Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe has held his annual clambake for the past 36 years.
"I just feel so blessed. I think it starts with the philosophy of the Sheriff's Department and plus the great staff I've been able to hire over the years," said Ashe.
There may be plenty of food, drinks and conversation, but Sheriff Ashe's yearly tradition is also turning into a political who's who.
"This event always part of the election season kick-off, anyone who's elected that's running for office or wants to be in office, they show up at this event," said Congressman Richard Neal.
From top ranking officials and gubernatorial candidates, to local Western Mass. mayors, Ashe's clambake has become a melting pot for politicians on both sides of the isle.
"To have a chance to come out and see some of my friends and colleagues from Western Mass. it's a little bit of a treat," said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
"I've been coming to the sheriff's event for a long time, not as long as he's been doing it, but it's great," said Massachusetts State Representative Don Humason.
"I've been coming to this event for the past 12 years," said East Longmeadow Selectman Debra Boronski.
And it's the gathering of all these officials that shines a bright spotlight on Springfield.
"It's a tradition to come to Sheriff Ashe's clambake, and there's a lot of good people here," said West Springfield Mayor Gregory Neffinger.
The gathering of these politicians has shined a bright spotlight on Springfield.
"This is an event that's not only known county wide, but state wide and sometimes nationally. I'm glad it's in Springfield,"said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Ashe says it's the spirit of the sheriff's department that has allowed the event to continue for nearly four decades.
"We're always showing respect and valuing people no matter where they're from," said Ashe.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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