GREAT BARRINGTON — In a textbook turn of events, community members have pulled together several music performances downtown to raise funds for the beloved Railroad Street eatery Martin's, which caught fire late last Thursday and remains closed indefinitely.
More than five performers will play at and around the head of Railroad Street between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
"Martin's has been a staple of Railroad Street for decades," event organizer Fred Schane, who also plans to perform with his ukulele. "I'm doing this because I know if anything like that happened to my place of work, I know how much trouble it would be. And for a waitress or a cook, the loss in income could be just devastating."
Schane wasn't the first to consider the latter problem.
Resident Valerie Fanarjian on June 13 established a gofundme.com page to support the employees of Martin's while the restaurant remains closed.
"While I will sorely miss the 'McMartin' and the eggs Benedict, I am sure the loss of wages to all of the employees is a greater loss," Fanarjian wrote on the page. "I am not sure how much money is needed to tide everyone over, but I am sure that whatever we as a community can put together will make these days easier for our friends at Martin's."
As of Thursday evening, the page had collected $1,325 on 35 total donations.
Performers at Friday's event in addition to Schane include Michael Haynes, Mike Griffin, David Reed, and Peter Lindstrom. Attendees will be encouraged to pitch donations into the designated collection buckets, which will then be turned over to Martin's to divvy out.
"This is something we managed to put together in two days, so there seems to be a lot of support out there, but we'll have to wait and see," Schane — who dubbed the event "Busking for Martin's," said.
On June 9 at just after 11 p.m., town firefighters responded to Martin's to find a fire burning in the kitchen of the two-story building.
Fire damage was limited to the kitchen, but the entire restaurant suffered heat damage. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but authorities say it was not suspicious.
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.