Amsterdam

Spring Fling kicks off festival season in Amsterdam

Jourdain DeJesus, 7, of Fort Johnson is all smiles as Theresa McCabe of Amsterdam hands her a balloon monkey from her QT Pie Productions vendor booth at the annual Spring Fling returned after a two-year hiatus to the city Saturday, May 14, 2022.
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Jourdain DeJesus, 7, of Fort Johnson is all smiles as Theresa McCabe of Amsterdam hands her a balloon monkey from her QT Pie Productions vendor booth at the annual Spring Fling returned after a two-year hiatus to the city Saturday, May 14, 2022.

AMSTERDAM — The festival season officially kicked off in the City of Amsterdam on Saturday with the return of Spring Fest in downtown Amsterdam.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon Main Street in Amsterdam was filled with booths for businesses, food vendors, politicians, political candidates, not-for-profit organizations with hundreds of smiling faces, both young and old, milling about.

Free rides, face painting for children, live music and more were once again provided through a sponsorship by The Sentinel of Amsterdam in partnership with the city after a two-year hiatus due to gathering restrictions from the novel coronavirus.

“We haven’t done this in a while, it’s been a minute because of the COVID,” Barbara Reinoso of Amsterdam said. “Everybody is anxious and this is great.”

Reinoso, like others, missed the annual event.

“It was boring, nothing to do in Amsterdam,” Reinoso said. “We need human interaction.”

Amsterdam native Kat Laurador embraced the return of Spring Fling.

“As a kid I loved going on the rides and now I just love seeing everyone bringing their businesses together, everyone coming together as one,” Labrador said, taking in the afternoon with friend Angel Sanchez who was eating his second chicken kabob of the afternoon.

Nicole Hemsley, director at Amsterdam Free Library, sat beneath a tent in the middle of the action on Main Street Saturday afternoon talking to patrons and enjoying another fresh squeezed lemonade from one of the food vendors.

The library is located just a block away from the Spring Fling street festival, but Hemsley chose to be front and center with the festival goers.

“I think the pandemic was hard on a lot of people emotionally,” she said. “We saw it at the library ourselves that a lot of people come in sometimes just because they are lonely, it might have been their only stop of the day. To be able to see the community gathered again out in the public like this, it’s just heartwarming. We wanted to make sure we were a part of that.”

Unofficially the 2022 installment of Spring Fling may have had its largest turnout on record.

“We have 130 vendors this year,” Michele Pawlik, assistant recreation director for the City of Amsterdam said. “Talking to the vendors they are having the best time of their lives and they are selling out of food, selling out of drinks, selling out of everything. They’re happy to be back downtown, back in Amsterdam and back here at everyone’s favorite event.”

Pawlik said Spring Fling is the city’s official kick-off to a full slate of summer events.

“Spring Fling was the start of all of our festivals,” Pawlik said. “Without it (for the past two years) we didn’t have festivals [due to COVID-19 restrictions]. Now we have more than 33 events throughout the entire city.”

The location of Spring Fest was expected to highlight businesses in the downtown area.

“It’s amazing for these downtown businesses to get people finally walking into their stores,” Pawlik said. “We have so many storefronts here.

“We’re back, we’re ready to go, we’re ready for 2022 and this is a great kick-off to that.”

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