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Weekend Outlook: ArtWalks, Open Studios, and More

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Berkshire County is hosting a variety of events this weekend including Art Walks, pictures with Santa, Holiday Fairs, and more. See our list of holiday craft fairs and tree lighting events. 
Holiday Walk
Spring Street, Williamstown
There will be a bunch of events happening in Williamstown this weekend to get you in the holiday spirit. 
Starting Friday, Dec. 2, and running throughout the weekend venues throughout the town will be hosting events and fundraisers including food drives, concerts, Christmas movie screenings, free museum admissions, and more. 
Full schedule here

Hancock Shaker Village's Round Stone Barn will be aglow and the animals will await you at Hancock Holiday Nights, running through Dec. 31.
Hancock Holiday Nights
Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield
The historic village has decorated the farm with light projections, music, live animals, and more for 20 nights through December.
The event will be open Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 23 and will be open Monday through Saturday, Dec. 26 to 31  
Tickets range from $10 to $22, are discounted for members and free for children 5 and younger. Additional information and ticket purchase here. 
Pictures with Santa
Benson's Pet Center, Pittsfield 
Santa will be on hand at Benson's Pet Center for pet pictures this Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon.
Reservations will be taken half an hour before the event starts. Come in without your pet to make your reservation and then return to your car. When they are ready for you, they will text you. 
Photos are a suggested $10 donation that goes directly to the non-profit Benson's Cares. More information here
Tree & Barn Lighting to Benefit Mike
Second Chance Stables & Draft Rescue, Savoy
Local nonprofit Second Chance Stables & Draft Rescue Inc. has canceled its tree and barn lighting fundraising event because of rain predicted for Saturday. A new date of Dec. 17 has been set for pictures and the silent auction will go ahead online beginning Saturday. See the Facebook page for more information.
All proceeds are to go directly toward a senior Belgian, Mike, who was diagnosed with equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, a neurological disease. His treatment will cost anywhere between $2,900 to $4,800. his care.
Annual Holiday Fair
25 Park Place, Lee
Lee Congregational Church is having a holiday fair this Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. 
This free event includes wreaths, handcrafted items, jams & jellies, baked goods, raffles, and more. 
More information here
The Downtown Festive Frolic 
Various Venues, Pittsfield 
Downtown Pittsfield is having a variety of event to bring the holiday spirit to life this Friday and Saturday. 
Festivities include the city of Pittsfield's Park Square Tree Lighting, Cultural Pittsfield's Wreath Art Auction, Elf Invasion Pub Crawl with Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Santa at the Beacon Cinema, and more. 
More information and schedule here
First Friday Artwalk
Various Venues, Downtown Pittsfield
Being held in the Holiday First Fridays Artswalk is being held in conjunction with Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.'s Festive Frolic First Friday Artswalk returns this Friday, Dec. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m.
It features a dozen art shows and exhibits on view at venues around downtown Pittsfield. Most of the art is on display throughout December.
During the event, participants will have the opportunity to meet the artists. Participants can download the Downtown Pittsfield Inc. app from the Google Play or App Store to get a virtual walking tour. 
Participating venues include Artists at the Clock Tower, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Hotel on North, and more.
For a complete list of participating venues and artists visit the Art Walk website.
North Adams FIRST Friday 
Various Venues, North Adams 
North Adams will be having its last FIRST Friday of the year this Friday, Dec. 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. with a full lineup of holiday festivities in downtown North Adams.
The event features A reading of "The Night Before Christmas" by Mayor Jennifer Macksey, make your own s'mores, a free carriage ride by McKay Farm, holiday tunes by the Drury High School Band, and more.
Details on the events and a complete schedule here
A Scenic Christmas Train Ride
Hoosac Valley Train Ride, Adams 
Santa will be riding the Tinseliner train this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to spread Christmas cheer. 
Boarding will be on Friday at 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m., Saturday at 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m., or Sundays at 11:30am, and 2:00 p.m. 
Arrive 30 minutes before departure and you must check-in with the ticket agent 10 to 20 minutes prior to departure.
More information here
Holiday Open Studios
Clock Tower Business Park, Pittsfield
The newly-formed Clock Tower Artists will be hosting a Holiday Open Studio event in its new space located on the third floor of the historic mill building at 75 South Church St.  
Visitors are encouraged to explore the studios of the 10 members of the artists group on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The gallery will also be open during Downtown Pittsfield Inc.'s First Fridays Artswalk on Friday from 5 until 8 p.m. 
The event will include a performance by Andy Kelly and Friends on Friday, Benny Kohn and Dave Brown & Dave Christopolus on Saturday, and Colin Deres on Sunday.
For more information check out our last article or visit the Clock Tower Artists website. 
Donuts with Santa 
Shire Donuts, Dalton
This Saturday, swing by Shire Donuts for a $5 Grab and Go box that will include two doughnuts, hot chocolate, and a picture with Santa. 
Proceeds will supply a Christmas for Carter LaCasse, his 11-year old brother Tyler, and their mother, Crystal Czerno. 
For more information check out our previous article here

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Adams COA, Town Seek Funds for Memorial Building Bathrooms

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is still waiting to transition its programming from the Visitor Center to the Memorial Building and is looking to the Community Development Department for help. 

The COA has been waiting for additional bathroom facilities to be completed for the facility, but the council and the town have so far been unable to obtain grant or other funding for the work.


COA Director Sarah Fontaine said they are working with Community Development to find funds for the bathrooms and other small improvements, including increased entrance accessibility, renovations to the former music room and fixed windows. 


"I had voiced my concern. It's a very extensive list, I don't expect that it will all be done before we transition over. The only need is the bathrooms," Fontaine said. 


At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said he looked into using Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. He said, however, that the Memorial Building is ineligible.


"The guidance we received from [the state Department of Housing and Community Development] has basically told us that the building is ineligible for funding because we already received funding in 2018," he said. "There has to be five years between the application for senior-center type projects. So based on that guidance, I don't believe Memorial School is eligible for funding."  


Fontaine also mentioned the auditorium in the building, which the town plans to renovate separately as a future capital project. 


"It would be nice as a senior center to have the auditorium available for guest lectures and other things like that," she said. 


Moving staff to the Memorial Building now while keeping programming at the Visitor Center, Fontaine said, is not an option. She noted that the Hoosac Valley Regional School District had previously expressed interest in using the second floor of the Visitor Center for its office space. 


"I was very firm in saying, logistically, it's hard for us to manage things just being upstairs. It's going to be very difficult if we're off site to try and manage programs downstairs," she said. 


In other business: 


  • The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on its advisory board. It filled one of the vacancies on Wednesday, appointing Barbara Ziemba. Ziemba, an active participant in the COA, had already filled out the paperwork needed for her appointment. 


"I have attended many COA activities, volunteer, and am a member of the Friends of the Council on Aging and attend meetings. I have been interested in being a member of the Board of Directors for some time. Please consider my appointment to the board," Ziemba wrote, explaining in her paperwork why she was interested in the position.           


The group also discussed two other vacancies on the board and potential candidates to fill them. Two members have been unable to attend recent meetings for health reasons. 


  • The board voted to approve updated bylaws. The bylaws were revised and written primarily by Board Member Elizabeth Mach. 


"I just wanted to make a comment, or rather an appreciation, for Liz for taking this project on," Fontaine said. 


The new bylaws have a provision to allow honorary members. Fontaine said there are currently no honorary members. 


The board appointed Bruce Shepley as the board's chair to replace Barbara Lagowski, who filled one of the now vacant member seats. 

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