Suggested Events 02/12/11-02/18/11

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

The Magic Wood at Notchview in Windsor, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest an EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and enhanced publicity. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

BEST BETS

In the morning on Saturday, February 12th at 10am FAMILY CONCERT: The Alchemystics perform at The First Churches of Northampton as part of Nonotuck Community School’s 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series. The band labels themselves as new roots music- the group plays a mixture of reggae, soul, hip hop, and dub. Before the show, students from Easthampton’s SHOW Circus Studio’s Circus Stars Youth Performance Troupe will present a show of tumbling, juggling, and other circus feats! 129 Main Street. 586-5996. http://www.nonotuck.org. Northampton, MA. ($)

Later from noon-6pm down in the Pioneer Valley — WINTER FEST: Amherst Leisure Services hosts Winterfest 2011. Bring the family to enjoy both indoor and outdoor winter activities a the Cherry Hill Golf Course (323 Montague Rd.). There will be sled dogs, music, kids carnival, cross country ski lessons, fireworks, sledding & tubing, hay rides, food, and much more. www.winterfestamherst.com Amherst, MA ($)

Also at the noon hour, up in the Berkshires VALENTINE: Family Valentine’s Day celebration at Ventfort Hall (104 Walker St.). Activities through out the day: bonfire, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, Nutshell Playhouse in concert, Victoria Tea, “The Might Mysterious Megapuff”, guided tours and more. 637-3206 www.guildedage.org Lenox, MA ($)

Then on Sunday, February 13th at 2pm UKES & YOYOS: Northampton Arts Council presents Ukes and Yoyos at the Academy of Music Theatre, featuring extraordinary ukulele and yoyo performers. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

And in the evening in the Hilltowns on Sunday at 6:30pm FOOD ADVENTURE: Visit The Old Creamery for their popular Chocolate Tasting! Learn about and taste many different varieties of chocolate. Pre-registration requested. 445 Berkshire Trail. 634-5560. www.theoldcreamery.coop. Cummington, MA. (FREE!)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday, February 19th from 9am-2pm — WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET: Bernardson Winter Market happens at United Church (58 Church St). www.buylocalfood.org Bernardson, MA (MARKET)

Sunday, February 20th from 2-5pm — BUBBLES: BubbleMania! at the Colonial Theater. Loaded with visual comedy, quick wit, big band swing music and the untamed, often unbelievable qualities and beauty of bubbles. www.thecolonialtheater.org Pittsfield, MA ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

DEBUT OPENING CELEBRATION: Despite the “wintery mix” that made last Saturday night a slippery, slushy evening, a hearty crowd of supporters of Hilltown Families came out to the debut opening celebration of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit at Cup & Top Cafe in Florence, MA. See snap shots taken at the opening (thank you Tony Lemos!) in our Facebook photo album. The show will be up at the cafe through March and the proceeds from the sales go to benefit Hilltown Families. — In April the show travels to Haydenville to Bread Euphoria where it will be on display in the Corridor Gallery at Andrew Quient Pottery. Mark your calendars for April 10th. There will be a Benefit Birthday Bash at Bread Euphoria for Hilltown Families from 4-7pm with pizza and birthday cake donated by the bakery and a family concert with Mister G. Interested in volunteering for the party planning? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

SAVE THE DATES FOR PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN SCREENINGS: Preschool screening will be held on April 4th at Littleville Elementary School. Kindergarten Screening will be held for children living in the towns of Huntington, Montgomery, Russell and Worthington on April 14th at Littleville Elementary School. Kindergarten Screening will be held for children living in Blandford, Chester or Middlefield on April 14th at Chester Elementary School. More information will be coming soon, including the ages of eligible children and how to schedule an appointment.

ART EXHIBIT: From Feb. 2 – Feb. 28, Mexican-inspired metal embossments created by students from the Montessori School of Northampton will be displayed at The Green Bean. Students from K-6 created embossed metal designs based on Mexican folk imagery. They began with drawings of designs containing forms found in nature, transferred their designs to aluminum sheets, embossed them by drawing and punching shapes, and added color to highlight elements of their designs. The project was guided by art teacher Barbara Neulinger and fits into the school’s cultural curriculum. This is the third year that The Green Bean has hosted an exhibition of work from the school’s students. 241 Main Street. 584-2326. Northampton, MA.

