Blog Archive7 First Fridays at Five


The City of Pittsfield, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. (DPI), and the Downtown Pittsfield Cultural Association (DPCA) have announced details for the July 5th First Fridays at Five. The event will feature live music, art, dance, family fun, shopping, food, and entertainment throughout downtown Pittsfield.


Berkshire Blues Legends will headline the July 5th event on the mobile City Stage. The Amy Ryan Band will play from 5 to 6 pm, followed by Misty Blues from 6 to 8 pm.


Misty Blues pays homage to the older blues made popular by the bold and brassy women of its time, while still paying respect to classic male artists of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. The band also performs classic rock and folk tunes infused with a healthy dose of the blues. Over the years, Misty Blues has produced ten albums, and today, the core members include Gina Coleman (band founder and lead singer), Seth Fleischmann, Bill Patriquin, Ben Kohn, Rob Tatten and Aaron Dean.


The Amy Ryan Band has been twice nominated for “Blues Artist of the Year” at the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards (“the Eddies”). With a repertoire that includes band adaptations of Amy’s self-penned solo tunes, newly minted originals and select covers, the Amy Ryan Band rocks the blues.


Persip Park, 175 North Street, will feature a variety of interactive performances presented by the Wandering Dance Society from 5 to 8 pm as part of the free Downtown Pittsfield Summer Music Series. Performances will be 30-45 minutes each. At 5 pm, enjoy an African Dance Lesson with Noel Staples-Freeman. At 5:45 pm, Olawale “Wale” Oladehin will lead a Salsa lesson. From 6:30 to 7:15 pm, the Berkshire Rhythm Keepers will perform led by Aimee Gelinas; and the night will conclude with more Salsa dancing from 7:15 to 8 pm. Dancers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate throughout the evening.


Noel Staples-Freeman is a resident of Pittsfield and a graduate of Emerson College, holding a B.S. in Children’s Theatre/Performing Arts and Dance. Noel has dedicated over five decades to teaching and the performing arts, both locally and internationally. Her formal training started at age 11 at The Billie Pope School of Dance in Roxbury followed by The Boston Conservatory of Music, The Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, The Art of Black Dance and Music, and Koumpo West African Dance Company. Noel’s illustrious career includes notable performances such as Nelson Mandela’s visit to Boston in 1990, participation in Dance Africa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and appearances at Jacob’s Pillow. As the Founder and Director of Uprising Dance Theatre since 1983, Noel leads an intergenerational group celebrating the African Diaspora’s traditional and contemporary dance, music, and theater.


Olawale “Wale” Oladehin trained in Salsa and Afro Cuban dance with several Boston companies, including Salsa Y Control, MetaMovements, and Masacote. After several years of training, Wale joined Masacote as an instructor and performer in their professional Salsa company. Masacote’s emphasis on musicality and culture helped Wale better appreciate the interconnectedness of music and dance. With Masacote, Wale has had the opportunity to perform in Canada, London, Istanbul, and across the US.


The Berkshire Rhythm Keepers are an intergenerational, multi-level community drum and song group founded and led by Aimee Gelinas M.Ed, Director of the Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center and co-founder of Gaia Roots and Trio Candela. BRK participants attend Aimee’s weekly Monday evening drum and song classes at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, which is open to beginners and advanced drummers. The group performs traditional music on folkloric instruments from West Africa and the Caribbean, as well as on original creations. Members of BRK have been studying and performing together for 15+ years.


The BRK performance on July 5th will feature stories and the cultural context of the rhythms, audience participation, and may include guest dancers!


Sottile Park, at the corner of North and Eagle Street, will feature a live painting demo by local artist and Creative Sorceress, Mollie Kellogg, from 5 to 8 pm. Mollie will demonstrate her mixed-media pencil and watercolor technique. Kellogg’s Incognito Witch subjects are magickal beings adorned with jewels/nature elements, messy lipstick, and a signature flash of color under the eyes. Universal connection is symbolized in stars and dream-like metallics. Figures evoke a Mother Nature archetype of power, strength, attraction, empathy, vulnerability.


Jim Horsford will be hosting a free live pottery demonstration at Palace Park from 5 to 8 pm where he will be inviting individuals to help him make pots on the potter’s wheel.


Opal Raven will host The Hissing Booth on North Street from 5 to 8 pm. The Hissing Booth is your one stop education station to learn about different reptiles and how to care for them, and you can even meet some members of Opal’s scale family. Want to get a closer look? Ask for the VIP experience and get a photo op for you or a loved one holding one of Opal’s friendly ambassadors.


The Makers’ Market at First Fridays at Five will be on North Street between School Street and Fenn Street and will feature over two dozen local artisanal vendors who make their own, handmade products such as crafts, clothing and accessories, candles, art, custom gift items, self-care items, and packaged foods and sweets. (See July 5 Vendor List at the bottom of this page!)


