Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 1st-14th, 2012
The holidays are here and they’re celebrating in the Berkshires! Holiday strolls are taking place in Williamstown, Great Barrington and Stockbridge during these first two weeks of December. Santa’s making his rounds visiting Crane & Company’s Model Farm, Dalton CRA, Lilac Park, Lenox Fire Department, and the Berkshire Museum. Gingerbread houses are being built at Hops & Vines and the Lenox Library, and latkes are being fried up at Wild Oats… and people and chorus groups are singing and performing all over the region!
Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through Dec 14th, 2012:
To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.
Lanesborough Elementary School —On Sat., Dec. 1st there will be a craft fair from 10am-4pm. All proceeds benefit the 6th grade class trip to Cape Cod. One-of-a-kind gifts, food and raffles.
Lanesborough Library — Ongoing: Tuesday morning story time at 10:15am. Stories, crafts, and music for all ages. — 413-499-5981. 83 North Main Street. (FREE) ♦
Town Hall — Ongoing: On Fridays from 11am-12noon a playgroup will be in the town hall community room, sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the community room. — 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. (FREE) ♦
Downtown North Adams — Spend an evening out in downtown North Adams for Hometown Holidays! Throughout December, downtown businesses will have special evening hours on Thursdays from 5-8pm and deals to keep holiday shopping local, and there will be family activities, live music, holiday crafts, face painting, and more. — 413-664-6180 Main Street.
Mill City Productions — MCP 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! Show are: Fri., Dec. 7th at 7pm; Sat., Dec. 8th at 11am & 2pm; Sun., Dec. 9th at 2pm. 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. (>$) — 115 State Street, Building 4.
Minerva Arts Center —Enjoy an evening of Broadway-style music and dance as the Minerva Arts Center presents, “The Return of the Gleekers!” on Sat., Dec. 8th at 7pm. The center’s Gleekers are a group of dedicated fans of the NBC show, “Glee,” and have spent time exploring theatricality, dance, and song in order to present the show! (>$) — 413-346-4502. 1288 Massachusetts Avenue.
Western Gateway Heritage State Park — Learn about the history of puppetry at WGHSP on Sat., Dec. 1st at 3pm. The museum is also hosting an exhibition of holiday railroad posters, and has the 9th annual origami holiday tree on display. (FREE, fee for parking) — 413-663-6312. 115 State Street, Building 4.
The Clark — Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My!, is on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s Stone Hill Center, utilizing video, hands-on activities, taxidermy, and innovative displays to create an exciting learning environment for all ages. The exhibition includes a magnificent specimen of an adult African lion as well as a lioness’s pelt, claws, and a skull that will be available to encourage hands-on exploration. Visitors try on a gauntlet as they try to balance a wooden block that approximates the size and weight of a falcon for a first-hand experience of the difficulty and delicate balance needed in falconry. Visit clarkart.edu to learn about the exhibition and other family events and programs. — 413-458-2303. 225 South Street.
Downtown Williamstown — Downtown Williamstown comes alive for the holidays on Sat., Dec. 1st from 4-7pm! This year’s annual holiday stroll 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, a tree lighting, and more! (FREE) —Spring and Water Streets.
Hops and Vines — Decorate gingerbread houses at Hops and Vines on Sat., Dec. 1st from 12noon-1:30pm or 2-3:30pm 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. (FREE) — 413-884-1372. 16 Water Street.
Minerva Arts Center — Auditions to be a part of the Minerva Arts Center’s 3rd annual Holiday Showcase are scheduled for Tues., Dec 4th, 6:30-8:30pm; Thurs., Dec. 6th from 5:30-7:30pm; and Sat., Dec. 8th from 10:30am-12:30pm. 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 (906 Main Street.). — 413-346-4502.
Wild Oats Co-op — Want to learn how to make latkes for Hanukkah? Chef Greg will be doing a cooking demo with recipes to share on Thurs., Dec. 6th from 4-6pm. — 413-458-8060. 320 Main Street.
Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation — Learn to make mince pies and heirloom stockings at Sheep Hill on Sun., Dec. 9th from 12:30-5pm at their Holiday Workshop. For oler teens and adults. ($$) — 413-458-2494. 671 Cold Spring Road. Route 7.
Williamstown Youth Center —Community Drum Circle with Otha Day on Wed., Dec 12th from 6-7pm! A joyful evening of Inter-Generational Community Music-Making. There will be African hand drums, shakers, bells and claves. Learn and share exciting rhythms, songs and activities from many cultures in addition to improv. No experience is necessary. All ages and levels can participate together! Bring Your Own Instruments OR use instruments provided. 413-884-5088. (>$) – Ongoing: Monday playgroups from 10-11:30am at the center, sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires. — 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue. (FREE) ♦
Notchview — Mark your calendars for a Boreal Forest Winter Ecology Trek with naturalist Aimee Gelinas on Sat., Dec. 15th from 10am-1pm. (>$) —413-532-1631. Old Route 9.
Becket Quarry — Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries will sponsor a hike at the historic Becket Quarry on Sat., Dec. 8th from 10am-1pm. Look for moose tracks and industrial archaeology at the 300-acre Historic Becket Quarry and Forest Preserve. Located high atop the Berkshire Highlands and preserved by the Becket Land Trust, this former granite quarry offers a feast of fauna, glacial erratics and rich helpings of cultural history. This site features artifacts of the former Hudson-Chester Company that was in operation for almost a century until the 1960s and is often called a “ghost quarry” for its spooky, abandoned appearance. Best for ages 10yo and older. Pre-register. ($) — 413-584-3009. Quarry Road.
Crane & Company’s Model Farm — Walk through a Winter Wonderland at the Crane & Company’s Model Farm on Fri. & Sat., Dec. 14th & 15th from 5-9pm. Both indoors and outdoors, families can enjoy the lights, holiday music and a visit from Santa. Bring your cameras! (FREE) — 413-684-2472. 161 Main Street.
Crane Museum of Papermaking — Visit the Crane Museum of Papermaking to learn about the history of papermaking at Crane since the early 1800’s. Located on the banks of the Housatonic River, the building itself is a museum! This is a great opportunity to learn about local history. The museum is open weekdays from 1-5pm. — 413-684-2600. 30 South Street. (FREE)
Dalton CRA — Is your child(ren) in need of a winter coat, jacket, hat or gloves. Do you know a family in need? The CRA is distributing gently used coats this weekend to families who need these necessities for keeping kids warm during the colder months on Sat. & Sun., Dec. 1st & 2nd, from 9am-3pm. (FREE) — 413-684-0260. 400 Main St.
Dalton CRA — Light Up the Holidays at the Dalton CRA on Sat., Dec. 8th from 5-8pm. Lights, refreshments and Santa will be waiting. (FREE) — 413-684-0260. 400 Main St.
Lee Library — 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 library on Mon., Dec. 3rd from 6-8pm. 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. (FREE) — 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street.
Spectrum Playhouse — CIP’s traveling student puppet show, Animal Crackers Puppet Troupe, performs at the Playhouse on Sat., Dec. 1st from 11am-12:30pm. All ages welcomed. — 413-394-5023. 20 Franklin Street.
Lenox Caroling Festival — The annual Lenox Caroling Festival takes place on Sat., Dec 8th from 11am-4pm- and competition will take place today at numerous locations throughout town on Sat! Visit one – or all! – of the locations to hear a variety of beautifully performed holiday music.
Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre — How about a Parents’ Night Out? Shakespeare and Company presents David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries through Dec. 30 at the Bernstein Theater! ($$) — 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street.
Lilac Park — At Lilac Park join neighbors for the lighting of the town Christmas Tree and visit with Santa on Fri., Dec. 7th at dusk. (FREE) — Main Street.
Lenox Fire Department — Meet Santa, and have lunch with him, too! The Lenox Volunteer Fire Department hosts this fun holiday event at the Academy Building on Sat., Dec. 1st from 12noon-2pm. Bring an unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots too! (FREE) — 65 Main Street.
