County Fare: Woofstock adds 5K race to aid homeless animals

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The Berkshire Humane Society will host Woofstock, its annual fundraising dog walk, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at The Common in downtown Pittsfield.

New to the event this year is a 5-kilometer race timed by the Berkshire Running Center. Dogs are invited to join for the 5K race at 10 a.m. and the dog walk at 11 a.m. Routes are to be determined.

"We are really pumped for this year's event," said Cindy Bartlett, president of the society's board of directors. "We added a 5K race to get more people involved, which means more fundraising for animals."

All participants are encouraged to collect pledges to benefit homeless animals. The society receives no state or federal funding, and depends solely on the support of its community to care for shelter animals, and to fund more than a dozen programs and services that benefit people as well as animals.

"Woofstock is just one of our many events that celebrate animals and people's love for them — it's also one of the most fun!" said John Perreault, executive director of the humane society. "We're really excited about all the new activities this year."

In addition to free canine games for people and their dogs, Woofstock will include a craft fair, beer tent, food trucks, and live music by Acoustic Groove and Bottoms Up.

Prizes, such as a Woofstock T-shirt, will be awarded for collected pledges beginning at $60 and will culminate in a private tour of Bartlett's Orchard in Richmond for donations equaling $500 or more (per individual). The private tour will include apples, apple cider doughnuts and a hayride.

Participants are encouraged to preregister online to take advantage of a free, personalized fundraising platform; additionally, the first 150 people to preregister will receive a Berkshire Human Society hip pack. Dog bandannas will be given out to dogs while supplies last. Day-of registration begins at 9 a.m.

Visit events at BerkshireHumane.org for information on pledges and prizes, online registration and a complete schedule of events.

This year's title sponsor is Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. Sponsors and vendors are still being accepted. Information is available online or by calling 413-477-7878, ext. 131.

CATA poetry reading

Community Access to the Arts will present its annual poetry reading — it's a vibrant celebration of writers with disabilities — at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at The Mount, 2 Plunkett St., Lenox.

The evening will feature local luminaries, alongside writers and friends, in a dynamic reading of works created in the group's Writers' Workshop, a nine-month class in which writers with disabilities hone their craft and express their unique perspectives.

"We're thrilled to partner with The Mount for our third year to share the powerful work of our writers," said Margaret Keller, executive director of the organization. "By sharing this work in a dynamic program at The Mount, we get to spotlight talents and perspectives that many people would not otherwise have the chance to encounter."

Since 2005, writers with disabilities have explored creative and expressive forms through the workshop, developing their talents in poetry, haiku, autobiography and short stories. The group's writing faculty, Janet Reich Elsbach and Rachel Siegel, offer an inventive curriculum to help writers tap into their own style, with prompts aimed at amplifying each individual's voice.

As needed, some writers work with "scribes" to help them put their ideas on paper.

The reservation deadline is today for this free event. Call 413-528-5485 to reserve a seat.

In conjunction with the poetry reading, The Mount will present an exhibition of paintings by the group's artists with disabilities who use the Artistic Realization Technologies technique to create their work. This adaptive technique, developed by artist Tim Lefens, gives full artistic control to individuals with significant physical disabilities and allows them to express their creative vision through stunning works of art.

The exhibit will be on display at the Stable at The Mount from Sept. 12 through Oct. 10.


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