Suggested Events for April 14th-20th, 2012

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

Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade at Historic Deerfield (2011)

Fife and drum music this week, starting at the Historic Deerfield on Saturday with a Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade. And on Monday, Old Sturbridge hosts a special Patriots Day. Both events provide hands-on learning opportunities and reenactments. Great way for kids to learn about Colonial History. Scroll down for details. Click on photo to see images from last year's event in Deerfield. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Spring Vacation Week: April 16th-20th: Many students get April 16th-20th off from school, and parents will be looking for activities for their children to enjoy during the break. There are many opportunities to be found in the region, with several boutique options to choose from, including nature, art, sports, ballet, history, gymnastics, stewardship, outdoor adventures, among others. Check out our post, 15 Camps for Spring Vacation Week in Western MA for some highlights of events and week long camp opportunities happening during Spring Vacation Week right here in Western MA. Some options are for the entire week, while others allow you to choose your days and have full day or half-day options. Then scroll down and check out our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events to see what’s happening all week during Spring Break in Western MA… there are over 150 events and activities to choose from!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

The Hilltown CDC’s 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! Entertainment will include live music, workshops, artists & artisans, local food, family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, Maypole, Morris Dancers, and much more!

Saturday, April 21st at 11am – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Enjoy a pink-themed lunch and a performance of a musical version of the popular children’s book, Pinkalicious!  at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle. There will, of course, be pink cupcakes – but don’t eat too many and get pinkitis!  Show begins at 1pm, lunch includes a meet and greet with the show’s cast and crew!  413-665-1277 ex 1308.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

Sunday, April 22nd from 11am-4pm – EARTH DAY: Celebrate Earth Day at the Springfield Museums!  There will be live music (featuring environmentally-themed songs), free seedlings, a presentation on a birds of prey rehabilitation program, and displays from many local businesses, nonprofits, and initiatives – all Earth Day-themed!  The event is an opportunity to learn about green initiatives happening locally and ways to get involved, as well as a way to celebrate Earth Day!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

BULLETIN BOARD

CLOTH DIAPERS: The Great Cloth Diaper Change Western Mass serves to promote the joys of cloth diapering, celebrate Earth Day, and break a World Record! Saturday. April 21st 11:30am at the Florence Community Center, 140 Pine Street, Florence, MA. Colorful cloth diapers galore! Local Eco-Conscious Vendors! Music! Door Prizes! Raffles! Come capture tons of excitement as we attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ of most number of diapers changed simultaneously. Doors Open at 11:30am. World Record Diaper Change Attempt will be at 12:30 sharp! If you don’t already cloth diaper your baby EVEN BETTER! They will have diapers to borrow for the event and there will be demonstrations of various kinds of cloth diapers that are available.

SUMMER CAMP: Adventure Camp: Four two-week sessions, June 25-August 17, 2012 The Bement School Summer Programs offer a preschool program and adventure day camp for boys and girls ages 15 months to 15 years. Adventure Camp provides a traditional day camp experience. Your child will participate in many activities to make his or her summer a memorable one. At the same time, parents can enjoy peace of mind knowing their child is in a safe and caring place. A sibling discount is available for siblings who enroll in multiple sessions. Bement School, Deerfield, 413- 475-3044. www.bement.org/summer. Optional services include: round-trip van transportation (Hadley, Northampton, Amherst), extended day supervision, enrichment programming, and bag lunches.

SUMMER CAMP: Adventures in Chinese: Two two-week sessions, July 16-Aug 10. Campers, ages 5-12 years, participate in activities designed to build vocabulary and confidence in speaking Mandarin Chinese. Campers will gain an understanding of Chinese art, culture and tradition. They will learn daily conversations in Mandarin including listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Bement School, Deerfield. 413-475-3044. www.bement.org/summer. Optional services include: round-trip van transportation (Hadley, Northampton, Amherst), extended day supervision, and bag lunches.

SUMMER CAMP: Are you looking for a great summer experience for your kids? Check out our post Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA which highlights opportunities happening throughout the region. With a great variety of themes, there are many summer camp/programs your family can choose, including: farm & gardening, music, art, technology, nature, personal development, science, theater, sports, ballet, preK, college… as well as a good old fashion summer camp! Discover what’s being offered near you, and find out how you can add a camp to this growing list too!

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including DIY posts, seasonal cooking, and community-based educational opportunities. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Giveaway: Crimson & Clover Farm Share

Enter to win a Small Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm in Florence, MA for the 2012 season by sharing a family recipe you're looking forward to preparing this spring with fresh local produce, embellished with the story behind this favorite dish! Deadline: April 16th.

CHEMISTRY: The Edwards Library in Southampton invites library patrons to begin their chemistry adventures at their library for the next few weeks. Beginning April 18th the Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program will be available to check out to families with kids ages 5-12yo for doing experiments at home. Kits may be check out for one week at a time and are available at the library until June. 413-529-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA (LIBRARY PATRONS)

Jennifer Atkins writes, “The MA Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, which is held in Cummington on Memorial Day weekend every year, needs spinners for the very popular Drop-In Spinning area.  We are looking for spinners willing to spend a couple of hours demonstrating their craft, and if they feel comfortable, helping people try it out. We will have some wheels available, or you can bring your own…Please contact Delia Nash if you could help out or would like more information… It is a fun way to help the fair be successful and to meet lots of interesting folks. 413-230-1458. bydelia@yahoo.com.”


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
April 14th-20th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes
Weekly eNewsletter | Events for Working Parents | Workshops for Parents

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

"Hilltown Families always keeps us informed as to what's going on in the valley! When boredom strikes during vacation week, we know where to go…Hilltown Families's blog or Facebook page to find out what extra special fun thing is going on!" - Angie Gregory

6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 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.

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. - This week we are rebroadcasting our Spring Episode from last year with guest DJ, Charity Kahn. -Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you want. Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast too.

