County Fare: Queen for a year

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Alisa Marra winning a national pageant was a crowning achievement for the local teenager.

The 17-year-old from Dalton is the 2018/2019 Miss American Diamonds Curvy Diva. Marra also placed first in the talent division for her age group.

Curvy Diva is one of eight categories girls and young women from around the country compete in the annual Miss American Diamonds Labor Day weekend pageant, this year held in Quincy, Ill.

Marra, a senior at Wahconah Regional High School, was featured in the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade as Jr. Miss Massachusetts American Diamonds. She is a member of the state champion cheerleading team and one of the captains of the Western Massachusetts winning unified track team.

Miss American Diamonds is a Christian faith-based pageant program, launched in 2013 for young ladies ages 4 and up. According to the pageant website, every participant has the same opportunity to win focusing on traits such as talent, how they interview, onstage presence, community service and leadership.

Cajun cuisine

The sights, sounds and savoriness of The Big Easy filled Preservation Hall last weekend at the First Baptist Church in Pittsfield. The South Street house of worship hosted "Taste of New Orleans," a fundraiser toward reaching the final $50,000 needed to reach a $250,000 goal.

The capital campaign is paying for the church's cupola restoration completed in the summer of 2017. County Fare joined the sellout crowd to New Orleans gumbo with French bread, red beans and rice, delectable southern friend chicken tenders with a variety of tangy dipping sauces and bread pudding for dessert. Patrons washed down the cuisine with either a non-alcoholic mint julep or hurricane punch. Local chef Frank LaRagione was praised throughout the night for his culinary skill, which — being of Italian descent — he said was pretty good.

The church's pastor, the Rev. Shiela Sholes-Ross, thanked all who attended and noted that the event successfully brought the community together.

Library card campaign

This September, the Berkshire Athenaeum is joining with Downtown Pittsfield and libraries across the country for National Library Card Sign-up Month to encourage everyone in the community to obtain a free library card that will save them money while reaping incredible rewards.

To help celebrate, local Pittsfield businesses are teaming up for the month of September to offer residents discounts, prizes, and/or freebies on meals and purchases when they show their library card at checkout.

Some of the participating businesses include The Beacon Cinema, Carr Hardware, Hancock Shaker Village, Flavours of Malaysia and Steven Valenti's Clothing for Men. For a complete list of businesses and discounts, visit pittsfieldlibrary.org.

Thanks to the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, the Pittsfield Public Library is also hosting a raffle. During the month of September, if you sign up for a card, renew an expired card, or refer someone to get a card, you will be entered to win a Kindle Fire 8 HD; only one raffle ticket per person.

Don't have a library card? No problem. Stop by the library with a photo ID and proof of your current address to learn about all the resources your library card provides.

Silver Cane award

Wingate Companies honored the elderly residents at the Millhouses of Adams recently at the 30th annual Silver Cane Award ceremony. The 2018 recipient is Ralph Farrar, age 97. The junior recipient is 91-year-old Hazel Daignault.

Manager Bonnie Parsons, assistant manager Danielle Senecal, and maintenance men Jody Goff and Mike Gaspardi presented flowers to all residents who attended. The decorated silver cane also was presented to Farrar.

The luncheon was catered by Boston Sea Foods. Tables were decorated with pink and yellow carnations.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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