Suggested Events for December 15th-21st, 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

If your kids are still looking forward to meeting Santa there are several more non-commercial venues to see Santa this weekend, including: Lenox Community Center; Sunderland Library; Holyoke Merry-Go-Round; Northampton Senior Center; Hinsdale Community Center; and Easthampton Family Center.

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

Here are six holiday episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show from over the years to share with your family as we celebrate the season. Enjoy these commercial-free podcasts that celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the New Year and the spirit of peace and giving.

Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker are two classics that come alive during the holiday season. Many families make it a yearly tradition to see one or the other (or both)! This weekend and coming week there are several opportunities:

BULLETIN BOARD

Dec. 14-15 & 21-22

Tom McCabe’s PaintBox Theatre presents, A Christmas Carol at Northampton High School: Dec. 14th at 7pm; Dec. 15th at 10:30am & 1pm; Dec. 21st at 7pm; Dec. 22nd at 10:30am & 1pm. A child-friendly romp featuring lots of audience participation and holiday cheer. You’ll join in an invisible snowball, snowball fight, and everyone will learn how to waltz. Fifty children artists have drawn pictures of the story’s characters & locales which will be projected above the stage during the performance. Intermission features an audience carol sing, Several audience members will be drafted to play parts including Tiny Tim. Tickets are $7. General Seating – Tickets available online at BrownPaperTickets.com or at the door. More info at PaintBoxTheatre.org.

Through Sept 8, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My!, on view beginning November 17 at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s Stone Hill Center in Williamstown, utilizes 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.

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT OR VACATION WEEK CAMP: 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.

Win tickets to final performance on Sunday, Dec. 30th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA. Deadline to enter for a chance to win: 12/24, 12noon.

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

A celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation will be held in the Pioneer Valley. On Jan. 1st at 2pm, churches throughout the valley will ring their bells to recognize the moment the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, the document that led to the permanent end of slavery. In 1863, at 2pm on New Year’s Day, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, providing that all persons held as slaves would be “then, thenceforward, and forever free,” resulting in the permanent abolition of slavery. Residents are urged to join in this celebration, encouraging their towns & churches to participate by ringing their bells at 2pm on New Year’s Day. For info, contact Robert Romer, rhromer@amherst.edu.

Child Care of the Berkshires writes, “Berkshire Youth Mentoring is gearing up for its 1st Bowl-a-Thon on Saturday, February 9th, 1-7pm., at Mt. Greylock Bowl in North Adams, MA. Save the date and prepare to have fun as we bring back Bowling for Kid’s Sake to the Berkshires. Money raised through this event stays right here in our community. Berkshire Youth Mentoring Program of Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc., builds dynamic mentoring relationships to expand youths’ interests, joys, strengths and possibilities for the future. We are seeking dedicated community members who can volunteer 1-2 hours a week. Contact Alex at 413-663-6593 or alenski@ccberkshire.org for more info.”

The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens offers a safe and welcoming setting to process the many feelings associated with grief and loss. Any family with a child ages 5-18 years who has experienced the death of a close family member is invited to participate in our Sunday afternoon groups. Groups are offered at no charge. New groups will be forming in February, and will meet at the Hampshire Regional YMCA in Northampton. Pre-registration is required. For more information, please call 413-584-7086 x124 or email Shelly Bathe Lenn at shelly.thegarden@gmail.com.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 15th-21st, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

“I love Hilltown Families! It is fun and easy for this single mom to find interesting events when Hilltown Families emails a list directly to my inbox. We have grown closer as a family by experiencing together these adventures from hikes to snowshoeing to concerts and more. Discovering new opportunities to enjoy life with my children and explore our community is a great Christmas gift.” – Amy Williams (Huntington, MA)

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. – Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMBand Guest DJs a holiday show for the Hilltown Family Variety Show with a Winter Solstice theme of light, love, community and music! – Story: “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen – Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

ORNITHOLOGY: Sign up to participate in the annual Mass Audubon Christmas Bird Count! The event relies on citizen scientists to locate and count species of birds – and the data collected is used to assess local bird populations. Kids can learn to identify and find species of birds, practice using field guides, and learn how to draw conclusions from their own data. Bird counts are happening in Springfield, North Berkshire Cty. and Central Berkshire Cty. today, Westfield on 12/22, and South Berkshire Cty. on 1/1. Western MA (FREE)

