The Recorder – Trolleyfest to connect attendees with old-fashioned lifestyle


Published: 9/21/2022 1:46:21 PM

Modified: 9/21/2022 1:45:41 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Long before Franklin County had the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) bus system, the Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway operated Trolley No. 10.

Each year, the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum celebrates the 1999 restoration of the trolley, which carried passengers, freight, schoolchildren and mail between the two towns until 1927. The event, called Trolleyfest, will be in full swing on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 11 am to 5 pm at the museum, 14 Depot St.

Trolley No. 10 is turning 126 this year. It was built by the Wason Manufacturing Co. of Springfield and was considered state-of-the-art when it was made, having both lights and electric heaters. It has never left the Connecticut River Valley, having been used to take people across what is now the Bridge of Flowers.

At Saturday’s festival, attendees can ride Trolley No. 10 and experience what it was like to travel in the hilltowns in the early 20th century.

“It is connection to the lifestyle people used to have,” Marie Bartlett, Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum volunteer and director of special events, said of Trolleyfest.

Trolley No. 10 is not the only vehicle people will be able to ride. Visitors will also be welcome to ride the speeder, pump car and velocipede.

The non-motorized pump car runs when its passengers push the handles, moving the vehicle with collective force.

“It’s plain fun,” Bartlett said. “People always laugh when they ride it.”

Volunteers will be dressed in the clothes that were common 100 years ago, reenacting what life was like back when the trolley was in service.

While the trolley and other vehicles are the main draw, Bartlett said, there will be many other activities for families at Trolleyfest. Visitors can participate in hands-on demonstrations of cider making, butter making, tool making, weaving and milking a model cow. Demos will take place from 11 am to 3 pm

Additionally, referencing the vinegar that used to be made in the Colrain Cider Mill, there will be a vinegar demonstration. Pickles, copper polishing and the old-fashioned drink switchel, which are all done or made using vinegar, will be available to try.

“Its an exciting time because we like being able to more extensively connect the trolley and community to what life was like 100 years ago,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett, who authored “The Little Yellow Trolley Car” about Trolley Car No. 10, will read her children’s book to visitors at 1:15 pm Music by “Whistle Stop” and train movies will also play throughout the day.

Also available for train enthusiasts is the Railroad Paraphernalia Tag Sale. A large number of Lionel brand model trains will be for sale.

Adult passes are $4 and youth passes are $2, with children under 6 years old being admitted free. For more information, visit sftm.org.

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.

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