The weather forecast for the weekend isn't great, but what's a little rain if you're in the river anyway? The annual Riverfest runs from 11 to 4 on Saturday.
Memorial Day kicks off summer, so what better way to kick off a new family events column here on iBerkshires.com than with holiday happenings?
Sure, there are parades ... lots of parades, and you can find a list of them here. But the region is teeming with other family-friendly activities this long weekend if you want to do something besides relax and grill some burgers.
Staying in North County, Saturday, May 25, brings one of my all-time favorite family events: Riverfest in Williamstown. I have been bringing my now-7-year-old to this since she was a toddler, and we have loved it every time. Every year is a little different, but in the past there has been a children's race, pony rides, a raft to climb around in, crafts and other fun activities, as well as the chance to actually ride a raft down the Hoosic. Best of all: kids under 10 are free! Adults pay $5 in advance and $8 at the gate at Cole Field; the festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit hoorwa.org.
Heading south on Saturday, and staying with the outdoor theme, the city of Pittsfield is holding a youth fishing derby. Now, fishing is not my thing, and while my daughter always seems eager to participate in youth derbies, her lack of patience seems to get the best of her, too. (I say "too" because I have no patience for fishing, hence why it's "not my thing.") But if you have a kid who can sit still and doesn't mind the (potentially) delayed payoff of (potentially) catching a fish, head down to Wild Acres on South Mountain Road in Pittsfield from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trophies will be awarded to those who catch a tagged fish. Bait will be provided, and a limited amount of fishing poles will be available for use on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, contact Rebecca Tefft at 413-499-9370.
For those kids who can't sit still, harness that energy by having them run in a race. While no one expects the little ones to run a marathon, they are still invited to participate in the fourth annual Memorial Day Marathon Races at Tanglewood in Lenox on Saturday. The big event is billed as "the toughest marathon in the east," but kids 6 and under can run a .25-mile course and kids 7 to 10 can run a .5-mile loop, all on the grounds of Tanglewood. That doesn't sound so tough! All kids will receive medals, which should make moms and dads happy. The race starts at 9 a.m. and you can register your kids here. There is a $12 fee, but getting the kids some exercise? Priceless.
Moving on to Sunday, May 26, I am liking the looks of the Vintage Motorcar Festival at Chesterwood in Stockbridge. Not because I like antique cars, per se, but because the list of family-friendly activities at the festival is pretty impressive for a facility that, while beautiful, is not necessarily a place one would think about taking young children. But from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this day, bring them down!
First, up to 15 children between the ages of 8 and 16 can participate in Hagerty Insurance's Operation Ignite! Youth Judging Program. The idea is to let the kids vote and get them interested in the cars themselves. Register ahead of time to make sure your child is one of the 15 judges. Another way to get kids interested in cars is through the scavenger hunt, in which car owners will submit a photo of a detail of their car and kids 4 to 10 can hunt them down to win a prize. And new this year is that kids will be able to build their own vehicle out of Legos and race it against other kids. No one loses, and kids and their parents can get a complimentary picture taken with their creation and the digital photograph will be emailed to them. All of those kid-specific activities, on top of live music, food and, of course, the cars should make for a pretty fun day. Kids are admitted free; adults are $15. Plus, it's rain or shine.
And, of course, if you still have energy left on Monday, check out those parades — and take the chance to teach your kids about why we really celebrate Memorial Day. Happy holiday!
Berkshire County native Rebecca Dravis of Williamstown is a former journalist who now works for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Boston Business Journal's quest to find where the wealthy live in the Bay State has resulted in its latest data collection of income and housing values in the state's 490 ZIP codes. Using information from the Department of Revenue, BBJ's identified the toniest ZIP codes, and the not-so tony.
Using income and other demographic data provided by Esri, a California-based provider of database-mapping software, the BBJ has identified a handful of candidates to potentially carry the crown as the wealthiest ZIP code in Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, most of the communities in the running are located in Boston's western suburbs.
At the top is Weston, with a median household income of $200,001 and median home value $1 million.
So how did the Berkshires do? Well, we might think certain areas are "wealthy" but they came up short compared to the rest of the state (with the caveat that rich and poor are relative).
We did crack the top 100, No. 80 to be exact. Our 90210 is 01258, better known as South Egremont.
The village, population 167, boasts a median household income of $72,768, a median home value of $292,500 and an average net worth of $1.05 million.
Also with an average net worth of a $1 million is Richmond, coming in at spot 105. (Richmond was also ranked No. 42 in the state with the most millionaires per residents; Alford was 18.) The top six in the Berkshires are all small towns, the biggest being West Stockbridge with a population of 1,678. Hmmm, do second-home owners get counted twice?
The county's two cities are in the 400 range, but they're not last in the state. Springfield, Lawrence and Lynn make up the bottom.
Massachusetts is cut off on this graphic but it looks like rain for sure is headed our way.
Fourteen months after Irene deluged the region, another hurricane is headed our way. The sweetly named Sandy (now dubbed "Frankenstorm") is expected to arrive early next week just in time for Halloween.
We'll be meeting with North Adams officials this afternoon about emergency preparations and checking in with other towns. We'll do our best to keep everyone as up-to-date as possible on cancellations and closures around the county.
Sandy coulddid dampen the opening of the Hoosac Wind Project, which has had its own stormy path to completion over the past decade.
Gov. Deval Patrick and EOEEA Secretary Richard Sullivan Jr. were scheduled to arrive on Florida mountain with other state and local officials on Monday morning to celebrate with turbine-developer Iberdrola the near completion of the state's largest utility-scale wind power project. We learned Friday morning shortly after posting this that the press conference has been been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Meanwhile, the governor is warning state utiltities to have their ducks in row for this storm after complaints during last year's disasters of delays and poor communication with local officials. He's holding a press avail at noon to talk about the storm but no word yet on whether we'll be able to listen in.
None of the contaminated steroids linked to the outbreak are known to have been used in the area, Berkshire Medical Center and North Adams Regional Hospital told us several weeks ago; since then, all products from the New England Compounding Center (now under criminal investigation) have been removed from their stock.
Gov. Deval Patrick stops by the Rice Silk Mill in Pittsfield this afternoon for a ribbon-cutting and a message about Gateway Cities (of which Pittsfield is one). We were at the mill 10 months ago when developers were getting ready to turn the derelict building into sweet apartments. Can't wait to see the changes.
Looking for some bargains? The state's auctioning off some $435,000 in unclaimed property on eBay beginning Saturday and running through Dec. 22. Some of the items, including a diamond ring worth $17,000 and a 300-year-old brandy snifter were on display in Springfield. You can catch them today in Worcester (from noon to 5) or wait until they show up on eBay.
The Boston Business Journal has a pretty "hot" map: it shows where in the state the millionaires cluster. Dark red indicates fewer than 100 residents per million-dollar earner. Not surprisingly, the Berkshire millionaires are cluster in South County and Williamstown.