9:30-11am – PUPPETS: Kids can enjoy some creative free play time at the Hatfield Library’s morning puppet play time! There will be plenty of puppets for kids to practice with – they can develop characters, practice puppetry skills, develop storylines, and let their imaginations go wild! 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

10-11am – PASTRY ARTS: Kids can learn to make their own homemade ruggelach at the Berkshire Co-op today! A classic holiday cookie, the treats are perfect for sharing at gatherings or including in a bag lunch. Great for practicing basic kitchen skills! Registration required. 413-528-9697. 42 Bridge Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

10am-12noon – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: Community Action is hosting Snow Day – but not a real one! Centered around Ezra Jack Keats’ well-known children’s book, The Snowy Day, the event will include snowflake making, indoor playtime, ornament making, storytime, and more. Takes place at the Community Action Family Center. Free books for all kids attending! 413-475-1543. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

10am-1pm – DENDROLOGY (TREE STUDIES): Explore Notchview’s Boreal Forest with Aimee Gelinas and the Trustees of Reservations. Learn to identify trees such as spruce, fir, and Christmas fern, and search for signs of intrepid winter-battling mammals. Registration required. 413-532-1631. Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (<$)

10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets featuring locally grown, produced and prepared food from farmers and food producers in the region, including produce, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, baked goods and preserves; and handcrafted gift items and holiday decorations made by local artisans, from 10am to 2pm. Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, 318 Monument Valley Rd., Great Barrington, MA (Admission is free of charge)

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 and 1pm – FILM: Images Cinema offers screenings of, “Tales of the Night,” a French animated film! The screening – shown in 3D – will be introduced by puppet artist David Lane. The film is dubbed in English, and was a hit at the Berlin Film Festival! 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA. ($)

10:30am and 1pm – FAMILY THEATER: Paintbox Theater presents, “A Christmas Carol” – a holiday classic! This special family adaptation of the show will feature lots of audience participation (including a snow-less snowball fight). Performances will take place at Northampton High School. 413-210-1898. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

11am – GINGERBREAD HOUSE CONTEST: The Hatfield Library is hosting a Gingerbread House Contest. They will have stations for different age groups and provide all materials necessary. Kids will build a graham cracker gingerbread house and use icing and candy to decorate it. Prizes will be issues for different categories. All ages welcome. Please RSVP: kids.hatfieldlibrary@gmail.com. 413-247-9097. Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

11am – CHEMISTRY: Be a mad scientist at the Berkshire Museum! Along with the help of the museum’s very own crazy chemist, kids can learn how to do exciting and surprising (and safe!) experiments with regular household materials. Kitchen Kaboom! is totally kid-safe, but adults must accompany participating scientists. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

11am – SANTA: Meet Santa at the Lenox Community Center! 413-637-5530. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

11-11:30am – CRAFTS: Candy is delicious to enjoy, but it has artistic potential, too! Explore candy as a medium for making miniature figurines at the Ramsdell Library! 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

11am-4:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Historic Deerfield is celebrating the holidays with traditional decorations, open hearth cooking demonstrations, 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. ($)

11:30am-12noon – LEGOS: Ramsdell Library hosts LEGO club – a special time where kids can visit to play and create with LEGOs of all shapes and sizes. LEGO play is great for practicing motor skills and for expressing budding creativity! 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

11:30am-12:30pm – SANTA: Meet the man in red at the Sunderland Library! Free hot chocolate and holiday excitement for all. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

12noon-1:30pm – SANTA: Santa & Mrs. Claus are traveling to the Hadley Elementary School via fire truck.  Find out all his stops on the way to the school from 9:30am-12noon.  Join the couple at the school with your camera for a photo op. Hadley, MA (FREE)

12noon-2pm – CRAFTS: The Arms Library hosts Paper Capers today, an event that includes paper crafts of all kinds. Families can make accordion books, ornaments, beads, and more! 413-625-0306. Bridge Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