ALL DAY – STORYWALK: A storywalk of If You Give a Pig a Party just opened at Old Mill Pond Elementary School!  It’s located on the kindergarten playground – tour it with your family, and read about a silly pig’s adventures!  Presented by the Collaborative for Educational Services.  4107 Main Street.  Palmer, MA.  (FREE)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at the Dickenson and Munn Brooks in Southwick. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. BYO Lunch. Meet at the Westfield State Communter Lot in Westfield. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331. Southwick, MA (FREE)

8:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Explore the center of Westhampton and learn about plants that have been sprouting and blooming recently, and about the spring birds out and about in the morning with naturalist, Laurie Sanders.  Laurie will teach attendees how to identify many of the plants, trees, and birds encountered.  Meet at the library parking lot.  413-527-5386.  1 North Road.  Westhampton, MA.  (FREE)

9am – PARENT WORKSHOP: All parents (and parents-to-be) interested in learning more about cloth diapering can attend a workshop at Treehouse this morning!  If you’re ready to make the switch to cloth, or if you’re sure you want your baby’s bottom to be swaddled in cloth from birth, this workshop can be a great source of information.  No pins involved!  Pre-Registration required:  413-344-4435.  305 North Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

9am-12noon – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Look Park is open for the season, but the grounds need some attention!  There are leaves & down branches galore from the October blizzard that need to be cleaned up.  Bring your family and come to the park ready to work (BYO rake and gloves).  Your help ensures that the park remains a valued community resource!  413-727-8457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (VOLUNTEER) 

9am-12noon – COMMUNITY SERVICE: There will be a community workday and tour of the new Beaver Brook/Fitzgerald Lake Greenway.  Join the Broad Brook Coalition and bring your family.  Help clean up debris (bring gloves!), fallen branches and tree limbs.  There will also be a brief tour of the farm and artifacts that once occupied this area.  Meet at Northampton Corrosion Control Facility. 413-585-0405. Haydenville Road. Florence, MA (VOLUNTEER)

9am-1pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Join the Trustees of Reservation for a morning of trail maintenance at Chapel Brook. The Appalachian Mountain Club will be offering beginner climbing lessons too! Pre-register and find out about the opportunities available for families: 413-532-1631 x10. Chapel Brook Reservation. Williamsburg Road. Ashfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

10am – STORYTIME: West Springfield Library hosts a special storyhour called, “Hop Around the Clock,” for kid ages 3yo and older.  Includes stories, snack, music, and crafts. Must pre-register: 413‐736‐4561 x4. 200 Park Street. West Springfield, MA (FREE)

10am or 1pm – WEAVING: Learn all about the art of weaving at the Storrs Library!  Kids will learn about the history of the art of weaving and its significance in both art and industry.  Then, they will be able to write their dreams on a strip of paper and weave it into a tapestry.  Call to register.  413-565-4182.  693 Longmeadow Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12noon – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE/HISTORY: Explore the Mill River Greenway!  Today’s hike will begin in Williamsburg and will visit the location of the dam that caused the 1874 disaster as well as the Searsville Dams.  Registration required, meet at the parking lot behind the Dunphy School.  Petticoat Hill Road.  Williamsburg, MA.  (FREE) 

10am-2pm – RECYCLING: The Center for Ecotechnology, Goodwill, and Valley Green Shredding are holding a textile drive today!  Families can donate boxes of gently used clothing, accessories, and housewares, as well as working computers and computer accessories, televisions, lamps, and other household appliances.  For each box donated, families will be entitled to free shredding of a box of documents!  Do some spring cleaning and get rid of your unwanted items in an environmentally friendly way – your old items will be recycled and re-loved within your community.  413-445-4556.  440 Merrill Road.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURE: Come enjoy Hancock Shaker Village’s annual Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm event! Visitors to the village can meet tons of different baby animals, such as calves, chicks, piglets, lambs, and ducklings. There will also be activities for kids that involve both art and learning about history, such as weaving on a loom and basket making! Today only, David Grover and Friends will hold a barnyard sing-along upstairs in the Round Stone Barn at 11am & 12:30pm.  There will also be a story time in the Discovery Room with local authors Liz Cogswell and Ty Allen Jackson. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

10:30am-12Noon - HABITAT STUDIES: Great Falls Discover Center will be making terrariums. Families are encouraged to bring a glass jar and any special plants and/or rocks for making their own miniature terrarium while learning about ecosystems in our region. Turners Falls, MA  413-863-3221.  2 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE) 

10:30-11am – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: Learn about all kinds of creatures at Birds, Beasts, and Bugs, a program for kids at the Leverett Library.  Educator Dawn Marvin Ward will help kids learn and guide activities like critter searching, nest making, and more.  Registration required.  413-548-9220.  75 Montague Road.  Leverett, MA.  (FREE)

11am – MUSICAL/LUNCHEON: Enjoy a pink-themed lunch and a performance of a musical version of the popular children’s book, Pinkalicious!  There will, of course, be pink cupcakes – but don’t eat too many and get pinkitis!  Show begins at 1pm, lunch includes a meet and greet with the show’s cast and crew!  413-665-1277 ex 1308.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

11am-3pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES: Indian Orchard Branch Library invites families to join then for a concert featuring the Eric Bascom Jazz Trio, performing in the rotunda of our 1909 Classical Revival style library, made possible through the generosity of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In fact, the Indian Orchard Branch was the first fully staffed suburban branch library in Springfield.  413-263-6846. 44 Oak Street. Springfield, MA (FREE)

11am-3pm - LIBRARY ADVENTURES: Eighty years ago, in May of 1931, Liberty Branch Library opened to the public. Stop in to see what current materials and modern technology are housed inside this historic exterior! 413-263-6849. 773 Liberty Street. Springfield, MA (FREE)

11am-3pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURESStop by the Sixteen Acres Branch Library today! At this always busy branch you don’t need an appointment to check out library materials, but to enjoy the free concert by “Shave and a Haircut,” a local Barbershop Quartet, you’ll need to be here at 1pm!  413-263-6858. 1187 Parker Street. Springfield, MA (FREE)

7:30-11am – FISHING DERBY: Kids ages 15 and under can show off their fishing skills today at the 26th annual West Springfield Fishing Derby!  The event takes place at the Upper Reservoir.  Kids will be fishing for trout, and there will be prizes awarded for first fish caught, as well as for different sizes of fish within age groups.  Amostown Road and Smyrna Street.  West Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12noon – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: Celebrate the Week of the Young Child with Northampton Public Schools!  There will be fun family activities including brain building games, tumbling mats, playground games, art making, a visit from a fire truck, and more!  Celebrate childhood!  Takes place in the cafeteria at Jackson Street School.  413-587-1471.  Jackson Street.  Northampton, MA. (FREE)

