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Annual Thunderfest Features Chowder & Music
02:02PM / Friday, March 03, 2017
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There was a great turnout at last year's Thunderfest. See more photos here.


ADAMS, Mass. — Once again, Mother Nature has forced the cancellation of the Thunderbolt Ski Race. But the festivities will go on with the annual Thunderfest at noon on Saturday at the Adams Visitors Center.

The festival features live music by Jim Witherell and the headliner Misty Blues Band. Hot food, local beer and wine, a chowder contest, outdoor recreation and craft vendors are featured. A campfire and activities for kids will also be provided and admission to the Thunderbolt museum is free.

"With the addition of the new events this year, Adams is offering more than ever for lovers of outdoor winter recreation," said Ray Gargan, co-chair of ProAdams. "Even if you're not big on winter sports, ThunderFest is a great way to shake off your cabin fever."

This year's Thunderfest comes with some disappointment -- organizers of the 82nd ski race had been encouraged by the series of snowstorms that hit the Berkshires in February, laying down a significant amount of snow.

But unusually high temperatures and rain washed away all that great snowpack.

"The Thunderbolt is not even skiable right now, much less race-able. There is nothing in the forecast this week to give us any hope," race director Matt Barlin said. "It is heartbreaking after putting in hundreds of hours of work to have to cancel the race but Mother Nature has dealt us this hand and we have to roll with it."

The Thunderbolt Ski Runnerswww.thunderboltskirunners.org have been trying to bring back the historic 1930s ski race with backcountry skiers and snowboarders taking on the challenging trail that runs from the 3,491-foot summit of Mount Greylock. But a fairly consistent lack of snow over the years has made the running of the race spotty. The modern record was set in 2014 of 2 minutes and 45 seconds by Mark Wallace.

Barlin thanked the racers, the Thunderbolt Ski Patrol, volunteers, sponsors, members, local community groups for their support, and emergency responders for their expertise. Anyone interested in helping out next year can stop at the Thunderbolt Ski Runners tent at Thunderfest to learn more.

Thunderfest runs from noon to 4 with a dozen participants in the chowder competition beginning at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments including coffee, hot cocoa and beer and wine will be available along with food and wares from local retail and recreational vendors.

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