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Sue Bush
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One Great Recipe: Northern Berkshire Food Festival

By Susan Bush
09:50PM / Sunday, June 24, 2007

Carlos Haines assisted at the Gala restaurant booth during the Northern Berkshire Food Festival.[Photo by Sue Bush]
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North Adams - Today's Northern Berkshire Food Festival drew over 3000 people to the downtown for an afternoon of good food, mellow music, warm sunshine and hot muscle cars.

And yep, there was a bench on Main Street.

The food festival kicked off at noon. From the outset, the restaurateurs who operated food booths were surrounded with folks eager to trade tickets purchased at tent entrances for tasty treats such as watermelon-tomato salad, pizza, ribs, ice cream, and more. A wine and beer tasting booth offered a vast assortment of beer and wine. The musical trio The Reformers delivered a four-hour concert that kept toes tappin' and brought several people to their feet for dancing in the street.

"A Million-Fold"

Barbara Pomeroy and her 1965 Mustang. Pomeroy, 76, said she will drive the car "until I can't do it anymore."[Photo by Sue Bush]
And there was spillover into the stores that were opened.

Moulton's General Store hosted a constant parade of patrons throughout the afternoon. Laurie Moulton said that the store was busier "by a million-fold" during the festival.

"We've run out of about eight flavors of ice cream," she said. "We should have these things more often."

Office of Tourism Director Rod Bunt said he was very happy with the attendance and the mood of the crowd. A Mustang Club of New England car show helped draw people to the street, and dozens of automobile fans oohed and aahed over the vintage and late-model vehicles parked on the streetside.

"This has always been an event with great potential and I always knew that," said Bunt. "Today, everything just came together and it's a great crowd having a great time."

In The Crowd

Among those in attendance was Barbara Pomeroy, who drove into the car show with her 1965 Mustang outfitted with a hurst shifting system. Pomeroy, 76, said she's owned the car for eight years.

"I'll drive this thing until I can't anymore," she said. "I even bought this thing its' own garage. I have so much fun with this car. I love the hurst shift, it's so much fun."

When asked if she'd ever let the Mustang gallop, Pomeroy shared a memory from a few years ago. The car had just been tuned up and she was driving along an open roadway that was hosting very light traffic, she said.

"I just wanted to see, you know, and there was nothing else around...I got it going and pretty soon the speedometer says 95 [miles per hour] and then the person with me said 'you know, your speedometer is reading about 15 miles too low because of your tires.' It was moving, I'm thinking maybe over 100 miles per hour."

Evan Marshall, his wife Cynamon Marshall and five-year-old daughter Sydney Marshall recently moved to the city from Battle Creek Michigan.

Evan Marshall was hired at the NSK steering wheel component manufacturing firm in Bennington, Vt. and the family is renting a home in North Adams.

"Battle Creek has something like this," said Evan Marshall.

"So it's so nice to find something familiar," said Cynamon Marshall.

The fun of the event was not lost on Sydney Marshall, moments after the interview, she led her mother to the center of the street and showed off a few dance moves.

"The Magic That Can Happen Here"

City Councilor Christopher Tremblay's North Adams Pizza Co. restaurant was among the eatery participants. Tremblay said he was energized by the crowds that swarmed the booths.

Gramercy Bistro booth server Sarah Smith kept pace with hungry festival revelers. [Photo by Sue Bush]

"It's a great event, a beautiful day," he said. "It's wonderful that people have come out today, and these downtown festivals are great. I wish we could do more. And as a bonus, here we had both Persnickety [Eagle Street toy store] and the Porches chosen by Boston Magazine as a 'best.' I'm especially happy about Persnickety. [Store and building owners] Monique and Whitney Suters are hard-working people. They've staked their lives on the city of North Adams and what they've done is an example of the magic that can happen here."

Tremblay was referring to the magazine's New England Travel and Life issue, a yearly publication that highlights a "The Best of New England" section. Persnickety was named the best toy store in New England and the Porches shared a "best of state" honor. Additional Berkshire venues that made the "best" list included the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Tanglewood in Lenox, Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Seeds in Great Barrington, Old Inn On The Green in New Marlboro, Verdura Cucina Rustica in Great Barrington, and Wheatleigh in Lenox.

Bench Marks

Tremblay emphasized that he is not responsible for benches that have turned up on Main Street. However, he also emphasized that he does support a downtown bench initiative.

A bench was on the sidewalk in front of the Cup and Saucer, and city resident Samuel McClendon rested in the shade provided by a tree near the bench.

"It's good," McClendon said of the bench. "It's nice and cool and it's nice to have a place to sit."

Adventures With Food

Paula Mitten of Ireland and Elin Frafjord of Norway said they enjoyed the festival and the cars at a car show. [Photo by Sue Bush]
Desperados, Jae's Inn, Gala, Lickety-Split, Village Pizza, Gramercy Bistro, and Cafe Latino were among the participating restaurants.

"It's a good crowd and there was a good early crowd, too," said Desperados owner David Atwell. "And you can't beat the weather.'

Williams College students Liz Kantack, Julia Nawrocki, her sister Tina Nawrocki and Jonathan Ohueri sampled food fair fare.

"It's my first time coming to this and it's really good," said Julia Nawrocki. "My parents would live this."

"It's a great way to experience the restaurants," said Tina Nawrocki.

"Sometimes [Williams students] get kind of locked in to going to Spring Street [in Williamstown]," said Kantack, who attended the festival in 2006. "This is a way to know what else is out there.'

"I think it's nice to have an adventure with food," said Ohueri. "I have never thought to get a watermelon-tomato salad but it was only five tickets so I said 'why not?' and it was pretty damn good."

The festival generated international interest; Paula Mitten of Ireland and Elin Frafjord of Norway sampled the food and inspected the cars. Mitten and Frafjord are learning to be yoga instructors at the Frog Lotus Yoga Center on Beaver Street. They plan to return to their homes before the end of summer, they said.

"We have a big food festival in my town," said Frafjord. "This festival is tiny but it is very good."

"We have a lot of festivals where I live, too," said Mitten. "What was really good here was the cars. I've never seen cars like that."

The wine and beer booth was sponsored by West's Package Stores, Girardi Distributors, and the Berkshire Brewing Co.. Booth operator Carl Waltermire said that the event is a great boon to all those who participate.

Elizabeth LaVigne, 7, prepared to sample her food festival selections. [Photo by Sue Bush]

"This is always good, always, and that's why we come back year after year."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at or at 413-663-3384 ext. 29.
Your Comments
Post Comment
MAJOR KUDOS to Rod Bunt! An awesome job! The city was alive yesterday as I was driving though it. There was also a major crowd at the basketball courts on State Street for a 3 on 3 Girls Tournament. Take advantage of the good weather and enjoy what this city has to offer!
from: Sharonon: 06-25 00:00:00-2007

a very nice day and the restaurants that showed up to the food festival did a outstanding job....but it was very disappointing to have on ten restaurants showing from adams,cheshire, clarksburg,north adams and williamstown
from: localon: 06-25 00:00:00-2007

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