CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - Visitors to western Massachusetts have come from all over the globe to admire something they don't have back home: Western Massachusetts fall foliage.
"Originally the idea was to come see the foliage which is spectacular, it's a great view up here on Mt. Sugarloaf, but we were treated to a tremendous folk dancing performance by a number of people from the region," said New York City visitor Stuart Goldman.
Columbus Day weekend, the weekend that brings people from all over the country to experience the fall foliage right here in western Massachusetts. For the first time in two years, Franklin County is enjoying beautiful, vivid colors. In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene flooded Shelburne Falls and much of Franklin County which not only ruined the fall colors, but ruined their tourism season.
Paul St. Martin, owner of West End Pub, told 22News, "This has been a great foliage season. Last year, it didn't seem all that busy, maybe the colors were subdued a little bit, but this year has been really busy since it started mid-September."
2012 was a very wet season as well. Over 8 inches of rain fell across western Massachusetts over the 2 month foliage season. Fall leaf color is heavily influenced by the September and October weather. Wetter-than-normal conditions will produce less vivid colors and cause the leaves to drop early.
The weather this year has been nothing short of perfection. We've had a long stretch of mild, sunny days along with crisp, cool nights. Sharp, daily temperature swings along with the decrease in daylight have played vital roles in the development of leaf color.
"The foliage - I think it's turning a little later, but they're still [the leaves] looking really great. When they get hit by the sun, it really lights them up," said Ben Dubeau of Wrentham, MA.
In addition to the fall foliage, there are a few events going on in Franklin County, including the Ashfield Fall Festival and Celebrate the Harvest Festival in Orange.