Bits & Bites: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, maple sugaring season



Stockbridge guitarist and singer Todd McLeod will serenade a Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum audience with folk songs of Ireland and Scotland along with original songs from coastal Maine. The program in honor of St. Patrick's Day (celebrated March 17) will take place from 3 to 5 p.m., on Sunday, March 12. A special Irish tea will be served to warm the hearts of his audience.

McLeod, who is also a member of the Ventfort Hall staff, performs throughout New England, including the Berkshires and venues in Vermont and Maine, where you will find him on board the Margaret Todd, a four-masted schooner docked at Bar Harbor in Frenchman's Bay. Needless to say, Todd gets his musical inspiration from his roots in Maine.

Tickets for the St. Patrick's Day program are $35 per person. Reservations are highly recommended as seating is limited. For information or reservations, call Ventfort Hall at 413-637-3206 or visit The historic mansion is at 104 Walker St., Lenox.

Take a walk down memory lane with Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel when the Drury Stage Comedy Troupe presents "Trouble at the Tropicabana," an audience participation murder mystery by Tony Schwartz and Marylou Ambrose. The curtain rises at 6 p.m., at the Bounti-Fare Restaurant, Route 8, Adams. Proceeds from the dinner-theater event will benefit Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Inc. in its efforts to build affordable housing for deserving families in northern Berkshire County.

Doors open at 6 p.m., when you'll get a chance to mingle with Lucy, Ricky, and other cast members as they drop hints about themselves, the show, and give you a chance to ask questions. At 6:30 p.m., sit down to multi-course chicken dinner. Uncover clues to solve the mystery as the cast performs between courses.

Tickets for the dinner and show are $25 each and are available until today, March 8. Tickets are available online at or 413-664-4440.

With the recent February warm-up, maple sugaring season has arrived in time for Hopkins Memorial Forest's annual Maplefest celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. This annual event, which exalts the time-honored Yankee tradition of producing home grown sweeteners from local maple trees, will enable people to observe and take part in the process of producing maple syrup from the tree to the bottle.

Participants will be able to visit a working sugar house; to observe the finishing and bottling of the final product; to try their hands at tapping a tree and gathering sap; and to taste homemade syrup on pancakes and "sugar on snow." In addition, there will be demonstrations of old-time evaporating methods — going back to the pre-colonial era — a taste test, videos and more.

The event is free to the public and appropriate for people of all ages; it will be held regardless of the weather. Hopkins Forest, owned and operated by Williams College, is at the junction of Bulkley Street and Northwest Hill Road in Williamstown.


A Great Breakfast Buffet will be served from 9 to 11 a.m., on Saturday, March 11, at Williamstown Commons, Adams Road, Williamstown.

Proceeds will benefit the programs of the Rotary Club of Williamstown, including Mount Greylock and McCann scholarships and the Berkshire Food Project.

Two kinds of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage and home fries, juice and coffee will be served. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Adults, $9; seniors, $7 and kids younger than 12, $5.

The Stephentown Volunteer Fire Department will hold an all-you-can-eat corned beef and cabbage dinner from 4 to 7 p.m., on Saturday March 11, in the Stephentown Fire Hall, 35 Grange Hall Road, Stephentown, N.Y.

Adult, dinners are $15, children, age 6 to 10, are $7; and youth, ages 5 and younger, free. Take-out dinners will be available for $15 each. Advance tickets are not required.

The Chester Hill Association will sponsors its 32nd Annual Maple Fest, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, March 11, on the Skyline Trail in old Chester Center.

Begin your day with a traditional country breakfast consisting of pancakes, scrambled eggs, ham, juice, coffee and featuring local maple syrup. Breakfast, $9 for adults and $5.00 for children 10 and younger, will be served continuously from 9 a.m. to noon, at the First Congregational Church.

After breakfast, visit local artisans and craftspeople, at the old schoolhouse across the road. Begin the afternoon listening to the music of the Pioneer Valley Fiddlers, scheduled to play at the church at noon, followed by a magic show, presented by Norm Robitaille, at 1:15 p.m.

Check out a working fire truck and marvel at furniture made from tree branches. All day long, wagons pulled by tractors and will carry guests back and forth to High Meadows Sugar House to observe the production of maple syrup.

Latecomers to the Maple Fest can purchase coffee, soft drinks, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and the famous Chester Chili from the food fart. Raffles, with prizes featuring unique local products, businesses and events will be offered.

A Saint Patrick's Day dinner will served from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the First Baptist Church, 131 Main St., North Adams.

The dinner will include corned beef or ham, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and cornbread.

Tickets are $12 for adults and children 12 and younger, $8. Takeout will be available.

Diners are asked to use the Eagle Street entrance to the church,

Windsor Historical Commission's 2nd Annual Baked Potato Fest and slide show of historic Windsor photos, in memory of Jim Kiersted, will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday March 12, at the Windsor Town Hall, Route 9, Windsor.

The Baked Potato Bar includes a variety of toppings from chili to lentil stew and more, tossed salad and homemade desserts.

Tickets are $10 adult; $5 children under 12; $30 family maximum.

St. Joe High's Junior Class is sponsoring a Dining To Donate event from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Sunday, March 12, at Arizona Pizza on the Pittsfield-Lenox Road, Pittsfield.

No coupons needed, just inform your server you are dining for St. Joe and the school will receive 20 percent of the proceeds for our class trip.

The Civitan Club of Pittsfield will host its 11th Annual Soup Fest from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Friday, March 10, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Pittsfield.

1 West St, Pittsfield.

The event will feature music, appetizers, silent auction, raffles and more, plus soup, soup and more soup from many vendors.

The cost is $25 per person, Tickets are available at the door or call or text Dawn Giftos, 413-822-3124. Reserve a table with 10 paid tickets.

All proceeds go to local soup kitchen and food pantries.


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