North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS -- Although the 55th annual Fall Foliage Parade is still a week away, the annual Fall Foliage Festival will kick off this weekend with a bevy of events aimed at families and children.
"This year, we have a slate of traditional events the festival committee usually oversees, but we have a few new events planned by individual groups that we’re also promoting," Rod Bunt, parade chairman and the city’s tourism director, said Thursday.
New events include a Harvest Festival at Western Gateway Heritage State Park on Saturday and a "Dog Day of Fall Parade" for local animal lovers next Saturday, Oct. 2.
The festival will launch this Saturday with the release of clues for the Phantom Leaf Hunt, an annual favorite dating back to 1965 (Check Saturday’s Transcript for clues). Those participating can find brightly colored paper leaves in local scenic locations that can be found using the clues.
"People really love this event and solving the riddles," Bunt said. "We’ll also have the farmers market, which goes through the end of October, in the municipal lot on Marshall Street from 8 a.m. until noon."
A community electronics collection and paper-shredding event will be held at St. John’s Church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for residents of Northern Berkshire. Electronics and larger appliances will be accepted, with donations ranging from $5 to $20, depending on the type of item. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofit organizations.
Saturday’s Harvest Festival will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Western Gateway Heritage State Park. The schedule includes demonstrations of hand-hewn logging with antique tools, loom-weaving, a mini Oktoberfest under the Freight Yard Pub tent, shadow puppet theater, a lecture on the history of scarecrows and a showing of the 1949 animated film "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" along with the classic "It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." For more information, call (413) 663-6312.
On Sunday afternoon, the annual Fall Children’s Fair will begin at 12:30 with the Children’s Road Race at Joe Wolfe Field. Afterwards, local community groups and organizations will offer games, entertainment and refreshments until 3.
"We’re confident we’ll be able to have this event this year," Bunt said. "For the last few years, we’ve had really crummy weather and had to postpone the road race."
This year, the road race and children’s fair will be overseen by Northern Berkshire United Way.
Registration for the road race begins at 11:30 a.m. Categories include age groups for boys and girls beginning with the tot division for children 3 and under and ranging up to age 11. Trophies will be awarded to the top three runners in each age division at 2 p.m.
Unlike previous years, all events for the fair will be held at Joe Wolfe Field.
On Thursday, Sept. 30, the festival will shift gears with the annual Fall Foliage Ziti Supper from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s Parish Center and the final installment of DownStreet Art’s "Last Thursday" celebration, with gallery openings throughout the downtown from 6 to 9 p.m.
"It’s nice how these two events dovetail together," Bunt said. "People can grab a bite to eat at the ziti supper and make their way into the downtown for DownStreet Art. The Last Thursday events have been very popular, and we’re expecting another large turnout. We’ll have the city’s trolley running throughout the event."
The annual Children’s Parade will step off from the corner of Main and Eagle streets at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1. Registration for the parade, which encourages local children to dress up in costumes, begins at 5 p.m. on Eagle Street. The theme is "Our Heroes," the same as for the big parade on Sunday, Oct. 3.
"Christopher Caproni has once again agreed to have the Drury Band lead the parade down Main Street," Bunt said. "The band will play on Eagle Street while the kids get lined up and then will lead the parade down Main Street to City Hall, where we’ll give out trophies and ribbons."
Keeping with tradition, the winners of the children’s parade will be invited to walk in the Fall Foliage Parade on Sunday.
Rounding out Friday’s events will be a dance at the Eagles Hall, 515 Curran Highway, with a DJ in the lounge, beginning at 5 p.m., and the sixth annual North County Gospel Festival at the First Congregational Church, 134 Main St., at 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Berkshire Food Project.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, dog lovers are encouraged to bring the family pets in costume and join the new "Dog Day of Fall Parade," which will kick off at 9 a.m. from the city’s municipal parking lot on Marshall Street. The procession will wind its way to Center Street and Holden Street and then onto Main Street, ending outside of Berkshire Bank.
Prizes donated by the Bark ‘n Cat will be awarded for best costumes, and dog refreshments will be available. Registration for the parade begins at 8:30 a.m. at the farmers’ market.
Pet Psychic Bonnie Strange will provide free readings for pets at 10 a.m. at the North Adams Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Franklin Street. Light refreshments and pet treats will be available.
Also on Saturday, the Autumn Arts and Crafts Festival will return to the north side of Main Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring handmade art and practical craft pieces, food and entertainment.
"This year we have about 60 vendors coming in," Bunt said. "We’ll be closing down the north side of Main Street at 7 a.m. to allow the crafters to set up their tables. Local businesses also will take part, pulling out onto the sidewalk."
The second annual ROPES Family Fun Day will run in conjunction with the craft festival, beginning at noon. Motorcycles and classic cars will converge on Main Street, following a motorcycle "fun run" fundraiser for the ROPES course. Also on tap will be a hot dog-eating contest sponsored by Jack’s Hot Dog Stand and a "Cop Donut Eating Contest."
That night, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., the Eagles Hall on Curran Highway will host the annual Fall Foliage Dance, featuring two live bands. There is a $5 cover charge at the door.
The 55th Fall Foliage Parade, featuring 82 marching units -- floats, marching bands, military units and more -- will step off from the Walmart parking lot at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3, following its traditional route down Route 8 to Main Street and Ashland Street and ending at the elderly high-rise apartments.
Sunday will begin with the annual all-you-can-eat breakfast at the Eagles Hall from 7 to 11 a.m. At 12:30, the 22nd annual Greylock Federal 5K Fall Classic road race, co-sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union, Western Mass Athletic Club and the North Adams Transcript, will begin at the North Adams Public Library. The race supports the Newspapers in Education program, which provides newspapers to local schools. Applications for runners are due at the Transcript by Oct. 1.
For more information, contact Bunt at the North Adams Office of Tourism, (413) 664-6180.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau,