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Worthy Craft Beer Showcase has put Springfield on beer map

Story courtesy of MassLive.com

For years, people have talked about the city of Springfield making a big comeback.  Well, when it comes to craft beer, it already has.

This year, there are two beer festivals in town: the Worthy Craft a Beer Showcase and Valley Fest occurring in late August. The Worthy runs noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Worthy Craft Beer Showcase has become one of the most beloved beer festivals in the area by true beer aficionados. A block of Worthington Street (in front of Theodores’ and Smith’s Billiards) is cordoned off for the festivities. Tickets are $40

In talking to people who have been to the festival several times, one thing they like is the intimate atmosphere in what is basically a beer block party.

“This beer festival is such a welcoming environment to enjoy beer craft beer, both local and out of state, with a crowd of people who are as friendly of a group you’ll find,” said Brock McConkey of Northampton, who has attended three of the Worthy fests over the years. “It’s event not to be missed.”

The unique angle for this celebration is that brewers are asked to bring one flagship beer and one specialty brew to showcase to drinkers. Of course, they usually sneak more than two brews in, which is fair game and which makes beer fans happy.

There is also a home brewing contest, which showcases some real brewing talent by amateurs in the area. Contestants bring a minimum of five gallons to participate, and each festival attendee is given two tokens, which are used for voting. Attendees can drop one or both of their tokens into a brewer’s collection bucket by 2 p.m., after which each bucket is counted, with the winning homebrewer being allowed to make their beer at Amherst Brewing on its system to serve it as official fest beer next year.

Last year, Josh Britton of Footbridge Brewing in Wilbraham won the homebrewing contest for his Alien IPA, which will serve as the official Worthy Fest Beer this year.

Tyler Guilmette, head brewer for Northampton’s Brewmaster Jack is looking forward to his inaugural year at the festival. Guilmette usually attends all the big brewfests around Massachusetts, but has not been to the Worthy before.

“This is the first year I’ve been invited and I am very excited to be going,” he said. “We will have the usual suspects like Stray Dog Lager, Ambrewsia IPA, and Total Eclipse Porter. We’ll also be bringing some specialty IPAs, like our Hoppiness is a Warm Pun.”

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Springfield considers 1-block historic district to protect Willys-Overland building damaged by gas explosion

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Story courtesy of MassLive.com

SPRINGFIELD — The city’s Historical Commission is proposing that the former Willys-Overland block on Chestnut Street in the downtown be approved as a new historic district in Springfield, aimed at protecting it from demolition or other adverse changes.

The recommendation is scheduled for consideration by the City Council on Monday night. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., at City Hall.

The vacant building at 151-157 Chestnut St., constructed in 1916, is the former Willys-Overland Motor Co., a significant part of the city’s early automotive history, said Robert McCarroll, a member of the Historical Commission.

The new historic district would involve a single building and adjacent lot, bordered by Chestnut, Worthington and Winter streets. The building was damaged in a downtown gas explosion in November 2012.

Historical Commission Chairman Ralph Slate praised the proposed new historic district, saying the building is a “key part of that automobile-oriented neighborhood.”

“It is well-built in an eye-pleasing style,” Slate said. “Its absence would negatively transform that neighborhood and I believe it could be redeveloped to become a great asset to the downtown.”

 

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Springfield Symphony Hall to present Improv Show

Improv Show at Symphony Hall

symphony hall

Story courtesy of MassLive.com

Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood will headline Springfield Symphony Hall, bringing their unique brand of improvisational comedy to the downtown venue on May 1, 2016.

Tickets for next year’s show will go on sale over the summer, becoming available through all Ticketmaster outlets and locations beginning Aug. 10 at 10 a.m.

Mochrie and Sherwood shared stage time on the popular television improv showcase called “Whose Line Is It Anyway” before joining forces to tour.

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The entire show is driven by audience participation. Audience members yell out suggestions and Colin and Brad do the rest. Also, throughout the show, audience members are brought up on stage to add an extra element of the unexpected.

‘Peep This: Art in Springfield Storefronts’ enlivens unused windows

Story Courtesy of MassLive.com

peep this

SPRINGFIELD – Artwork decorating otherwise vacant storefronts not only makes downtown Springfield a more inviting place to stroll, but it helps attract prospective business owners to these downtown spaces.

“Seeing someone else use a space creatively makes them more able to see their own ideas in these storefronts,” said Morgan Drewniany, assistant director of the Springfield Business Improvement District and one of the people behind “Peep This: Art in Springfield Storefronts.”

