Discover Tyler Street block party to feature robotics team, ice cream, food, beer
PITTSFIELD — Organizers of Discover Tyler Street have found the right formula to celebrate the resurgent business district.
For the third straight year, Thursday's event will be one night from 5 to 8 p.m. on Woodlawn Avenue and the parking lot of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.
The block party affair debuted in 2010 as a Saturday event that ran the length of Tyler Street with food, entertainment and sidewalk sales by dozens of area merchants intended to promote the area.
The Tyler Street Business Group two years ago felt going to more of a consolidated street festival — similar to Third Thursday — might work best.
It has, according the organization's chairwoman, Diane Marcella.
"Now we have more families coming together; parents are coming with their children," she said.
Putting a theme to Discover Tyler Street has been one of several changes in recent years to the weeknight celebration. As in 2015, this year's motif is "Arts, Activity, Innovation" that features live music, a classic car show and the return of the Herberg Middle School robotics team and demonstration by the manufacturing/technology program from Taconic High School.
Woodlawn and part of Kellogg will be cordoned off to make the event pedestrian-friendly, similar to the stretch of North Street that hosts Third Thursday.
While the event has grown in merchant participation and attendance, switching to the block party, weeknight format has been a way to increase participation in the neighborhood and from around the city
"Anybody I have asked to help out, has done so," Marcella said.
She noted 17 commercial and nonprofit entities are backing this year's festival with Pittsfield Cooperative Bank and Berkshire Children and Families the newest sponsors.
Attendees can expect a carnival-like menu of hamburgers, hotdogs, fried dough, ice cream, soft drinks and beer. Children's activities include face painting, a magician and the popular Roaming Railroad offering free train rides.
Since Discover Tyler Street began seven years ago, the entire Morningside section of Pittsfield has been on the rebound with the Silk Mill Apartments, new and established home and business owners sprucing up their properties and increased interest in the nearby William Stanley Business Park.
All this is laying the foundation for the Transformative Development Initiative launched a year ago by local and state officials.
TDI facilitators are currently working closely with businesses owners and residents in the Tyler Street area on how best to shape the future economic and social direction of the Morningside area.
Marcella looks forward to mirroring the downtown revitalization of the past decade.
"Once North Street is done, we can turn down Tyler Street and start working on other parts of the city," she said.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233
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