Pittsfield Venues Report Busy Tourism Season So Far

By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent
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The butterfly exhibit at Berkshire Museum has proved so successful it's been extended into the October. A number of cultural venues are reporting upticks in business.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Early indicators bode well for a healthy trade in visitors this summer, according to several central Berkshire venues.

"We're sold out every summer for meeting space," according to Janet Brennan at the Berkshire Crowne Plaza.  "Rooms are very solid, too."
Berkshire Historical Society Executive Director Betsey Sherman said Herman Melville's Arrowhead home has also been doing an improved business this summer, partly due to its new agricultural program.
"Who knew chickens were so popular?" said Sherman, at a meeting of the Pittsfield Tourism Commission. "Numbers are up, visitors are up."
Barrington Stage Company is also reporting high ticket sales for its current and upcoming productions, including the July world debut of the new musical "The Golem of Havana."
"It has almost sold out for the entire run before it's started," said BSC Marketing Director Laura Roudabush.  "And we have a cabaret that's selling out like crazy, so it's off to a great season."
Similarly, Berkshire Museum's Lesley Beck said the butterfly exhibition currently on display there has been so popular that the museum has decided to extend the program through Oct. 26.
Traffic at the relocated Pittsfield Visitors Center in the Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center seems to be on the rise, according to volunteers, though numbers are not yet available for this season. Last year's final tally came to 879 for the season, well below the thousands that utilized it in its previous South Street locations. 
New Downtown ambassadors will also be hitting the streets of Pittsfield this week, a new collaboration of Downtown Inc., Berkshire Community College and the Police Advisory Committee.  
Volunteers for the program will be stationed in the city's Upstreet District both to be helpful, informative  "ambassadors" for newcomers and tourists, as well as an additional level of observation in the downtown area as a supplement to help address concerns about a perceived need for more downtown police patrols.
Jennifer Glockner, the city's new cultural development director, said two new festivals will also sweeten the pot for Pittsfield tourists this summer.  
Berkshire Fringe Festival will celebrate its 10th season with a relocation from South County to Pittsfield's Shire City Sanctuary, the former Notre Dame church on Melville Street, and kick off its season with the "Retrospectacle" opening gala there on Aug. 2.
Another theater festival, Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park, will commence this week, with an opening night immediately to follow the conclusion of a Shakespeare-themed 3rd Thursday. This will include shuttle transportation from 3rd Thursday to Springside Park, about three-quarters of a mile up North Street.

Tags: cultural economy,   cultural venues,   tourism,   

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