10am-4pm – HISTORY: Visit Historic Deerfield to both celebrate and learn about the history behind Patriot’s Day with a Revolutionary Muster & Parade!  The event will include historical reenactments, hands-on activities, tons of traditional live fife and drum music, and a parade and muster.  There will also be horse drawn wagon rides through the village, and all of the museum’s buildings will be open for visitors to explore!  The event is a great way to learn about the history behind a day that is often regarded as little more than a bank holiday, and is a great supplement to studies of the American Revolution and local history.  413-775-7179.  Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

10am-4pm – AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY: Members of the Stone Soul reenactor group from Springfield will join forces with the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association to portray the enslaved and free African American of the north during the time of the American Revolution at the Deerfield Children’s Museum at Indian House Memorial. A free walking map of early African American sites in Old Deerfield will be available at Indian House (limit one per family).  This happens during the Historic Deerfield’s Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade.  Old Main St. Deerfield, MA. (FREE w/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

10:30am-12noon – LOCAL HISTORY: Join the Springfield Museums for a walking tour of Springfield!  Lead by Springfield native Arax Charkoudian, the tour will include her personal recollections of life in Springfield during her childhood, as well as stories about the shoe store that her family once owned downtown.  Learn about local history and the changes that have taken place within the city!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (<$) 

11am – MOVIE: The Lee Library will be screening “Hop,” a Universal Picture (2011) about the accidental injury of the Easter Bunny and the comic tale of his recovery. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. Lee, MA (FREE)

11am – KITE MAKING: “Frustrationless Flyer” kits will be available at the Milne Library for easy DIY kite making. Celebrate the year of the dragon and decorate your kites accordingly! 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street. Williamstown, MA

12:30-4pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/JAPANESE: The first ever FIve College Hanami Festival takes place today!  The event is a celebration of Hanami, a Japanese festival – visitors can learn about Japanese culture by hearing Japanese drumming, watching Aikido demonstrations, seeing traditional dances, watching the creation of sand art calligraphy, and more!  There will be opportunities for visitors to try out origami, calligraphy, and onigiri, and there will be free samples of Japanese foods like mochi, dango, and Japanese curry.  A visit to the festival is a great way to learn about another culture!  Pair with studies of Asian history or World War II.  Takes place at the Smith College Campus Center.  7 Elm Street.  Northampton, MA. (FREE)

1pm – SPRING PARADE: The annual Franklin County Spring Parade takes place today!  The event features appearances from tons of local groups, vendors, dance and music troupes, and more.  Celebrate spring!  Begins at the Sheffield School.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE) 

1-4pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Volunteer your time as a family to help with the upkeep of a community resource!  Clean up at Regan Park in West Springfield will include raking grass, picking up trash, and removing debris left over from winter.  413-736-3878.  Overlook Drive.  West Springfield, MA.  (VOLUNTEER)

3pm – HISTORY: Learn about the history of the famous ship Titanic today at Western Gateway Heritage State Park!  413-663-6312.  115 State Street, Building 4.  North Adams, MA.  (FREE) 

3pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/CHINESE: Chinese dance comes to the Shea Theater!  The Chinese Folk Art Workshop will perform traditional acts such as the Lion Dance, Chinese Yo-Yo Dance, and more.  Families can enjoy the fun and fast-paced performance and learn about Chinese culture.  413-863-2281.  71 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (<$)

5-8pm – ART WALK: Easthampton’s Art Walk takes place on the second Saturday of each month!  Explore downtown Easthampton to see gallery shows and various performances in spaces all over town.  It’s a showcase of all types of local artistic talent!  Easthampton, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – FILM STUDIES: Screening of the silent film, “Speedway” will take place at the United Congregational Church, accompanied by live music with organist, Peter Krasinski.  A great chance to share a slice of cinema history with your young film enthusiasts! 395 High Street. Holyoke, MA ($) 

8pm – THEATER: The Westfield Theatre Group will perform a musical adaptation of the story, “Robin Hood” at the Westfield Woman’s Club. This family friendly production will be performed at the Westfield Women’s Club. 413-572-6838. 28 Court Street. Westfield, MA ($) 

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Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. 

"Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids in the valley. All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!" - Niki Lankowski (Whately, MA)

9am-12noon – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: A family 2.2 mile fun walk, and 1 mile kids fun run, happens at Look Park to raise money for the Florence Recreation Fields Project.   A 5K begins at 10am, and the kids walk/run at 11:15am. Look Park. Florence, MA (FUNDRAISER)

10am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Look Park is open during school vacation week!  The steamer train, mini golf, and visitor’s center will be open, and families can explore the grounds – look for signs of spring!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (<$) 

10am-4pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURE: Hancock Shaker Village’s annual Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm continues! Visitors to the village can mee baby animals and participate in activities for kids that involve both art and learning about history, such as weaving on a loom and basket making! Today there will be a sheep shearing demo at 12noon for families to learn about historic and contemporary methods used to shear sheep. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

10am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: The Amelia Park Children’s Museum is a great place for families to visit!  The museum has lengthened hours on the weekend, and it’s full of fun exhibits for kids to explore and learn from!  413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA. ($) ♦
11am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: The KidSpace at Mass MoCA is open today- explore an exhibit designed just for young people and make some art of your own!  413-664-4481.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  (<$) ♦ 
12Noon-4pm: OPEN HOUSE: The historical and architectural details of the Central Branch Library, celebrating its Centennial year, will be highlighted at 1:30pm by Ed Lonergan, who’ll be leading a free guided tour. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA(FREE)

1pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: The Network Against Domestic Abuse (The NETWORK) opens their doors one Sunday each month to parents and professionals needing parent coaching help with discipline at home or in the classroom. Network board member, parent educator, and Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Bill Corbett, author of the book “Love, Limits & Lessons,” will facilitate these 2-hour interactive sessions known as “The Gathering,” and is for adults only (no children please). A capacity attendance is expected so seating is limited. Register for a seat. 860-265-2272. 139 Hazard Avenue. Enfield, CT. (FREE)

