Friday August 19, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- Once again, thousands of people swarmed the North Street area for Third Thursday festivities -- and this time, one of them was a governor.

This month's event was themed around the third annual Word X Word festival, and Gov. Deval Patrick was on hand to sign and read from his new book at the nearly packed 800-seat Colonial Theatre.

While seated in an easy chair on the stage, Patrick read three entries from his new book, "A Reason To Believe: Lessons From An Improbable Life." As a means of introduction, Patrick noted that when most politicians write a book, it is to either set the groundwork for an election campaign, or for political payback.

In his case, he said, he is perfectly happy with his job and is not running for another. And as far as political payback goes, "maybe later."

This book, Patrick said, is "a gesture of gratitude to the people who gave me my profound sense of optimism, the essence of faith, and the power of grace. And to the voters who have given me a reason to believe in the power of conviction."

His readings dealt with a strained relationship with his father, the lessons taught to him by the women in his childhood Chicago church, and a random act of grace by a Chicago bus driver, who instructed him to "pass it on, son."

After the readings, Patrick took a few questions from the audience, and then sat at a table in the theater lobby and signed copies of his book.


Advertisement

While the governor was addressing ethical commitment and societal change, outside Baba Louie's on Depot Street, Pittsfield firefighters and County Ambulance emergency responders battled it out over a table full of pizzas.

The firefighters won, said Baba Louie's owner Paul Masiero.

It was the second pizza-eating contest of the evening: The first pitted 12 members of the crowd against each other. The winner, Joseph Runge, of Dalton, ate three large pizzas and two slices besides -- or 26 slices. The second place finisher scarfed down 25 slices.

All told, the firefighters and ambulance workers went through 20 pizza pies. The 12 competitors in the public contest went through 28 pizzas.

When the pizza eating contests were over, the governor was still busy signing copies of his book at the Colonial.

To reach Scott Stafford:
sstafford@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6241.