Suggested Events for December 1st-7th, 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

Hilltown Families 3rd Annual Board Game Swap happens this Saturday, Dec. 1st from 9:30-10:30am in the community room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. It’s free and open to all! Bring your games to swap!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families 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/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Saturday, December 1st from 11am-4pm – WINTER FESTIVAL/HISTORY: Join Storrowton Village in celebrating the holiday season and the coming of winter at the Winter Festival! Along with tours of the beautifully decorated village, there will be demonstrations of 19th century crafts, ice sculpting, crafts for kids, music performances, storytelling, caroling, animals to meet and learn about, and more. 413-737-2443. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 1st from 4-7pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Downtown Williamstown comes alive for the holidays tonight! This year’s annual holiday walk begins with a parade on Spring Street (beginning at 4:15), a visit from Santa, a performance of, “A Christmas Carol,” live music, sleigh rides, reindog parade, a tree lighting, and more! Spring and Water Streets. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 1st from 4:30-6pm – TREE LIGHTING: Northampton is lighting up for the holidays tonight! Visit Pulaski Park to see Santa and Mrs. Claus (arriving via fire truck!), participate in caroling, enjoy cookies and cocoa, and, of course, see the tree be lit for the first time. Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 2nd from 12noon-2pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Experience Main Street in Stockbridge just like Norman Rockwell did during the Stockbridge Holiday Stroll! Downtown Stockbridge will be filled with antique cars, carolers will perform all over town, and there will be fun family activities for all!  The re-creation is a unique opportunity to experience Norman Rockwell’s work in real life!  413-298-5200.  Main Street.  Stockbridge, MA.  (<$)

HILLTOWN FAMILIES EVENTS

Deadline: December 1st

Call for Youth Photographers: Western MA youth photographers ages 8-18 are invited to participate in an upcoming exhibit titled, “Places We Live, Play & Learn: Narratives of Life by Western Massachusetts Youth Photographers.” Hosted by Hilltown Families with the support of the Cummington Cultural Council, the exhibit will be on display at the Cummington Community House Gallery in the rear of the Cummington Community House, originally schedule for this fall, now scheduled for the month of January 2013. Exhibit gives youth an opportunity to explore their towns and document their findings both in images and a written narrative. Participation is free and open to all youth living in Western MA. Deadline for entry has been extended to Dec 1st, 2012. An application and entry rules can be downloaded here: Places We Live, Play & Learn Application Form (pdf).

Hilltown Families Board Game SwapOn Saturday, December 1st from 9:30-10:30am, Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room in Williamsburg, MA. Bring in board games, puzzles & card games you would like to swap with other families. New this year, incomplete games are welcomed and will be donated to the Northampton Creative ReUse Committee. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Dec. 1st

On Sat. Dec. 1st, Greenfield Center School will again host a Crafty Rumpus Open House. This is a creative, free holiday gift making event for children ages 3-12. New this year they will have a Middle School Melee—a party celebrating 5th-8th graders with an indoor bounce house, dance party, henna tattoos and even a chocolate fountain. In addition: savory and sweet foods available for purchase, free pony rides, and admissions information available. Come, meet the teachers and families of the Center School. Enjoy a day of fun and creativity. All are welcome! For directions: www.centerschool.net and check out the Rumpus website: www.craftyrumpus.com. Crafty Rumpus and Middle School Melee. Sat. Dec. 1st, 10am-2pm. Greenfield, MA.

Dec. 7th-9th

Pioneer Valley Ballet is proud to present its 34th annual production of the Nutcracker, an enchanting, classic ballet production at the landmark Academy of Music Theatre: Fri, Dec. 7 at 4pm & 7:30pm, and Sat, Dec. 8 & Sun, Dec. 9. at 1pm & 4:30pm. All tickets are reserved seating and available online and in person at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Senior discounts available in person only. To purchase tickets, call the Pioneer Valley Ballet at 413-527-6363, or the Academy of Music box at 413-584-9032 x105, or visit www.academyofmusictheatre.com. All shows have discounted high school & college student RUSH seats available 1/2 hour prior each performance at box office window. RUSH seats are restricted to upper balcony only.

ADVERTISE YOUR FALL/HOLIDAY EVENT: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your holiday event, open house, afterschool class, homeschool program, community celebration, workshop, school, or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

“I love that Hilltown Families is offering such great opportunities for Parents’ Night Out–it’s a wonderful addition to your great resources which help keep our whole family actively engaged with local goodness.” – Kate Kruckemeyer (Holyoke, MA)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: WIN TICKETS: Hilltown Families  and Signature Sounds have partnered up to offer a pair of tickets to The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Sunday, Dec. 9th at 7pm! We also have a couple of copies of their new CD to giveaway too! Find out how you can enter to win HERE. Deadline to enter to win: by midnight, 12/5.

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 local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 1st-6th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

“Seeing Hilltown Families on the internet when we were in Providence gave us the reassurance and confidence that the area we were thinking of moving to was going to be full of quality activities that resonated with our lifestyle. – We found that to be not only true about the schools, parent centers, and child-centered activities, but that the people as well! What a great resource Hilltown Families has been to connect us all, bring forward great seasonal ideas, inspiration, and activities – helping to enrich where we are by bringing to the surface all these wonderful treasures of families to connect with!” – Angie Gregory (Northampton, MA)

7-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 3-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. – Steve Pierson, creator of “Jambo,” hosts an American Roots Music themed show.  Playing songs that have inspired him, as well as some of Jambo’s own “Roots Music for Kids”, Steve’s turn as a guest DJ will celebrate the great diversity of music that comes from America. – Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