1pm – ART: Beads, Bisque, and Beyond hosts a weekly art session for kids!  Kids’ Club gives kids an opportunity to exercise their creativity and to experiment with new mediums, like yarn painting, bubble painting, clay modeling, and more!  413-442-9300.  141 North Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($) ♦ 

1-2:50pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Collins/Moylan Arena (41 Barr Ave.). Skate rentals available. 772-6891 Greenfield, MA ($) ♦

1-3pm - CHESS: An informal Chess Club is beginning at the Lilly Library. Participants are encouraged to supplement existing chess boards by bringing their own too. 413-587-1500. 19 Meadow Street. Florence, MA (FREE) ♦

2pm – GOVERNMENT: The Meekins Library is hosting a talk with Don Robinson, author of “Town Meeting: Practicing Democracy in Rural New England.” The talk is great for older students who are studying American History and/or government, as well as those who are beginning to participate in the local community more. Attending the talk can help students learn about the importance of local government. Route 9. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

2pm – PUPPET FESTIVAL: The Academy of Music presents the National Marionette Theatre’s new production of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. Doors open at 1:30pm. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA (>$) 

2-3:50pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Smead Arena. Skate rentals available. 413-781-2599. 1780 Roosevelt Ave. Springfield, MA ($) ♦

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

15 Camps for Spring Vacation Week in Western MA

☆ HIGHLIGHTED EVENT:  9:30am-5pm - COLONIAL HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Villages host a special Patriots Day with fife and drum music, musket ball-making demos, recreation of historical events, schoolyard games, sawmill demo, storytelling, horse-drawn rides, Punch & Judy Puppet Show, and so many more hands-on, learning opportunities. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA ($)

Deadline to sign up for the Forbes and Lilly Libraries 6th Annual Edible Book event happening on April 22nd in Florence, MA (>$)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at the Sawmill River in Montague. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. BYO Lunch. Meet at the Intersection of Rte 47 & Rte 63. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331. Montague, MA (FREE)

10am – PUPPET THEATER: The Academy of Music Theatre presents Tanglewood Marioneetes production of “Cinderella.” Doors open at 9:30am. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA (>$) 

10am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Look Park is open during school vacation week!  The steamer train, mini golf, and visitor’s center will be open, and families can explore the grounds – look for signs of spring!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (<$) 
10:30am-4pm – PARK ADVENTURES: Six Flags New England is open this week just for school vacation!  Get a jump on the summer park season and have a go at all the rides this week – use a visit to the park as a supplement to physics studies!  413-786-9300.  1623 Main Street.  Agawam, MA ($$) 
11am – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Enjoy a pink-themed lunch and a performance of a musical version of the popular children’s book, Pinkalicious!  There will, of course, be pink cupcakes – but don’t eat too many and get pinkitis!  Show begins at 1pm, lunch includes a meet and greet with the show’s cast and crew!  413-665-1277 ex 1308.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

11am-4pm - EARTH DAY: Forest Park is celebrating Earth Day all week long!  Along with fun activities like pony rides and games, there will be chances for families to learn about making their home and daily practices more environmentally friendly.  413-733-2251.  302 Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (<$) 

11am & 11:45am – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: Amelia Park Children’s Museum hosts Forest Park Zoo on the Go. Must pre-register: 413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  (>$) 

12noon-4:30pm – COLONIAL HISTORY: What was life like for the earliest settlers of the Pioneer Valley?  How is your family’s daily life different from that of settlers in Deerfield?  Learn at Historic Deerfield!  There will be special programs and activities during school vacation week –  the museum will be open as usual, and there will be special writing-related activities and displays.  Kids today learn to write, then learn to type, but handwriting (especially good handwriting) was incredibly important during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Families can practice quill pen writing, learn (or just practice) cursive handwriting, and write and send letters!  By taking part in the writing-related activities, kids will learn about the importance of handwritten communication and the difference between how we connect with handwritten work versus typed writing. 413-775-7214. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Springfield Museums presents “Song, Dance, and the Possibilities” by Brian Gillie. 800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE w/ MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1pm – MAGIC: See Magic Dave perform at the Basketball Hall of Fame!  Hocus the bunny will help out with exciting illusions!  413-781-6500.  1000 West Columbus Avenue.  Springfield, MA. (FREE w/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

1pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: The Berkshire Museum host “Animals Up Close: North American Birds of Prey,” a Wingmasters program that showcases six raptors from North America.  This presentation is a wonderful supplement to the current exhibit at the museum, “Taking Flight: Audubon and the World of Birds.”  413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($) 

1-2:30pm – PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP: Kids can learn about nature photography at a 3-day workshop!  Taking place at the same time today, tomorrow, and Wednesday (16th-18th), kids ages 8-12 can learn how to create great nature photography!  Parents must accompany kids, and participants must have their own cameras.  Registration required.  413-549-1097.  Sunderland, MA.  (FREE) 

2 or 3pm – PUPPETS: CactusHead Puppets present The Emperor’s New Clothes at the Eric Carle Museum!  The show is about a vain emperor whose obsession with fashion leads to a funny (and embarrassing) situation!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$) 

3:15-4:30pm – MARTIAL ARTS: River Valley Tae Kwon Do is offering classes for kids in grades 1-6 at the Westhampton Public Library!  Not only will kids learn about the Ji Do Kwan style of Tae Kwon Do, they’ll learn about another culture and will learn to move their bodies in new ways.  The class takes place for six weeks, and kids who attend regularly will get a uniform to wear.  For the first class, kids are asked to wear loose fitting clothes.  413-527-5386.  1 North Road.  Westhampton, MA.  (FREE)

5:30am – BREASTFEEDING – La Leche League of Northampton meets third Monday of every month. Topics cover breastfeeding benefits, nutrition and weaning, home care of your infant, and support. 413-570-0684 150 Main St. 3rd Floor. Northampton, MA (FREE)

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Are you looking for a great summer experience for your kids? Check out our post Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA which highlights opportunities happening throughout the region. With a great variety of themes, there are many summer camp/programs your family can choose, including: farm & gardening, music, art, technology, nature, personal development, science, theater, sports, ballet, preK, college… as well as a good old fashion summer camp! Discover what’s being offered near you, and find out how you can add a camp to this growing list too!

