Discover Pittsfield's Tyler Street at Saturday festival


PITTSFIELD -- A cooperative Mother Nature could be key to the success of Saturday's annual Discover Tyler Street celebration.

Sidewalk sales and live entertainment will highlight the event, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the entire stretch of Tyler Street in the city's Morningside neighborhood.

Torrential downpours cut short last year's event on Sept. 8, a major reason organizers decided to stage the block party earlier in 2013.

"There's no guarantee it won't rain, but there is a better opportunity for good weather in July," said Diane Marcella, chairwoman of the Tyler Street Business Group.

"Weather is one factor you can't control, but we deserve a good weather day," added Karen Barbalunga, co-owner with her husband Ermino "King" Barbalunga of the Tyler Street Car Wash.

The Barbalungas are among the nearly 40 city businesses -- most along Tyler Street -- that plan to participate in the one-day event, also presented by The Morningside Initiative.

Discover Tyler Street debuted in 2010 based on Pittsfield's popular Third Thursdays that run from May through October. Both events are designed to showcase the major business districts in order to bring the community together and boost the local economy.

Organizers say citywide participation in the celebration is growing and it's drawing some former Morningside-area residents back to the neighborhood.

Bill O'Connor, who spent his childhood on Burbank Street, and his band The Rock Hounds will perform on the main stage at the Tyler Street Car Wash.

The 53-year-old resident of nearby Middlefield is glad to see his old stomping grounds returning to prominence.

"When I grew up there, GE was full blast and the Silk Mill was still in business," O'Connor said. "Every once in a while, I drive on Burbank, just because."

The former site of General Electric has become the William Stanley Business Park, while a Boston developer last fall completed the $14.7 million conversion of the former A.H. Rice Silk Mill into 45 rental units for working individuals and families.

The city views the affordable housing project as one of several efforts to revitalize the Morningside area.

In 2011, the annual Pittsfield Halloween Parade found a new venue on Tyler Street. The Tyler Street Business Group requested, and the city agreed, to use Tyler as the route for the parade, traditionally held on North Street.

Marcella says the group soon becoming an officially recognized nonprofit organization, which will allow it to apply for grants toward future projects to enhance the Morningside area.

"There's always room for improvement," she said.

If you go ...

What: Discover Tyler Street

When: , 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Entire length of Tyler Street in Pittsfield.

Noteworthy: Tyler Street will remain open to through traffic during the event. However, parking will be limited on the street, especially on the south side. There will be no vehicular access to Pine, Grove and Smith streets from Tyler.

To reach Dick Lindsay:,
or (413) 496-6233.


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