Extravaganja brings thousands to downtown Amherst; impacts local businesses

24th annual Extravaganja took over the town common in Amherst on Saturday

The 24th annual ‘Extravaganja' drew thousands of people from around the region to Amherst on Saturday.The event is one of the largest marijuana legalization gatherings in the Northeast which affected local downtown businesses.“It's very good for us,” Mark Wootton, co-owner of Amherst Books on Main Street said. “Especially on a day with good weather like this.”“If you ask them (business owners) they'll tell you it's the biggest or second biggest day of the year,” Reza Rahmani, owner of Moti Restaurant said.However, bigger events don't necessarily mean they are better according to some long-time business owners.“Not all big events downtown are great,” Nick Seamon, owner of The Black Sheep on Main Street said. “This is a great one for us. We're on the map. Sometimes there's events in downtown Amherst that keep the locals away from town which we're not in favor of.”As noted on Friday by Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone, the stability of the event is in question due to the large crowd.“For a few years, I said look, you guys are getting a little bit too big for the town common,” Livingstone said.Livingstone has suggested nearby locations for the event to be held where it could be safer for all involved while allowing businesses to still see traffic in downtown Amherst.Copyright 2015 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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