☆ HIGHLIGHTED EVENT:  2pm - MAGIC: The Berkshire Theatre Group is bringing a little family fun to The Colonial Theatre with a performance by magician Bill Blagg. “The Magic of Bill Blag LIVE!” is a Las Vegas style, family-show full of grand scale magic, illusion and unmatched audience interaction, and is recommended for ages 5 and up.  413-298-5576. Pittsfield, MA ($) 

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at the Mill Brook in Charlemont. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. BYO Lunch. Meet in the parking lot of Home Depot in Greenfield. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331. Charlemont, MA (FREE)

10am – PUPPET THEATER: The Academy of Music Theatre presents a marionette production of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale, “Elephant Child.” Doors open at 9:30am. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA (>$) 

10am-1pm – ROCK CLIMBING: Help raise money for the Williston Memorial Library’s summer reading program in Easthampton by climbing your heart out at the Northampton Athletic Club!  Signing up ensures a full gear set rental and three hours to explore the climbing wall – great exercise and a unique opportunity to try out a new sport.  413-529-1605.  306 King Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

10am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Look Park is open during school vacation week!  The steamer train, mini golf, and visitor’s center will be open, and families can explore the grounds – look for signs of spring!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (<$) 
10:30am – MUSIC/MOVEMENT: Kids ages 1-3 and their caregivers are invited to a music, movement, and story time at the Forest Park Branch Library!  Pre-registration is suggested.  413-263-6843.  380 Belmont Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

10:30am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Six Flags New England is open this week just for school vacation!  Get a jump on the summer park season and have a go at all the rides this week – use a visit to the park as a supplement to physics studies!  413-786-9300.  1623 Main Street.  Agawam, MA ($$) 

11am-4pm - EARTH DAY: Forest Park is celebrating Earth Day all week long!  Along with fun activities like pony rides and games, there will be chances for families to learn about making their home and daily practices more environmentally friendly.  413-733-2251.  302 Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (<$) 

12noon-4:30pm - COLONIAL HISTORY: What was life like for the earliest settlers of the Pioneer Valley?  How is your family’s daily life different from that of settlers in Deerfield?  Learn at Historic Deerfield!  There will be special programs and activities during school vacation week –  the museum will be open as usual, and there will be special writing-related activities and displays.  Kids today learn to write, then learn to type, but handwriting (especially good handwriting) was incredibly important during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Families can practice quill pen writing, learn (or just practice) cursive handwriting, and write and send letters!  By taking part in the writing-related activities, kids will learn about the importance of handwritten communication and the difference between how we connect with handwritten work versus typed writing. 413-775-7214. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Springfield Museums presents Fascinatin’ Rhythms by Cornell “Sugarfoot” Coley. 800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE w/ MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: It’s Rocket Day at the Amelia Park Children’s Museum. 413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  (>$) 

2 or 3pm - PUPPETS: CactusHead Puppets present The Emperor’s New Clothes at the Eric Carle Museum!  The show is about a vain emperor whose obsession with fashion leads to a funny (and embarrassing) situation!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$) 
2:30pm - FAMILY MOVIE: The Monson Library will be screening a muppet movie for families. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA (FREE) 
3 or 6pm – FAMILY MOVIE: The Whately Library is screening a muppet movie this afternoon! Choose the screening that best fits your schedule – fun and appropriate for the whole family.  413-665-0054.  218 Chestnut Plain Road.  Whately, MA.  (FREE)

3-5pm – TWEEN/TEEN: Kids ages 10-15 are invited to paint and plant at the Forest Park Branch Library!  There will be pots to decorate and marigold seeds (as well as soil) to plant in your freshly-decorated creation.  Celebrate spring!  413-263-6843.  380 Belmont Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

4-5pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Maurice Elias, PhD, presents, “Integrating Social-Emotional and Character Development into the Mission of All Schools” at UMass.  Elias, a professor at Rutgers, will present ideas from his research on character development in youth.  Takes place in the Campus Center in room 803.  1 Campus Center Way.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE) 

4:30pm – CIRCUS: Flow Circus presents Read Yourself Silly this afternoon at the Liberty Branch Library!  There will be circus tricks, balloons, magic, and more.  413-273-6849.  773 Liberty Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

6:30-7:15pm - PJ STORYTIME: An evening storytime featuring “The Great Outdoors.” Includes stories, snack, music and crafts for kids ages 3yo+. Pre-register: 413‐736‐4561 x4. 200 Park Street. West Springfield, MA (FREE)

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Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

"I have used Hilltown Families to plan kids vacations and find things to do on the weekends! Also it is a great place to post events to share with other families!" - Piet Slaghekke (Easthampton, MA)

☆ HIGHLIGHTED EVENT:  3-4pm - ANIMAL ADVENTURE: Learn all about frogs – their habitat, stages of life, different species to find locally, and more! – at the Whately Library with educator Rachel Roberts.  For kids 5+.  413-654-0054.  618 Chesnut Plain Road.  Whately, MA.  (FREE)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at the Bear River in Conway. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. BYO Lunch. Meet in the parking lot of Home Depot in Greenfield. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331. Conway, MA (FREE)

10am – STORYTIME: Tales and tunes story hour takes place this morning at the Dickinson Library!  Along with books and movement activities, there will be a craft for kids.  413-498-2455.  115 Main Street.  Northfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12noon – TRUCKS: The Family Resource Center hosts Touch-A-Truck at Noel Field!  Kids can visit fire trucks, dump trucks, ambulances, tractors, school buses, and more up close – great for kids who can’t get enough of their kid-sized four-wheeled toys.  413-664-4821.  Route 8.  North Adams, MA.  (FREE)

10am-2pm – CRAFTS: West Springfield Library hosts Glitterific Crafts for kids ages 3yo and older. 413‐736‐4561 x4. 200 Park Street. West Springfield, MA (FREE)

10am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Look Park is open during school vacation week!  The steamer train, mini golf, and visitor’s center will be open, and families can explore the grounds – look for signs of spring!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (<$) 

10:30am, 12:30pm & 2pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: The Amelia Park Children’s Museum will have a special workshop on snakes.  Kids can meet both a Boa and a Corn Snake. 413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  (>$) 

10:30am – LIBRARY ADVENTURES: The Palmer Library will host balloon artist, Jungle Jim, who will be making balloon sculptures for kids ages 3-8yo. 413-283-3330. 1455 North Main Street. Palmer, MA (FREE)

