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The 25-foot fall white spruce is adorned by 20,000 lights, illuminating the area and spreading holiday cheer.
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Mr. and Mrs. Claus make an appearance.

Pittsfield In-Person Tree Lighting Ceremony Returns After 2-Year Hiatus

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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The Laviolette family donated the tree and turned on the lights on Friday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hundreds gathered at Park Square on Friday for the city's first in-person tree lighting ceremony in three years.

The 25-foot tall white spruce is adorned by 20,000 lights, illuminating the area and spreading holiday cheer.

"There are so many kids and families here this evening and I know everyone is anxious to see the beautiful tree that was donated by the Laviolette family," Mayor Linda Tyer said right before the switch was flipped.

"Thank you for your generosity. This tree will provide a whole month of beauty and festivity for all of us to enjoy and I love coming to the tree lighting because when you look all around Park Square, you can see just how beautiful our city is at this time of year."

Jack and Rita Laviolette and their daughter, Justine, donated the tree in memory of Jack's brother George Laviolette, who passed away in October. They said he was a gentle giant, similar to the tree.

"He was a sweetheart," Justine Laviolette said about her late uncle.

The Laviolette's grandchildren took the stage to help light the tree after an enthusiastic countdown from 10.

The Taconic High School chorus and the Berkshire Hills Chorus performed holiday songs at the event.  Across the street, Otto's Kitchen and Comfort held a free hot chocolate bar and photo booth.

Santa and Mrs. Claus made a special entrance on a firetruck and had a meet and greet with the kids. A line of little ones waited patiently to tell Santa what presents they wanted this year in hopes of being on his nice list.

Recreation & Special Events Coordinator Becky Manship said the city has "certainly" been looking forward to this event.

She thanked all involved in the endeavor: the donating family, the parks maintenance crew, Pittsfield Community Television, the highway department, the building maintenance department, police, LP Adams Co., the performers, and Otto's.

Donation bins were set up for nonperishable food items that will go to Christian Center's food pantry.  Manship reminded attendees that they can still bring donations to the center at 193 Robbins Ave. Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person ceremony was not able to happen in 2020 and 2021.  Last year, the city teamed up with PCTV for a virtual tree lighting, which included remote performances and a visit from the Clauses.

PCTV also provided live coverage of the event this year for everyone at home.

The tree lighting is a part of Downtown Pittsfield Inc's "Festive Frolick," which includes a number of holiday events on December 2 and 3 for a variety of ages.

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Marie's North Street Eatery Cuts Ribbon in Pittsfield

By Brittany
The owners of Marie’s North Street Eatery and Gallery hold a ribbon cutting recently.

PITTSFIELD, Mass.- Marie’s North Street Eatery and Gallery brings grab-and-go offerings to North Street in a revamped storefront.  White it has been open since December, a ribbon cutting was held last week as a formal debut. 

Owner Neil Davis wanted a place to “put my foot down in the community” while making social connections. Partner Ashley Marie handles the kitchen and menu curating, focusing on breakfast and lunch favorites.

“We want to have grab-and-go availability for the downtown worker crowd but also we have a made to order lunch menu,” she said.

This includes sandwiches, soups, a salad bar, a rotating hot or cold dip, and future made to order breakfast items. The turkey avocado on farmer's bread has been a customer favorite.

Former tenant Maria Sekowski won’t be found singing karaoke regularly, but the legacy of Maria’s European Delights is honored with her well-known kielbasa on the menu. There is also a “Maria’s Pantry” section with favorites like her packaged pierogis.

The new name pays homage to its predecessor.

“The last week before she closed the business, I sat here with her every day all day and learned her customers,” Marie said.

“I do have a lot of returning customers that came back so I learned what people come in here and look for and mainly we found that it was the kielbasa and the frozen pierogis so they could take home and cook later.”

She added that her and Sekowski spent “a lot of time” talking about recipes for soup and kapusta, a Polished cabbage dish, and she will always be there to lend a helping hand while enjoying her retirement.

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