Lenox Historical Society — The Lenox Historical Society will host their annual Holiday Open House. on Sat., Dec. 8th from 12noon-3pm. Stop in and see their holiday exhibit, “In the ‘Nick’ of Time.” Refreshments & raffle. (FREE) — Main Street.
Lenox Library — Visit the library to see a collection of beautiful gingerbread houses created by talented local chefs and bakers on Sun., Dec. 9th from 11am-3pm! Bid on your favorite if you’d like to take one home, and browse the library’s book sale, too. (FREE) — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street.
Ventfort Hall —On Sat., Dec. 8th at 7:30pm, Ventfort Hall hosts the Greg Caputo Quartet, featuring Vivian Caputo – the concert will feature well-loved standards in a beautiful, historic mansion decked out for the holidays. Excellent Parents’ Night Out! — 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.
North Pole Calling — The Pittsfield Department of Community Development Recreation Program will be conducting their annual North Pole Calling Program on Wednesday, Dec 19 and Thursday, Dec 20 from 4:30-7pm. Sign up forms will be sent home with Pittsfield children in K-2. Forms are also available at the City Clerk’s Office or through www.cityofpittsfield.org. Completed forms must be returned by Wednesday, Dec 19. In 2011, over 220 children were called by Santa!
Arrowhead — Arrowhead is open for tours on Saturdays & Sundays during the holidays from 11am-3pm. Arrowhead was the home of Herman Melville from 1850 to 1863, author of Moby Dick. Come see daily life as the Melville family experienced it with tours of Arrowhead. ($) — 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road.
Berkshire Athenaeum — Musicians from the Berkshire Music School will perform a special concert of holiday music at the library on Sat., Dec. 1st at 1pm. The show will also feature the Sunshine Singers – a youth chorus – and Bing’s Strings. Kids will get to hear a variety of music and can learn more about the instruments played in the show. (FREE) — 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue.
Berkshire Lyric — Berkshire Lyric presents, “Deck the Halls,” at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Sun., Dec. 9th at 3pm. The show also features the Blafield Children’s Chorus, the Monument Mountain High School Chorus, the Spartones, and Guademaus – all local groups with a wide range of styles, and a ton of talent. The show will include a variety of holiday music, and is a great opportunity for kids (with audience skills!) to learn about classical music and music history. ($) — 413-499-0258. 67 East Street.
Berkshire Museum — Santa himself pays a visit to the Museum on Sat., Dec. 1st from 11am-1pm. 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 (BYO camera!). Families can also learn to make a density ornament while they are at the museum from 11am-2pm- using a variety of colored liquids – with Alchemy Initiative. 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. 39 South Street, Rte. 7.
Berkshire Museum — On Sat., Dec. 8th starting at 11am, the Museum hosts the Festival of Trees Family Day. The event includes fun family activities, performances, and, of course, beautiful and uniquely decorated Christmas trees. There will be special events taking place throughout the day, including a visit from some of the fascinating animals at Burpee’s Zoo (11am), cookie decorating and a cookie contest (supplies for decorating provided, BYO cookies for contest – participants should bring 4 dozen of their favorite cookie and register in advance), and performances by the Taconic High School chorus and the Berkshire Singers. (FREE with museum admission) — 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Rte. 7.
Colonial Theatre — On Sat., Dec. 1st at 2pm & 7pm, 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. ($$) — 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.
First Friday Artswalk —It’s Upstreet Friday on Dec. 7th from 5-8pm, featuring over 50 local artists and artisans at shops, galleries, and restaurants throughout town. Explore downtown Pittsfield, and discover great art! (FREE) — Downtown.