10:30am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Six Flags New England is open this week just for school vacation!  Get a jump on the summer park season and have a go at all the rides this week – use a visit to the park as a supplement to physics studies!  413-786-9300.  1623 Main Street.  Agawam, MA ($$) 

11am-4pm - EARTH DAY: Forest Park is celebrating Earth Day all week long!  Along with fun activities like pony rides and games, there will be chances for families to learn about making their home and daily practices more environmentally friendly.  413-733-2251.  302 Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (<$) 

11am – MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: The Springfield Symphony Orchestra will be bringing their Musical Petting Zoo to the Monson Library. Kids get a hands-on experience with a number of orchestra instruments. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA (FREE) 

11:30am – LIBRARY ADVENTURES: Massachusetts Academy of Ballet  and author David Rottenberg will give a lively presentation of the book, “Gwendolyn the Graceful Pig at the South Hadley Library. 413-538-5045. 27 Bardwell Street. South Hadley, MA (FREE) 

12noon-4:30pm - COLONIAL HISTORY: What was life like for the earliest settlers of the Pioneer Valley?  How is your family’s daily life different from that of settlers in Deerfield?  Learn at Historic Deerfield!  There will be special programs and activities during school vacation week –  the museum will be open as usual, and there will be special writing-related activities and displays.  Kids today learn to write, then learn to type, but handwriting (especially good handwriting) was incredibly important during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Families can practice quill pen writing, learn (or just practice) cursive handwriting, and write and send letters!  By taking part in the writing-related activities, kids will learn about the importance of handwritten communication and the difference between how we connect with handwritten work versus typed writing. 413-775-7214. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Springfield Museums presents Hip Hop Dimensions by the Poetry in Motion Crew. 800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE w/ MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1:30pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES: Massachusetts Academy of Ballet  and author David Rottenberg will give a lively presentation of the book, “Gwendolyn the Graceful Pig” at the Clapp Memorial Library . 413-323-0417. 19 South Main Street. Belchertown, MA (FREE) 

2 or 3pm - PUPPETS: CactusHead Puppets present The Emperor’s New Clothes at the Eric Carle Museum!  The show is about a vain emperor whose obsession with fashion leads to a funny (and embarrassing) situation!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$) 

2-4pm – COMICS: The Milne Library will host a session of “Making Comics” with local cartoonist Melissa Mendes. The workshop is for 10yo and older and is limited in space. Call to sign up: 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

2:30pm – MOVIE: The Lee Library will be screening “Happy Feet 2,” a Warner Bros animated feature (2011) about a tap-dancing peguin and his adventures. 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. Lee, MA (FREE)

3pm – PUPPETS: The Lionheart Puppets present “Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator” at the Pine Point Branch Library today!  The show features many favorite storytime characters, and is great for kids ages 5+.  413-263-6855.  204 Boston Road.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

3:30pm - LIBRARY ADVENTURES: The Artistic Dance Conservatory and author David Rottenberg will give a lively presentation of the book, “Gwendolyn the Graceful Pig!” 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA (FREE) 

6:30pm - CULINARY/LANGUAGE ARTS: The Goodwin Library’s annual edible book event takes place tonight!  Families can participate by creating their own edible version of a book of their choice, or just attend the event to see others’ submissions, learn about cupcake decorating, and play bakers’ bingo.  413-584-7451.  50 Middle Street.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

6:30pm – CRAFTS: Make a special pink craft (and enjoy pink lemonade and pink cupcakes) at the East Springfield Branch Library to celebrate the book Pinkalicious!  Registration required.  413-263-6840.  21 Osborne Terrace.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

7pm – NATURE STUDIES: What plants in your backyard and/or the local forest are edible?  Older students can learn tonight about the plants available locally that can be eaten – the workshop will cover the plants’ distinguishability, seasonal availability, ways to prepare forest foods, and nutritional value.  Great for kids interested in studying survivalism and/or primitive skills.  413-253-0657.  2 South Valley Road.  Pelham, MA. (FREE)

7pm – CHINESE STUDIES: Learn about the ancient Chinese practice of Tai Chi at the Milne Library!  The workshop will include a look at the philosophy behind the practice, as well as a how-to of some basic Tai Chi moves.  Attendees will get a fortune cookie, too!  413-458-5369.  1095 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE) 

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Thursday, April 19th, 2012

“The best list of local events each weekend (and vacation weeks, holiday events, etc.) and a great website to browse and get inspiration. A terrific and fun resource all the way around.” - Karin Perlman (Northampton MA)

☆ HIGHLIGHTED EVENT:  12noon-4:30pm - COLONIAL HISTORY: What was life like for the earliest settlers of the Pioneer Valley?  How is your family’s daily life different from that of settlers in Deerfield?  Learn at Historic Deerfield!  There will be special programs and activities during school vacation week –  the museum will be open as usual, and there will be special writing-related activities and displays.  Kids today learn to write, then learn to type, but handwriting (especially good handwriting) was incredibly important during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Families can practice quill pen writing, learn (or just practice) cursive handwriting, and write and send letters!  By taking part in the writing-related activities, kids will learn about the importance of handwritten communication and the difference between how we connect with handwritten work versus typed writing. 413-775-7214. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at the Mill Brook in Northfield. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. BYO Lunch. Meet in the parking lot of Home Depot in Greenfield. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331. Northfield, MA (FREE)

10am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Look Park is open during school vacation week!  The steamer train, mini golf, and visitor’s center will be open, and families can explore the grounds – look for signs of spring!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (<$) 

10:30-11:30am – FAMILY CONCERT: The Palmer Monson Family Network present musician Jon O’Neill at the Palmer Library for a family concert. 13-283-3330. 1455 North Main Street. Palmer, MA (FREE)

10:30am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Six Flags New England is open this week just for school vacation!  Get a jump on the summer park season and have a go at all the rides this week – use a visit to the park as a supplement to physics studies!  413-786-9300.  1623 Main Street.  Agawam, MA ($$) 

11am-4pm - EARTH DAY: Forest Park is celebrating Earth Day all week long!  Along with fun activities like pony rides and games, there will be chances for families to learn about making their home and daily practices more environmentally friendly.  413-733-2251.  302 Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (<$) 

