AMESBURY — Crying children, frustrated parents and many complaints directed at the Amesbury Sports Park threaten to overshadow Saturday’s cancer-related fundraiser that garnered more than $30,000 and drew thousands of people to the South Hunt Road facility to take part in the first of its kind Eggdrop-Palooza.
The event, which featured a helicopter dropping thousands of candy-filled plastic Easter eggs to be picked up by children ages 1 to 18 as quickly as possible, was created to raise money for local charity Lucy’s Love Bus. The charity, whose goal is to comfort to children with cancer through grants for integrative therapies, was founded by Lucy Grogan who died six years ago of leukemia at age 12, four years after being diagnosed. Today, the charity is run by Lucy’s mother, Beecher Grogan, who coordinated Eggdrop-Palooza.
Beecher Grogan said all 5,000 advance sales tickets sold out quickly. An additional 500 tickets were made available the morning of the egg drop, but those too sold out quickly. That didn’t stop thousands of non-ticket holders from arriving at the park, overwhelming parking lots and creating massive traffic jams that stretched all the way back onto Interstate 495, prompting the state police to intervene.
Amesbury Sports Park director of sales Meredith Robinson yesterday admitted to problems related to the event and said officials would be sifting through the aftermath to ensure the next large-scale event runs smoother.
“Of course there are things we could have done differently,” Robinson said. “There’s always something to learn and we’d be absolutely foolish not to look into it.”
Immediately following Saturday’s event, Grogan and Amesbury Sports Park officials took to Facebook to issue lengthy apologies.
“That extra traffic quickly filled up our designated parking lots. In an effort to move vehicles more quickly, we made parking free in many lots and pulled volunteers from other areas to meet the increased demand, but long wait lines in traffic and for shuttles were experienced by many people. This is a first time event for Lucy’s Love Bus at the Amesbury Sports Park and we will be meeting with the event organizers this evening to conduct a comprehensive review of the event, and review all necessary changes that would be required for all future events. Despite their best efforts and meticulous planning, some hard lessons were learned today,” according to a message written by Amesbury Sports Park officials and placed on its Facebook page.