Berkshire Food Festival brings flavor to the streets of North Adams


Photo Gallery | 14th annual Berkshire Food Festival

This article was updated on June 29, 2016 to reflect that Rich Auge is the manager of Gramercy Bistro, not the owner.

NORTH ADAMS — Main Street's northern side was filled with families, flavors, and fun as the 15th annual Berkshire Food Festival drew a steady flow of food connoisseurs to the event.

Robert "Bob" and Betty Iannitelli of Williamstown said that they've attended many of the festivals.

"It's perfect weather for this today," Robert Iannitelli said. "I'm a pizza comparison guy. Today I've tried both kinds that are here."

He said he enjoyed both Christos and Papa John's pizzas, but Betty said she had a preference.

"I liked Christos," she said.

Grazie restaurant sous chef Nicholas Girard said that he was pleased with attendance.

"We went through a whole tray of meatballs and a tray of cannoli already," he said. "We are doing great here."

The event was presented by WNAW and WUPE radio stations, said Berkshire Radio Group Vice-president and Market Manager Peter Barry. Sponsors were Haddad Dealerships and Aladco Linen Supply. The City of North Adams and the city's Office of Tourism and Community Events were directly involved with the festival as well, he said.

"So far, so good," Barry said. "It's a steady crowd. People come in, they eat and leave and more people come in. It's a constant turn."

Attendees bought $1 tickets to spend on various offerings. Stephen Gapinso of radio station WSBS and Sheila Barnes, who works at WUPE's main office in Pittsfield, said ticket sales were brisk.

"We are seeing great ticket sales," Barnes said.

"Everybody seems to be having a good time," Gapinso said.

Mary Redstone staffed an Oh Crepe station. Redstone recalled an October 2015 festival, which was a truly brisk affair.

"It would snow and when it did, people would crowd under the tents," she said. "Then it would stop and they would go out and then it would start and they would come back. We are seeing probably the same amount of people but it's more spread out, not the big wave."

Boston Seafood restaurant owner Omar Ameen and Gramercy Bistro manager Rich Auge said they participate because they believe in the region.

"We are here for the people," Ameen said.

"We like to come out and support community," Auge said. "We like to see North Adams thriving."

Christo's worker Kathy Arabia said that pizza was popular.

"We are selling a lot of pizza and spinach pie," she said. "It's really great."

While their father manned the seafood restaurant station, 4-year-old triplets William, Lanie, and Jacoby Ameen munched on chocolate covered crepes. The taste-testing trio was busy eating when asked how their fare tasted but all three managed a thumbs-up.

City Mayor Richard J. Alcombright toured the stations.

"It's a beautiful day," he said. "We are giving a lot of thanks to our vendors and to WUPE radio. They let us have so much fun."


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