Discover Holyoke kicks off on Saturday

The Republican
Saturday, October 22, 2018
By Lori Stabile

HOLYOKE – It was all about discovering Holyoke on Saturday. 

The third annual Discover Holyoke Day, organized by PassportHolyoke, kicked off Saturday morning at Wistariahurst Museum and featured events throughout the day – historic tours of the city, museums, theater and dance performances, workshops, children’s crafts and more. 

“I just got here,” said city resident Mary G. Potyrala, “I want to check out the performances and performing arts. I like just the feel of having a party. This is fun stuff.” 

Marianne Holden, operations manager for the Merry-Go-Round, called the event “terrific” and an affordable way to explore what the city has to offer. For only a dollar, patrons could buy a wristband that allowed them free or discounted access to the events around the city. 

Melissa D. Boisselle, president of PassportHolyoke and director of Wistariahurst Museum, said the idea was for visitors to spend an entire day in the city, and give them a variety of events from which to choose. 

“There’s a misconception that there’s not enough to do for the entire day,” Boisselle said. 

A double-decker Peter Pan bus drove visitors around the city on a sightseeing tour. It drove by City Hall, Open Square, Heritage State Park, the dam, and also gave riders a view of Mt. Tom, according to city historian and Wistariahurst curator Penni Martorell. 

Inside Open Square, Jeanette D. Crumb, of Belchertown, was getting ready to do her cupcake decorating demonstration. She had festive creations on display – cupcakes with witch faces, skeletons, ghosts, spiders and a graveyard scene. There also were a few with flower designs. All the decorations were edible, and she brought materials so visitors could try decorating cupcakes themselves. 

“It’s just so wonderful when you see folks make their first rose. They get so excited,” Crumb said. 

Over at the library, evening children’s librarian Jason M. Lefebvre was offering a craft program, similar to what the library hosts on Wednesday nights. Children also received a free book and bag for visiting. 

Parked outside the Merry-Go-Round was a stationary train from the Pioneer Valley Railroad that visitors could explore. 

Kathy A. and Richard Cote, of Chicopee, brought their 2-year-old granddaughter Aubrey Merrick, on the train. Aubrey called it “spooky” and “good.” 

They also had just arrived and were checking out the list of activities being offered. 

“We were anxious to see this,” said Kathy Cote, adding they visit the Merry-Go-Round regularly. 

Events continue until 4 p.m. Information can be found on the PassportHolyoke website:

Holyoke plans push for visitors

The Republican
Friday, June 24, 2005
By John Appleton

HOLYOKE – Several organizations are joining forces to promote their cultural, recreational, and educational events together with a new logo for PassportHolyoke to increase awareness and attract more people.

“I think this is going to allow the person looking for something to do in Holyoke to see all these things going on, rather than try to find them piecemeal,” said Kathleen Anderson, who coordinated yesterday’s logo unveiling on behalf of Mayor Michael J. Sullivan .

“It advertises the city in a much better way,” she said.

Sullivan said that the linking of the organizations in promoting their own and each other’s activities will help get people in Western Massachusetts thinking of Holyoke as a destination.

Standing at Heritage State Park in front of the merry-go-round and looking across the park to the Volleyball Hall of Fame and the Children’s Museum, Sullivan said, “Holyoke is a great place to spend time in the summer.

PassportHolyoke has been in existence for a few years, but with the logo there is a renewed effort for its members to work together coordinating events and promoting them.

Most of the organizations in Passport Holyoke are non-profit corporations, such as the Enchanted Circle Theater, Holyoke Merry-Go-Round, and the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Other non-profit participants are the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, the Children’s Museum, the city’s Civic Symphony Orchestra, Wistariahurst Museum, and the Wire Monkey Dance Company.

Solutions Inc., a relatively new member, has taken over the sponsorship of Latin music nights planned downtown for Thursdays in August.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department and Public Library are also participating, promoting sports events, park activities, and the library’s history room.

The state is involved through Heritage State Park.

Affiliate members include the Canal Gallery, The Log Cabin, Open Square, and cdeVision, an advertising business that designed the logo for PassportHolyoke.

Parks and Recreation Director Carolyn L. Porter said that working as a group helps the members get the word out beyond Holyoke.

“We have a lot of things that are a regional draw, like the Holyoke Giants games,” she said.

Jerry Fitzsimons, president of the Volleyball Hall of Fame, sees PassportHolyoke as a way to lower promotion costs for individual organizations and draw people who are visiting nearby venues.

Maureen Costello, director of the Merry-Go-Round, said this is particularly important for the venues at Heritage State Park.

“Increased traffic will help all and will preserve this beautiful merry-go-round,” she said.