Pittsfield's 3rd Thursday Street Festival Returns for 2014

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Third Thursday kicks off the summer season this week with performances, food and music.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Third Thursdays returns for its eighth year this week on May 15.

May's theme is "Creative Youth," celebrating youth performers, dancers, musicians, and artists. The largest free outdoor event series in the Berkshires, 3rd Thursdays are family friendly and open to all.

Megan Whilden, outgoing director of cultural development for the city of Pittsfield and founder of 3rd Thursdays, noted,

"Third Thursdays has been a labor of love, creativity and community from its beginning eight years ago," said Megan Whilden, outgoing director of cultural development for the city of Pittsfield and street festival founder. "No other event series in the Berkshires brings together so many different local businesses, cultural organizations, food vendors, community groups, volunteers and performers as 3rd Thursdays.  It's great fun for locals and visitors alike."

North Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from West Street to Linden Street and will be filled with music, performance, food and community activitivies. Events include performances up and down the street by the Pittsfield Youth Alive Step Team & Band, Kids 4 Harmony, Berkshire Albany Ballet, the Funkbox Dance Studio stage in front of its new studios and featuring performances and a 10-minute break dance workshop, Berkshire Rocks and more. The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts will host a reception for its annual "Art in our Schools" show featuring more than 200 works of art by Pittsfield public middle and high school students.

New this year will be miniature-train rides on North Street, Laughter Yoga at Park Square (along with Zumba), a bagel yo-yo competition by Persnickety Toys and Bagels Too, and the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club Fun Zone with basketball, bean bag toss and more.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness will be hold its Minds Matter fundraising walk. Registration begins at 5 p.m. at the corner of North Street and Park Square and the walk will kick off at 5:30, traveling the length of 3rd Thursdays and back. For more information, visit www.namibc.org

The Arthur Holmes Band will perform outside at the Crowne Plaza, and more performances can be found indoors as well. The Town Players of Pittsfield will present a staged reading of "The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry" at the Whitney Center for the Arts and the Podunk Throwbacks will be rocking the Marketplace Café. The Picky Bastards, a collective gathering of rotating local folk, rock and Americana musicians hosted by Andy Wrba and Chris Merenda, will perform at 8 at Mission. There are no cover charges.

The Berkshire Museum offers free admission for Berkshire County residents during 3rd Thursday events.The Berkshire Running Center will feature custom fittings and consultations with run specialists and registration for the June 19 3rd Thursday Green Mile Road Race.

Restaurants will be open and food trucks situated along the street.

Sponsors include Berkshire Gas, Guardian Life, Greylock Federal Credit Union, The Berkshire Eagle and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Upcoming themes and dates are: June 19, "Healthy Pittsfield," featuring the Green Mile Road Race and the Community Health Walk; July 17, "All the World's A Stage"; Aug. 21, "Art and Industry"; Sept. 18, Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, and Oct. 16, Halloween.

For more information: discoverpittsfield.com/3rdthursdays, slemme@pittsfieldch.com or 413-499-9348.

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