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Well, it’s been quite a year here at GSFABA. It was my first as the official chief cook and bottle washer  -- new challenges, opportunities, and ideas come across my desk every day and it’s been quite a ride!
 
It’s fun to look back at all we’ve done in 2016, beginning with 100% new staff (me, Shira, and our bookkeeper, ML), new board members, and a redesigned website with improved member options. Members can update photos, events, contact info, and – oh yeah – pay dues on-line! Shelburnefalls.com is THE go-to website for the region, with over 50,000 hits in 2016. We’re looking to increase traffic in 2017, so make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date!
 
GSFABA successfully produced the annual Auction, two ArtWalks, RiverWalk, the Bridge of Flowers 10K, the Iron Bridge Dinner, and Moonlight Magic, plus a host of behind-the-scenes activities including:
· Working with local Tourism Councils to leverage over $1 million (yes, million!) in regional advertising;
· Advocating for the region through participation in advocacy days on Beacon Hill and by sitting on economic development committees with FRCOG, the Franklin County Chamber, the Creative Economy Network in Springfield, and the Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership Committee;
· Managing the banner program and the pole banners along Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls;
· Working with the towns of Shelburne and Buckland through the Shelburne Falls Area Partnership on place making activities, parking concerns, and the cultural district;
· Managing signage along the Trail; and
· Responding to frequent inquiries from businesses, tourists, and residents regarding almost anything!
 

New endeavors in 2016 included:

· Conducting a member survey to find out what we’re doing well and what we need to improve;
· Business After Hours:  Seven were held this year in direct response to members asking for more networking opportunities. We plan to continue these monthly networking   meetings in 2017. Let us know if you’d like to host one!
· HATCH (Hilltown Arts & Thriving Community Happenings) funded artists’ visions for community engaged art events (it was so successful that we just launched HATCH 2!); and
· Second Saturdays in Shelburne Falls instead of ArtWalks – again, in response to member feedback.
 

Looking forward to the new year:

The Board has embarked on a strategic planning process to guide our work in the next three to five years. Look for details in upcoming Business Bulletins.
 
Beginning in January, we’ll send this bulletin out to our entire email list of over 2,000 (instead of sending it just to members). With so many more eyes on the bulletin, we see this as a huge member benefit and encourage you to send items for inclusion in the listings. Please send your information with the subject title: Business Bulletin to info@shelburnefalls.com. 
 
We’re also going to begin a membership drive. We are stronger together than apart and to gain new members, we’ll offer a reduced fee for the first year of membership to new (to us) businesses for a limited time beginning February 1, 2017. Returning members that have been out of the organization for at least two years will also be eligible for the special introductory rate of $99.00.
 
Please help us spread the word and enlist new members so we can continue to maintain and upgrade the websites, buy advertising and market events, advocate on behalf of the region, produce arts & cultural events, become more active in promoting our natural resource-based economy (recreation and agriculture), and give the Northeast Berkshire region a voice statewide.
 
Our events calendar for 2017 includes:  HATCH events, Second Saturdays, Business After Hours, The Fabulous February Fringe Festival, the Auction, two membership breakfasts (April & October), the Bridge of Flowers 10K, the Iron Bridge Dinner, and Moonlight Magic.  GSFABA will not produce a RiverFest/Walk in 2017. 
 
June's Second Saturday may have a river appreciation theme (not definite as of this writing), but the traditional river festival has run its course.  Increased costs, combined with diminishing vendor interest and volunteer support, makes producing the event too costly.  If you know of individuals or community organizations who may be interested in taking it on, we're happy to share information. 
 
Additional events we're involved with or support in some way include the Winter Hoopla at The Art Garden, Piti Theater's Syrup Festival, Cider Days, and Crafts of Colrain. 
 
Thank you for your support throughout the year.  From all of us here at GSFABA, we look forward to working for and with you in 2017 and wish you a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!
On Friday, November 25, the GSFABA threw the party of the year!  The Village of Shelburne Falls was filled with lights, excitement, music, art, food, and thousands of people from all over the region!
 
There were 40 vendors set up on Bridge St. and Deerfield Ave., selling everything from wreaths to jewelry to french fries to raffle tickets. River Valley Christian Church, whose goal was to raise enough funds to build a home for a family in Haiti, was so successful that they are considering building a second home! 
 
Many visitors partook in the Moonlight Magic Passport, which led them around to different village businesses. Over 100 passports were turned in for a chance to win one of two beautiful gift baskets. Congratulations to the two lucky winners who hale from Rhode Island and Greenfield! Thank you to the participating shops and to McCusker's Market, the Passport Redemption Center.
 