9am-2pm – SKI & SKATE SALE: The Northampton Lions Club holds their annual Used Ski and Skate Sale today at Smith Vocational School. Visit to browse through a wide selection of skis, snowboards, snowshoes, skiing apparel, and both hockey and figure skates. Items can be dropped off for donation or consignment the night before the sale. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

9:30-10:30am -BOARD GAME SWAP: Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room. Bring in board games, puzzles & card games you would like to swap with other families. New this year, incomplete games are welcomed and will be donated to the Northampton Creative ReUse Committee. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

9:30-11am – PUPPETS: Visit the Hatfield Library for a morning full of puppets! Kids can practice their puppetry skills (great for working on motor skills with younger kids), develop new characters and plots, and work with other kids to practice cooperatively creating a story. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

9am-3pm – WINTER WEAR DISTRIBUTION: Is your child(ren) in need of a winter coat, jacket, hat or gloves. Do you know a family in need? The Dalton CRA is distributing gently used coats this weekend to families who need these necessities for keeping kids warm during the colder months. 413-684-4255. 400 Main Street. Dalton, MA (FREE)

10-11:30am – MYO HOLIDAY CARDS: Make your own unique and artistic holiday cards in the studio at the Eric Carle Museum! Materials, including envelopes, will be included. Parents or guardians must stay with crafting kiddos. Register in advance to get a spot! 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

10am-2pm – OPEN HOUSE: Greenfield Center School host a Crafty Rumpus Open House, a creative, free holiday gift making event for families. New, this year is a Middle School Melee—a party celebrating 5th-8th graders with an indoor bounce house, dance party, henna tattoos and even a chocolate fountain. 413-773-1700. 71 Montague City Road. Greenfield, MA (FREE)

10am-2pm – WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET: The Amherst Winter Market takes place today at Amherst Middle School. Visit to find locally grown and produced foods of all types! 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. (MARKET)

 10am-3pm – WINTER FAIR/MYO GIFTS:  The Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School will host a day of wreath, craft and gift-making for all ages, music performances, book and craft sales and great home-made foods.  Great opportunity to MYO holiday gifts that are eco-friendly. 413-268-3421. Route 9. Haydenville, MA (FREE ENTRANCE) 

10:30am – LEGO CLUB: The Sunderland Library has a Lego Club meeting today! Children ages 6yo+ and their adults can come and practice their engineering and architectural skills while getting creative and sharing their inventions. Limited space. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA (FREE)

10:30am-1pm - CULINARY ARTS: Chandler’s Restaurant hosts a kids cooking class. Parents can explore the world of culinary arts with their kids in a structured and relaxed environment. Youth participants are familiarized with raw ingredients, how to prepare them, and their nutritional value. This month homemade pasta is being made. A brief tour of Chandler’s commercial kitchen follows. Space is limited, reservations are required. 413-665-1277. 25 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA. ($$)

11am-1pm – SANTA: Santa himself pays a visit to the Berkshire Museum today! Kids can meet him, share what they’d like for Christmas (be it LEGOs, watercolor paints, or world peace), and have their parents snap a picture. 39 South Street. 413-443-7171. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

11-11:30am – CHRISTMAS/STORYTIME: Enjoy a special Christmas storytime at the Stockbridge Library as part of the town’s Main Street at Christmas celebration. 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

11am-1pm – AUTHOR EVENT: Meet authors Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple at World Eye Bookshop’s Florence location! Both authors will read from a few of their many beloved books and will sign copies new and old. 1 North Main Street, Suite 1. 413-772-2186. Florence, MA. (FREE)

11am-2pm - MYO ORNAMENT: Learn to make a density ornament – using a variety of colored liquids – with Alchemy Initiative at the Berkshire Museum! The ornaments will adorn the group’s tree in the museum’s Festival of Trees, and you can make your own at home, too. 413-443-7171. South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

11am-4pm – HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE: Historic Homes Tour in Stockbridge as part of the town’s Main Street at Christmas celebration! Visit some of the area’s most interesting landmarks, including Naumkeag (otherwise closed for the season – this is a rare opportunity!), Merwin House, Elms Cottage, and Edith Wharton’s former home, The Mount. Families can learn about local history and architecture – older students can use the tour as a way to pair American history with a look at the evolution of, and changes in, home design. Tickets available at the Red Lion Inn. 413-298-5200. Stockbridge, MA. ($$)

11am-4pm – WINTER FESTIVAL/HISTORY: Join Storrowton Village in celebrating the holiday season and the coming of winter at the Winter Festival! Along with tours of the beautifully decorated village, there will be demonstrations of 19th century crafts, ice sculpting, crafts for kids, music performances, storytelling, caroling, animals to meet and learn about, and more. 413-737-2443. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (<$)

11am-4:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Historic Deerfield is celebrating the holidays with traditional decorations, open hearth cooking demonstrations, wagon rides, and craft making for visitors (create a gift to share!). Visitors will learn about holiday celebrations in early New England, as well as the sweeteners and spices used in baking (and where they came from!) in Deerfield’s early days. It’s a unique opportunity for kids to learn about the history of the spice trade, and the long history of imported goods and dependency on a world market that the United States has. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

12noon-1:30pm or 2-3:30pm – MYO GINGERBREAD HOUSES: Decorate gingerbread houses at Hops and Vines this afternoon as a warm-up to the Williamstown Holiday Walk! Kids can practice their architectural and creative skills with a fun medium – food! Replicate your own home or an easily recognizable local building, or create a masterpiece all your own. Pre-registration is required and supplies will be provided. 413-884-1372. 16 Water Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

12noon-2pm – SANTA: Meet Santa, and have lunch with him, too! The Lenox Volunteer Fire Department hosts this fun holiday event at the Academy Building. Bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots too! 65 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