“Peep This” is a program of the Springfield Central Cultural District.

She likened the art to staging a vacant home with furniture so it looks inviting to prospective buyers.

Drewniany and the Springfield  BID announced “Peep This” with a news report Monday. the exhibit features the works of seven local artists installed in five storefronts downtown.

The locations are: 1391 Main St., 1373 Main St., One Marketplace Corridor which is located near Hampden Bank off Harrison Street , 15 Taylor St., and 176 Worthington St.

The artists are Trish Cataldo, Sally Curcio, Jack Devlin, Dana Filibert, Andrae Green, Chris Marion and Priya Nadkarni.

“The city has a whole arts scene that doesn’t have have a strong connection to downtown,” she said. “There are a lot of great things going on at Indian Orchard Mills.

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Springfield RMV… where should it be?

 

Where Should the Springfield RMV Go?

Springfield RMVHave you had to renew your license recently? Or get an updated title? Or any other registry business?  Then you know the lines and traffic at the Springfield RMV.  The current location sits right on the border of the Springfield Business Improvement District border.  They are looking to move it to somewhere else in the City and the spot they found fell through.  Our media partner MassLive posed the question… where do you think it should go?

Do you have a thought on the topic?  Weigh in here.

 

Speaking Thursday at a ribbon-cutting event for a new Registry services desk at the AAA Pioneer Valley office in Amherst, interim registrar Erin Deveney said a new set of bid specifications for a new Registry office are out and she hopes to have a site selected in 90 days.

She promised a modern facility large enough to serve Springfield and surrounding areas. There is a registry office in Chicopee and Easthampton and  AAA offers some registry services to its members from offices in Amherst and on Capital Drive in West Springfield.

Neighbors and city council members complained of the St. James Avenue/ Martone Place location saying the traffic would be disruptive to the community. The city didn’t issue required approvals and won in court when the developers who had a contract with the  state sued.

Sen. Warren visits new Downtown non-profit

Sen. Warren

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said her visit to Springfield yesterday focused on two issues of extreme importance – talking of ways to help at-risk youth, and bringing news of a new $728,000 federal grant for city firefighter safety and training.

The Springfield Business Improvement District is so proud to have new non-profit Suit Up Springfield in our district, in a storefront on Worthington Street.  This is where Warren visited on her trip to learn about Suit Up Springfield and other local organizations that are helping at-risk youth and recently released inmates. Suit Up Springfield helps at-risk youth academically and professionally, including providing them with donated suits and ties for job interviews and to help with self esteem.

Warren then stopped at the Fire Department headquarters, also on Worthington Street, to announce the federal grant that will provide 67 full sets of self-contained breathing apparatus, and an additional 165 face masks for firefighters, and for certification training of all fire officers.

“It’s an incredible day for the Springfield Fire Department,” Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant said. “It is much needed equipment, much needed training that we have been fighting for the last couple of years. To give our firefighters the best equipment is my top priority to keep them safe and to keep the public safe.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren visits community organization in SpringfieldU. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass and Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno participated with other local officials and community groups in an open forum at Suit Up Springfield Friday. Suit Up Springfield is a community based group focused on helping young Springfield men to become professionally minded and attired.

Such a grant is the least the federal government can do to aid emergency personnel who rush into buildings when everyone else runs out, Warren said.

Read the full story here.

 

 

 

Jazz star Jane Monheit to open CityBlock

Story courtesy of MassLive.com

Jazz star Jane Monheit to open CityBlock; Willie Nile, FAT among acts at summer concert series

cityblock

Music fans needn’t look any further than opening night of this year’s CityBlock Summer Concert Series to see that change is in the air.

Jazz star Jane Monheit opens up the series on Thursday, July 2 at 7 p.m., kicking off a summer that will feature everything from blues to classic rock, zydeco, and a touch of 80s glam.

The free concert series will also feature a revamped stage set-up, with the performance taking place at the Bridge Street end of Stearns Square to create a natural “concert hall” effect. All of the shows will take place at Stearns Square, except for the Aug. 27 closer at Court Square.

The summer event, produced by the Springfield Business Improvement District, has a first-ever series sponsor with MassMutual giving its support.

The Grammy-nominated Monheit is one of the true stars of the genre and will start her summer tour this weekend with performances at New York City’s famed Lincoln Center. Her 2013 release “The Heart of the Matter” features her interpretation of The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers / The Long and Winding Road.”

