North Adams Pride Hosts Second Annual Northern Lights Ball

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams Pride will hold its second annual Northern Lights Ball on Saturday, March 9 for members of the regional LGBTQIA+ community and their allies.
 
The Ball will again be hosted at the North Adams Elks Lodge (100 Eagle Street); doors will open at 8:00 pm and festivities will conclude at midnight.
 
Tickets for the Northern Lights Ball can be purchased online via Eventbrite at https://northernlightsball2024.eventbrite.com, by using the QR code on posters throughout the region, or in person at the event. This event is open to all members of the public 21 years of age and older; a current ID will be required for entry. For more information about accessibility and accommodations contact North Adams Pride through Eventbrite when purchasing tickets.
 
According to a press release:
 
The Ball's theme encourages attendees to "dress to impress" by drawing inspiration from "glitter, glam, and sparkles' and their favorite LGBTQIA+ icons. The headdresses worn by pop star Cher, the dapper suits of Oscar Wilde, the red carpet glam of Billy Porter, or the sequin-festooned outfits worn by Elton John and Harry Styles are all fabulous inspirations to step up your attire for the night. 
 
The Berkshires' own DJ BFG is returning and North Adams' very own drag star Vuronika Baked will head up an array of performers including Jackie Legs, Gemini DaBarbay, Sativo Green, and Poppy DaBubbly.
 
The Ball will include multiple cash-only bars as well as feature food catered by Door Prize and Hexagon Bagels.
 
After selling out last year's event, the organization has opted to make use of all three floors of the Elks Hall to increase capacity and offer a wider variety of entertainment. 
 
"We sold out last year, just before the ball began, so we're very grateful to be able to add more space on the third floor – we don't want to have to turn anyone away for lack of space. Still, better book those tickets in advance just to be on the safe side, folks," Rye Howard, owner of the Bear & Bee Bookstore, said.  
 
While the third floor festivities have yet to be announced, North Adams Pride will be introducing karaoke on the basement level. Presented by Liquid Courage Karaoke and co-hosted by karaoke royalty Poppy DaBubbly and Disco.
 
The first Northern Lights Ball was produced by North Adams Pride in 2023 to raise awareness around its mission and help raise funds for its roster of events. The group hopes to continue to grow and provide community events which "ignite joy, inclusion, fun, and fresh energy into our lives," as described by City Councilor and Pride Organizer Andrew Fitch. 
 
"We want it to be clear that North Adams Pride is not just for the LGBTQIA+ community," Organizer Kait Short said. "We welcome everyone, regardless of their background, to join us in events and activities that promote support, love, and acceptance for all, including those of differing levels of ability in our community." 
 
Although the Elks is not fully accessible, this year's Ball will include a wider range of accommodations, including ramps and an accessible restroom. 
 
Members of the group–a mixture of local LGBTQIA+ community members and allies–have helped organize the  June Pride Night celebrations held in the MASS MoCA courtyard over the past three years, and have built award-winning Pride floats in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 North Adams Fall Foliage Parades. The group plans to continue supporting these events and others in 2024 while creating new opportunities to celebrate and spotlight LGBTQIA+ residents, visitors, and businesses in the Northern Berkshires. 
 
"I've lived here for 23 years, and North Adams Pride provides a platform to help ensure those in the local community know we are here to support them," Longtime North Adams resident and Pride organizer Kurt Kolok said. "The growing series of  events and activities fosters an amazing environment where all can live out loud and be proud." 
 
Numerous residents have volunteered vehicles, labor, and sound equipment while several local businesses have provided event sponsorship dollars. The group is actively seeking individual participants and supporters along with organizational sponsorship for 2024 and beyond. 
 
There will be a signup sheet at the ball for those interested in joining North Adams Pride or volunteering for special events. For additional information, visit the group's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/northadamspride, follow them on Instagram @northadamspride, or email andrewjfitch@gmail.com
 
 
 

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MountainOne Marks 175 Years Since Founding

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Board Chairman Daniel Bosley calls the meeting to order.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MountainOne ended a successful 175th anniversary year approaching $1 billion in assets and a future that looks to be "busy."
 
"So with all this you might say we're busy, except for MountainOne, we're not allowed to say we're busy. You've got to work, you're supposed to be busy, right?" said President and CEO Robet Fraser after ticking off a list of positives. "So we're not busy. We're fulfilled, and this year is going to be incredibly fulfilling."
 
The banking institution held its demisemiseptcentennial, or maybe it was a septaquintaquinquecentennial, business meeting on Wednesday night. Whatever the preferred Latin is for 175 years, MountainOne was marking a significant milestone with more than 120 guests and bank members at Norad Mill and another grouping at the Weathervane Golf Course in Weymouth. 
 
Fraser, speaking via livestream from the South Shore, joked that "we have this unique business model where we give you the money — but you have to give it back."
 
That's been the standard since April 1848 when Isaac Hodges, Thomas Robinson and William Brayton founded the North Adams Savings Bank on Main Street. 
 
The first merger occurred in 1962 between North Adams Savings and Hoosac Savings banks, later becoming simply Hoosac Bank in 1998; Hoosac acquired True North Financial and Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance a year later; in 2002, MountainOne Financial Partners is formed as holding company for Hoosac and Williamstown Savings and MountainOne begins its South Shore adventure with the merger of South Coastal Bank; a year later, all three banks change their names to MountainOne. The investment and insurance arms also come under the MountainOne moniker and the newest affiliate, a Longmeadow insurance agency, was acquired in February.
 
"When I think about MountainOne, I think of one organization that was comprised of three different banks, two insurance agencies and investment division," said Fraser. "And we've been able to come together and be incredibly successful working with each other. 
 
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