12:30pm – SINGLE PARENTS MEET-UP: Single parents and their kiddos can visit the butterfly-filled greenhouses of Magic Wings as part of a meet-up group today! The butterfly conservatory is a great place for kids to learn about natural habitats and species of butterflies, and is warm and filled with greenery – a welcome change to the colder temperatures outside. RSVP requested. 281 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA. ($)

1pm - CHORAL CONCERT: Musicians from the Berkshire Music School will perform a special concert of holiday music at the Berkshire Athenaeum today! The show will also feature the Sunshine Singers – a youth chorus – and Bing’s Strings. Kids will get to hear a variety of music and can learn more about the instruments played in the show. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

1-2:30pm – AUTHOR EVENT: Odyssey Bookshop’s annual Children’s Holiday Signing will take place today, featuring readings and signing with Jarrett Krosoczka, Jane Dyer, Leslea Newman, Mordicai Gerstein, and Natasha Lowe. Get your favorite books by these authors signed, or add some new gems to your collection! 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

1-5pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Home for the Holidays happens in downtown Greenfield.  Santa arrives at 1pm by firetruck. Caroling from 3-5pm and the lighting of the Town tree at 4:30pm. Hot chocolate available. 396 Main Street. Greenfield, MA (FREE)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Celebrate the art of the entire Rockwell family at the Norman Rockwell Museum, where a special exhibit of work by Rockwell’s cousin, Mary-Amy Cross, is on display! An illustrator and painted, Cross loved to experiment with materials. Visit the exhibit, learn about her work, and then take part in festive hands-on craft activities, hear a performance by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Chamber Musicians, and hear what Cross’ sons have to say about her work. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

1:30-2:30pm - HOLIDAYS/STORYTIME: Get grinchy at the East Longmeadow Library! Listen to the classic audio recording of the story, play pin the heart on the grinch, and then watch the original animated movie adaptation of the story. There will be snacks and punch to fill grumbly Grinch bellies, too! 413-525-5432. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

2pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Farming in the Pioneer Valley has contributed greatly to changes in the local landscape, ever since the first settlers arrived. Learn about how changes in farming practices, crops and livestock raised, and obstacles faced by farm families helped to shape the physical landscape that surrounds us this afternoon at the Forbes Library. Best for older students, the talk pairs well will studies of the history and culture of rural America, as well as studies of the history and science of agriculture. Takes place in the Coolidge Museum. 413-587-1017. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

2 and 4pm – FAMILY MOVIE: Spend the afternoon out of the cold and getting ready for the holidays at a double-feature, provided by Holyoke Parks and Recreation. The screening will take place in the Holyoke High School auditorium, and will feature, “Arthur’s Christmas,” at 2pm and, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” at 4pm. 413-322-5620. 500 Beech Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

2pm and 7pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: Celebrate Christmas early at the Colonial Theater! Berkshire Theater Group presents Mary Verdi, with special guest Tony Lee Thomas – Verdi, a local singer-songwriter, performs annually for the holidays at the Colonial. The show will feature a bell choir, a seven piece band, and an appearance from the Craneville Children’s Chorus. Families will love the Christmas music! Best for kids with audience skills. 413-997-4444. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

2-3:45pm - FAMILY MOVIE: The Westfield Athenaeum screens, “The Search for Santa Paws,” a G-rated movie about magic dogs and a team of elves searching for lost Santa! 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

3pm – HISTORY/PUPPETS: Learn about the history of puppetry at Western Gateway Heritage State Park this afternoon! The museum is also hosting an exhibition of holiday railroad posters, and has the 9th annual origami holiday tree on display. 413-663-6312. 115 State Street, Building 4. North Adams, MA. (FREE, fee for parking)

3-5:30pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: South Hadley Holiday Stroll. Bring the kids to see Santa, hear holiday music, and see the magic tree light up on the Town Common. South Hadley Family Center will be at the Village Commons beginning at 12noon giving away books (limited quantities). 413-532-6451. South Hadley, MA (FREE)

3:30-5pm - CHESS CLUB: The Jones Library hosts a Chess Club for youth ages 7yo and older with Andy Morris-Friedman in the Amherst Room. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)

4-7pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Downtown Williamstown comes alive for the holidays tonight! This year’s annual holiday walk begins with a parade on Spring Street (beginning at 4:15), a visit from Santa, a performance of, “A Christmas Carol,” live music, sleigh rides, reindog parade, a tree lighting, and more! Spring and Water Streets. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

4-9pm – HOLIDAY DISPLAY: Lights adorn trees, bushes, and buildings at Look Park for the holiday seasons! Visit the park’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Display to see the unique light displays – maybe even take a train ride throught the park! The display is ongoing through January 1st. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (DONATION)

4:30-6pm – TREE LIGHTING: Northampton is lighting up for the holidays tonight! Visit Pulaski Park to see Santa and Mrs. Claus (arriving via fire truck!), participate in caroling, enjoy cookies and cocoa, and, of course, see the tree be lit for the first time. Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

6-7pm – LUMINARIA: Enjoy downtown Stockbridge – lit by candlelight – and sing holiday carols at the Christmas Luminaria Walk! BYO candle or flashlight. 413-298-5200. Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

 7pm – CHORAL CONCERT: The Hilltown Choral Society presents a special holiday concert at the Village Congregational Church! The group, under the direction of director Jeff Hunt, will perform music in a variety of styles and from numerous composers. 413-684-3117. 32 Main Street. Cummington, MA. ($)

