Celebrate start of summer with Third Thursday

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PITTSFIELD — Berkshire young people will dance and sing to open the 13th season of Third Thursday in downtown Pittsfield.

The traditional youth theme for May features a variety of area music and dance groups to entertain the thousands of visitors during the three-hour block party. They include the Breffny Irish Dancers, Kids 4 Harmony, Rock On, Reid Middle School String Ensemble and the Taconic High School Guitar Ensemble.

The groups will perform on North Street from Park Square to Linden Street/Maplewood Avenue. Berkshire Theatre Group will be doing an excerpt from their Showtime with Shakespeare: A Magic Tree House Adventure touring show on the Persip Park Main Stage.

"We're celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of summer so what better way to start Third Thursdays than to celebrate with youth," said Jen Glockner, the city's director of cultural development.

The popular Dance Zone at Bradford and North streets, in front of St. Joseph Church, returns with the debut of an All Styles Dance Battle. The event is free and open to participants of all ages, abilities and styles. Berkshire-favorite disc jockey BFG spins tracks live, and community judges will decide who will be the crowned winner — for bragging rights and a $250 cash prize.

The open dance competition is the newest twist to the Dance Zone that debuted in 2018 to draw more people to the north end of the street festival.

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"The Dance Zone was more amazing than we expected last year. We did a good job of getting more people into that area," Glockner said.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket hosts the Dance Zone that is scheduled to host dance companies all over the U.S. to perform at the remaining Third Thursdays through September. Jacob's Pillow will sponsor a national headliner followed by performances from regional dance groups.

General Dynamics Mission Systems returns as the May sponsor for the third straight year featuring the company's seasonlong interactive engineering demonstration near Columbus Avenue and North Street. The demonstration is one of the many kid-friendly activities such as a variety of youth games and miniature train rides from Roaming Railroad.

Dozens of vendors selling food, crafts or promoting local civic and community organizations line the Third Thursday route with room for a few more this season, according to Glockner.

The downtown outdoor event continues to be pedestrian-friendly, blocked off to vehicular traffic and smoke free for the fourth consecutive year.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-6233.


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