SHORT STORY CONTEST: The Westfield Athenaeum Library is holding a short story contest. Stories can be about any topic, and submissions will be accepted from January 31st-February 26th. Submissions may be no longer than three pages, and should have been written within the last year. Stories will be judged based on creativity, grammar, presentation, and overall writing skills, and all submissions will become the property of the Boys and Girls library at the Athenaeum. More information is available at the Athenaeum Library website- www.westaeth.org.

JUNIOR SOLAR SPRINT: Are you an educator? Homeschooler? Attend a free Junior Solar Sprint workshop on Tuesday, February 15th from 4-7pm and learn how to lead middle school students through the Junior Solar Sprint experience- a program where kids design, build, and and compete with model solar cars. 950 North Street. www.cetonline.org. 445-4556. Pittsfield, MA.

DOCTOR FOR A DAY: The Hampshire District Medical Society is again sponsoring their annual “Doctor for a Day” program. Juniors and seniors interested in becoming a physician should pick up an application in the Gateway High School Guidance Office in Huntington, for a chance to spend a full day shadowing a real physician! Applications, including two letters of recommendation, are due to the Society by February 18, 2011.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week on the HFVS is our Black History Month Episode celebrating musical legends, including: Ella Jenkins, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, and many others. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, February 12th, 2011

    First Annual Northampton Ice Art Festival

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    8am-12Noon - ICE FISHING: Get outside for the Annual Children’s Ice Fishing Derby on Ashfield Lake for all school aged children. There will be prizes and a spaghetti supper, plus an educational presentation following the supper for the kids. 628-4400 Ashfield, MA (FREE, />$)

    WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    9am-2pm – Winter Farmers’ Market in the basement of Thornes through April 30th. Food, live music and art. Northampton, MA
    10am-2pm – Winter Farmers’ Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.). Amherst, MA
    10am-2pm – North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Blue Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com Amherst, MA
    10:30am-1pm - Springfield Winter Market happens at Forest Park. 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month. www.buylocalfood.org Springfield, MA

    9am-1pm – FAMILY BREAKFAST: Enjoy a locally grown breakfast, proceeds from which benefit the Northampton Survival Center. Visit the Food Shed at Enterprise Farm for a meal of pancakes made from local wheat flour from Four Star Farm, local bacon and sausage from Austin Brothers Farm, and local cider and locally roasted coffee from Pierce Brothers. 72 River Road. 665-8608. www.enterpriseproduce.com. Whately, MA. ($)

    9:30am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Learn about the history of chocolate, and how it became a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Try chocolate cake made from an original recipe from 1824. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. 800-SEE-1830. www.osv.org. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

    10am- FAMILY CONCERT: The Alchemystics perform at The First Churches of Northampton as part of Nonotuck Community School’s 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series. The band labels themselves as new roots music- the group plays a mixture of reggae, soul, hip hop, and dub. Before the show, students from Easthampton’s SHOW Circus Studio’s Circus Stars Youth Performance Troupe will present a show of tumbling, juggling, and other circus feats! 129 Main Street. 586-5996. http://www.nonotuck.org. Northampton, MA. ($)

    10am – FAMILY CONCERT: Enjoy the music and storytelling of Sarah Pirtle and Erin Berard, founders of the touring program Courage Stories. Some songs and stories inspired by life on the farm! 4 Norman Road. 625-2355. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. ($)

    10am – NATURE WALK: Take a nature walk with Ted Watt at Benson Place. Look for tracks, snow fleas, bird songs… 337-5340 Heath, MA (FREE)

    10am-12Noon – ANIMAL STUDIES: Berkshire Sanctuaries is sponsoring a Bird Banding Demo at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary for families w/kids 3yo & older. Use mist nets, band birds, record data, relase birds unharmed. (472 West Mountain Rd.) berkshires@massaudubon.org Lenox, MA (>$)

    10am-12Noon - OPEN HOUSE: Spring Street Preschool with host a Kids’ Party and Preschool Open House with a student art show, bake sale and kids’ activities. http://www.springstreetpreschool.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-4:30pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Visit Historic Deerfield for the 2011 American Heritage Chocolate Celebration! Enjoy learning all about how delicious chocolate treats are (and once were) made, make Valentines, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. 84 Old Main Street. 774-5581. http://www.historic-deerfield.org. Deerfield, MA. ($$)

    10:30-11:20 – SCIENCE ADVENTURE: Visit the Haskins Center in North Adams for Kitchen Chemistry: Science Fun for Families, a hands-on workshop where children and their parents can explore science through everyday materials found in most every kitchen. Activities will likely be messy, and every child will be able to bring home their own ocean in a jar. Pre-registration required. 210 State Street. 664-4821. www.ccberkshire.org. North Adams, MA. (FREE!)