7pm – CULTURAL/MUSIC STUDIES: The Puerto Rican Cultural Project will host a Christmas bicultural concert, “From la Montana to Main Street: The Cuatro Concert.” The Puerto Rican cuatro will be the featured instrument, with Jeff Kust and José González playing a reportoire of traditional and modern American and Puerto Rican Christmas music. 413-322-5640. Our Lady of the Holy Cross Parish Hall. 23 Sycamore St. Holyoke, MA ($)

7:30pm – THEATER: See the play, “Our Town,” at the Northampton Center for the Arts tonight! The show, written by Thornton Wilder, is a classic – and tells the tale of life in rural New England! It’s also the last show to be performed at the center’s current space. 413-584-7327. 17 New South Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)

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Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

“As each weekend approaches, I immediately look to Hilltown Families to see if there are events & happenings that might interest us. We have often found really fun things to do that we may not have heard of otherwise and many times events are free which is an added bonus! I have recommended the Hilltown Families site to countless families that have moved to the area and are looking for fun things to do. Thank you Hilltown Families–you are a fabulous resource!” – Sara Cahillane (Whately, MA)

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. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

9am-3pm – WINTER WEAR DISTRIBUTION: Is your child(ren) in need of a winter coat, jacket, hat or gloves. Do you know a family in need? The Dalton CRA is distributing gently used coats this weekend to families who need these necessities for keeping kids warm during the colder months.  413-684-4255. 400 Main Street. Dalton, MA (FREE)

11am-2pm – FUNDRAISING BRUNCH: Enjoy a delicious brunch from Max’s Tavern and help to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities!  The event takes place at the Basketball Hall of Fame, and will also feature fun family activities like face painting, crafts, and more!  Kids are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.  Call for reservations.  413-746-6299.  1000 Hall of Fame Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

11am-4pm – HOLIDAY FESTIVAL: Join Storrowton Village in celebrating the holiday season and the coming of winter at the Winter Festival!  Along with tours of the beautifully decorated village, there will be demonstrations of 19th century crafts, ice sculpting, crafts for kids, music performances, storytelling, caroling, animals to meet and learn about, and more.  413-737-2443.  1305 Memorial Avenue.  West Springfield, MA.  (<$)

11am-4:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Historic Deerfield is celebrating the holidays with traditional decorations, open hearth cooking demonstrations, wagon rides, and craft making for visitors (create a gift to share!).  Visitors will learn about holiday celebrations in early New England, as well as the sweeteners and spices used in baking (and where they came from!) in Deerfield’s early days.  It’s a unique opportunity for kids to learn about the history of the spice trade, and the long history of imported goods and dependency on a world market that the United States has.  413-775-7127.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  ($)

12noon-2pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Experience Main Street in Stockbridge just like Norman Rockwell did during the Stockbridge Holiday Stroll! Downtown Stockbridge will be filled with antique cars, carolers will perform all over town, and there will be fun family activities for all!  The re-creation is a unique opportunity to experience Norman Rockwell’s work in real life!  413-298-5200.  Main Street.  Stockbridge, MA.  (<$)

12noon-5pm – CRAFT SHOW: Sarah Buttenwieser and Hosie Baskin open up their home for a craft show featuring handmade and local gifts… right in their living room! A homier way to enjoy holiday shopping! 46 Franklin St. Northampton, MA (SALE)

1pm – FAMILY THEATER: The Shea Theater presents a traveling Broadway production of the musical, “Angelina Ballerina,” based on the beloved little dancing mouse portrayed in PBS’s animated series and author Katharine Holabird’s children’s books.  413-863-2281.  71 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  ($$)

1-3:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAYS: The Keep Homestead Museum hosts a Holiday Open House.  Decorated for the season, tour the museum and see how rooms might have been furnished at the turn of the century. There is furniture, silver and cut glass, collections of rocks, minerals and shells, quilts and other needlework done by the women of the family, along with the extensive button collection (the pride of the museum). A holiday sing-a-long will also take places with Gay Paluch at the piano. Refreshments too.  413-267-4137. 35 Ely Rd., Monson, MA. (FREE)

1:30-3:30pm – ADAPTIVE ICE SKATING: Fitzpatrick Arena is hosting a series of special adaptive skating events!  The rink will be open to use of conventional skates, as well as adaptive skating equipment (ice sleds) and wheelchairs.  Sleds and skates are available to borrow, or bring your own!  Walkers also available for use by new skaters, young skaters, or anyone else who needs one!  413-545-5758.  575 Maple Street.  Holyoke, MA.

 2pm – KIDS CONCERTS: Cool Kids Concert. Area youth will perform on stage at Memorial Hall to benefit the Arms Library.  Music of several genres will be performed. Reception follows. Memorial Hall. Shelburne Falls, MA (FUNDRAISER)

2:30pm – THEATER: See the play, “Our Town,” at the Northampton Center for the Arts tonight!  The show, written by Thornton Wilder, is a classic – and tells the tale of life in rural New England!  It’s also the last show to be performed at the center’s current space.  413-584-7327.  17 New South Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($$)

2:30 and 7:20pm – THEATER: As part of Westfield’s annual Dickens Days celebrations, Gerald Charles Dickens (great-great grandson of Charles Dickens himself!) presents, “A Christmas Carol,” at the Church of Atonement.  Dickens, a professional actor from Oxford, England has been performing in Westfield annually since 2006!  The tale is a classic – read it together as a family before seeing the show!  Tickets on sale at Ezra’s Mercantile, Pilgrim Candles, and The Seat Weaver.  413-872-8131.  36 Court Street.  Westfield, MA.  ($$)

 4pm – CHORAL CONCERT: The Hilltown Choral Society presents a special holiday concert at the First Congregational Church!  The group, under the direction of director Jeff Hunt, will perform music in a variety of styles and from numerous composers.  413-684-3117.  429 Main Street.  Ashfield, MA.  ($)

