WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mayfest celebrations are traditionally fun events that usher in summer. But a Mayfest musical festival in Williamstown will be more than fun-filled, as the net profits will be donated to North Adams Regional Hospital.
Conceived and organized by the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce, the Mayfest will be held on Saturday, May 12, from noon until 7 at Weston Field on the Williams College campus.
"We've been wanting to do something to help the hospital, and Mayfest gives us an opportunity to do that," said Allen Jezouit, co-president of the chamber, referring to Northern Berkshire Healthcare's recent fiscal woes.
"The hospital is important to the area — this would not be as good a place to live if we had to go farther for health care, and the hospital is a factor in attracting business and keeping jobs here, and without the hospital, (it is likely) that new businesses would go to Bennington or Pittsfield," he said.
The Chamber of Commerce's mission is to promote healthy economic growth that will ensure residents a desirable climate in which to live and work for years to come. Coinciding with its efforts to foster a healthy business and living climate, Williamstown is also a community that takes care of its own.
"We like to reach out and help who we can," said Judy Giamborino, the chamber's executive director. "I grew up here and I love how everybody helps everybody else."
Northern Berkshire Healthcare, the hospital's parent company, is close to emerging from the Chapter 11 reorganization process that began last June, according to Paul Hopkins, director of communications at NBH.
"When the process is completed, NBH will have reconstructed its debt and will have a significantly lower debt burden," he said. "We are very appreciative of the many local vendors who have worked through the process with us, and the community for its support."
Hopkins said any donations received from Mayfest would be used for initiatives to improve patient satisfaction and the Employee Excellence for Education Fund, which supports clinical training for nurses and other staff members.
Thus attendees of the first annual Mayfest musical festival will not only contribute to a local worthy cause, but will also enjoy great entertainment and food and beverages in the carefree hours of a lovely day in Williamstown.
Among the variety of foods and snacks to be offered at Mayfest will be barbecued chicken, hot dogs, sliders and fries, grilled cheese pannini, Italian ices, and Soco ice cream.
The food vendors will include Desperados, Cricket Creek Farm, Sweet Brook Farm, Sweets and Beans and Hops & Vines, Big Shirl's, Colonial Pizza, The Hub and Spice Root. In addition, Fern Sann's cake pops will offer delights those who have a sweet tooth, and Brian Cole will be there with his colorful truck, El Conejoo Corredor, serving burittos and tacos to those who have a yen for Mexican food.
Soft drinks will be available and, for those who are older than 21, beer from Berkshire Brewery Co. and Girardi Liquor.
Tickets at $15 may be bought in advance at the Chamber of Commerce office on Denison Park Drive, or Berkshire Direct on Water Street or at williamstownmayfest.com. Children will be admitted to the family-friendly event free of charge. Dogs are not allowed.
And on an outdoor stage, favorite local bands will perform music that children as well as adults will enjoy: The Rock Hounds, Rebel Alliance and Jungle Work, as well as CJ Field will play a mix of music, including Southern rock 'n' roll, classic rock jazz, and reggae.
"If Mayfest is a success, we will consider doing something similar in October or November," said Jezouit.
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