NORTH ADAMS -- Ominous clouds and sporadic rain didn't stop hundreds from attending the Crystal Hard Hat Canal Street Family Fair on Sunday to benefit Shriners Hospital for Children of Springfield, with organizers pledging to host the event again next year.
More than 60 vendors lined Canal Street into Sunday night offering food, jewelry, art, clothing and other goods.
Children enjoyed bounce houses and games while their parents admired old cars and motorcycles, took part in a Chinese auction of more than 80 items and enjoyed the rock ‘n' roll of band Red Handed.
"We're proud of our turnout," Crystal Hard Hat Saloon owner Todd Hebert said. "And we're not going to let it go. We're going to run it again next year."
The final figures weren't in Sunday, but a dunk tank raked in money all day and donations from places like Pizza Jim's and the Elks Lodge came in throughout the afternoon and venders reported good sales.
Johnny Mystic, a magician, said it was his first time at the fair, and complimented the crowd and participating vendors. He said the food was especially good.
"The magician's really digging the egg rolls," Mystic said.
He was also glad to see the weather held out.
"The sun gods defeated the rain gods," he said. "I did my dance and said the magic words."
Sunday marked Hebert's sixth time raising money for the hospital and second year hosting the fair. With the help of nonprofit organizer Nathan Samson, 50 new vendors were recruited this year and the event enjoyed enormous growth.
Hebert stressed throughout a interview with the Transcript on Sunday that, "it's all about the kids."
"It's not about me or Nate or [organizer Jim Sisto]," he said. "We're just an instrument. Supporting the kids is the main goal. I believe every one is good and deserves a fair chance at life. It's very exciting and rewarding to know you did something important for someone else."
Nathan Samson, who helped organize the event for the second straight year, agreed.
"It's a community trying to do good for others," he said. "We've been working for months to get these venders here. ... Everybody knows what we're about."
Shriners Hospital cares for children with neuromusculoskeletal disorders and diseases, or cleft lips or palates. Through the efforts of Hebert and others, more than $17,000 had been raised before Sunday.
Hebert said he'll continue taking donations at the bar until the money is delivered in November.
He's even instituted ways of collecting at the event. Anyone who broke a glass had to put a few dollars in the jar, he said.
"Even when my bartenders break one, it costs them," he said.
Samson and Hebert thanked local businesses in the city, Adams and Williamstown, for giving generously to the event, and all those who took part in organizing. However, they wished for more support from the city itself in the future. They said, unlike other charities, they were made to pay for police coverage, eating into the forthcoming donation, and no city officials attended.
To reach Phil Demers, email