PITTSFIELD -- Driving home from a brief albeit wonderful family vacation from Cape Cod a couple of nights ago, I noticed a change: The sun set earlier, the night seemed cooler and we're getting well into August.
The next day, I looked at my calendar. Saturday, Sept. 22 is the first day of autumn. Starting today, there are 44 days left of summer nights to celebrate.
So without delay, I present you with ideas to do so, every one of those days.
There are still plenty of festivals to be enjoyed, be it Third Thursdays and First Fridays Artswalk in Pittsfield or DownStreet Art in North Adams. The city of North Adams will also host its annual Mayor's Downtown Cele bration on Aug. 15.
The Berkshire Fringe festival wanes now through Monday, while the Word X Word Festival waxes on with a rooftop opening gala party on Saturday and the first head-to-head haiku competition on Sunday.
North Adams' free weekly Party in the Park continues tonight with the Arthur Holmes Band and Thursdays through August. The Pitts field equivalent, Live on the Lake also continues on Wednesdays through August. Classic rockers Greylock play next.
Concerts at Windsor Lake in North Adams takes place on Wednesdays through Aug. 29, with Miss Guided next week.
Tonight also kicks off a weekend-long run, "MCP: Criminal Intent" is a 17-member cabaret show by Mill City Productions in North Adams.
If you can't get enough of this cabaret theme, check out Berkshire Theatre Group's "We Are Women: A Bernstein Cabaret" Thursday through Sunday, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield presents Quentin Earl Darrington with guests Stephanie Umoh and Tyler Campbell for an evening of song in the "Mr. Finn's Cabaret" venue this Friday and Saturday.
More of a cabaret of comedy, Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe plays Friday at Freight Yard Pub in North Adams.
Arts not your thing? How about beer culture? The Chalet is an al fresco bar/art installation by Dean Baldwin by Building 8 at Mass MoCA, open every Thursday. Kelly's Package Store in Dalton will host an AugtoBeerFest on Aug. 25 at Holiday Brook Farm. With more than 150 beers to taste, save the date and designate a driver.
Even though it's summer, Berkshire Young Profession als (BYP) does not rest. It's holding a social networking event tonight at 9 p.m. at Public Eat & Drink in North Adams.
More into movies? Mosey on south to The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington. Tonight, American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra present a pre-release benefit screening of "Orchestra of Exiles" with the director Josh Aronson. On Friday, there's a screening of The Marx Brothers 1937 classic "A Day at the Races."
You can also catch a film at the North Adams Movieplex 8, Regal Cinemas in Lanesborough, The Beacon Cinema and Little Cinema in Pittsfield, Images in Williamstown and The Triplex in Great Barrington.
Also in South County, Spectrum Playhouse in Lee will host a concert with music men Bobby Sweet and Adam Michael Rothberg on Saturday. Fans would also be remiss not to visit The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, now celebrating Woody Guthrie's centennial. Tom Paxton plays there this Friday and Saturday. In Lenox, Eastover Hotel and Resort commissions D.J. Young Champ to play dance music Friday nights through August.
Looking to do your own thing? Have at an open mic: Tuesdays at Mission Bar & Tapas and a spoken word open mic on the second Tuesday of each month at yBar in Pittsfield; Wednesday nights at Chameleons in Pittsfield and Dream Away Lodge in Becket; Hootenanny Thursdays at the Guthrie Center and the Thursday Young Artists' Open Mic at Marketplace Café in Pittsfield. Berkshire Community College will host a Mr. Mic open mic this Saturday.
Other things you might want to do before summer's through:
Try a night at a museum. If you're lucky, you hold a ticket to Saturday's sold-out Art Garfunkel concert at The Clark in Williamstown, but music at the museum continues Aug. 14 and 21. Berkshire Museum will host a Pecha Kucha night on Tuesday, with Word X Word events this coming week. At 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Norman Rockwell Museum has events such as tonight's a cappella set, "Bawdy Songs and Buried Treasure."
Capitol Steps will presents American political satire through Sept. 2 at Cranwell in Lenox. Bernice Lewis plays the next gig for the free Wednesday concert series at Lilac Park in Lenox. Free concerts and films are at the Adams Town Common; Dancapade and Memory Lane perform this Thursday, and "Zookeeper" plays Friday night. Also in the spirit of free, don't forget an outdoor show at Jacob's Pillow in Becket.
There's a Blue Moon Hike and Bonfire scheduled for Aug. 31 at Furnace Brook Winery in Richmond. Enjoy an outdoor Eagles Band concert in Springside Park or any other venue. Saturday is the Zucchini Festival in West Stockbridge, featuring even ing fireworks and music by Berkshire Bateria and Bootleg. Try any event at Bascom Lodge because who doesn't want entertainment with mountaintop sunset views?
Just over the Berkshire border, the 2012 Bella Terra outdoor music and arts festival will be held Aug. 16 through 19 in Stephentown, N.Y.
So there you have 44 and a few more. With other things in store, you have no excuse to spend a night in the Berkshires bored.
To reach Jenn Smith:
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink