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The carnival's new swing ride had just recently arrived from Italy.

Gillette Carnival at Berkshire Mall Entertains Young Families

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The carnival is specifically geared toward young families. 

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Gillette Carnival has returned for its 7th year at the Berkshire Mall.

But there's only a few days left to catch it.

The carnival featuring about a dozen and a half rides, food and beverage vendors, and an array of games opened shop in the Berkshire Mall parking lot last Thursday.
This is its final weekend providing an array of entertainment options for families and young children. 
"It is a nice carnival. It is family owned. It is one big family and we all own the business, three generations," said owner Betty Gillette.
While the children are having a blast, hopping from one ride to the next. Often they don't know that a portion of all of those ticket sales is going back to the community. The carnival gives a percentage of the proceeds to the Lanesborough Police Association and Stars of Hope. 
For the Police Association, Officer Dale Newberry said the carnival is one of its biggest sources of income. 
"We volunteer here for the duration of the carnival. We get a donation back from the carnival. That gets spread out to our youth sports," Newberry said. "We've been here since Day 1, seven years."
The money raised goes back to Lanesborough's youth sports programs and for scholarships for students at Mount Greylock Regional School. 
"We give money to the community, the youth sports throughout the season. This year we gave a donation to the Lanesborough Tigers football team. They won the Super Bowl so they needed a little help getting the jackets," Newberry said.
"We also do a scholarship at Mount Greylock ... It all goes back to the community. Everything we do goes back to the community."
Stars of Hope is another organization that helps youth programs such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Jimmy Fund and Make a Wish.

No carnival would be complete without a Ferris wheel.
The carnival has been going strong at the Berkshire Mall for seven years but dates back much further than that.
"My husband and his brother started it in 1947. They started it right here in Pittsfield," Gillette said.
The carnival travels throughout the summer, leaving its home in the Berkshires and making trips all over the northeast. 
"We probably never go more than 200 miles from our home base. We go to Mass, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire. The northeast," Gillette said. "We start now and we close at the end of October."
Gillette said the show attracts children of all ages and many young families attend. It is hard to say how many people come through the gates because there is no entry fee, just a charge for the rides. Gillette said many people just come to socialize and walk around while others just stop in to visit the food vendors.
The carnival is open from 5 p.m. until around 9:30 Friday night. On Saturday and Sunday, the gates open at 1 and there is a special price. With the purchase of a wristband for $15, children can ride all of the rides as much as they want until 5 p.m on Saturday and Sunday. The carnival will close up Sunday night and move on to New York. 
But, you can rest assured, that it will return again next year as Gillette said she particularly likes the Berkshire Mall location.

Tags: carnival,   donations,   youth sports,   

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Berkshire Immigrant Center Celebrates National Immigrant Heritage Month

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Beginning June 1, the Berkshire Immigrant Center invites the community to honor the more than 10,000 immigrants in the Berkshires and by joining the annual observance of national Immigrant Heritage Month and helping to launch a $10,000 fundraising campaign for the center.

"During Immigrant Heritage Month, we proudly honor the many ways immigrants make the Berkshires a better place," said BIC Executive Director Michelle Lopez. "This year we are especially grateful for the hundreds of foreign-born doctors, medical technicians, nurses and staff who are caring for people at Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital, and nursing homes, and for local immigrants who are essential workers at our grocery stores, restaurants and farms."

Since March 20, BIC has raised more than $70,000 for a COVID-19 Relief Fund. Through this fund, BIC has helped more than 140 clients and their families pay for basic needs like rent and utilities.

"We know that so many local people are hurting, both our clients and our supporters, yet even during this crisis people are asking us how they can help," Lopez said.

While 100 percent of emergency relief has been passed through to clients, donations to the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign help ensure that BIC can serve the local immigrant community in crisis and beyond, including helping immigrants become US citizens. In this year of the U.S. Census count, BIC has also worked diligently to make sure that immigrants are counted and that Berkshire communities thus receive every dollar of federal aid that they should get.

Tax-deductible donations of any amount are welcome online. Contributions can also be made by check made out to Berkshire Immigrant Center and mailed to BIC, 67 East Street, Pittsfield MA 01201.

The center remains the only program in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on meeting the unique challenges of a continuously growing immigrant and refugee population. In 2018 BIC was named "Best Small Nonprofit" in the state by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

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