The Family Fun Zone at First Fridays at Five will be on Dunham Mall at 100 North Street and will feature free, interactive activities from local non-profit organizations including face-painting, arts & crafts, games, and more. Participating organizations include the Berkshire Athenaeum, Jacob’s Pillow, Shakespeare & Company, Barrington Stage Company, and many others. Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. will host a Free Kids’ Paint & Sip and Balloon Ben will be giving away free balloon creations.


Hot Plate Brewing Co. will host a Beer Garden on School Street from 5 to 8 pm. School Street will be closed to traffic so you can take your beers outside and play some family-friendly games.


First Fridays Artswalk will showcase dozens of artists at venues throughout downtown Pittsfield from 5 to 8 pm including Berkshire Art Center, Berkshire Black Economic Council, Clock Tower Artists, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., Hotel on North, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Living in Recovery, Marie’s North Street Eatery and Gallery, Marketplace Cafe, NUarts gallery + studios, Roots and Dreams and Mustard Seeds, Soda Chef, and THECOLLAB. Follow a virtual walking tour on the free Downtown Pittsfield App and enjoy opening receptions with the artists. Visit the free Open Studios event at the Clock Tower from 5 to 8 pm. A free art shuttle to and from the Clock Tower Artist Studios will run from 5 to 8 pm – every 15 minutes from City Hall on Allen Street. The Art Shuttle is provided and operated by RSVP Volunteers.


Berkshire Art Center, 141 North Street, will feature Free Drop-in Art Making from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. All ages are welcome to stop in to participate in a free art activity with the guidance and support of a faculty artist.


There will be many downtown restaurants serving food outside during the event or stick around for a bite after 8.


First Fridays at Five is a brand-new event led by the City of Pittsfield and Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. taking place in downtown Pittsfield from May-September. A portion of North Street and School Street will be closed during the event.


Season partners and sponsors include the Feigenbaum Foundation, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Mill Town Foundation, MountainOne, and the Pittsfield Cultural Council.


For more information and a full event listing, visit


North Street will be closed from Park Square to Depot Street on Friday, July 5 from 3:30 to 8 pm. Drivers are asked to seek alternate routes during this timeframe and follow appropriate detours. In addition, a parking restriction will be in place on North Street between Park Square and Depot Street starting at 2 pm on Friday.


July 5th Vendors (Vendors are subject to change):

AJ Boutique – (Beauty accessories, jewelry, clothes and more) – Aidaliz Colon

Always Love – (Blacklight reactive sensory and color changing art) – April White

Alyssa Lee Jewelry – (Handmade jewelry) – Alyssa Jagiello

Artwork by Janice – (Handmade glass, semi-precious stone earrings & planters) – Janice Rapisarda

ATK Customs – (Coffee tumblers and other drinkware) – Colin DeZess

Berkshire Henna – Vee Dang

BlossomBun – (Shadow boxes, tumblers, coasters) – Raluca Pascu

Bohemian Roots – (Handmade children’s sweaters, hats, hoodies, dresses and jewelry) – Jorge Morales

Chill Zone Snow Cone factory – Jennifer Cunagin

Cuppa Love – (Non-alcoholic beverages) – Emily Silver

DragWoodDesigns – (Wooden products for adults) – Lawrence Dragon

Edgar Bonilla – (Handmade art in leather and crochet toys)

Grampie’s Dog House – (Hot dogs) – Ernie Jordan

Fandom Forge – (Stickers, pins, magnets) – Sean Spring

Freddy’s Rockin Lemonade – Michael Copeland

Imperfectly Purple – (Homemade licensed CBD topical body care products) – Rebekah Dawson

Jack Liebenow – (Health & Wellness products)

Just a Knit of Love – (Crochet items) – Melyssa Weiner

Just Kickin It Bar B Que – Donsil Harris

Kelsey Larina Art – Kelsey Fitzgerald

La Maria Arts – (Handmade jewelry) – Maria Ortiz

Made by Sarah Rose – (Sewn accessories)- Sarah Rose Miller

Mindset Personalized – (Canvases, Coffee Mugs, T-shirts, Wine Glasses) – Godwin Adu

Patchrabbit – (Handmade sculptures and pendants) – Steven McQuade

Pour Jordan – (Acrylic paintings) – Jordan Stone

Shire Family Roots – (Glasses, candles, candle molds, jewelry) – Chelsea Hernandez

TeaTimes – (Loose leaf tea, ShortBread, Tea Towels, Botanical Drawings) – Jennifer Waryas

The Purse Lady – Michelle Peoples

Truffles by Tarah LLC – (Uniquely flavored chocolate truffles) – Tarah Warner

Xtwii – (Handmade jewelry, crystals, home décor, and original artwork) – Lauren Flores-Avery

Yael Durso – (Custom Pokémon Card Packs)

YarnAblaze – (Crochet goods) – Alicia Sanchez

YoungLiving Essential Oil – (Essential oils and products) – Heather Dascani