County Fare: Elite’s cheer teams fare well in NJ


The Berkshire Elite All-Star Cheerleading organization recently took three youth teams to the "Beast of the East" national cheerleading competition, held on Friday and Saturday at New Jersey’s Atlantic City Convention Center.

"We’ve really taken on the all-star role this year. Our program is a lot bigger, and instead of tryouts, we’re placing kids on teams skill level-wise," said Berkshire Elite Director Teresa Goines.

The Berkshire Elite group formed after Pittsfield’s Catholic Youth Center closed. The group now practices at The Infield on Lyman Street, training four competitive teams, two house teams and an instructional team. The cheerleading competition season runs from January to May.

Goines said 47 Pittsfield area youths, ages 7 to 19, traveled to compete in New Jersey among 500 teams. Berkshire Elite registered two junior-level teams and a senior-level team to compete.

She said the two junior teams placed fifth, and the senior team finished sixth in their respective divisions. The teams are also qualified to compete in the U.S. Finals, which will be held on May 3 in Providence, R.I.

Between now and then, Berkshire Elite will head to the Spirit Festivals Nationals, held Feb. 8 and 9 in Hartford, Conn.; a varsity-level competition scheduled for March 15 in Springfield, and another national competition on April 5 and 6, also in Springfield.

To learn more about Berkshire Elite, email or visit them on Facebook:


The Berkshire Immigrant Center, which has been a supportive lifeline for newly arriving residents from more than 80 nations, has received a major boost from the annual "Voices of Hope" fundraiser held by the Seven Hills Inn in cooperation with the Lenox Chamber of Commerce.

Tonight at the Lenox Select Board’s meeting, the $40,000 raised by the holiday season dinner-dance and auction will be celebrated through a formal presentation.

According to Robin Gerson Wong, proprietor of the inn, more than 170 guests from the county, Boston, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania attended the pre-Christmas event. Auction items were donated by numerous Berkshire businesses, residents and organizations, she said. The three-course, sit-down dinner was prepared by Chef Michael Ballon of Castle Street Café in Great Barrington.

Musical entertainment was provided by soprano Deborah Grausman, the producer and a performer of the "Broadway in the Berkshires" gala held every two years at Shakespeare & Company.

Area donors included Kripalu, Blantyre, Ventfort Hall, Tanglewood, Wheatleigh, Canyon Ranch, Cranwell, Jacob’s Pillow, Barrington Stage Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theatre Group and Berkshire International Film Festival.

Several immigrants offered testaments to how their lives were changed by support from the Berkshire Immigrant Center on South Street in Pittsfield. Hilary Greene, the organization’s executive director, said: "We never could have imagined such a beautiful setting for a fundraiser, a packed house of supportive community members and advocates, and the amazing generosity of Seven Hill owners Robin and Denis Wong and their dedicated staff."

"In recognizing the center’s work, Robin and Denis have made a true commitment to improving the lives of many of the newest members of our community," Greene added. "The support of the Voices of Hope team will be invaluable to us moving forward, and we are grateful beyond words."


Redbook Magazine recently published an article, "The Best Travel Finds of 2014," and the city of North Adams made the list as a travel destination for the fall season.

Author Lisa Tucker McElroy wrote: "Bring color into your life with the Berkshires’ Fall Foliage Festival, complete with a parade and leaf hunt for the kids. While your there, hike the portion of the Appalachian Trail that runs through town, or the easy but lovely Cascade Falls path."

Other locales listed as must-visit fall destinations include: Sandestin, Fla.; The Abacos, Bahamas; Traverse City, Mich.; Hannibal, Mo.; Meredith, N.H.; Acadia National Park in Maine, and Fayetteville, Ark.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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