Thursday July 19, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- After days of hot, sunny and muggy weather, tonight's Third Thursday celebration takes on an appropriately tropical theme featuring samba music, a beach and an attempt at the Berkshire's biggest conga line.

This month's Third Thursday, titled "Tropicalismo," aims to gather hundreds of people in a conga line moving to the beat of the Youth Alive drummers.

"Many people have already posted on Facebook [that] a conga line is just what they need and can't wait to shake their tailfeathers," said Megan Whilden, Pittsfield's cultural development director.

The conga line will form near Mission Bar & Tappas on North Street at 6:30 p.m. and boogie south to the Crown Plaza hotel, where reggae music and tropical drinks await, Whilden added.

The Brazilian beat of Berkshire Bateria highlights the musical entertainment. The group will perform from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on the front lawn of St. Joseph Church.

"They have been at Third Thursday many times but [tonight] they are pulling out all the stops and bringing their drummers, their samba band Bossa Triba, and carnival-style dancers," Whilden said.

Co-founded in 1994 by Jim and Teri Weber of Great Barrington, Berkshire Bateria performs throughout the Northeast.

They find Third Thursday a natural fit for their musical style.

"The music we play is music of the street," Jim Weber said. "It gets people going."

Meanwhile, Palace Park on North Street will be transformed into a beach with sand, minus the surf, for children of all ages to play in.


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The featured fundraiser for July's Third Thursday will be "Paws for Dignity," with contributions going to Animal D.R.E.A.M.S. (Digni fied Rescues, Education, Advo cacy and Medical Services). The organization located at 441 North St. rescues stray and unwanted cats.

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 closed to vehicular traffic from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. to keep the event pedestrian-friendly.

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



If you go ...

What: Third Thursday in downtown Pittsfield

When: Tonight, 5-8

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

Information: www.discoverpitts field.com/3rdThursdays