Monster truck show to proceed at Franklin County Fairgrounds despite noise complaints

Plane Krazy takes off over a pile of crushed cars at the Overdrive Monster Truck Show at the Franklin County Fair in 2023. Another monster truck show will be held at the fairgrounds on Saturday, June 29, having received approval from the Greenfield Board of License Commissioners on Tuesday.

Plane Krazy takes off over a pile of crushed cars at the Overdrive Monster Truck Show at the Franklin County Fair in 2023. Another monster truck show will be held at the fairgrounds on Saturday, June 29, having received approval from the Greenfield Board of License Commissioners on Tuesday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-20-2024 2:30 PM

Modified: 06-20-2024 4:59 PM


GREENFIELD — Though community members aired their concerns with safety and noise levels, the Overdrive Monster Truck Show is moving forward at the Franklin County Fairgrounds next weekend, following approval from the Board of License Commissioners on Tuesday.

The show, scheduled for Saturday, June 29, opens with a matinee performance at 10 a.m. featuring a display of stationary monster trucks and their drivers, with the first appearance of monster trucks on the track set for 12:30 p.m.

“For the next hour and a half, it will be increments of monster trucks competing. It will generally be about seven minutes of monster trucks running, then 10 minutes of nothing happening,” explained Gideon Bernard, owner of Bernard Motorsports LCC that organizes the Overdrive Monster Truck Show.

Bernard said the monster truck competition will end at approximately 9 p.m. and that the show uses remote ignition interrupters — devices capable of remotely stopping an engine from afar in the event of an emergency — to ensure the safety of both the crowd and the drivers.

In response to residents’ concerns about the level of noise produced by the trucks, Bernard noted that for every 10 to 15 minutes of monster truck activity, the trucks only make significant noise — which Bernard estimated to be an average of 90 decibels at their peak operation — for about five to seven minutes.

Michael Nelson, president of the Franklin County Agricultural Society that runs the Franklin County Fairgrounds, added that this year, the venue will shift the location of the monster truck competition in an effort to mitigate the level of disruption for neighbors.

“Last year, when we did the shows, we had the main truck show take place on the grandstand during that 90-minute time slot, but during the truck ride portion of it, the actual rides took place around the track, adjacent to Fairview Street and Wisdom Way, right next to all the houses,” Nelson said. “[This year] we’re actually going to move that portion of the event lower, behind the fairgrounds. Where the Ferris wheel and the rides are during the fair, there’s an area and clearing behind there where we’re looking to do it.”

Still, some fairgrounds neighbors, such as Paul Jablon of Fairview Street, believe that even with the noise mitigation efforts, the Overdrive Monster Truck Show will still serve as a nuisance to neighbors.

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“It means over a six-hour period when the monster trucks are there, you have 28 minutes every hour for six hours of monster trucks. Sure, it’s a seven-minute thing, but we’re going to be sitting on our front steps or inside our living room for six hours of 28 minutes an hour of monster trucks,” Jablon said.

When resident Armene Margosian inquired about the applicant’s health and safety impact review — a required element of the license application process — Bernard noted he has not yet produced a formal report, but that the company’s trucks use methanol, which he described as a “clean-burning fuel” and gasoline, rather than diesel. He said there are no health risks associated with the show.

Margosian asked for more “empirical data” on the trucks’ emissions and their potential impact on the public’s health and well-being, to which Nelson replied that a general overview of health risk factors typically satisfies the requirement. He said he did not believe the Board of License Commissioners has ever required that thorough of a health study from any other applicant.

After numerous residents echoed Margosian and Jablon’s concerns about the show’s potential for noise and smoke nuisance, commissioner Alan Ball mentioned there were also plenty of community members who valued the show and its impact on the city.

Addressing concerns about air pollution, Greenfield Communications Director Matthew Conway said the city will purchase an air quality monitoring system that will be stationed at the fairgrounds 24/7. He said results from the device will be available online.

“We have received a number of issues from the residents,” Ball said. “We have also received many, many, many people indicating that these events draw people in here, they draw money into the town and they are fully backing this event. ... We have received a con and a pro this year that we have to consider.”

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at acammalleri@recorder.com or 413-930-4429.