The city gets a jump-start on the county's holiday season by lighting Main Street's two Christmas trees on Thanksgiving Eve.
Mayor Richard Alcombright will take his first turn at flipping the switch to light up the downtown on Wedneday, Nov. 24, 6:30 p.m. at Monument Square.
The celebration includes, of course, the Drury High School band directed by Chris Caproni, the arrival of Santa Claus on the historic North Adams Trolley bearing gifts of coloring books, crayons, candy canes and scavenger hunt maps of downtown businesses. Goodie bags will be handed out to the first 500 children.
Afterward, the band will go caroling along the downtown, kicking off the monthlong "North Adams Hometown Holidays" event, an initiative of the North Adams downtown merchants and Develop North Adams to showcase the shopping and services available in the city — and to encourage residents to buy local.
The evening will include a treasure hunt within participating businesses for the kids, drawings and music, plus a marshmallow roast, hot cocoa and treats and an appearance by "Jolly the Reindeer."
Window displays are already going up throughout the downtown (the best will get an award later in the month) and plans are to stay open on the traditional Thursday nights (Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23) when downtown patrons can search for the "mystery shopper" to win a prize. Look for clues to the shopper's identity on iBerkshires (we'll let you know when they post).
On Dec. 2, city galleries will open their doors for "DownStreet Art on Ice," featuring the 99-cent-and-up art sale at MCLA Gallery 51 (get there early because the bargains go fast) and other related activities.
Specials and sponsorships for Hometown Holiday events are offered by Shima, the Party Place, Desperados, Bark 'N' Cat, Creations, Elf Parlor, Persnickety Toys, Christo's Famous Pizza, Jack's Hot Dogs, K-M Motors, Mia's Consignment, Martha Flood Design, Gallery 51, Empire Antiques, Papyri Books, Edward Jones and Dilego's Jewelry Store. Tranquil Moments Day Spa, Petrino's Cafe, Holiday Inn and Richmond Grille, Physical Therapy of North Adams, I Got Goodies, Dion Money Management and Supreme Pizza and Wings also offer specials and/or sponsorship.
Other sponsors include Develop North Adams, the city of North Adams, the North Adams Transcript, and Donovan and O'Connor, Attorneys at Law. The North Adams Office of Tourism is grateful to Landmark Credit Union, Cascade School Supplies, Big Y Supermarket and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts for their help in staging the tree lighting.
For more information about the tree lighting or any city event, contact the North Adams Office of Tourism at 413-664-6180.
What are those kids doing in your yard? Don't panic, they may just be trying to tell you about ways to stay safe.
Students from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Public Safety, the city and Develop North Adams are partnering this Saturday, Oct. 9, to coordinate a neighborhood walk to promote and inform residents about general neighborhood and public safety. The activity is part of MCLA's 2010 Fall Community Day of Service.
From about 9 to noon, MCLA student volunteers, police and firefighters will be handing out some basic informational neighborhood safety sheets to North Adams residents. They will be in the neighborhood around the Alcombright Field to take advantage of the families attending the youth soccer leagues games and will try to visit other parts of Greylock and Blackinton.
The trolley will pick up the 23 students on campus and bring them to police and fire station. They will get a tour of the facility and a pep talk, receive the informational materials and then head out to hand out the public safety information.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The downpour stopped long enough Friday evening to allow the Fall Foliage Children's Parade to march down Main Street in North Adams. The drizzle was enough to make the Drury High School band bow out.
But the children were real troopers, with 57 registered and walking in the parade. Once again the costumes were wonderful with lots of heroes (the festival's theme this year was "Our Heroes") including mothers, firefighters, teachers, police, astronauts, cowboys, chefs and more. Slider from the North Adams SteepleCats greeted the kids as they waited for the parade to start and marched with them.
A North Adams Police cruiser led the way and a pair of officers on bike patrol pulled up the rear. Rep. Daniel E. Bosley led the parade down Main Street as a small but very passionate crowd cheered on the kids as they marched to City Hall. Greeting the kids at City Hall was Mayor Richard Alcombright, Rod Bunt from the Mayor's Office of Tourism, Christine Hoyt from the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, City Councilor Lisa Blackmer and Sen. Benjamin B. Downing.
All participants received ribbons and were recognized for their spirit, creativity and coming out on a gloomy evening. Plus, trophies and gift certificates were awarded in various categories.
Thanks were offered to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts students and Pi Upsilon Omega sorority members Rebecca MCauley, Joanna Gillis, Melanie Callanan, Jessica Krason, Colleen Whalen, Anita Alvarez, Noal Fafard, Jaynelle Bellemore and Madison Hogan, and Kappa Delta Phi sorority members Jessica Fratus, Alyssa LaManna, Kasey Harrington, Sara Giovine, Shelby Ferriere and Emily Minns for their help in setting up, registration, judging and cleaning up at the end.