4pm and 7:30pm - CHORAL CONCERT: Amherst College’s Johnson Chapel will be filled tonight with the sounds of beautiful holiday music, performed by the school’s Choral Society and Madrigal Singers.  The show will include lessons read by faculty, staff, and students, and audience members will be asked to sing along during the performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” from, “The Messiah.”  Donations (monetary or edible and non-perishable) for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will be collected.  413-542-2000.  Barrett Hill Road.  Amherst, MA.  (DONATION)

7pm – CONCERT: The Temptations, classic Motown stars, will play a show at the Mahaiwe Center for the Performing Arts tonight!  Original group member Otis Williams will lead the group in performing all of their most popular songs – from, “Get Ready,” to, “My Girl!”  Seeing the show is, of course, a way to spend a fun family night out, and it pairs well with studies of music history – students can hear firsthand what the group’s sound and style is like and compare and contrast it to other music from the same era.  413-464-2851.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($$$)

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Monday, December 3rd, 2012

3:30-5pm – CHANUKAH/COOKING: Get ready for Chanukah with a holiday cooking class offered by the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy!  The class, titled, “Cooking with Parents and Grandparents,” is open to all families from the community and will feature fun cooking activities, including donut making, edible-wearable menorah building, and dreidel (edible and non-edible) making!  Kids can learn about Chanukah traditions and get ready to celebrate the holiday, too.  RSVP requested.  All ages.  413-567-8665.  1148 Converse Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE)

5-7:30pm – COMMUNITY DINNER: It’s Soups & Games Night at Hope and Olive!  Donations are accepted to cover the cost of soup, bread, and desserts, and proceeds from the event will benefit the Union #28 Community Network for Children.  A raffle will be held as well, for items including books, art, children’s clothing, CD’s, and more!  978-544-5157.  44 Hope Street.  Greenfield, MA.  (DONATION)

6-8pm – TEEN/ART: Older teens interested in improving their artistic skills or their knowledge of art techniques and art history are invited to attend, “Que Sera, Seurat,” an intergenerational workshop on pastel painting and pointellism at the Lee Library!  Painter Greg Maichack will teach the workshop, and all materials will be provided.  No experience necessary!  Adults of all ages are welcome, too.  Registration required.  413-243-0385.  100 Main Street.  Lee, MA.  (FREE)

 7pm - SING-A-LONG: Attend a community sing-a-long at the Westhampton Library tonight!  Participants of all singing abilities are welcomed – bring a copy of Rise Up Singing, if you have one.  If you have a favorite song to share that isn’t in the book, bring at least 10 copies of the music to share.  413-527-2404.  1 North Road.  Westhampton, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR MONDAYS

  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the South Hadley Family Center. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: At the MN Spear Memorial Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013! 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Williamstown Youth Center! Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires. 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am-12:20pm – ICE SKATING: Smead Arena offers a public skating session this morning – great for families with kids who are still learning to skate, daytime skating sessions offer low-key and less crowded ice time. Open ice times take place at the same time Monday-Friday. 413-781-2599. 1780 Roosevelt Avenue. Springfield, MA. (<$)
  • 2:30-5pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Meekins Library’s Teen/Preteen Time takes place this afternoon! Teens can visit the library to hang out with friends, work on homework, play games, use computers, and check out awesome new books, movies, and music. 413-268-7473. 2 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30-4:30pm – BREAK DANCE: Learn to break like a b-boy! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts offers a weekly break dance class, taught by Joshua McHugh, accomplished dancer and dance teacher. 413-499-9348. 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ($) ♦
  • 3:30-5pm – ANIME: The Springfield Central Library hosts Anime and Manga Club on Monday afternoons! Kids enthusiastic about the popular Japanese style of animation and cartooning can visit the library to read new manga and watch great anime! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30-7pm – SCRABBLE: Enjoy an evening of friendly Scrabble at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center! Open to anyone ages 8+, the game night offers families an opportunity to practice fair play and basic sportsmanship while allowing kids to expand their spelling, vocabulary, and basic practical math skills. Sponsored by Bobbie Halig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires holds gym group at the Haskins Center! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 6-7pm – MUSIC: Learn to drum, Afro-Carribbean style! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts offers a weekly drum class, lead by Aimee Gelinas of Gaia Roots. Drums available to borrow. 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ($) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Visit Longmeadow High School for open gym time! Basketball equipment will be provided by Longmeadow Rec Dept, and the event is open to anyone ages 13-20. Runs through 11/12. 413-565-4163. 95 Grassy Gutter Road. Longmeadow, MA. ($) ♦

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

10am-4pm – USED CLOTHES SALE: Smith College Athletic Department Old Uniform Sale happens Dec. 4-6 in the Ainsworth Gym Foyer. Old uniforms make fun gifts for teens, and a great way to shop local and recycled for the holidays. Ainsworth Gym. Northampton, MA (SALE)

2:30-4:30pm – FILMMAKING: Help to make a video to advertise the Hatfield Library’s 2013 summer reading program to younger readers!  Sign up to be part of a 3-week project to create the video – and learn some filmmaking techniques while you’re at it!  Open to 5th and 6th graders.  Takes place during three consecutive Tuesdays.  413-247-9097.  39 Main Street.  Hatfield, MA.  (FREE)

6:30-8:30pm – AUDITIONS: Audition to be a part of the Minerva Arts Center’s 3rd annual Holiday Showcase!  Community members of all ages with any kind of talent are invited to share their skills at the audition, and, if selected, can choose to be a part of one or both nights of the performance.  Takes place at the First Congregational Church of Williamstown.  413-346-4502.  906 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR TUESDAYS

