By Kim Ostellino
The Berkshires have wonderful events happening throughout the year, but summer in the Berkshires is something else entirely. When summer rolls around, there are boundless opportunities for fun and good times. Whether you are looking for something casual or fancy, laid back or adventurous, you will easily find something that is the perfect fit for you.
Early in the season, there is the Berkshire International Film Festival, which now holds a well deserved ‘world class’ status. Like other film festivals, BIFF highlights the latest in independent films, along with holding panel discussions and other special events. This year’s festival runs from May 29 – June 1, and promises to be an exciting line up of films and documentaries.
In Pittsfield there are a couple of noteworthy events that take place along the North Street corridor. One is the monthly event, Third Thursdays, which has fun for people of all ages. There is live music, food vendors, and arts and crafts for sale. Third Thursdays sister event, First Fridays Artswalk, hosts several art shows that are set up in galleries, restaurants, and other venues along North Street. These are both highly popular events, well attended by locals and tourists alike.
The 13th Annual Berkshires Arts Festival, held at Butternut Ski Area, is a juried event with over 285 artists, featuring such things as jewelry, textiles and more, along with live music. The event takes place rain or shine, on July 4, 5, and 6th.
On varied dates from June 11th – July 12th, The Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, will host its rendition of the musical comedy, “Kiss Me, Kate”, showcasing music and songs from the legendary, Cole Porter( who maintained a home in Williamstown).
On July 4th, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will reopen its doors, to a highly anticipated makeover. With a new visitors center, designed by Tadao Ando, and newly renovated galleries, The Clark will have people flocking to their summer exhibitions, including “Make it New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950 – 1975.
Also beginning on July 4th, James Taylor returns as a guest artist to Tanglewood for his already sold out shows. These performances, along with many other exciting events, make this venue one of the most highly visited in the Berkshires.
The Berkshire Crafts Fair returns to Monument Mountain High School, on August 8, 9, and 10th,for its 41st annual juried event. Featuring master artisans from around the country, with fine arts including, ceramics and furniture, this fair is a traditional favorite for many, and proceeds benefit the high school’s many programs.
On August 9th and 10th, The 9th Annual Rock, Rattle and Drum American Indian Pow Wow comes to North County. This lively event features song, dance and drumming from Native Americans, young and old. There will also be vendors presenting arts and crafts, traditional Native American foods( such as fry bread and Indian corn soup), and information on social and political issues. This event is open to all and features a different Native American theme each year.
Chesterwood, a National Historic Trust Site, opens for the season on May 24th, hosts fabulous events and programs throughout the summer. With its newly renovated studio, and beautiful grounds, it is a pleasure to visit anytime, but on September 6th, will be open to the public with free admission for its annual Free Family Day.
This year The Mount will launch an ambitious multi-year project to highlight the servant’s side of life in a 1902 country house and examine a social structure. Learn the stories of the men and women who ran the house and made it possible for Edith Wharton to thrive and to write in her beautiful Berkshire home.
MASS MoCA presents Beck in concert on June 24.
Other highlights for events in the area include:
If you want a fun way to get outside then enjoy the Memorial Day Races, there is a race for everyone in the family.
Berkshire Museum: “Butterflies: A Summer Gala Celebration” on June 21st, a gala benefit to help sponsor the museum.
Berkshire Jewish Film Festival: On Mondays in July and August, in Lenox, features several films centered around the Jewish culture.
“Opera Nights” at the Whitney Center for the Arts: Continuing its successful introduction, this event will return to The Whit for performances throughout the summer, featuring arias from ‘various popular operas in a ‘cafe setting’.
Norman Rockwell Museum: The Unknown Hopper: Edward Hopper as Illustrator opens June 7 and runs through October 26.
Aston Magna: Renaissance to early classical music on period instruments June 19 through July 19.
Tannery Pond Concerts: Summer chamber music concerts May 24 through September 27.
Phew, the list goes on and on, but don’t take my word for it, check out the complete Event Calendar here. You can see the whole season or sort by the exact dates you will be in the Berkshires and find the perfect summer event!
Kim lives in Stockbridge with her kids and her dog. She is an avid lover of the outdoors and local history and is the founder of Berkshiregirl, an online source, devoted to sharing the best of the Berkshires.