Bits & Bytes: Columbia County Fair; ‘Melissa’s Choice’; #EmpowerYouthAgainstHate; ‘First Saturday Free Films;’ origami workshop

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By Monday, Aug 28 Life In the Berkshires
A recent firefighters' parade at the Columbia County Fair. Photo courtesy Columbia County Fair

Columbia County Fair to begin Wednesday

Chatham, N.Y. — The 177th Columbia County Fair will bring summer to an unofficial close Wednesday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 4, with six days of more than 200 exhibits, shows, contests, amusement rides and attractions.

The fair will welcome two-time Grammy Award-winning country music singer Travis Tritt to its grandstand stage on Sunday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. Musical entertainment from Grit-N-Whiskey, Hard Luck Band, Acoustic Rye, Eli’s Gin Band, Allen and Azzaam, DJ Jeff Ouellette, Moonshine Junkies, Music Box Productions and DJ Jack Bogarski will take place throughout the duration of the fair. Other highlights of the fair include “Columbia County’s Got Talent” beginning at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 30; the demolition derby finale on Thursday, Aug. 31, at 6:30 p.m.; the 80th annual Schoolgirl Queen pageant at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1; the annual firefighters’ parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2; and a holiday cookie championship coordinated by Nancy Fuller of Food Network’s “Farmhouse Rules” begins at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4. The midway will include 30 rides and exhibits will range from schoolwork, quilting, fruits and vegetables and photography to Grange, flowers, domestic arts and crafts, scarecrows, and more. A heritage village will features handcrafts of the past including wood-carving, paper-marbling, book-binding, basket-weaving and candle-making.

Tickets range from $5–$15 and are free for active-duty military personnel and children age 12 and under. For a more detailed schedule and information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Columbia County Fair office at (518) 392-2121 or columbiafair@fairpoint.net.

–E.E.

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‘Melissa’s Choice’ to benefit Multicultural BRIDGE

Lora Lee Ecobelli. Photo: Rob Shannon

Lora Lee Ecobelli. Photo: Rob Shannon

Stockbridge — The comic drama “Melissa’s Choice” by Steven Somkin will be presented as a staged reading on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. at the Unicorn Theatre to benefit Multicultural BRIDGE.

The play is set in Oregon and deals with the unintended pregnancy of a lawyer whose two boyfriends have opposing views on abortion. Her increasing fantasies dramatize her dilemma, which is ultimately resolved through the spiritual midwifery of a cowboy and a park ranger. The play is directed by Andrew Joffe and features Eddie Allen, Mel Cobb, MaConnia Chesser, Lora Lee Ecobelli, David Smilow and Majestic Tillman.

“Melissa’s Choice” premiered in 2015 at the Lion Theatre in New York City and most recently was produced by the University of North Texas with a panel supported by the ACLU and featuring lawyer and former Sen. Wendy Davis who led a filibuster in 2013 in support of women’s health clinics. A post-performance panel discussion on women’s rights will include Somkin, Multicultural BRIDGE executive director Gwendolyn Hampton VanSant, Rev. Sheila Sholes-Ross of First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, Msgr. John Bonzagni of St. Ann Church in Lenox, and a speaker from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

Tickets are $35 for the general public and $15 for students. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Berkshire Theatre Group at (413) 997-4444.

–E.E.

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Music in Common to present #EmpowerYouthAgainstHate fundraiser

Music in Common participants, including refugee and American-born teens, play a rhythm game at a recent Music in Common program. Photo courtesy Music in Common

Music in Common participants, including refugee and American-born teens, play a rhythm game at a recent Music in Common program. Photo courtesy Music in Common

Great Barrington — On Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Music in Common will present #EmpowerYouthAgainstHate, a film screening and fundraising event to help MIC recoup a $159,000 federal grant awarded to it in January by the Obama administration and revoked by the Trump administration in June.

The event is meant as a community call to action to counteract the upswing in political and social divisiveness pervading the nation and will include the screening of the short films “From Madness to Music” “and Amplified: Young Voices Rising,” both featuring youth whose lives have been changed by MIC’s programs. The screenings will be followed by a discussion with MIC founder and director Todd Mack. Some of the refugee, immigrant and American-born youth MIC has worked with will be present for a meet and greet to talk about their experiences in the program and answer questions.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact MIC at (413) 248-6070 or info@musicincommon.org.

–E.E.

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‘First Saturday Free Films’ to begin at Mason Library

Great Barrington — The Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries’ First Saturday Free Films series will begin its second season with a screening of “Everything Is Copy,” a 2015 documentary about writer/filmmaker Nora Ephron, on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. at Mason Library. The unrated film, directed by Ephron’s son Jason Bernstein, juxtaposes Ephron’s personal candidness with her decision to keep her terminal illness private. The event will begin with a beer, wine, fruit and cheese social followed by the film and a discussion. The program does not reflect endorsement or advocacy by the library or the town of Great Barrington for any particular point of view. For more information, contact the Mason Library at (413) 528-2403.

–E.E.

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Scoville Memorial Library to offer ‘Introduction to Origami’

Salisbury, Conn. — On Saturday Sept. 2, at 1 p.m., Hotchkiss School junior Krishna Sivakumar will lead a workshop titled “Introduction to Origami Making” at the Scoville Memorial Library. The workshop will include basic origami vocabulary and folds as well as demonstrations of how to fold a crane and a Sonobe unit. The origami class is suitable for older children, teens and interested adults. For more information, contact the Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or scoblibn@biblio.org.

–E.E.


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