PITTSFIELD -- Country and bluegrass music, a professional cowboy and an increasingly popular running road race highlight tonight's Third Thursday celebration.
The city's monthly downtown block party for June titled "Country in the City" will feature the musical talents of Twangbusters, Berkshire Bluegrass Band, The Spurs USA and the Rick Rebel Band.
The country and western theme is a first for Third Thursday since its inception in 2007, according to Megan Whil d en, Pittsfield's cultural development director.
"We have found some interesting talent for [tonight]," Whilden said. "We have Cheryl Wendling who has been teaching line dancing in Pittsfield for 20 years, and a professional cowboy, Steve Robinson, who runs a Western-style horse ranch in Becket."
Meanwhile, a staple of Third Thursday returns with the annual Green Mile foot race on North Street. Since the event debuted three years ago, participation has risen from 65 runners to 250 last year.
Despite a forecast for hot and humid weather today, organizers expect another field of 200 runners when the one-mile race begins at 6 p.m. at Berkshire Bank, Park Square, which is also the finish line.
"People ran in Boston in this kind of heat in the middle of the day [in April], and that was a marathon," said Shiobbean Archey. "For us, the sun won't be high in the sky and it will start to cool down. I anticipate a good turnout."
Archey is co-owner of the Berkshire Running Center in Pittsfield, which has staged the race the last two years on behalf of the city. Race registration forms are available until 5:30 p.m. at the center at 42 Summer St.
This year, proceeds from the entry fee will benefit Pittsfield Beautiful, a voluntary organization dedicated to planting and maintaining annual and perennial flower beds and gardens throughout the city.
Third Thursday 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 Ave nue, is off-limits to vehicular traffic from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. in order to keep the event pedestrian-friendly.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.
If you go ...
What: Third Thursday in downtown Pittsfield
When: 5 to 8 tonight
Where: North Street between Park Square and Maplewood Avenue, closed to auto traffic from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.