Meet region's newest green group at North Adams Downtown Celebration

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NORTH ADAMS — Downtown Celebration is coming on Wednesday afternoon, and this year there will be a greener tint to it — a new group of environmental activists will be making its first appearance at the annual shindig.

"GreeNA is a newly formed citizen's committee promoting sustainability in North Adams, similar to Williamstown's Cool Committee," said Jennifer Dunning, one of the founders of the group.

The North Adams Downtown Celebration will fill downtown North Adams from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday. It is free and open to the public. The rain date is Thursday, but forecasters see clear skies ahead.

Every year, hundreds of locals and visitors flock downtown for food, shopping, giveaways, music, performances, games and activities, this year including GreeNA.

The GreeNA volunteer group is looking for ways to achieve a list of goals that include: improving trash policies, educating folks about reducing waste and limiting single-use plastic consumption, better recycling, and exploring municipal composting; promoting environmental issues and practices in schools; ensuring that the water and soil are free of contaminants; protecting the Hoosic River flood plain for future agricultural uses; and preserving green space in the city.

Also on hand during the celebration is the group's new plastic-eating pig. The handmade animal facsimile will be at the GreeNA table, presumably chowing down on single-use plastic items.

"We want to get people to think about how much plastic they're throwing away and sustainability in general," Dunning said. "We have to become a much less wasteful society, so we'll be seeking forums where we can keep raising concerns."

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The first meeting of the fledgling group was in June, and members already know the No. 1 priority, she noted.

"The most important thing is to instruct people how to use less trash, how to reuse and repurpose," Dunning said. "And it's been really fun to see the whole town coming together for all this. Now we also have to teach the kids."

Other activities at Downtown Celebration include live music from Hotshot Hillbillies, Berkshire Rhythm Keepers and Radio Active, as well as performances throughout the evening by local groups including Berkshire County Line Dancers, J Star Gymnastics, North Adams Youth Cheerleaders, Johnny Mystic, Linda Peck, Studio North Dance and Mass MoCA.

For the second year, the Holden Street Bike Fest will be in gear for a number of bicycle related fun, including the bike rodeo, adaptive bicycles, bicycle education and safety tips, free bicycle maintenance by local bike mechanics, local street education and bike decorating.

The city's police and fire departments will be at the top of Main Street with vehicles and demonstrations. The North Adams Ambulance Service will be offering car seat safety checks by the back of the Kid Zone area of the event, in the Steeple City Plaza parking lot.

Downtown restaurants and cafes will be open, and street food will be available from Marki's French Fries and Fried Dough, C.I.A.O., Boston Sea Foods, K's Creamery, M & J's Taste of Home Catering and many bake sales by local nonprofits.

There will be no parking allowed on Main Street, Eagle Street and a portion of Ashland Street after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.


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