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Health Coalition hosts Toddler Steps Playgroup at the CHP building. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11am – PLAYGROUP: At Farmington River Preschool for kids 5 and under, sponsored by the Community Health Coalition. 413-664-0104. 555 North Main Road. Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30 or 11am – STORYTIME: The Westfield Library hosts storytime for kids 6 months – 3 years today. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30 – PLAYGROUP: It’s Baby Day at the South Hadley Family Center! 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: At the Berkshire Athenaeum! 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: At the Dickinson Library! 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11am - PARENT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a mother’s group for Spanish-speaking moms at Brightwood Health Center. 413-796-8365. 380 Plainfield Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Preschool playgroup learning experiences at the Haskins Center! Takes place on the lower level. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: At the Greenfield Library. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15am – STORYTIME: At the Lanesborough Library! Stories, crafts, and music for all ages. 413-499-5981. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15am-12:15pm – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a Postpartum Support Group for mothers. The group is a safe space for those adjusting to motherhood and is lead by trained facilitators. Takes place at Berkshire Children and Families. Childcare available. 413-253-8990. 220 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Visit the Great Falls Discovery Center for Kidleidescope, an environment-themed program for kids! Interactive learning opportunities and crafts always included. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Springfield Central Library’s preschool storytime takes place this morning. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: The Lenox Library offers storytime for kids 18 months-3 years. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3-5pm – TEEN: It’s Teen Tuesday at the Chicopee Library – visit for a new activity every week. 413-594-1800. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30-5pm – PARENT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a support group for young mothers and expecting women between the ages of 13 and 19. Group meetings are held bi-weekly and are drop-in. Babies welcome! Takes place at Mercy Care Holyoke. 413-886-0410. 306 Race Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the gym at the Abbot School. 56 North Country Road. Florida, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 6:30pm – BREASTFEEDING: The La Leche League of North/Central Berkshires meets every third Tuesday at The Montessori School of the Berkshires. 21 Patterson Road. Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30-8pm – MUSIC: The Berkshire South Regional Community Center hosts a free ukulele group tonight! Beginners and kids without any knowledge of music reading can join in – the class will teach basic chord progressions and styles of playing from around the world. Registration requested but drop-in is OK. Sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦

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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

10:30-11:30am – ART: Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum for Kids Create, a hands-on art program for kids where they can learn about techniques and media for creating art.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  (<$)

4pm – PUPPETS: Puppeteer Nicol Wander presents, “Know Your Facts About Your Snacks,” at the Cushman Library!  The show features handmade puppets and teaches kids the “traffic light” system of deciding what to have for snacks.  28 Church Street.  Bernardston, MA.  (FREE)

5:30-7:30pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Learn about the social and emotional development of children ages 0-5 with the Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations of Learning!  Facilitated by Sarah Patton, LICSW, the workshop is the first in a five-week series of events centered around the same topic.  Dinner provided, childcare and transportation available.  Registration required.  Takes place at the Academy of Early Learning.  413-772-1302.  1 Place Terrace.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

6-8pm - HOLIDAY TOUR: Visit Storrowton Village for a candlelit Yuletide tour of beautifully decorated historic buildings!  The village was decorated by area florists, landscapers, gardeners, and garden clubs – each building is beautifully decorated with holiday garlands, wreaths, lights, and more.  The candlelit tours are a special way to enjoy the holidays and to learn about history!  413-737-2443.  1305 Memorial Avenue.  West Springfield, MA.  (<$)

6:30pm – SEWING: The Goodwin Library hosts authors Nicole Blum and Debra Immegut who will be sharing ideas from their new book, Improv Sewing – A Creative Approach to Freeform Techniques.  Tools and supplies will be available for visitors to do some crafting of their own, too!  Best for older kids and parents who have some basic sewing skills.  413-584-7451.  50 Middle Street.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – FILM SCREENING/EDUCATION: Education Activists will be screening the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” a moving, controversial film about the American public education system, followed by a facilitated discussion with Al Rudnitsky, education professor at Smith, Kathy Casale, psychologist in the Northampton Public Schools, and Art Scott, education consultant. Join the debate at Smith College, Seely 106. Northampton. MA (FREE)

ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAYS

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Palmer-Monson Family Network hosts infant and toddler play group! 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Bi-weekly in the community room at Becket Town Hall, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-664-0104. 65 Walker Street. Becket, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Lenox Community Center, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-644-0104. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30am or 1:30pm – STORYTIME: Fantastic Fours and Fives takes place today at the Westfield Library! Registration is required for storytime. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30 – PLAYGROUP: At the South Hadley Family Center. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:45-11:15am – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts, “Getting Real about Motherhood,” a support group designed to help mothers share the stress and adjustments of motherhood and work to find ways to feel renewed, valued, and energized. Takes place at the Amherst Family Center, in the basement of the Unitarian Society. Childcare available. 413-256-1145. 121 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Wendell Free Library hosted by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 978.544.5157. 7 Wendell Depot Road. Wendell, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Preschool storytime at the Westhampton Library! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am - PARENT GROUP: Enjoy coffee and a chat with other parents at the Westhampton Library – stop in after dropping kids off at school through the end of Sept.! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: The Greenfield Library hosts Sunshine Storytime! 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum hosts, “Creating Together: A Parent-Child Experience,” an art workshop featuring a gallery tour and hands-on art making. Each week brings a new theme and art style to explore. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183 Stockbridge, MA. ($) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: In the gym at Erving Elementary School, hosted by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413- 423-3326. 18 Northfield Road. Erving, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15-11am – STORYTIME: Hosted by the Mason Library – also includes stories, songs, and crafts. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the New Marlborough Library, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-644-0104. 1 New Marlborough-Great Barrington Road. New Marlborough, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30-11:30am – STORYTIME: At the Leverett Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413-548-9220. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30: SINGING: Sing with Your Baby with Wendy happens at the Jones Library. For preK kids and younger, and their parents/caretakers. Takes place in the Woodbury Room. Runs through Dec. 18. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 11-11:30am – STORYTIME: Toddler Time with Stephanie at the Forbes Library! 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am-12noon – GYMNASTICS: Whip City Gym hosts homeschool open gymnastics! The event is not a formal class, but offers kids unstructured play time physical activity amongst true gymnastics equipment. Great for kids interested in gymnastics, dance, or cheerleading, and gym playtime can also help kids work on balance and coordination. Takes place through the school year. 413-569-3231. 320 College Highway. Southwick, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 1-3pm – CHESS: Drop-in chess games in the mezzanine at Forbes Library. All ages, BYO chess set or borrow one. Playing chess can help kids develop logic and analytical skills. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30pm – LEGOS: The Berkshire Athenaeum hosts LEGO Club on the third Wednesday of each month. Kids can use LEGOs to experiment with basic principles of architecture, physics, and design. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ♦ (FREE)
  • 3-5pm – MOVIE: The Mason Library screens classic films every Wednesday afternoon! The “Mason Matinee” is best for tweens/teens and adults – call to find out what’s playing. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30-4:30pm – STORYTIME: The Ramsdell Library hosts Time for Tots, and special story, craft, etc. time for littlest kiddos. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:50-4:30pm – ICE SKATING: Visit Fitzpatrick Arena for an afternoon of skating! The rink offers daily public skating sessions at the same time, Monday-Friday. 413-532-2929. 575 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 4pm – CHESS: Visit the East Longmeadow Library for some afternoon chess! Playing chess can help kids develop analytical skills and logic. 413-525-5432. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 4-5pm – STORYTIME: At the Cushman Library! 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30-7:30pm – KNITTING: The Wednesday Night Knitters meet tonight at the Cushman Library! Knitters with any level of experience are welcome to join – bring a project to work on! No formal instruction is offered, but if help is needed, there will be many experienced knitters on hand. Great intergenerational opportunity for kids learning how to knit. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Sing your heart out with Berkshire Sings!, a community singing group at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Singers of all abilities welcome (adults, too) to sing pop, jazz, folk, showtunes, and more. Sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Visit Longmeadow High School for open gym time! Basketball equipment will be provided by the Longmeadow Rec Dept, and the event is open to anyone ages 13-20. 413-565-4163. 95 Grassy Gutter Road. Longmeadow, MA. ($) ♦

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Thursday, December 6th, 2012

8:30-11am – KINDERGARTEN OPEN HOUSE: The Bement School is offering parents of children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2013 to attend an open house at the school this morning!  Parents will be able to learn more about the school’s programs and the learning environment offered to students.  RSVP requested.  413-774-7061.  94 Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE)

5-8pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Spend an evening out in downtown North Adams for Hometown Holidays!  Throughout December, downtown businesses will have special hours and deals to keep holiday shopping local, and there will be family activities, live music, holiday crafts, face painting, and more. 413-664-6180.   North Adams, MA. (FREE)

5:30-7:30pm – AUDITIONS: Audition to be a part of the Minerva Arts Center’s 3rd annual Holiday Showcase!  Community members of all ages with any kind of talent are invited to share their skills at the audition, and, if selected, can choose to be a part of one or both nights of the performance.  Takes place at the First Congregational Church of Williamstown.  413-346-4502.  906 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – HISTORY: Betsy Ross – creator of the American flag – is a complicated and interesting historical figure.  Learn more about her life as an upholsterer in Philadelphia – and her life outside of work – at the Jones Library tonight. Great for older students learning about American history, feminism, and feminist figures.  413-259-3090.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – THEATER: Northampton High School presents their Fall One-Act Festival!  The show features The Real Inspector’s Hound and The Actor’s Nightmare – both directed, produced, and starred in by students!  The festival takes place inside the school’s new (and exciting!) Black Box Theater.  413-587-1344.  380 Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

7:30-9:30pm – BIG BAND CONCERT: The Westfield State Big Band will perform tonight at Parenzo Hall as part of Westfield’s community holiday celebrations! Best for kids with audience skills. 413-572-5300.  577 Western Avenue.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR THURSDAYS

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Health Coalition hosts Toddler Steps Playgroup at the CHP building. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30 or 11am – STORYTIME: Westfield Athenaeum hosts Terrific Twos and Threes – storytime for kids ages 2 and 3! Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11am – PLAYGROUP: The Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys and Girls Club hosts playgroup this morning, including snack, stories, playtime, music, and crafts. 413-583-3527. 488 Chapin Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC CLASS: The Northampton Parents Center is open this morning! Thursday mornings feature music class at 11a with Felicia Sloin or Tom Knight (alternating weeks). Located in the basement of Edwards Church. 413-582-2636. Main and State Streets. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Music and Movement Group meets at the Millers Falls Library! 413-863-3214. 23 Bridge Street. Montague, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Springfield Central Library hosts storytime for kiddos 6 months-3 years. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – SUPPORT GROUP: Longmeadow Rec Dept hosts a New Moms Group at the Greenwood Center! 413-794-5515. 231 Maple Road. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: At the Williston Memorial Library! Stories, snacks, and more. 413-529-1605. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Preschool story time at the Jones Library in the Children’s Room. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Lenox Library offers storytime and crafts for kids 3-5 years old. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC CLASS: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Thursday morning music classes will be from 11 to 11:30 am with Felicia Sloin and Tom Knight alternating weeks. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: At the Hatfield Library, just for preschoolers! 413-547-9237. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires holds gym group at the Haskins Center! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 1-3pm – PLAYGROUP: Baby playgroup at the Forbes Library! In the children’s room with Judy. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 1-2:30pm – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a post-partum support group for mothers with babies up to a year old. Childcare available. Takes place at Midwifery Care of Holyoke. 413-534-2700. 230 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5-8pm – ART WALK: On the first Thursday of every month, the Amherst Art Walk takes place. Families can enjoy arts and culture, entertainment, shopping and dining. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 6-10pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Visit the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College! It’s home to a large variety of natural wonders, including the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks and lots of exhibits on local natural history. 413-542-2165. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Sing some chanteys and bar songs at the Brewmaster’s Tavern- and order some delicious food and drinks while you sing! Takes place on the first and third Thursdays of each month. 4 Main Street. 413-268-7741. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE) ♦

