Pittsfield Winter Carnival

This is an annual event in Pittsfield MA to provide winter activities, mostly outdoors, for people of all ages. The Pittsfield Winter Carnival is in its 54th year (1999). The Pittsfield Winter Carnival is planned and executed by the Pittsfield Winter Sports Committee, a totally volunteer non-profit organization, under the auspices of the City of Pittsfield, Department of Community Development, Parks and Recreation.

The following is a synopsis and schedule of the events that make up this year's Pittsfield Winter Carnival. We will try to maintain this schedule, but extreme weather conditions may cause change or cancellation.

A Button Design Contest is held to award prizes to Pittsfield school children in a contest, broken down into age groups, to design that year's button. The overall winning design is made into a 2" button that will be sold by the Queen Contestants as part of the Queen Contest. The sale of these buttons raises moneys to support the activities of the Carnival. The design contest was held from October 1-16th, 1998.

A Home Snow Sculpture Contest will be introduced for the 1999 Carnival. A family or group of individuals may construct a snow sculpture. When the sculpture is completed the Parks Department is notified and a judge will inspect and photograph the sculpture. The winners will be judged by the committee based on the photographs taken. Winners will be chosen and announced at Family Day. The Home Snow Sculpture contest is from January 16-30th 1999.

The Pittsfield Winter Carnival Queen Contest is open to girls 17-21 years of age who live, attend school or work in Pittsfield or an adjoining town. This contest culminates with the Queen's Coronation Ball where the winning contestant and the lady in waiting are crowned. In addition the contestants choose Miss Congeniality and a special award is given to the top button seller(s). During the 4-week Queen contest, the contestants sell buttons for 50 cents each to raise money to support the Winter Carnival events. A minimum of 1000 buttons must be sold to qualify each contestant to be judged for Queen. A maximum of 16 girls may enter. This year we have 16 Queen contestants! The contest runs from Sunday January 24th to Sunday February 21st 1999.

Snowmobile Timed Runs is a new event starting with the 1999 Winter Carnival. The date is Sunday January 24th with headquarters at the Controy Pavilion on the shore of Onota Lake. A straight-line course of several hundred yards will be set up on the lake. Snowmobiles will run one at a time along the course and will be timed to the nearest 1000th of a second. There will be multiple runs and multiple classes. Trophies will be awarded and a fee per run will be collected.

Toboggan Races with 2, 3 and 4 person categories, all ages. Toboggans are supplied, but you can bring your own. This event is scheduled for Osceola Park on Gale Avenue, but if conditions are not adequate the event will be held at Bousquet ski area. We shall hold this event as scheduled! Entry is free. The 1999 event date is Saturday January 30.

Family Day, the premier outdoor family event of the Winter Carnival! Held at the Controy Pavilion on the shore of Onota Lake. This is your chance to meet all the Queen contestants and purchase as many buttons as you wish! Activities include Sled, Skating and Snowshoe races, Horseshoes on ice, Kite Flying, Snow Sculpturing, Ice-Fishing and Golf-on-Ice competitions. Again this year's Family Day hopes for the return of tethered Hot Air Balloon rides for the kids (50-100 foot vertical assent)! These are dependent on wind conditions. Horse drawn haywagon rides are provided throughout the afternoon as are free helium balloons and refreshments for the kids. A wood stove heated pavilion is available, as are warm and cold refreshments for a nominal fee. Entry is free, except for the ice-fishing derby. The 1999 event date is Sunday January 31 starting at 11AM.

City Downhill Slalom Ski Meet means competition for youngsters under the age of 13. Held at Bousquet Ski area. Each entrant has 2 runs down the hill, best time counts towards trophies. Entry is free. The 1999 event date is Saturday February 6 starting registration at 9AM, racing at 10AM.

Cross Country Ski Races are open to all ages. Held the last 2 years at Canterbury Farm Ski Touring area on Fred Snow Road in Becket MA. The 1999 event date is Sunday February 7. Registration starts at 9AM.

Pittsfield Short Track Speed Skating Championships are held at the Vietnam Veterans Skating Rink in North Adams MA. There is an entry fee and entrants are members of the Amateur Speedskating Union. The Pittsfield Speed Skating Club of the Pittsfield Department of Community Development, Parks and Recreation, is the host team for this event. The 1999 event date is Saturday February 13 starting at Noon.

Automobile Ice Time Trials which is a 1-1.5 mile slalom course set up on the frozen surface of Onota Lake at the Controy Pavilion on Lakeway Drive. Open to all licensed drivers with automobiles equipped with seatbelts. Helmets are also required, loaners are available. This event is co-sanctioned this year by the Mohawk Hudson Region of the Sports Car Club of America. Entry is $20 per entrant. A driver may enter more than one vehicle. Loaner cars may be available at additional cost to cover fuel expenses. Results of the 1997 Ice Trials event. The 1999 event date is Saturday and Sunday February 13+14 with backup dates February 27+28. Registration at 9AM, timed runs start at 11AM. Pictures from previous events.

Anything-goes Sled Races are open to all ages. This is the second year for this event and will again be held at Clapp Park on West Housatonic Street. The 1999 event date is Saturday February 20. Registration starts at 11AM. Entrants can be any age from infant to seniors. Bring your cardboard box, snow tube, sled, swimming pool or antique bathtub. If you can drag it to the top of the hill you can race it! I'm bringing a sunflower seed bag...

Queen's Coronation Ball is the culmination of all the events. The Queen and lady-in-waiting for the following season are chosen and crowned. Other awards, such as top button seller and Miss Congeniality are presented. The 1999 event date is Friday February 26 at the Itam Lodge starting at 9PM, tickets are $7 each person.

The city of Pittsfield provides seed money for the Pittsfield Winter Carnival, which is held under the auspices of the Department of Community Development, Parks and Recreation. If you're interested in helping, contact us please! Meetings are 7 PM Wednesday evenings during January and February at the Springside House on upper North Street, Pittsfield.

Here's a jpg file of the 1999 schedule.

For event location directions and other information, call 413-499-9343 9:00-4:00 weekdays.

For more information on the Berkshires, go here: http://www.berkshireweb.com/