The Parade of Lights meandered through the village, featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, Thing 1 and 2, and her adorable little ones, Thing 2A and Thing 2B. The first place winner of the float competition was Greenfield Savings Bank who brought a horse drawn wagon from Muddy Brook Farm and handed out candy canes. After the parade, Santa was visited by lots of children at his workshop at the Mason's Lodge.
 
There were so many musical performances, it was nearly impossible to catch them all! Ageless Waves of Rhythm shook the walls of Greenfield Savings Bank, Slight Change entertained shoppers at Salmon Falls Gallery and Celtic Heels put on an excellent performance outside on Bridge Street, to name a few.
 
The village was beautifully lit thanks to Yankee Candle's luminaria, set up by NHS and Key Club students of Mohawk Regional High School, organized by Jonathan George.
 
Thank you to the community service crew from the Franklin County Sherriff's Department for assembling the lights and garlands and thank you to Dan Dostal at Dostal Tree Service and his bucket truck for hanging the lights and garlands.
 
 It was easy to get around the village thanks to the Academy at Charlemont for lending their vans as Moonlight Magic shuttles and Tucker Jenkins, John Taylor, and Will Flanders for being the chauffers.
 
Big Thank You to:
 
Greenfield Savings Bank, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, People's United Bank, TransCanada, Yankee Candle, Eversource, Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Events Committee, the towns of Shelburne and Buckland, Mass DOT, Don Bascom at All-Brite cleaning services, the Village Businesses, the volunteers, those businesses featured on the Pole Tags, Franklin Regional Transit Authority, and Franklin Community Co-op.

Tuesday, December 20, 12:30 pm - Showing of the classic movie "White Christmas"

Wednesday, December 21, 1:15 -  BSE preschoolers deliver their homemade cookies then at 1:30 p.m. Cribbage Tournament for all levels.

Thursday, December 22, 2:00 pm - Live interactive talk by guide at the FDR Museum in New York- Presenting how Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrated Christmas at the White House.

Monday, December 26 - Senior Center closed for the holiday.

Wednesday, December 28, Noon - free pizza, 12:30 Showing of the NEW  "Jungle Book." All ages welcome and free!

Thursday, December 29, Noon - music and a New Year's toast.

All programs free and open to all!  Please spread the word.

Reporting at the Fall Breakfast, Steve assured all that the last mile buildout was going to happen.  In recent days, some people have reported hearing something is amiss with the contract.  Below is Steve's response to that concern:
 "There is a firm contract with Comcast which includes a schedule, and it is progressing well. I (Rep. Kulik) am told by MBI that Comcast is scheduling individual meetings with each town to report on progress and review the coverage areas for buildout. The contracted completion date for the 9 towns remains mid-August, 2018. Premises will be connected and lit as buildout progresses. 
 The report I received from MBI tonight is very positive and there are no problems." So, rest assured!  Service is coming soon to a town near you!
The next Second Saturday is January 14th. If you are a village business, please send Shira information about your business's promotions, shows, or other events going on that day. 
Email shira@shelburnefalls.com or call 413-625-2526.

 

Plan to join us at a reception to announce the winning projects from our second round of HATCH community art proposals.  After the Film Fest and before an exciting new program to be announced next month!
 
The reception will be held at The Art Garden, 14 Depot St, from 5 - 6:30 pm.  Don't miss it!
Thursday, January 19th
5-7 pm
 
We have a guest speaker from the Post Office who will share the latest technologies and packaging options for businesses. Now, we just need a host! 
 
Download the host form here and send to shira@shelburnefalls.com or mail it to the GSFABA.

Female Filmmakers Asked to Submit Short Films for Screening

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GSFABA, Women in Film and Video: New England, and Hermes Strategic Communications invite female filmmakers to submit works which run 20 minutes or less to their “Fabulous February Fringe” event which will be held in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts on February 11th, 2017. All films can be submitted for free through Film Freeway. Film submissions will be accepted until December 20th, 2016. Full directions for submission can be found at Hermes Strategic Communications.

This mini-film festival seeks to promote at least ten films written and/or directed by women. The theme of the fringe is LOVE (right before Valentine’s Day), and films which follow that theme are encouraged to apply. A question and answer segment after the screening is available for all filmmakers who can attend the event.

The screening is sponsored by Women in Film and Video: New England (WIFVNE) and Hermes Strategic Communications. WIFVNE is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to supporting the accomplishments of women working in the film, video and new media industries. Hermes Strategic Communications offers provides small businesses the tools to connect with their target audience through web, video, and print media.