For those perhaps looking to get a little closer to the Beatles’ legacy than Monheit’s tribute, Denny Laine of Wings will perform “Band on the Run,” on Aug. 6. An original member of Moody Blues, Laine went on to form Wings with Paul McCartney in 1971 and performed with the Beatle until the band broke up in 1981.

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Summer concert series unveils new name, logo

CityBlock Concert Series

Story courtesy of MassLive.com

The annual summer concert series held in downtown Springfield has unveiled a new name and logo just ahead of announcing its lineup later this week.

As was previously mentioned, the series reverts back to its original name, CityBlock, from when the concerts were first held on Main Street in the summer of 2000.

The series moved to Stearns Square the following year and became known as the Stearns Square Concert Series and was briefly dubbed “Bike Night.”

The logo and name change are part of an overhaul of the long-standing event aimed at bringing the focus back to the music. The logo shows a concert setting with the Springfield skyline as a backdrop.

The series also has its first-ever “presenting sponsor” in MassMutual.

The CityBlock Summer Concert Series is produced by the Springfield Business Improvement District and takes place every Thursday night in downtown Springfield beginning July 2 and running through Aug. 27. The concerts are free and open to the public.

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The Beatles join cast of ‘Wizard of Oz’ in downtown Springfield

Story courtesy of MassLive.com

simpson

SPRINGFIELD — A few months ago painter John Simpson completed a mural of the cast of “The Wizard of Oz,” complete with a yellow brick road, on a vacant building in Court Square in Downtown.

Simpson, an art professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has added The Beatles to his growing list of artwork, painting the iconic cover of the band’s 11th studio album “Abbey Road” on the building’s exterior. The image is an exact replica complete with a white Volkswagen Beetle in the background.

For nearly a year Simpson has been collaborating with real estate developer Evan Plotkin and city employee Mike Cassto paint portraits of iconic figures in film and music as well as local VIPs including Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Theodor Seuss Geisel.

The idea for the paintings first came about when Plotkin decided to bring back the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival this past summer.

The pieces are all done on the plywood used to board up the building. Plotkin said volunteers spent time painting all of the plywood black in order to give Simpson, and several other artists who have contributed paintings, a blank canvas to work with.

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Springfield Restaurant Week Press Conference

Please Join Us for Some Tasty Treats!
Free Samples from Restaurant Week

Springfield Restaurant Week

Springfield, MA – Mayor Sarno, The Springfield City Council Young Professionals Subcommittee and the Springfield Business Improvement District (SBID) are excited to invite you to a Press Conference on April 21, 2015 at 10:30am on the steps of Symphony Hall about Restaurant Week.

You will learn more details about Springfield Restaurant Week, which will be held from April 23 through May 2, 2015. The Young Professionals Subcommittee of the City Council and the Springfield BID have teamed up with local restaurants to serve delicious meals during Springfield Week. Many Downtown and Riverfront restaurants are featured in this event and will provide two or three course dinner menus for a set price of $20.15 per person. The restaurants are Adolfo’s, Blackjack Steakhouse, Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou, Currents (Marriott), The Fort/Student Prince, Hot Table Panini, Luxe Burger Bar, McCaffrey’s Public House, Nadim’s Mediterranean, Panjabi Tadka, Petra Café, PICKS/MVP (Sheraton), Plan B Burger, Samuel’s, Shakago, Theodore’s, 350 Grill and Steakhouse, and Uno Chicago.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, stated “It is a very exciting time for the City of Springfield. It is with great pleasure that an event like this is happening in our vibrant Downtown. This event is a great way for us to show off our beautiful city and bring people to the amazing restaurants downtown!” Springfield City Councilor, Justin Hurst, has been serving as the Chair of the YP Sub-committee, and is ecstatic that this goal of his Committee has come to fruition. “Young professionals are the future of Springfield,” shares Hurst. “They are critical to the long term stability and economic development of this City and I am proud to be a part of the planning for this event.” In addition to the Springfield Business Improvement District, the week is made possible thanks to Baystate Health, Farmington Bank, Garten LLC Landscaping and Services, Inspired Marketing, MassLive, White Lion Brewing Company, and Williams Distributing.

This event is not only for young professionals, but families and the community as a whole will have the opportunity to enjoy what the City has to offer.

Please join the honorable Mayor Sarno, The Springfield City Council Young Professionals Subcommittee and the Springfield Business Improvement District on April 21,, 2015 at 10:30am on the steps of Symphony Hall. Please note: in the case of inclement weather it will move inside City Hall

For more information, log on to http://springfielddowntown.com/dinespringfield.