Monday, May 8, 2017

River Roll & Stroll

Residents of South Hadley and Holyoke, and people from around the state and the region, will be coming together on May 7th from 11 am to 3 pm for the River Roll and Stroll, an “Open Streets” festival on the Rt. 116 Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Bridge, which connects the two communities.

This is a truly unprecedented event for the Pioneer Valley - the local MassDOT office has never before agreed to close a bridge to vehicular traffic, and open it up exclusively to pedestrians, bicyclists, roller skaters, or anyone else traveling under their own steam. This event promises one-of-a-kind views of the Connecticut River, the Holyoke Dam, Mount Tom, and numerous family-friendly activities as well.

“We’re going to have lots of entertainers from the two communities, as well as the region – musical groups, street busker performers, face painting, chalk art stations, you name it! Not to mention the local food trucks that will be there,” said Mariann Millard, South Hadley Co-Chair of the River Roll and Stroll Steering Committee. “It’s going to be a very special family-friendly event that brings everyone together on the bridge. I’m especially looking forward to the parade and short ceremony honoring our veterans, scheduled for 1 PM, which will be kicked off by a musket volley from the End Zone Militia Group, the New England Patriots’ official mascots.”

The River Roll and Stroll is one of many “Open Streets” events which take place around the country. From San Antonio to Cambridge, numerous communities have closed roadways to vehicular traffic for a day and opened them to families, community groups, and entertainment. This year, the River Roll and Stroll will serve as the kick-off event for Bay State Bike Week (www.baystatebikeweek.org), put on by MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition.

“Roll and Stroll will showcase Holyoke’s and South Hadley’s shared commitment to livability and active living,” said Holyoke Co-Chair Sean Condon. “The amount of community support has been amazing, from cash sponsorships, to volunteers, to in-kind donations. This event is truly going to set the standard for similar efforts around the Valley.”

To keep everyone safe on the bridge, this event is an alcohol-drug-smoke-free event. Please no coolers, no fishing from the bridge (underneath is allowed) from 10 am to 3 pm, no climbing on bridge railings and all dogs must be leashed. The event will be held rain or shine unless the weather is forecasted to be hazardous, which will force a broadcasted cancellation; no rain date is available. Plenty of free parking is available near both ends of the bridge on streets and open lots in South Hadley and Holyoke. Special ADA Parking has been designated at the South Hadley Police Station, 41 Bridge Street. The bridge and its immediate entrance areas will close to vehicular traffic from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm; detour signs will be posted.

For more information, please visit the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/riverrollandstroll/ or email at RiverRollandStroll@gmail.com

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