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts — Ongoing: Mondays at at 3:30pm a hip hop class for youth ages 8yo+ introduces hip hop styles and steps. Then at 6pm Aimee Gelinas leads a youth Afro-Cuban drum beats class. To register for drum class, contact Aimee at firstname.lastname@example.org — 413-499-9348. 28 Renne Avenue. ($)
Moments House — Moments House will host a community holiday party on Thurs., Dec. 13th from 5-11pm. There will be a dinner buffet, sing-a-long with Terry A la Berry, kid’s activities, music by Whiskey City and refreshments & cash bar. Tickets online at www.momentshouse.org. Moment’s House is non-profit organization that funds a special house for cancer patients and their families and loved ones to find support, answers, companionship, and a loving and caring atmosphere in Berkshire County. ($) — 413-443-6800. 194 Fenn St.
Treehouse— Ongoing at Treehouse there are a couple of playgroups on Tuesdays: Kids ages 2-4 and their siblings can come together in their playspace in the mornings from 10-10:45am; and there will be drop-in crawl time for infants in the afternoon from 3-4pm. And on Wednesdays, there is a New Moms Group takes place from 11am-12noon, intended for moms with babies under 9 months – drop in and get support from others parents experiencing similar adjustments and developments.— 413-344-4435. 305 North Street.
Downtown Stockbridge — Enjoy downtown Stockbridge – lit by candlelight – and sing holiday carols at the Christmas Luminaria Walk! on Sat., Dec. 1st from 6-7pm. BYO candle or flashlight. (FREE) — 413-298-5200. Main Street.
Downtown Stockbridge — Experience Main Street in Stockbridge just like Norman Rockwell did during the Stockbridge Holiday Stroll on Sun., Dec. 2nd from 12noon-2pm. 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.
Historic Homes Tour — Take a Historic Homes Tour in Stockbridge as part of the town’s Main Street at Christmas celebration happens on Sat., Dec. 1st from 11am-4pm! 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.
Berkshire Botanical Garden — Holiday Marketplace at BBG on Sat. & Sun., Dec. 1st & 2nd from 10am-5pm. Hundreds of one-of-a-king gifts to choose from for your holiday gift buying… keeping it local and handmade! — 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.
Norman Rockwell Museum — Celebrate the art of the entire Rockwell family at the museum on Sat., Dec. 1st from 1-5pm where a special exhibit of work by Rockwell’s cousin, Mary-Amy Cross, will be on display. An illustrator and paintor, 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 what Cross’ sons have to say about her work. — 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
Norman Rockwell Museum —Families can visit the museum for Kids Create on Wed., Dec. 5th from 10:30-11:30am for 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 Library — Enjoy a special Christmas storytime at the library on Sat., Dec. 1st from 11-11:30am as part of the town’s Main Street at Christmas celebration. (FREE) — 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street.
Berkshire Co-op — Make your own wintry snowglobe at the Co-op on Fri., Dec. 7th from 4-5pm. 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! (FREE) — 413-528-9697. 42 Bridge Street.
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — Ongoing: On Mondays from 5:30-7pm, enjoy an evening of friendly Scrabble! 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. On Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm the center hosts a free ukulele group! 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. On Wednesdays from 7-8:30pm, teens are invited to sing their heart out with Berkshire Sings!, a community singing group. Singers of all abilities welcome (adults, too) to sing pop, jazz, folk, showtunes, and more. - All programs sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. (FREE)
Downtown Great Barrington — Explore downtown Great Barrington during their Holiday Stroll on Sat., Dec. 8th from 4-7:30pm. The town will be decorated for the holidays, the air cool and crisp, and alive with holiday spirit!
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center — The Temptations, classic Motown stars, will play a show at the Mahaiwe on Sun., Dec. 2nd at 7pm. 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. ($$$) — 413-528-0100. 413-464-2851. 14 Castle Street.
Mason Library — Make your own holiday gifts for Hanukkah and Christmas at the library on Sat. Dec. 1st & 8th during library hours. Ongoing: Wednesdays from 10:15-11am it’s story time for preK kids. Includes stories, songs, and crafts. In the afternoon on Wednesdays from 3-5pm, the library screens classic films. The “Mason Matinee” is best for tweens/teens and adults – call to find out what’s playing. — 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street.
[Photo credit: (ccl) Frank Swift]