    11:30am-9pm – ICE SKATING: Outdoor ice pavilion (435 Main Rd.). No skate rentals. 528-1443 x248 Monterey, MA (FREE)

    12Noon – VALENTINE: Family Valentine’s Day celebration at Ventfort Hall (104 Walker St.). Activities through out the day: bonfire, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, Nutshell Playhouse in concert, Victoria Tea, “The Might Mysterious Megapuff”, guided tours and more. 637-3206 www.guildedage.org Lenox, MA ($)

    12-2pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Get henna-ed! Professional henna artist Sangita Desai will visit the Meekins Library for a seminar in which participants can learn about the Indian tradition of henna and pick out their own designs to be henna-ed on their hands. Ages 12+, pre-registration requested. 2 Williams Street. 268-7472. www.meekins-library.org. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE!)

    12Noon-6pm – WINTER FEST: Amherst Leisure Services hosts Winterfest 2011. Bring the family to enjoy both indoor and outdoor winter activities a the Cherry Hill Golf Course (323 Montague Rd.). There will be sled dogs, music, kids carnival, cross country ski lessons, fireworks, sledding & tubing, hay rides, food, and much more. www.winterfestamherst.com Amherst, MA ($)

    1pm – STORYTELLING: Author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney shares stories and reflects on how he pieces together tales. Pinkney is a 2010 Caldecott Medal winner. 125 West Bay Road. 658-1100. www.carlemuseum.org. Amherst, MA. (FREE with museum admission!)

    1-3pm – ARTS AND CRAFTS: Get creative with lace, paper, stickers, glitter, etc. at the Dickinson Library! Sponsored by The Friends of the Library, this Valentine-making workshop is open to anyone! 115 Main Street. 498-2455. www.northfieldpubliclibrary.org. Northfield, MA. (FREE!)

    1–3 pm: CRAFTS: Make Your Own Paper at the Berkshire Botanical Garden for families w/kids 5yo+. Learn the craft of paper making from beginning to end, and take home hand-crafted paper for cards, collage, printing or framing. 298-3926 Stockbridge, MA ($$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Ticket Giveaway: The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Concert

    THE DEEDLE DEEDLE DEES
    Saturday, February 26th @ 1:30pm
    At Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA

    Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present Valley favorites The Deedle Deedle Dees in their triumphant return to Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA at the Old Town Hall on Saturday, February 26th, at 1:30pm (doors open at 1pm). 

    Part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series, The Dees will be doing a Black History Month Show — and we’re giving away a family 4-pack of free tickets. Deadline to enter to win: 02/23/11 by 7pm (details below).

    ABOUT THE DEEDLE DEEDLE DEES

    The Deedle Deedle Dees are an educational rock band based in Brooklyn, NY.  Since October 2003, the band has been entertaining family audiences with songs inspired by history and science — “Underground Railroad,” “Nellie Bly,” “Rancher Ants” — as well as simple movement-based tunes.

    The Dees will be doing a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song — including some songs never before performed in the Valley. www.thedeedledeedledees.com

    ABOUT THE NO NAP HAPPY HOUR SERIES

    Started by Bill Childs of Spare the Rock in 2009, the No Nap Happy Hour concert series continues at it’s new location, Flywheel (43 Main St., Easthampton, MA).  The series has been featuring the kinds of bands that seem to have taken their cue from They Might Be Giants in believing that kids’ music doesn’t have to condescend or, well, suck. The series has brought many fantastic acts to the Pioneer Valley, including Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Gustafer Yellowgold, AudraRox, Bill Harley, Justin Roberts, Lunch Money, Uncle Rock and the Deedle Deedle Dees. www.sparetherock.com

    ABOUT FLYWHEEL

    The Flywheel Arts Collective’s new home (Easthampton’s Old Town Hall) is a delightful space for families to come enjoy fabulous family entertainers! Home of the Easthampton Family Center, Flywheel is a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aimed at building community and giving artists opportunities to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people. www.flywheelarts.org

    HOW TO WIN

    Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Deedle Deedle Dees at Flywheel Arts Collective in the Easthampton Old Town Hall on Saturday, February 26th at 1:30pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

    1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
    2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST and be sure to tell us your
    3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
    4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
    5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
    6. We’ll randomly draw our winners and will share the results below.

    IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 7pm (EST).

    If you don’t win, you simply still must come!  The Dees will be doing a special Black History Month Show, a entertaining way for families to learn a little history. Advance discount tickets can be purchased online HERE and are $5 in advance, or $15 for a family four-pack.  Tickets can also be purchased at the door the day of the show. Flywheel is located in the Easthampton Old Town Hall at 43 Main St.

    The Northampton Parents Center: A Welcoming Oasis For Families with PreK Kids

    An Almost Farewell Ode to the Northampton Parents Center

    Theo, my youngest child, turns five in a just two months. The fall will mark the beginning of his school career as I send him off to kindergarten each day. No longer will I have long stretches of morning or afternoon to fill with a small person. While at times I cannot wait for our new reality to begin, I’m going to allow myself a moment of nostalgia here with you. Having a child under 5 has been part of my identity for nearly 12 years. When my oldest son Isaac turned 5, I had a new baby. When Henry turned 5, I had a three year old. Now this smallest one is growing out of library story times and play gyms. We went to the Hampshire Regional YMCA last week to enjoy the under 5 open playtime and Theo was checked at the door. He is still eligible, but he is towering over the other kids. Of course, they let us in, but I was surprised at my reaction. I didn’t realize how big he looks to everyone else. He is still my littlest one.

    Since Theo has been in afternoon preschool this year, we discovered the Northampton Parents Center, three large rooms located in the basement of Edwards Church.  Sometimes we go multiple times in a week — other times we are absent for days or weeks at time. But the Northampton Parents Center is always there for us. Theo is aging out of it quickly. I’m perpetually asking him to watch out for littler children — and he does quite nicely, but I see how tall and big he looks. He is craving the company of other kids these days more and more.

    In the winter time, I feel like hibernating. This month has brought snow upon snow, parking bans, school delays and cancellations. The Parents Center stays open as much as possible. Theo enjoys the riding toys the most  — they are all set up in the church basement to go around the loop with gym mats and pop-up tents in the middle of this preschoolers’ roundabout. He loves having a place to go move his body — to jump and shout.

    The second room is more subdued for when we are in a laid back frame of mind.  The room is set up with a rice table, homemade playdough brought in by parents, puppet theater, and wooden train track. Mostly, it is full of kids and their caregivers. I can take my knitting, drink some tea, chat with moms, dads, grandparents (all of us this winter overwhelmed by the snow removal), shaking our heads at how much it does take to wear these kids out.

    Swansea Benham Bleicher, the coordinator of the Northampton Parents Center, manages to learn the names of all these kids who drop in and out, some hardly pausing to draw breath. She is welcoming to all families and takes time to get to know everyone. There is coffee, tea, and snacks for kids and grown-ups. She runs a brief circle time at the end of every playtime. The kids shout out for their favorite songs. Theo loves the Go Bananas song. Thursdays includes a music class — it can be busy, but if your kid loves to sing or dance, it’s worth it.

    Both room have baby safe zones, so if your little one needs to get down and crawl, their are spots set up for them to explore where they will be safe from trike driving preschoolers.

    I can hardly believe Theo is about to age out! I can’t wait to go back with friends and their small ones just to visit. The unstructured playtime gives kids the perfect amount of freedom to explore and play while parents connect, warm up and forget about being stuck in the house for a while.

    The best way to find out more about the Northampton Parents Center is to visit.  Located at 297 Main St. (lower level), the Parents Center is open Monday-Thursday from 9:30-11:30am, whenever Northampton public schools are in session. Kids 0-4 with their caregivers are invited. I know you will get a warm welcome.

    This Saturday, February 12th, 2011 from 4-7pm, visit the Northampton Parents Center for a free potluck dinner and family fun night!  Bring a dish to share, and prepare for an eventful evening!  NPC music teacher Felicia Sloin will perform at 5:30pm.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Karen Bayne

    Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

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