1st NAFD: Emily Feder and Taia Byers
2nd: The Chef and his lobster, friends Liliana Pisano and Dominick Pisano
1st: Teachers (including their class pet): Jackson Harnick, Danielle Harnick, Alyssa Russell, Ainsley Russell, Daphne Catelotti
2nd: Moms Hayden Gillooly, Julia Cellanna, Caroline Cellanna, Emma Polumbo, Josh Polumbo, Sarah Polumbo, Will McDonough, Ben McDonough
This year's Autumn Arts & Crafts Festival packed the sunny side of Main Street on Saturday; on the east end, the second annual ROPES Day included kids' games, a small car show and a Jack's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The fair, a tiny event for years, was significantly expanded this year under volunteer coordinator Jennifer Barbeau. (It wouldn't have happened at all if Barbeau and her cadre of volunteers hadn't stepped in.) Some 78 vendors ranging from food to jewelry to arts to a wide range of crafts set up along the both sides of Main Street's eastbound lane.
Above, the local team claims victory in the hot dog eating contest. Top, the Drury High marching band at the Fall Foliage Parade. Left, visitors begin arriving at the craft fair early Saturday.
It was a 100 percent a success ... the vendors were thrilled," said Barbeau late Saturday afternoon as fair disbanded. "We're already looking for ways to improve this for next year."
With the exception of a handful, the participating merchants were happy with both the crowd that was attracted and the amoung of sales, the bulk of which came between 10 and 2. A lof those who attended were tourists, a good sign, said Barbeau, who noted that the fair was up against the well-established harvest and craft fairs at Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge and Hildene in Manchester, Vt.
"There were visitors from everywhere," said Helene Armet of Babycakes. "I'd do it again."
In fact, more than a few vendors stopped on their way out to compliment Barbeau, who operates two businesses out of her home when she isn't organizing craft fairs. With no budget, Barbeau got out the word with social media, signs everywhere and appearances on local radio. A stint on the "Opinion Show" on WNAW prompted a rash of calls from interested vendors. The fair will return next year and a survey will be sent to vendors to find out what worked and what could be improved.
Batman and Superman wave from a parade float.
The afternoon was supplemented by ROPES Family Fun Day, a fundraiser for the North Adams Police-sponsored summer camp (Respecting Other People Encouraging Self-Esteem) that puts kids through a ropes course to building team spirit and self-esteem. The day began with a pancake breakfast at the VFW and a 60-mile motorcycle run.
"It was a good pace and everyone had a good time," said Officer Erik Thomas, an organizer of the event with Lt. David Sacco, who added, "There was great participation all around."
Both said they hoped to grow the car and motorcycle show, which still had a better turnout than last year's wet day. The doughnut eating contest was cancelled this year for lack of participants but they hope to revive it next year.
The dog eating contest went on — but without the Ephs, who got spanked by MCLA 88-62 last year. Williams cancelled Friday night but the townies stepped up to defeat champs MCLA by 70-54. The dogs were donated by Jack's Hot Dogs owner Jeff Levanos again and, this year, everything stayed down, said Sacco.
The ROPES organizers and Barbeau worked closely the last few weeks but Barbeau is hoping to integrate both events better for next year.
Also on Saturday was the first Dog Day of Fall Parade. Sunday, of course, was parade day with thousands lining Curran Highway, State Street and Main Street to watch the bands, floats, politicians and Shriners go by.
Look for photos Monday from the Friday's Children's Parade, the Fall Foliage Parade and the Dog Day of Fall Parade.
Mayor Alcombright and Donna Bernardi-Briggs took a bucket ride to hang the ribbons.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Today at noon, Mayor Richard Alcombright and members of the American Cancer Society marked October Breast Cancer Awareness month by hanging pink ribbons from a period light fixture on the south side of Main Street.
Among the participants were Traci Heath and Laura Baran, community executives of development for the American Cancer Society, New England Division; North Adams City Council Vice President Lisa Blackmer, whose mother died of cancer earlier this year; and survivors Donna Bernardi-Briggs, Shirley Wolfe and Bernice "Red" Alcombright, the mayor's mother.
Quadlands and Mount Williams Greenhouse donated bows for North Adams; The Flower Gallery and Zepkas donated bows for Adams.
"I encourage people to visit cancer.org for breast cancer information and want to stress the importance of mammograms," said Heath. There are local programs such as Look Good Feel Good and Reach to Recovery for breast cancer survivors, she said.
Heath also invited the public to attend the second annual Making Strides Toward Breast Cancer Walk, to be held on Sunday, Oct. 17, on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Adams. The walk begins at 11 a.m.; for more information contact Heath at 413-493-2127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the American Cancer Society, by the end of this year some 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women. About 54,010 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found in American women (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer). This year, some 39,840 American women will die of breast cancer, second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women.
The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less than one in eight. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about one in 35. Breast cancer death rates have been going down, probably due to finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. There are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Laura Baran, left, Lisa Blackmer, Traci Heath, Shirley Wolfe and Red Alcombright.
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.