Phew! It's been one heck of a community-engaged week here at The Eagle. And it was nothing but fun for this particular online editor.
If you didn't make it out to the last Third Thursday, you missed quite the Halloween-themed scene. I've never seen so many kids all dressed up and ready for some candy and photography.
Features editor Lindsey Hollenbaugh and I, along with the prep assistance from Eagle photographer Stephanie Zollshan and the encouragement of VP of news Kevin Moran, were able to pull off a pretty sweet photo booth set-up out on North Street.
Borrowing some gear from various other Eagle departments (that I had no idea existed until this endeavor), we were able to create a cool spot for kids and families to come and have their photo taken.
We beefed up our appeal with a few things, including suckers, glow sticks, a Lindsey the Lobster costume (handmade!) and a Laura the fisherman/photographer costume (the beard was not handmade, unfortunately).
For about three hours, kids and parents filed in from all sides, wanting their photo taken. Aside from seeing so many different faces -- many of which were masked -- it was nice to get to talk to some of you locals out and about on the street.
In the end, we posted 299 photos that are now available for viewing in an online photo gallery at berkshireeagle.com (http://bit.ly/1a2Fxld).
Third Thursday was the perfect starting point for us in the newsroom to really get out into the community and offer something that was straight up fun to the public. Thanks to communication between departments and event coordinators, we were able to pull off something pretty special for the Halloween season. And it can only get better.
Also this weekend, I had the pleasure of pouring wine and beer at the Bass Water Grill in Cheshire for an Alzheimer's Association benefit. It was about dang time I got out for something like this, and it was actually pretty fun.
I guess they were calling us "celebrity wine pourers," but it was more that we were part of the community and got to know the other members of it. Along with plenty of delicious food, red and white wine, and various beers, a silent auction was going on the whole evening. Dozens of people showed up in support of finding a cure.
In the end, I walked away with a bottle of wine and a $20 gift certificate to The Range in North Adams. I am no pro golfer in any way, but I do love me some putt-putt. That lonely gift certificate had no bids on it, and since I always pick the things least likely to be picked, I put in a last-minute bid. So I guess I'm going golfing, hopefully before the cold weather sets in.
Anyway, it was a wonderful experience that I hope to do again in the future. These people pour their heart and soul into these events, and it's pretty amazing seeing it all come together.
To combine those two snippets of community engagement was ridiculously fun: Cheers to future plans with The Eagle and on our own. Get out there and be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Laura Lofgren is The Eagle's online editor; she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 496-6229.
On Twitter, she's at @BE_LauraL_ .