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This year's Winterfest will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16.

North Adams Winterfest Returns for 22nd Year

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city celebrates its 22nd annual Winterfest on Saturday, Feb. 16, beginning with ice carving in the morning on Main Street and culminating with free skating at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink in the afternoon. 
The celebration offers indoor and outdoor, family-friendly activities, all of which are free to attend. 
The day begins with ice carving on Main Street beginning at 9 a.m. Eight artists will carve 300-pound blocks of ice into creative creatures and objects based on this year's theme of "Four Seasons."  The sculptures will be judged by three local artists at the end of the day and the winner will be awarded a $100 prize. As of Monday, this year's ice block sponsors are Empire Café, Berkshire Emporium, PopCares Inc., Very Good Development, and Mount Williams Greenhouse.
Weather permitting, there will be sledding and snow fun at Colegrove Park from 9 to 4 and a farmers' market at 66 Main St. from 10 to 3. 
The indoor food and crafts market will feature more than 30 vendors with live music by Sandy & Sandy from 11 to 2.
The market will include winter produce, micro greens, meats, cheese, eggs, jams, relishes, maple syrup, honey, bread, granola, baked treats and pastries and prepared foood by Natalya's Crepes, Polish Roadside Grill, Cricket Creek Farm grilled cheese, Square Roots Farm's egg sandwiches, ElMartin Farm's hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
Also available will be crafters with jewelry, knit and crocheted items, felted décor, wooden home décor, and skin care.
Bright Ideas Brewing and DeMarsico Wine Cellar will be selling wares along with samples of Currency Coffee coffee and tea. Attendees wishing to purchase alcohol must be age 21 or older and show valid ID. Open containers cannot be taken off the premises.
The newest feature of Winterfest will be the Bright Ideas Brewing Homebrew Competition from 10 to 2 at the farmers' market. Bright Ideas welcomes home brewers to enter their best brew in this competition.
Unfortunately, only judges will be tasting the submissions and deciding the winners. 
The deadline to enter is 10 a.m. the day of the competition. Bring your all-grain brews to the Bright Ideas booth at 66 Main St. The brewer of the winning beer will participate in a collaboration brew with Bright Ideas' head brewer, Danny Sump. The limited edition beer to be featured on tap at Bright Ideas Brewing on the campus of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
The winner will be announced at the festival once judging is complete at 2 p.m.
The panel will include Bright Ideas owner Orion Howard and Sump, as well as beerology co-owner Mike Schilling. This is a blind tasting, so don't include your name anywhere on the bottles or labels.
There will also be hot cocoa, cookies, and robotics at MountainOne, 93 Main St., from 10 to noon, in the lobby. The robotics demonstrations will be by the McCann Technical School Robotics Team.
The Children's Winter Carnival at First Baptist Church, 131 Main St., will offer indoor winter games and activities for the family from 11 to 1.
J Star Gymnastics at 69 Union St. will offer a free open gym from 11 to 1:30. Families are welcome to come over and get out some energy in the spacious gym. All children must have a guardian present.
What would WinterFest be without the annual Chowdah Cook-off? Taste samplings from this year's competitors and vote for your favorite chowder from noon to 2 at 85 Main St. Awards will be given for People's Choice and Judges' Choice. Only one chowder will walk away with the "Only in North Adams" award for most unique chowder.  
As of Monday, participating restaurants are: Berkshire Food Project, Freight Yard Pub, Grazie, The Hub, 180 Polish Roadside Grill, Gala Restaurant at the Orchards, McCann Tech Culinary Program, and Ramunto's.
Then warm up at the Community Campfire at corner of Holden and Main streets from noon to 2 and roast a few marshmallows in between events.
Horse-drawn wagon rides up and down Main Street will be operating from 1 to 3, with the line beginning at the front of MountainOne. 
Then head to the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink on Church Street for a free skate and skate rentals from 2 to 4. 
WinterFest is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union, MountainOne, First Hartford Realty, and the Green.

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Mohawk Trail Woodlands, Forest Service Team Up on Conservation

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

BRPC's Tom Matuszko asks advisory board members to raise their hands as FRCOG's Executive Director Linda Dunlavy waits to speak.
CHARLEMONT, Mass. — A shared stewardship agreement signed Thursday will bring U.S. Forest Service expertise to the state while keeping hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland in state and private hands. 
The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. The partnership will enhance conservation and forest research and provide technical support for businesses that depend on the region's natural resources such as tourism and forestry products.
"I am from this region, it is a part of the state that is near and dear to my heart," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides at signing held at Berkshire East Mountain Resort. "Something that is a priority to the governor is making sure that this region can continue to have economic security and opportunity for people, but also that connectedness to the landscape and that rootedness in the special places that make up Western Massachusetts."
Theoharides said the state is losing about 65 acres of forestland a day to development — housing, parking lots, and commercial establishments — and it's not coming back.  
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