2nd annual multicultural 'Harvest of Hope' set for Saturday in Pittsfield

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PITTSFIELD — There's still a place for hope in the world and our community.

On Saturday, the place to find hope and inspiration will be at The Common on First Street, as well as the First United Methodist Church for the second annual multicultural "Harvest of Hope/Cosecha de Esperanza." Activities will run from noon to 11 p.m., ranging from speakers and performers to a community dinner and dance party. All of the events are free and open to the public, but donations to support the artists and meal are encouraged.

The event's founding organizers are from the multilingual Manos Unidas/Hands Helping Hands Multicultural Educational Cooperative, and describe the gathering as "a one-of-a-kind process, festival, and movement that in its very core value seeks to cross borders of race, ethnicity, class, gender, language, faith, ability and all versions of community schisms."

The group aims to provide a daylong venue to celebrate "us together" instead of "us versus them," and like last year, hopes to dovetail off the crowds attending Saturday's Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Harvest of Hope will begin with speakers from the Pittsfield Mayor's Office, Pittsfield Better Block initiative and Hope and Refuge Community Outreach. An afternoon of visual, movement, theater arts; family-friendly activities, information booths and "wandering" spoken and musical performances will run until 6 p.m.

Then, at 6, there will be a Multicultural Harvest Feast at the First United Methodist Church, 55 Fenn St., Pittsfield, followed by a "Planetary Puppet Procession" around the block at 7:15. Then from 8 to 11 p.m., Manos Unidas partners with Berkshire Bateria and Berkshire Salsa to host a World Groove Dance-In, featuring dance instruction and a performance by Genius Dancers.

Through these universal activities of eating, interacting through music and dancing, Earl Austin, a senior member of Manos Unidas, said the event is creating and supporting the flow of "unity in the community."


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