The 40th Annual Gather-In
Forty years ago, the Berkshire County chapter of the NAACP organized the first Gather-In, a free neighborhood festival held in Pitt Park with activities for all ages. After several other organizations took the reins on the Gather-In, the newly reconstituted NAACP chapter in the Berkshires is once again organizing the Berkshires’ only traditionally African-American neighborhood festival, open to all. The City of Pittsfield and Greylock Federal Credit Union are the lead cosponsors of the event, and the Gather-In is also a featured program of the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival, celebrating African-American culture and heritage throughout the Berkshires.
The 40th annual Gather-In will be held on July 20th from 12 noon to 7 PM at Pittsfield’s Pitt Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Pitt Park is the hub of Pittsfield’s vibrant West Side neighborhood, and is located on Columbus Avenue between Dewey and John Streets. The Gather-In is a free family-friendly event for all of Berkshire County, a fun-filled community event for all people of all ages, which celebrates the rich cultural traditions and deep roots of the African-American community in Berkshire County. There will be games and activities for children, musical performances, dance, and other forms of entertainment, as well as food, vendors and informational booths. There will be raffles for various products from local businesses, including a free raffle for children’s bikes. The event will be held rain or shine.
The “Gather In” Youth Basketball Tournament will begin at 9 am that morning, at both Pitt Park and Dorothy Amos Park. Boys and girls teams from 5th grade through high school age are eligible to compete. The 4th Annual Old School Team competition will also start at 9 am. Interested teams should contact Kenny Davis at (413) 212-2459 for registration and additional information.
The local NAACP branch reactivated in December, 2012 and is honored to reclaim sponsorship of the Gather-In. The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority citizens of the United States and eliminate race prejudice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes. This mission is accomplished by seeking the enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws securing civil rights, and by informing the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination. From school desegregation, fair housing, employment and voter registration, to health and equal economic opportunity, the NAACP is working successfully with allies of all races and plays a significant role in establishing legal precedents in order to improve the quality of life of America’s downtrodden.
Financial donations in support of the free Gather-In festival are encouraged and welcomed. Checks made be payable to the Berkshire County Branch NAACP and mailed to the NAACP at PO BOX 605, Pittsfield, MA 01202 and are tax deductible. There are limited spaces available for food and merchandise vendors as well as community outreach and information tables. For more information on being a vendor at the Gather-In, please contact Dennis Powell at (413) 464-9060.