Each month Pittsfield’s Upstreet region comes alive from 5 to 8 p.m. (and sometimes into the night for the grown-ups) for the 3rd Thursday festivities featuring food vendors, live music, street performers, new artist displays and community organizations along North Street all with the same goal — to entertain locals and visitors alike.
The street festival kicks off this year on May 15 with the theme Creative Youth.
“Every year we start off with a youth-focused theme. May 15 will feature performances by Kids 4 Harmony, Youth Alive, Berkshire Albany Ballet, the Funkbox Dance Studio, Berkshire Rocks, and many others,” said Megan Whilden, Pittsfield’s director of cultural development. “New this year will be Laughter Yoga at Park Square (along with Zumba), a bagel yo-yo competition, and the Pittsfield Boys and Girls Club Fun Zone, with basketball, cornhole, and more.”
Additional themes throughout the season include: Healthy Pittsfield (June 19); All the World’s a Stage (July 17); Art + Industry (Aug. 21); Walk a Mile in her Shoes (Sept. 18); and Halloween! (Oct. 16).
My husband and I have been attending 3rd Thursday for years with our children and have watched them grow in age, size and festival interests along the way. As grade-schoolers they reveled in the street performances, dug in the sand at the makeshift beaches, stood in long lines to have their face-painted and were dazzled by street musicians. Now as teens, they walk the festival with friends (and sometimes even grace us with their presence), take in the performances of talented local musicians (many of them their peers) and at times, they still can be dazzled by those street musicians’ tricks.
For my husband and I, our favorite activity at these monthly festivities is perusing the local fare. Food trucks and Asian cuisine, down-home grilling and barbecue, as well tasty adult beverages tempt our palettes and guarantee we go home with full, satisfied bellies on 3rd Thursdays during the season. Not to mention the desserts.
Regardless of age or interest, at least one 3rd Thursday should make it on your Summer Bucket List. Don’t believe me? Just ask Whilden.
“Third Thursdays has been a labor of love and community from its beginning eight years ago. No other event series in the Berkshires brings together so many different local musicians, vendors, food trucks, community groups and performers as 3rdThursdays,” said Whilden. “It’s great fun for locals and visitors alike!”