Good news: Amesbury Days will happen this year.
Beginning Friday, June 25, with Beer & Music and concluding on Saturday, July 3, with the inaugural Amesbury Days 5K, the 121st Amesbury Days celebration is on. Whether or not there will be fireworks is still up in the air.
“At this time we don’t know if we’ll be able to have the traditional fireworks,” said Sheila Beach, who is organizing the festivities with Eli Bailin. “All the possibilities are being looked at.”
Ever-changing COVID-19 protocols put a monkey wrench into planning this year’s Amesbury Days celebration. Traditional favorites such as the Block Party will not be happening this year and the Carriagetown Car Show will be held in September instead of during Amesbury Days.
“We promise to bring them back in the future,” Bailin said, “but for now we are happy to bring you both new and past popular events that everyone can enjoy.? We are proud to be back after our 2020 COVID-19 hiatus. It is with great pleasure that we bring together fun and exciting community events to launch our summer of 2021.
“It has been a long and challenging year for everyone, but now that restrictions are being lifted and life is getting back to normal, we look forward to seeing you in downtown Amesbury.”
With Covid-19 numbers and protocols changing moment by moment, planning the 2021 Amesbury Days celebration has not been easy.
“Typically we would start planning and raising money in February,” Beach said. “This year we started in April, when COVID restrictions were lifted so we could have 250 people at an outdoor event with contact tracing and social distancing.”
“We really only got the okay to be unrestricted on May 20,” Bailin said, “when the governor eased protocols.”
Even without the pandemic, planning was complicated by construction in the Upper Millyard.
“Typically the events we’d do in the Upper Millyard would be challenging this year due to construction,” Beach said. This year most events will take place at Heritage Park in the Lower Millyard.
“Heritage Park is a totally great spot,” Bailin said. “It’s out of the way. It’s not going to jam up traffic.” There’s also plenty of parking available in the area.
The 2021 Beer & Music Walk will start off the festivities on Friday, June 25, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. This event is similar to a Brewfest. Patrons will receive tasting tickets for the participating breweries. However, rather than hosting in one location, there will be four locations each with different breweries, food, and live music, all within easy walking distance.
Many fan favorites will be back again this year, including Kids Night, live music, movies, The New England Kendama Classic, City-Wide Yard Sale, Scavenger Hunt, and Drone Racing.
“The Drone Racing course is surrounded by 30-foot netting,” Bailin said. “It’s a defined area with obstacles. It’s run by North East Racing Drones (NERDs).”
“For spectators,” Beach said, “It’s really fun to watch.”
Bring the whole family back to Heritage Park for Kids Night.
Curious Creatures will present an interactive and educational ?live animal program followed by Boston magician Bonaparté, who will astound and amaze audiences of all ages with his unique blend of magic, comedy, mind reading, balloon sculpture, and much more.
The kids will love the Ultimate Mobile Gaming Truck. The luxury, limo-style theater on wheels features five huge widescreen high-definition TVs inside, with surround sound and awesome lighting. It’s a multiplayer video gaming heaven. Due to Covid protocols only 12 guests are allowed in at a time and they must wear face masks.
“The teenagers love it,” Beach said. “There will also be games appropriate for younger kids. There’s usually a line to get in. Masks are mandatory.”
Do you love The Beatles? Head to the Upper Millard Amphitheater for Studio Two, the band that pays tribute to the early Beatles years choosing songs from the pre-Sgt. Pepper era.
Studio Two features Berklee College of Music graduates Stephen Murray as John Lennon, Al Francis as Paul McCartney, Robert Murray as George Harrison, and Richard Rampino as Ringo Starr recreating the Fab Four’s music, appearance, instruments, and onstage banter
For adults only, Amesbury Days will hold a Comedy Night with comedians Steve Sweeney, Dave Russo, Jim Colliton, and Carolyn Plummer hosted by Mike Koutrobis.
This 18 and older event will be held at Heritage Park in the Lower Millyard. Guests are welcome to bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Beer and wine will be sold (must be 21 or older with valid ID) as well as food concessions.
This year’s Amesbury Days celebration also will include outdoor movies “Jurassic Park” and “Dirty Dancing.”
Amesbury Days 2021 will conclude on Saturday, July 3, with a Scavenger Hunt, The New England Kendama Classic, and the inaugural Amesbury Days 5K Walk/Run.
“This will be our third Scavenger Hunt,” Beach said. “We have up to five players per team and they can pick and choose their route and their challenges. Test your Amesbury knowledge by completing fun challenges at local sites and businesses for a chance to win over $1,000 in prizes.
“There are more challenges than any one team can complete in three hours. You can go by foot or by car. Pick and chose challenges based on location or points value to increase your odds of winning. We get a lot of families competing and a lot of teens. They have so much fun.”
The New England Kendama Classic is expected to draw participants from near and far.
“Kendama is an old Japanese skill toy that has had a resurgence over the last five to 10 years,” Bailin said. “The first year we had people travel from as far away as Minnesota and California, with a big population coming from the New York/New Jersey area. In 2019, we had 60 registered participants. This year we’ll likely hit 100, if not 200.”
“Kendama is not well known outside of the skill toy community, but two years ago people came from all over,” Beach said. “It was so fun watching the crowd. They were so enthusiastic.”
Start a new summer tradition with the inaugural Amesbury Days 5K Walk/Run hosted by Millennium Running and Greenstride, New England’s premier race producers. Starting and finishing at Heritage Park, participants will follow a scenic Amesbury route with a post race party at Barewolf Brewing.
There are several ways to participate: run or walk, in-person or virtually.
“A lot of people like to walk the 5K,” Bailin said. There also will be a virtual run for those who prefer.
The 5K Run will use a “time trial start” format to facilitate social distancing for the entire event. Participants will be seeded based on their self-submitted paces. Athletes will start two at time every 10 seconds in a time-trial format. Participants will be assigned a dedicated start time along with specific times for parking, check-in time, and report to corral time.
Whether you want to run or walk, sit back and listen to music, hunt for bargains at yard sales, watch drones race, sample a few beers, or check out what Kendama is all about, there will be plenty to do at the 2021 Amesbury Days celebration. There may even be fireworks. For a complete, up-to-date schedule, go to www.amesburydays.com.
“So mark your calendar from June 25 through July 3,” Bailin said, “as we have a ton of fun happening for the whole family. We look forward to seeing you in Amesbury.”
Amesbury Days sponsors include imarc, Institution for Savings, Morrill Electric, Amesbury Chevy, Linden Financial, Align Credit Union, Shaheen Brothers, Gould Insurance?Co., Amesbury Lions Club, and ACT?Glass.
WHAT: Amesbury Days
WHEN: Friday, June 25 through Saturday, July 3
WHERE: Heritage Park in the Lower Millyard and locations throughout Amesbury