Photo Gallery | Children's Holiday Extravaganza at the Colonial Theater
PITTSFIELD — There were a lot of cool things at the Children's Holiday Extravaganza at the Colonial Theatre — face painting, raffles, entertainment on the stage, pretty good food — but for 10-year-old Felee Davis and her 6-year-old cousin Cecilia Centeno, it was the Pocket Lady.
"The Pocket Lady has a dress on with a bunch of pockets," explained Felee, "and when you put your hand in one of the pockets, you get a prize."
A pretty good deal. The Pocket Lady was actually Ashlei Perkins, who works for the Colonial Theatre as assistant director of sales and audience services.
"Just little things," she explained. "Cards, little slinkys, jacks, games — stuff like that."
More than 520 parents and their children attended the event. That was how many tickets were sold. But explained, volunteer Donna Hanson, who was dressed as an elf, some folks just showed up. The event was free and they didn't know they needed tickets. So they got in, too.
Hanson was taking photos of the kids and putting them on Facebook.
Hanson was one of about 30 volunteers at the event, according to Kathleen Amuso, who organized the whole thing. Both Amuso and Hanson recalled the holiday parties thrown by General Electric, back when there was a General Electric in town.
"I just remembering having so much fun, and wanting to have something like that for the kids today," said Amuso. "There was such a great sense of community back then."
Amuso said she was impressed by the commitment of the community. The Berkshire Bank, for example, donated 10 bicycles for the raffle. A host of local businesses donated food, gift certificates and elbow grease to make this work.
"Just about everyone agreed to help, once we started asking," said Amuso.
And of course, the Colonial hosted the event for free.
One didn't have to be from Pittsfield to participate. Cooper Calvert, 7, of Windsor was with is cousin, Connor Perkins, 4, of Cummington. (They did not come unattended. Connor's mom, Denise, drove them here.) Connor said the popcorn was the best part about the event, Cooper was partial to the hot chocolate.
Sunday was the inaugural Extravaganza. Amuso said she is already thinking about next year.
"This has exceeded my expectation," she said.