisselle said.

Another issue the committee is discussing is sponsorships of the weekend as well as ways making what they intended to be an annual event financially sustainable.

The next meeting is at 5 p.m. on April 28 at Holyoke Heritage State Park.