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Pittsfield Parks Look Ahead to Summer Events
By Joe Durwin, Pittsfield Correspondent
03:35PM / Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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The Parks Commission approved a host of events for this summer.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Parks Commission on Tuesday issued approval to a number of summer events slated to take place in city parks beginning next month, from the newly reconstructed Common to its recently opened Pittsfield Skate Plaza.

The Berkshire Cycling Association will hold weekly cyclocross races for kids at the Pittsfield Common from June 14 to Aug. 2 on Thursday evenings from 5 to 7:30. These events are open to youths age 12 and younger. Races will be held rain or shine, except the final week's event, which will be postponed for weather if necessary.

The 42nd annual Gather-In at Pitt Park will be held July 21, from 1-8 p.m. Organized by the Westside Neighborhood Resource Center, the Gather-In is billed as Berkshire County's only traditionally African-American neighborhood festival. The event will feature games, children's activities, pony rides, live music and dance, and traditional home-style culinary fare. Organizer Marlena Willis said an attendance of about 500 is expected.  

"This has certainly been a success in the past," said Chairman John Herman, as the commission voted to approve the longtime annual celebration.

The Pittsfield Skate Plaza, opened in December, will host two happenings in June organized by The Garden, a North Street skate, bike, and clothing shop that has been heavily involved in the creation and popularization of the new skate plaza. On June 23, it will be sponsoring a Park Opening Contest to kick off its first summer season.

"We want to do it kind of like a jam format," said Garden proprietor Bill Whittaker, that would be more of a celebration of the skate plaza than a serious competition. In accordance with the park rules, persons 16 and younger will be required to wear a helmet, and The Garden continues to advocate helmet use for all ages. There is no cost to participate.

The retailer is also holding a three-day educational skateboard and BMX "camp" June 25-28, from 10 to 1 each day. Open to participants ages 8 and older, this three-day series will help skate and bike enthusiasts build their skills and develop new techniques while promoting safety in these intertwined sports. Participants will be grouped according to their abilities, and the cost is $149. Those wishing to sign up are asked to contact The Garden at TheGardenMA@gmail.com or 413-442-9088.

"There certainly has been a lot of ink and it's all been positive," said Herman, acknowledging Whittaker's role in aiding the creation of the skate park. "Thank you for all the work you did to get this put together."

Henry v. Marchisio Park will be the site of weekly volleyball courtesy of Pittsfield Tuesday Volleyball. PTV's Mike Desserau said matches will be each Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m. from June 5 to Aug. 28. Last year, nine teams participated in the league. To find out more about participating visit PTV's website or email indoorleague@ptvolleyball.com.

In other parks news, the Pittsfield Suns are seeking hosts for housing team players for the summer season. Benefits include complimentary season tickets.Interested parties should contact Jamie Keefe at 413-445-7867. 

"Who knows, one of them might be in the big leagues some day," said Parks and Recreation Activities Coordinator Rebecca Tefft, "and you can say, 'Hey, we housed them.'"
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