ATHOL Following a day of giving folks sleigh rides at his ranch, Chris Boggia of Chestertown stepped inside the Thurman Town Hall Saturday to join the annual Jack Wax Party.
Boggia tilted up his cowboy hat and listened to Hoddy Ovitt and band performing their mountain music for a capacity crowd.
“I love this,” he said, pulling a bandanna from around his neck. “I come here every year — the food is great, the music is super and it’s so friendly — this is like a community gathering should be.”
Marge Swan stood in line waiting to get to the long serving counter, where volunteers were dishing up plates of food.
“I’ve been attending since the 1950s,” she said. “It’s quite a mob here — it’s wonderful how many people turn out, with all the money going towards a cure for cancer — I’ve been through that.”
About 200 people enjoyed friendly conversation, hearty home-cooked food and country music at the party that’s heralded springtime in Thurman for at least 75 years.
Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood, who along with Paula Hubert was shepherding people to seats as others exited, said she recalled attending the Jack Wax party as a little girl — working at the fest as a teen for long-time Jack Wax organizer Jean Reynolds.
“This is the high point of March for me,” she said. “It’s a big Thurman tradition.”
Jean Reynolds’ widower, Rex Reynolds Jr., sat watching his great-grandson Rex the Fifth experience his first taste ever of Jack Wax, fed to him by Rex IV.
The elder Rex recalled how as a boy in the 1930s, he attended the Jack Wax Party at the old Methodist church, which until recent decades stood down the road a bit from the town hall.
“I love seeing this party continue through the years like it has,” he said. “There’s no place I know of that puts on a party like this.”