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This year, it takes a village to put on Moonlight Magic

By MAUREEN O ’R E I L LY Staff Writer

SHELBURNE FALLS — This year’s Moonlight Magic will be more labor intensive for many area business owners. The event itself always brings a rush of visitors and shoppers on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but this year, a band of local business owners are volunteering their time to organize the entire event.

When the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association announced this fall that it would be unable to provide staff to organize Moonlight Magic — as it had done for many years — Molly Cantor, owner of Molly Cantor Pottery, stepped up to the plate.

“I was like, ‘It has to happen!’” Cantor said, who quickly organized a meeting that was attended by 23 local business owners, all of whom pledged to help organize Moonlight Magic, which will be held Nov. 29.

“She’s the one who took the bull by the horns and came around to us,” said Ken Eisenstein of Boswell’s Books.

“(Local business owners) were pretty emotional about the fact that it was something for the whole town, for the whole community, and something that we have to keep alive,” Eisenstein said.

Now, Cantor finds herself as the helm of a brigade of volunteers, which has been divided into committees that will handle such topics as organizing the parade, event promotion,

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vendors, creating a program, as well as other logistics, like lighting luminaria.

The group is running an online fundraiser at bit.ly/ 36JpfhQ.

Cantor said that the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association left materials to help the business owners/volunteers organize the event.

With organizing still in progress, Cantor and Eisenstein were mum about event specifics, which will be hammered out in the coming weeks.

For business owners, working to organize the event has given them a change in perspective.

“I don’t normally pick my head up enough to see the whole picture,” Cantor said, adding that for the 22 years that she’s owned her business, this is the first time she’s experienced all of the effort that goes into planning and organizing.

“I think it’s great so many people are involved,” she said.

“I feel good being a part of it. Previously, when the business association ran it, I was more concerned with ‘Well, I don’t have time to volunteer,’” Eisenstein said, who has owned the bookstore with his wife since 2012.

Eisenstein added that because Moonlight Magic is a very busy night for his business, he has often felt that he experiences the evening vicariously.

“I’m enjoying the fact that we’re doing it all together as a volunteer effort,” he said. “It’s given us a different sense. ... We have a feeling of enjoyment ourselves.” Reach Maureen O’Reilly at moreilly@recorder.com or at 413-772-0261, ext. 280.

Scenes from the 2015 Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls. This year, a band of local business owners are volunteering their time to organize the entire event.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PERRY FULLER

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