11am & 2pm – THEATER: The Berkshire Museum presents a Berkshire Children’s Theater production of “Thumbelina.” 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($) 

11am – SAFETY DAY: The Amelia Park Children’s Museum host Fire Safety Day with a puppet show, information for parents and a fire truck for kids to explore. 413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  (>$) 

11am - TEA PARTY: The Dickinson Library is hosting a Fancy Nancy-style tea party this morning!  There will be fancy treats, fancy crafts, and kids can wear fancy outfits!  Registration required.  413-498-2455.  115 Main Street.  Northfield, MA.  (FREE)

11am – PUPPETS: The Lionheart Puppets perform “The Reluctant Dragon” at the Sixteen Acres Branch Library!  The story is about Harold, who meets a dragon in the hills surrounding his village and wants to convince his fellow villagers that the dragon wants to make friends and doesn’t want to hurt them.  413-263-6858.  1187 Parker Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Springfield Museums presents The Bramble Jam. 800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE w/ MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1-2pm – LEGOS: West Springfield Library hosts Lego Challenge!  Kids ages 8-10yo compete to create a sturdy structure  to slide down via zipline! Competing for best time! 413‐736‐4561 x4. 200 Park Street. West Springfield, MA (FREE)

1pm – KIDS’ PERFORMANCE: Hampstead Stage Company presents “Robinhood” at the Berkshire Athenaeum!  The show tells the action-packed, kid-friendly version of this classic tale.  413-499-9480.  1 Wendell Avenue.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

2pm – MAGIC SHOW: Magician Matt Roberts will perform at the South Hadley Library. 413-538-5045. 27 Bardwell Street. South Hadley, MA (FREE) 

2pm – PUPPETS: Spring Valley Puppet Theater presents a show of bilingual puppet stories at the Brightwood Branch Library this afternoon!  “The Lazy Fox and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” is a compilation of folk tales from Mexico and Argentina, and features fable-style stories that are fun for kids and parents alike.  413-263-6805.  359 Plainfield Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

2 or 3pm - PUPPETS: CactusHead Puppets present The Emperor’s New Clothes at the Eric Carle Museum!  The show is about a vain emperor whose obsession with fashion leads to a funny (and embarrassing) situation!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$) 

4pm – TEA PARTY: Visit the Forest Park Branch Library for a royalty-themed tea party!  Princes and princesses will hear stories about royal families, talk about castles, and enjoy special teatime treats.  Registration required.  413-263-6843.  380 Belmont Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

5pm – MEDIA STUDIES: 72% of all US households include people who play video games, and game sales frequently outdo movie box office numbers.  Students from Smith and UMass offer a critical look at how video games make meaning – the politics of Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock, and more will be examined.  Best for older students, especially those interested in learning about representations of race, gender, and violence in media.  Takes place in Seelye Hall 201.  Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE) 

5:30pm – MOVIE: The Lee Library will be screening “Jack and Jill” a Columbia Pictures film about paternal twins that, opposite in character, have to spend Thanksgiving together (PG). Free pizza will be served! 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. Lee, MA (FREE)

7pm – THEATER: The Academy of Music Theatre presents Northampton High School’s production of “Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet.” For kids ages 6yo and older. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA ($)

7-8:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Learn about habitat restoration for the Karner blue butterfly tonight at the Great Falls Discovery Center!  Wildlife biologist Lindsay Webb will teach visitors about how the habitat restoration project has helped to restore Karner populations.  413-863-3221.  2 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE) 

7:30pm – MUSIC STUDIES/INDIAN: A recital of north Indian classical vocal music will be performed at the Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre in the Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Smith College. Children with audience skills can hear a classic music genre from India performed on stage. All welcomed. Smith College. Northampton, MA (FREE)

7:45pm – MUSIC/DRUMMING: Learn about drumming West African and Caribbean music at a workshop at the Old Creamery Coop!  Lead by Aimee Gelinas, the event will feature traditional instruments like the conga, djembe, bell, shekere, and more.  Pre-registration required, contact aimee@gaiaroots.com.  413-664-5560.  445 Berkshire Trail.  Cummington, MA.  (FREE)

8:10, 8:30, and 8:50pm – FASHION: Kids interested in fashion history and/or women’s history can see “Dressed for Work: Garment Vignettes on the Lower East Side,” a Division III thesis project by Hampshire College student and Plainfield native Ashley O’Brien.  The show features handmade reproductions of women’s fashions from post-WWII America, and explores identity and narrative through the lens of women’s clothing.  Great as a supplement to studies of American History and women’s history.  The show will include a look at the traditional undergarments of the time, too (they’re incredibly modest) – please be sure this is appropriate for your student.  Takes place at the Centrum Gallery, located in Donut 1 of Greenwich.  893 West Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

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Friday, April 20th, 2012

"Hilltown Families helps us to cast a wider net when we are looking for activities during school vacation or on the weekends. Often we find sweet little buried gems that would otherwise have escaped our notice… Thanks for being here." - Sarah Rankin (Greenfield, MA)

☆ HIGHLIGHTED EVENT:  10am-12noon - STORYWALK: StoryWalk will be held at the Littleville Dam, highlight the book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.  Follow the StoryWalk down a wooded path. Families are encouraged to bring strollers, bikes, kites, picnic, etc. The Gateway Family Center will have water and fruit to offer.  There will be activities to accompany the story too. 413-667-2203 x3. Goss Hill Road (lower parking area). Huntington, MA (FREE)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at the Mill River in Williamsburg. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. BYO Lunch. Meet at the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Northampton. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

9:30-4pm – BABYSITTING: Teens ages 12-18 can attend a 4-H babysitting course at the Shutesbury Elementary School today!  The course will teach kids the basics of babysitting – tips for caring for kids, what to do in an emergency, how to effectively communicate with parents, etc.  Babysitting is a great way for teens to begin earning their own income and to develop independence and autonomy.  Registration required.  978-544-5157.  23 West Pelham Road.  Shutesbury, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Look Park is open during school vacation week!  The steamer train, mini golf, and visitor’s center will be open, and families can explore the grounds – look for signs of spring!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (<$) 

