LENOX — Downtown traffic will be squeezed this weekend as the annual early-fall harvest festival expands its musical entertainment offerings with a professional stage set up on Main Street near the war monument.
Main Street will be closed to vehicles in both directions from Housatonic Street to the monument at Walker Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, said Police Chief Stephen O'Brien. Bands will be performing on the stage set up in the middle of the street during the 37th Lenox Apple Squeeze.
"There'll be some discomfort to motorists for those two days," O'Brien noted, "but it's a small section of road that can be maneuvered around pretty easily." Police officers will be stationed at each end of the road closures and barricades will be put up.
"The entire center of town will be inundated with vehicle traffic as well as foot traffic," the chief said. "So unless you're planning on participating in the Apple Squeeze, you may want to find an alternate route."
O'Brien said that although it's the first time a significant road closure has been needed for the popular event, he's comfortable with the plan. "We'll see how it works and see if it benefits the merchants in town as well as the participants and spectators," he said.
In the overnight hours from Saturday evening into Sunday, traffic along a strong stretch adjacent to the monument also will be off limits so the stage can be stored, but Main Street itself will reopen.
During Apple Squeeze hours, traffic entering downtown Lenox from Walker Street will be diverted onto Church Street and Franklin Street for access to Main Street or West Street (Route 183). But there will be normal access directly from Walker Street onto West Street, heading southbound toward Tanglewood and beyond.
Vehicles approaching downtown from West Street will be barred from a left turn at the monument, but can access Main Street and points north via Church and Franklin streets, or can continue on Walker toward the Routes 7 and 20 bypass.
In addition to a dedicated foot patrol through the center of town on Saturday and Sunday, there will be an officer near the music stage on Saturday, and on Sunday two regular patrol officers also will be available for emergencies.
O'Brien suggested that bus and truck traffic should seek alternate routes during the affected hours.
On Sunday morning, two road races organized by the Berkshire Running Center of Pittsfield will affect traffic briefly on West Street and Yokun Avenue.
Normal traffic flow will be interrupted for a short time on West Street from Undermountain Road to the Boston University Tanglewood Institute campus at 45 West St. for the Apple Squeeze 5-Miler adult race, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Yokun Avenue also will be closed briefly at 9:30 a.m. for the Apple Cider 1-Miler kids' race.
Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.