Annual Harvest Celebrations Highlight Local Food Traditions
Autumn in Western Massachusetts is a great time of the year to explore the region. As the seasons change and school buses slow down your morning commute, community harvest celebrations fill our weekends with fairs, festivals and community dinners. Since 2005, Hilltown Families has been a resource for finding out about these community building celebrations that support local farming and highlight our local culture. To follow is a sample of just a few of these harvest gems you’ll find out about during the harvest season.
10th Annual Honeybee Festival
Sept 10th, 2011 in South Deerfield: Celebrating all things honey, the 10th Annual Honeybee Festival happens on Saturday, September 10th from 10am-4pm, at Warm Colors Apiary. With honeybees being vital to our local food supply, participants can learn about their importance with live demonstrations of beekeeping. Area chefs will be cooking up dishes of local food with honey as their featured ingredient, honey ice cream will be scooped out, and delicious samples of mead will be poured for the adults. — 413-665-4513. 2 South Mill River Road. South Deerfield, MA (FREE)
6th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival
Sept 18th, 2011 in North Amherst: The next weekend on Sunday, September 18th from 12noon-6pm, is the 6th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival. A fundraiser for the North Amherst Community Farm, the festival is a family-friendly celebration with live music, farm-fresh food, microbrewed beverages, local ice cream, and a small farmers’ market offering locally grown produce. — 413-624-6223. 1089 North Pleasant Street. North Amherst, MA. ($)
13th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival
Oct 1st & 2nd, 2011 in Orange: October is my favorite month for harvest celebrations in Western Massachusetts. The first weekend in October is the 13th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange, MA. Celebrating agricultural and a region rich in local culture, the Garlic and Arts Festival is a two day celebration with cooking demonstrations, garlic market, garlic cuisine, local artisans and great entertainment! — 60 Chestnut Hill Road. Orange, MA (>$)
50th Annual Festival of the Hills
Oct 1st, 2011 in Conway: That same weekend is the 50th Annual Festival of the Hills in Conway, MA. On Saturday, October 1st the town hosts a pancake breakfast with local maple syrup, sale of baked goods from Conway local kitchens, and community turkey dinner. Then on Sunday, October 2nd, is their festival with traditional New England celebration, including log-splitting, pumpkin-stacking, and a good old fashion skillet-tossing competition! — Conway Town Center & Ballfield. Route 116. Conway, MA (FREE)
41st Annual Ashfield Fall Festival
Oct 8th & 9th, 2011: One of my favorite community celebrations, anytime of the year, is the 41st Annual Ashfield Fall Festival on Columbus Day Weekend. With the smell of pumpkin donuts and hot apple cider wafting through the air, this sleepy little Hilltown comes alive with an iconic New England harvest festival. On the common the community can play games, visit local artisans, watch Morris dancers, while listening to live music. Their annual “Pumpkingames” bring generations together into teams that formed on-the-spot, competing in a variety of games, such as pumpkin bowling and a pumpkin relay race. After dancing and playing games, try some warm homemade soup at the Congregational Church Soup Kitchen. And for dessert in the town hall, the South Ashfield Library serves up slices of homemade apple pie, served with big chucks of Vermont cheddar cheese! — Ashfield Town Common. Route 116. Ashfield, MA (FREE)
GFN Harvest Celebration
New on the scene this year is Grow Food Northampton’s October 9th, 2011 Harvest Celebration at the Northampton Community Farm. Live music, local food, games, and farm tours will complement this happy celebration of the first year’s harvest at Crimson & Clover Farm! -
17th Annual Cider Days
The first weekend of crisp November brings us Franklin County’s Cider Days. Celebrating the traditional drink of New England, Cider Days is for everyone who loves fresh apples, sweet and hard cider, cooking with apples, and enjoying autumn in New England. This is the 17th year of this festival, and there will be orchard tours, cider making workshops, cider tastings, talks by orchardists, and more. Highlights include Saturday’s Apple Pancake Breakfast at the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield, and the Marketplace at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls, with local artisans and producers, food vendors, and of course, apples!
Other harvest festivals to look forward to include: 25th Annual Apple Harvest Crafts Fair & Children’s Festival in Amherst and Nuestras Raices’ Annual Harvest Festival in Holyoke on Sept 24th, 2011; Westhampton Fall Festival and Great Pumpkin Roll and Pumpkin Festival in South Deerfield on Oct 16th, 2011. Check back with us for these harvest festivals and more in the weeks to come, or check out list of Weekly Suggested Events every Thursday to find out what festival are happening that weekend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sienna Wildfield, Editor & Writer
Sienna is the Founder and Director of Hilltown Families and lives in the Hilltowns with her family, chickens, gardens and cat. She is the Hilltown Families chief editor, writer, & photographer, serves on the Chesterfield Cultural Council, and is a board member of the Hilltown CDC. She is a life-long activist, published poet, accomplished photographer, and the producer/co-host of the Hilltown Family Variety Show (WXOJ 103.3 FM Northamtpon) with her daughter. [LinkedIn]email@example.com