10:30am-4pm - PARK ADVENTURES: Six Flags New England is open this week just for school vacation!  Get a jump on the summer park season and have a go at all the rides this week – use a visit to the park as a supplement to physics studies!  413-786-9300.  1623 Main Street.  Agawam, MA ($$) 

11am – MUSICAL/LUNCHEON: Enjoy a pink-themed lunch and a performance of a musical version of the popular children’s book, Pinkalicious!  There will, of course, be pink cupcakes – but don’t eat too many and get pinkitis!  Show begins at 1pm, lunch includes a meet and greet with the show’s cast and crew!  413-665-1277 ex 1308.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

11am & 2pm – THEATER: The Berkshire Museum presents a Berkshire Children’s Theater production of “Thumbelina.” 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($) 

11am-12:30pm – LEGOS: Kids of all ages can play with LEGOS at the Monson Free Library!  There are LEGOS for bigger kids and Mega Blocks for younger ones.  Kids can experiment with design and basic architecture, and exercise their creativity!  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.  (FREE) 

11am-4pm - EARTH DAY: Forest Park is celebrating Earth Day all week long!  Along with fun activities like pony rides and games, there will be chances for families to learn about making their home and daily practices more environmentally friendly.  413-733-2251.  302 Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (<$) 

12noon-4:30pm - COLONIAL HISTORY: What was life like for the earliest settlers of the Pioneer Valley?  How is your family’s daily life different from that of settlers in Deerfield?  Learn at Historic Deerfield!  There will be special programs and activities during school vacation week –  the museum will be open as usual, and there will be special writing-related activities and displays.  Kids today learn to write, then learn to type, but handwriting (especially good handwriting) was incredibly important during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Families can practice quill pen writing, learn (or just practice) cursive handwriting, and write and send letters!  By taking part in the writing-related activities, kids will learn about the importance of handwritten communication and the difference between how we connect with handwritten work versus typed writing. 413-775-7214. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Springfield Museums presents “Music, Masks and Dance of Bali, Indonesia” by Triple Shadow. 800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE w/ MUSEUM ADMISSION) 

1-6pm – EDUCATION WORKSHOP: Amherst College is offering a unique workshop program for middle and high school students called Splash!, day of classes where kids can learn about all sorts of topics that are not part of a traditional school curriculum but are beneficial to learn about. Registration is required. Amherst College. Amherst, MA (>$) 

2 or 3pm - PUPPETS: CactusHead Puppets present The Emperor’s New Clothes at the Eric Carle Museum!  The show is about a vain emperor whose obsession with fashion leads to a funny (and embarrassing) situation!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$) 

2-3pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Learn to make your own cloth-covered sketch/writing book this afternoon at the Athol Library!  Materials will be provided – use the book to keep track of homework, start stories, jot class notes, draw pictures, design clothes, and more!  Registration required.  978-245-9515.  568 Main Street.  Athol, MA.  (FREE) 

2-4pm - GARDENING/T(W)EENS: The East Forest Park Branch Library will host an opportunity for kids 10-15yo to paint a flower pot and plant marigolds.  All supplies available. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Avenue. Springfield, MA (FREE) 

3-7pm – ART WORKSHOP: Free shoe-decorating workshop at The Art Garden for all ages. Decorate your own shoes and some for the upcoming Shelburne Falls Art Walks. Materials provided. BYO shoes if you want to take them home. Donate shoes for decorating the Village during the Art Walks. Drop in anytime between 3-7pm to participate. Bring a snack to share if you can. 413-625-2782. 14 Depot Street (same building as the Trolley Museum). Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE) 

5:30pm – FILM: Images Cinema screens “Truck Farm” as part of their International Family Film Series.  Sponsored by the Williams College Sustainable Food & Agriculture Program, “Truck Farm” tells the tale of the bed of an old Dodge truck being transformed into an urban garden. 413-458-1039. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE) 

6:30pm – MOVIE NIGHT: Watch “A Dolphin Tale” at the South Church!  110 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

6:30-8pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Jessie Groneman hosts a birth circle for soon-to-be mothers to share stories of pregnancy in a supportive, friendly environment.  Give and receive advice and bond with other pregnant women!  158 Main Street, Suite 6.  Greenfield, MA.  (DONATION) 

7pm – THEATER: The Academy of Music Theatre presents Northampton High School’s production of “Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet.” For kids ages 6yo and older. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA ($) 

7:30pm – MUSIC STUDIES/CELTIC: Celtic jigs and reels will be performed  by the Wailing Banshees at the Earle Recital Hall in Sage Hall on the campus of Smith College. A opportunity for kids with audience skills to see Irish music performed on stage. All welcomed! Northampton, MA (FREE)   

7:30-10:30pm – COMMUNITY SING: Western Mass Jobs with Justice hosts “Songs of Peace, Protest, and Struggle  from the People’s Movements” at the WWII Club with Evelyn Harris, Jay Mankita, Lara Shepard-Blue & Joe Oliverio, Los Hijos Unicos, Tom Neilson, the UAW All Stars, and more. Bring the kids to discover American history through folk songs that celebrate peace and the people’s movement.  Doors open at 6pm for food & drinks.  413-827-0301. 50 Conz Street. Northampton, MA (>$)

8pm – THEATER: The Westfield Theatre Group will perform a musical adaptation of the story, “Robin Hood” at the Westfield Woman’s Club. This family friendly production will be performed at the Westfield Women’s Club. 413-572-6838. 28 Court Street. Westfield, MA ($) 

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

6:30-10pm – CIRQUE DE ‘ESPIOR: Enjoy delicious local food and drinks at Cirque de l’Espoir (Circus of Hope), the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ biennial fundraising gala!  Along with delicious local treats, there will be an auction, live music from the Floyd Patterson Band, and a performance from SHOW Circus Studio!  Tons of fun, plus the event raises money for a great local cause.  Takes place at the Basketball Hall of Fame.  413-247-9738.  1000 West Columbus Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FUNDRAISER) 

7pm-12midnight – ALCHEMY EARTH: Celebrate Earth Day in style with the Alchemy Initiative!  Enjoy a night filled with live music from Brooklyn Qawwali Party, belly dancing, fortune tellers, locally made delicious food, local brews, a burlesque performance, and more!  Tickets available for all or some of the event.  413-236-9600.  40 Melville Street. Pittsfield, MA.  ($$) 

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