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As a crowd gathered around the front steps of the Post Office to hear different acapella groups from Williams College perform, a long line of families waited patiently for free hot chocolate. Meanwhile, hundreds of others waited cheerfully on the sidewalks, greeting neighbors and strangers as they all waited for the big event. At the same time, dozens of dogs in holiday haberdashery were gathering with their human pals on a lawn nearby, preparing to make their way down Spring Street for the annual Reindog Parade.

On Oct. 18, 1918, 700 workers of the Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Co. were out sick with "the grippe," silencing a third of the Berkshire Mills' 6,500 looms.

Three weeks earlier, the town had reported its first cases of Spanish influenza — 16 sick and one death. Now, the town had 850 recorded cases and 28 deaths from the Spanish flu or flu-related pneumonia. But, town health officials suspected the number was much higher, around 2,000 infected individuals.

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Arts and Culture

he Old Rep Poet and Tap Room is gone. The New Rep Poet and Tap Room is open for business as Capital Repertory Theatre revives Frank McCourt’s “The Irish … and How They Got That Way” in the theater’s atmospheric new home at 251 N. Pearl St., roughly a quarter-of-a-mile north of the abandoned supermarket at 111 N. Pearl St. that was the theater’s home for the better part of 40 years.

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Things to do this week in Berkshire County

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