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Friday, December 7th, 2012

4-5pm – MYO HOLIDAY GIFT: Make your own wintry snowglobe at the Berkshire Co-op!  This special hands-on, just-for-kids craft time is back by popular demand following last year’s workshop – register early before space runs out!  413-528-9697.  42 Bridge Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

4:30pm(ish) – SANTA: At Lilac Park join neighbors for the lighting of the town Christmas Tree and visit with Santa. Lenox. MA (FREE)

5-8pm - HOLIDAY STROLL: It’s Upstreet Friday tonight in Pittsfield!  Tonight’s Arts Night Out event features over 50 local artists and artisans at shops, galleries, and restaurants throughout town.  Explore downtown Pittsfield, and discover great art!  North Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

4pm & 7:30pm – BALLETPioneer Valley Ballet‘s 34th annual production of the Nutcracker takes places at the Academy of Music Theater.  413-527-6363. 413-584-9032 x105. Northampton, MA ($$)

7:30pm – SOLSTICE: Welcome Yule:  A Midwinter Celebration.   Music, dance, songs and stories celebrating the return of the light. The 28th annual show with songs about feasting and festivities, a lively Mummer’s Play, and a traditional folk story. Happens at the Shea Theater.  413-665-3206. 71 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA ($)   

7pm – THEATER/HOLIDAYS: Mill City Productions presents, “Fireside Yuletide,” a theatrical reading of classic family holiday tales, including, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and more!  The show features local actors and actresses, and is appropriate for families made up of all ages (as long as kids have basic audience skills) – even teenagers will love the nostalgia-filled show.  115 State Street, Building 4.  North Adams, MA.  (<$)

7pm – THEATER: Northampton High School presents their Fall One-Act Festival!  The show features The Real Inspector’s Hound and The Actor’s Nightmare – both directed, produced, and starred in by students!  The festival takes place inside the school’s new (and exciting!) Black Box Theater.  413-587-1344.  380 Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

ONGOING FOR FRIDAYS

  • 9-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: In the gym at Shutesbury Elementary School, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413-259-1212. 23 West Pelham Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • F9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At Whole Children, for little ones up to age five. 37 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – MOVIE: The Berkshire Athenaeum shows short kids’ movies every Friday morning. Call to check what’s playing! 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am - SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a postpartum support group for mothers with babies up to a year old at the Community Action Family Center. Childcare available. 413-475-1566. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: On the first and third Fridays of each month, the YMCA of Greenfield hosts Jump Into Fitness playgroup! Lots of fun physical activity. Snack provided. 413-475-1543. 451 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15-11am – STORYTIME: The Mason Library hosts Young Children’s Storytime this morning! 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: For little ones at the Pelham Library! 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Monson Library’s baby group takes place this morning – kiddos ages 0-2 and their caregivers can visit for stories, songs, and playtime. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – STORYTIME: The Heath Library offers bi-weekly storytime throughout the fall. 413-337-4934. 1 East Main Street. Heath, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Pre-school storytime at the Griswold Memorial Library! 413-624-3619. 12 Main Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – PLAYGROUP: The Haskins Center hosts baby group! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the community room at the Lanesborough Town Hall. 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – AQUARIUM ADVENTURE: Meet an animal at the Berkshire Museum! Friends from the aquarium will be shared, and kids can learn all about them through stories and activities. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 11-11:40am – STORYTIME: The Greenfield Library hosts Mother Goose on the Loose, a special lap-sit story hour for kids under the age of 3. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11-12:50: ICE SKATING: There will be an ice skating session at the Mullins Center for homeschoolers through June ’13. Some skate sessions can be bumped due to UMass ice hockey, so call to confirm before heading out. 413-230-6516. UMass Mullins Center. 200 Commonwealth Ave. Amherst, MA (>$)
  • 7-10pm – TWEEN: Kids in grades 6-8 can enjoy a fun night out with friends at the Greenwood Center! Hosted by Longmeadow Rec Dept, the event features DJ dance music, and will be supervised by adults. Dress code is the same as school, and students must sign in before entering. Takes place on the second and fourth Friday of each month. 413-565-4163. 231 Maple Road. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Williams College’s Milham Planetarium offers free shows on Friday evenings! Using the planetarium’s Zeiss Skymaster, Williams students will teach visitors about all sorts of astronomical phenomena, including phases of the moon, retrograde planetary motion, varying colors/temperatures of stars, constellations and zodiac signs, and more! Reservations recommended but not required. 413-597-2188. 829 Main Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 8:30pm-12:30am – DANCE: Dance the night away at Dance Spree, a family-friendly, substance free, barefoot community night of dancing! Kids of all ages are welcome, but young children must be accompanied by adults. Takes place on the 4th floor of the Fitzwilly’s building. 25 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (<$) ♦

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