LENOX — Let the good times roll. That’s the upbeat message from the town’s business leaders following a blockbuster summer for the hospitality industry.
To keep area residents and visitors entertained during the transition to October’s leaf-peeping season, the Lenox Apple Squeeze, a four-decade tradition, is returning this month for the first time since the COVID-19 plague forced its cancellation in 2020 and 2021.
Organized by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Nacht, several other downtown attractions also are planned, leading up to the return of the Squeeze. So far, 75 vendors have signed up for the festival.
The street fair was created in 1980 by antiques dealer Charles Flint, developer Bob Romeo and the Chamber of Commerce. Originally, it was held on Columbus Day weekend, but later moved to late September.
The idea was “to give the town back to the people in a very festive way” after the summer tourism crunch, Flint has said. He came up with the Apple Squeeze name because it coincides with the peak of the fall harvest.
This year, it will be a one-day, Main Street sidewalk festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, with musical entertainment along Church Street and additional vendors in the Campfire lot at 80 Church St. The rain date is Sept. 25.
A new element: The Apple Tree Inn off Route 183 (West Street) will host a free bonfire after-party from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the lawn, offering a food truck and music, Nacht said.
The goal is to draw up to 5,000 people to downtown, she said, for food, merchandise and musical entertainment provided by Berkshire Busk, the organization based in Great Barrington that connects street musicians with performance opportunities. The Lenox PTO will offer its carnival for kids in Lilac Park, including a hayride.