Thursday September 20, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Men wearing women's shoes, moviegoers dress ed up in ‘80s style and a winter clothing drive highlight to night's Thursdays celebration.

"Passion for Fashion" is the theme for the city's monthly downtown block party in September featuring the second annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" fundraiser to benefit the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

The walk begins at 6 p.m. near Park Square, with last-minute registration from 5:30-6 p.m. at The Popcorn Wagon.

Event organizers expect nearly 300 men of all ages -- triple last year's participation -- to walk a mile loop on North Street in women's shoes, or shoes decorated to look feminine, to show support for female victims of domestic abuse.

"Clearly this is a fundraiser to raise public awareness, but it's also an enormous amount of fun," said Susan Gordon, a member of the Elizabeth Freeman Center's board of directors. "Last year, I had men who walked say they had fun and wanted to do it again [this year]."

Gordon expects to surpass last year's amount raised of $14,000, thanks to members of the Pittsfield Police and Fire departments, Pittsfield and Taconic high school football teams, Pittsfield cross country team and other predominantly male groups that signed up for the fundraiser.

Meanwhile, The Beacon Cinema is encouraging movie buffs to dress in leg warmers, scrunchies, designer blue jeans and other ‘80s fashions for a special showing of "Dirty Dancing" at 8 p.


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m. The 1987 classic romance film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey is set in 1963 at a resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

"We hope people dress up as some of the characters -- including the parents," said John Valente, Beacon's general manager.

3rd.Thursdays visitors are also asked to bring sweaters, heavy coats and other unwanted cold-weather outerwear for people who have recently emigrated to the area, many of whom aren't prepared for New England winters, according to the Berkshire Immigrant Center.

The 3rd.Thursdays collection is part of the immigrant center's month-long winter clothing drive. For more information, the center is located at 88 South St. in Pittsfield, and can be reached at (413) 445-4881 or info@berkshiresic.com.

3rd.Thursdays activities are primarily scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. and feature live entertainment, food and craft vendors, and established downtown merchants offering specials or staying open for extended hours.

North Street, from Park Square to Maplewood Avenue, is off-limits to cars and trucks from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. to keep the event safe for pedestrians.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

If you go ...

What: Third Thursday block party

When: 5-8 tonight

Where: North Street between Park Square and Maplewood Avenue, Pittsfield. The area
is closed to auto traffic from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Information: discoverpittsfield.com/
3rdThursdays