 
Winter Class Schedule
 
Monday  
8:30-10:00 AM            Intermediate Kripalu Yoga (Kate)
4:00-5:00 PM              **Yoga for School Teachers (Kate) 
6:00-7:15 PM              **Introduction/Refresher Series,                                     
                                       dates TBA (Kate)                          
Tuesday
8:00-9:00 AM              YogaFitness (Cordelia) 
9:30-11:00 AM            **QiGong Series  (Collin)
6:00-7:00 PM              Yin Yoga /Gentle (Kate)
 
Wednesday
8:30-10:00 AM            Intermed./Advanced Vinyasa Yoga (Kate)  

Thursday
8:00-9:00 AM              YogaFitness  (Daniel)      
12:00-1:00 PM          **Easy Tai Chi (Steven)      
3:00-5:00 PM               Intro to Yoga 30 min. sessions (Kate)
6:00-7:15 PM              Slow Flow Moderate Yoga (Kate)                                        
 
Friday
8:30-10:00 AM            Gentle Kripalu Yoga  (Kate)  
12:00-1:00 PM            Co-op/Community Yoga (Rotating)                                                                            
 
Saturday
9:00-10:15 AM            Slow Flow Vinyasa (Melissa)                                                                  
 
Sunday
9:00-10:30 AM            Morning Yoga (Robin)                                                           

Please note the following updates for the holiday season:
 
-No Classes on Sunday 12/25 and 1/1 
 
-Anna Meyers will teach on Saturday 12/24 and Robin Mathiesen on Saturday 12/31.  Both are wonderful teachers~ come say hello!
 
-No Classes on Monday 12/26.
 
-All other classes will meet as usual.
 
And don't forget to check our schedule page for any weather-related cancellations- these will be posted at least one hour prior to the start of class time. 
 
Shelburne’s Piti Theatre is accepting registrations for the 2nd year of their “Shelburne Falls Youth Troupe” who will prepare a new play to be performed with national touring children’s recording artist and author Bill Harley.
Harley will headline Piti’s 8th Annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival at Memorial Hall in S.F. on March 18.
 
Youth Troupe members are ages 7 – 12 but children and adults of other ages who want to participate are encouraged to contact the theatre company. The troupe starts rehearsals on January 26 at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary school.
 
Piti is also crowd-sourcing character, setting and plot ideas for the Hilltown-inspired production titled “The Towns Around the Bend” after Harley’s album of stories “The Town Around the Bend.” Current ideas in the mix include Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, the painter Robert Strong Woodard and the High Ledges. Character and plot ideas can be emailed to info@ptco.org. Everyone who submits will be thanked in the SYRUP program.
 
Piti’s winter classes also include Soapstone Carving and Art’n’Nature. Piti launched the Shelburne Falls Youth Troupe last year with their musical “Olde Coleraine” featuring local actors of all ages. More information is available at ptco.org/classes, info@ptco.org or (413) 625-6569.
 
This year’s SFYT season is funded in part by HATCH, a grant program for local artists created by the Art Garden and the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association.
For a unique gift, the Buckland Historical Society is offering a beautiful, full color, 2017 Calendar of Robert Strong Woodward’s paintings, entitled, ‘New England Seasons’.
Woodward was a New England artist from Buckland, MA, 1885-1957, and sold his work to celebrities such as Jack Benny, George Burns, and Robert Frost.
The calendars are $20.00 and the proceeds benefit the Buckland Historical Society. 
They can be purchased at:
Andy’s & The Oak Shoppe, 352 Deerfield St., Greenfield;
Boswell’s Books and Sawyer News, Bridge St., Shelburne Falls; 
The Buckland Public Library, Upper St., Buckland 
They can also be viewed and ordered on line at http://store.bucklandmasshistory.org
The Art Garden is now accepting applications for our ARTeens Winter Session which begins January 17, 2017 and meets for 6 weeks (not during February vacation.) 
Applications are due December 30, 2016. 
ARTeens meets on Tuesdays* 
from 2:30pm - 6pm. 
Teens come from different schools (and homeschooling) and can arrive anytime between 2:30pm - 3:45pm.
*Please note: If they have enough teens, they will also offer the program on Thursdays, starting January 19th.Applications and information are available on their website.
Saturday, January 14
 
Thursday, January 19
5-7 pm
 
Saturday February 11
 
Saturday, March 18
 

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The face of our region is www.shelburnefalls.com . This website is supported entirely by our business association.