Spring Fling Rocks! Spring Fling Sucks!

I attended Spring Fling with my kids yesterday. We ate pizza, drank lemonade and got some hugs and kisses along the way from friends we don’t often see about town. The layout of our city, with no ‘center’, makes it most unlikely you will run into someone so to be at an event that encourages that seems to me, and my kids, to be a good thing. I take it as a sign of success when my kids want to attend an event , like Spring Fling, that the event has good vibe and energy.

By most measures, I’d consider Spring FLing 2015 a success — many booths, many people.

But then I remembered this Recorder campaign piece editorial which minced no words on what a hell hole Amsterdam really is:

A handful of white rocks, some pretty tulips, and a few hundred bags of winter trash are the lipstick on a pig when it comes to the blight that scars so many of our neighborhoods. Everyone sees it. And those who can’t — or won’t — admit it are those who carry an agenda.

A stranger need do no more than enter Amsterdam from the east along Route 5 to see what any right-thinking person would consider as the place to start. Attitudes about Amsterdam that are formulated by those who don’t live here are not entirely based on fiction, hearsay and lies. They are based on eyesight.


The city of Amsterdam gives Montgomery County a bad name.


So it’s funny to read this recent story by the very same newspaper:

According to Kevin McClary, publisher of The Recorder and the major sponsor of Spring Fling, “Amsterdam’s downtown is the perfect venue for the event. People have an opportunity to experience the location and appreciate what it is becoming. The Recorder is proud to be a major sponsor of Spring Fling again this year. It’s a great community building event with something for everyone.”

And then yesterday’s editorial:

Spring Fling is an event that grows every year. The fact that it takes place downtown serves only to bolster attempts by the community to shine a bright light on the center of our little city and show the progress being made there.

As has been mentioned in the past, many people don’t normally give Amsterdam’s Main Street the attention it deserves. It winds up being just a traffic pattern to get people through the city. It’s nice when people can take the time to enjoy what’s down there. Spring Fling also helps Main Street businesses get noticed. There is room for growth downtown and the more people who are exposed to this potential, the more opportunities there are for that growth.

Come on guys, it’s embarrassing. You need to stick to a consistent talking point. While I recognize the editorial intent is to campaign against Mayor Thane, you must choose only one talking point as the editorials cannot be true at the same time. So choose:

Choice 1: Amsterdam is a hell hole and as such no one would invest time and resources into such events as Spring Fling, especially a stone’s throw from the dismal East End. And no rational business , seeing such a hell hole, would certainly taint its brand and reputation by sponsoring an event  in such proximity to not only a local embarrassment but, by golly, an embarrassment to the entire county. No progress has been made in the city.


Choice 2: While Amsterdam has some problems, Amsterdam does have some positives.  Spring Fling represents a positive and successful effort to draw and to bring folks into the downtown. Local businesses sponsor this event as a way to highlight some of the good things happening in the city. Sure, a lot of folks will always disparage and put down the city, like aforementioned editorials, but the city needs to embrace some of the positives and work to countering its negative perceptions. We need to celebrate the progress being made in the city.

You really need to choose one even if it is campaign season.


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