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Thursday, December 14, 2017
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The Rural We: Barbara Zanetti

As executive director of the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce, Barbara Zanetti is responsible for organizing many events, but Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, where Main Street is magically transformed as Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of the same name, may be the most popular. A Great Barrington native and Sheffield resident, Zanetti is in her 20th year as executive director, but was the chamber’s treasurer for several years before that. Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas activities run December 1-3, with the Main Street recreation on Sunday from noon-2 p.m. Buttons offering admittance to Sunday’s Main St. activities are $5.00 per person (children under 12 free) and are available online, or at the event (cash only).

This is the 28th year for Main Street Christmas. The weekend started off to attract visitors to town after Thanksgiving. It was first organized by the Nejaime sisters, and the events were just on Main Street. But it became necessary to have fundraisers for the chamber, so the event was expanded to include the holiday house tour, caroling and other activities.

We have to finalize the program of events by April every year, but it’s gotten easier to produce over the years. It’s not an exact replication of the painting. We solicit antique car owners, the entertainment and volunteer support. We have a lot of repeats. About eight years ago we introduced the Londontown Carolers, a quartet of Victorian costumed carolers from Pittsfield. The main car — the red one with the Christmas tree on top — is owned by Tony Carlotto from Sheffield. A lot of antique car owners don’t like people touching their cars, but Tony’s great. He allows everybody to get in the car. Last year we had a wedding proposal in it!

The whole effect gives you the feeling of what Rockwell painted and of a hometown at Christmas. The weekend is great for our local businesses. We get around 3,000 people just on Sunday alone. The Red Lion Inn is booked a year in advance, and the merchants are all very busy. They consider it their Black Friday.

Everyone always asks me what my favorite events of the weekend are. I would say it’s the children holiday story time at the library [on Saturday, Dec. 2] and the caroling in front of the Red Lion Inn.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/27/17 at 11:15 AM • Permalink