Click photo to enlarge
Jill Lapointe helps her granddaughter Isabella Moore, 5, fish for ducks.
Sunday October 21, 2012

LANESBOROUGH -- Oct ober weather in the Berkshires isn’t known to be conducive for outdoor carnivals, slushies, ice cream and high-velocity rides, but such was the case Saturday afternoon at the Fall Festival in the Berkshire Mall
parking lot.

Originally scheduled for last spring, Gillette Shows, a carnival attraction business in Pittsfield that caters to the Northeast, ended up being pushed back to this week after scheduling conflicts. The fall festival, which runs through today, will close out the Gillette Shows season in a carnival that raises money for both the Lanesborough Police Association and Regal Cinema’s Stars of Hope.

"We’ve never been out here this late [in the year]," said Betty Gillette, one of the owners.

Attendance has not been good because of the recent rain, Gillette said.

"We’ve seen very little so far," she said. "Today has been the first nice day."

Aside from not having to contend with mud in the event of rain, the concrete parking lot outside the mall was chosen because it would draw business for both the mall, the nearby farmers market and the fall festival.

"One business helps the other," Gillette said.

It was nice enough weather to draw in a decent enough crowd Saturday. Lines formed outside the concessions and the rides while the breeze generated by the twirling, spinning, gyrating attractions came as a bit of a relief in the sun.

"It’s nice to have something to do in the fall that you can bring your family to," said Tim Sorrell, a Lanes borough investigator and the president of the Lanesborough Police Association. "We’ve had no problems. Everyone’s having a good time."

Julianna LeBarron, 2, was clearly having a good time on her first-ever carnival ride -- around and around she went in her little green car on one of the less-intense carnival rides.

"It’s nice to see something like this in town," her grandmother Cather ine LeBarron said as she watched Julianna from the sidelines.

Funds will be tallied after the festival closes out at 7 tonight. The money brought in by the carnival will be dispersed back into Lanes borough through scholarships and programs.

"Whatever money we get out of this we will keep in the community," Sorrell said.

In addition, money will benefit Regal Cinema’s Stars of Hope program, a summer program that helps kids battling cancer.

Though business hasn’t been as desirable as some hoped, the attendance has merited another carnival in the Berkshire Mall in May, a Regal Cinema manager said.

To reach Adam Poulisse:
apoulisse@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse

If you go

What: Final day of Gillette Shows Fall Festival.

When: 1 to 7 p.m.

Where: Berkshire Mall parking lot

Cost: $15 pays for all rides. All
proceeds benefit the Lanes borough Police Association and Regal Cinemas Stars of Hope