PITTSFIELD -- The city firefighters' popular benefit comedy concert will play the Colonial Theatre next spring.

The annual Comedy Caravan Show has moved to the historic South Street venue after several years at the Berkshire Hills County Club on Benedict Road, according to show organizers. The show is scheduled for April 11 at 8 p.m.

"We've been getting a full house at every show and [in 2013] we had standing room only," said Tim Bartini, president of the Pittsfield Firefighters Association Local 2647. "It'll be a special treat to be at the Colonial."

The Comedy Caravan, featuring some of Boston's best stand-up comics, caps the firefighter's union yearly campaign to raise at least $10,000 toward scholarships for local high school graduates, community groups and the needy.

The fundraising is already underway with the union's traditional telephone campaign and will last through the end of January.

TCI America of Rhode Island is once again conducting the telephone campaign on behalf of the firefighters association.

The fundraiser began a week ago Sunday, but Bartini said the rest of the phone calls will be made weekdays between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., except for Christmas and New Year's Day. He noted the local business and homeowners won't be pressured to make a contribution.

"We have a good reputation and don't want to ruin it," said the veteran city firefighter.

While the fundraising goal is $10,000, the firefighters have collected in recent years an average of $13,000 from the telephone solicitations and proceeds from the comedy show.

The majority of the contributions go toward scholarships for seniors at Pittsfield and Taconic high schools, St. Joseph's High School and Miss Hall's School. Bartini said between 30 and 40 scholarships averaging $7,000 have doled the last four years.

In addition, the Pittsfield Firefighters Association fund provides financial assistance to many different local agencies and organizations, such the "Thanksgiving Angel" program last month.

The collaboration of several city churches and others faith-based groups provided more than 1,000 Pittsfield families and individuals with frozen turkeys and all the fixings to prepare their own Thanksgiving Day meal. For Christmas, the firefighters purchased presents for 30 adults and children.

The association will also hold back some of the money raised in case of emergencies, such as families or individuals hit hard by fire.

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

Where to call ...

For information about the fundraiser, Call Tim Bartini at work, (413) 499-0374 or on his cellphone at (413)
281-8021.