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June 4, 2014

Traffic 'disaster' ends Kimball Farm events

This weekend's KidsFEST will be the last large event there for a while


The council considered three future events at Kimball Farm last night: Foam Fest on June 21 and 22, Dirty Girl Mud Run on July 19 and Mudderella on Sept. 6. They rejected them all.

Councilors said they would allow Sunday’s KidsFEST event to go on as scheduled because it was previously approved.

“We’ve been watching events at that beautiful property and we’ve tried to be flexible, but it’s gotten out of hand,” Councilor William Ryan said. “This past weekend there were so many cars that it created a crisis. Cars were backed up four miles for 495. It was a disaster.”

Meredith Robinson, sales director for Front Office Events LLC of Amesbury, said her company was caught off guard Saturday when about 1,000 more vehicles than were expected began arriving for the Color Me Rad race. She said all participants began arriving between 7 and 9 in the morning. She that was unusual for races at the farm, which usually have staggered start times so participants don’t all arrive at once.

Robinson said her company began letting people onto the farm property without paying to get vehicles off the street as fast as possible. By that time it was too late, however.

“This was the first we had a mass-start like this, and the first time we had a problem like this,” Robinson said. “The roads there are too narrow for a mass-start race, but not for the kind of events we have coming up.”

Front Office Events, a spin-off of Amesbury Sports Park, was scheduled to hold seven events through September at Kimball Farm. Robinson has said her company has an agreement with Tyler Kimball, a city firefighter whose family owns Kimball Farm, to hold events there. She said her company pays Kimball a fee for each event from parking revenue.

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