12noon-8pm – SANTA: Walk through a Winter Wonderland at the Crane & Company’s Model Farm. Both indoors and outdoors, families can enjoy the lights, holiday music and a visit from Santa. Bring your cameras! 413-684-2472. 161 Main Street. Dalton, MA (FREE)

12:30-3:30pm – SANTA: Take a ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round with Santa! Today will be his last visit of the season. 413-538-9838. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$)

1-2:30pm – NEW PARENT WORKSHOP: Learn to wear your baby – for ease of carrying and comfort for both parent and little one! Cradle is hosting a workshop on the basics of babywearing with Meg Eisenhauer. Located in Thornes Marketplace, 3rd Floor. 413-341-5282. Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

1-3pm – LOCAL AUTHORS: The Red Lion Inn is hosting a reading and signing with not one, but four local authors! Sarah Sedgwick Genocchio (A Stockbridge Childhood), Pat Pope (Johanna’s Gift), Janet McKinstry (Rosie and Friends, Unleashed in Berkshire County), Susan Geller and Susan Merrill (I Live in Stockbridge) will all share their books, signed copies of which would make great holiday gifts! The event will take place in the inn’s Side Parlor. 413-298-5545. 30 Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

1:30pm – READING: Reserve your spot to Read to Rover at the Westfield Athenaeum! Specially trained therapy dogs will be at the library to serve as patient, calm, non-judgemental reading buddies for kids who are working on reading aloud. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

1:30 and 4:30pm – BALLET: Albany Berkshire Ballet presents, The Nutcracker at Springfield’s Symphony Hall! This touring production’s performance includes beautiful costumes and sets designed by movie designer Carl Sprague. 413-788-7646. 1 Columbus Center. Springfield, MA. ($$$)

2-5pm - HOLIDAY PARTY: Celebrate winter, the holidays, and new changes to the library at the Ramsdell Library! There will be plenty of treats for all. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

2:30pm – HOLIDAYS: Most everyone knows the words to 12 Days of Christmas – but what does it all really mean? The song’s lyrics may tell another story. Find out about the possible symbolism behind the carol at the Jones Library, where Dr. Thomas Bernard (professor at Springfield College) will share his ideas. 413-259-3223. Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

4-6pm – HOLIDAY PARTY: Whole Children hosts a holiday party for kids of all abilities ages 3-12yo. There will be dancing, food, games and crafts and maybe even a visit from Santa! RSVP. 413-585-8010. Hadley, MA (>$)

4-9pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Celebrate the holiday season the old-fashioned way at Old Sturbridge Village! The historic village’s Christmas by Candlelight series offers families a chance to enjoy non-commercial, relaxed holiday festivities and activities. Go for a sleigh ride, learn about roasting chestnuts over an open fireplace, make your own tin holiday ornaments, vote for your favorite homemade gingerbread house, sing along to Christmas carols with villagers dressed in period clothing, and more! 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights for Bright Nights! Visit to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air. 413-733-3800. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

5:15-9pm – KIDS FUN/PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Pioneer Gymnastics is offering a Holiday Kids Fun Night, whjere kids can be dropped off while parents go out, either to finish hoiday shopping or to enjoy all of the festive lights without the kids. The evening is super fun and for kids ages 4yo and older. Pre-register. 413-525-1291. 45 Maple Street. East Longmeadow, MA ($$)

5:30-7:30pm – SANTA: Buttery Brook Park is decorated for the holidays, and tonight specifically it has been transformed into Santa’s Land! It’s a holiday wonderland filled with beautiful lights displays, and Santa will be there, too! Meet the man in red, have a ride on the train, and visit the park’s animals to with them a happy holiday, too. 123 Willamansett Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

6:30-8:30pm – TEEN DANCE: Whole Children invites teens of all abilities to their 4th annual Semi-Formal Holiday Dance Party. Get dressed up and come together to enjoy dance music, Karaoke, games and refreshments. RSVP. 413-585-8010. Hadley, MA (>$)

7pm – HOLIDAY THEATER: Ja’Duke presents, “White Christmas,” an uplifting Christmas musical, at Yankee Candle! Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA. ($$)

7pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hear the Pioneer Valley Symphony play holiday favorites at the annual Family Holiday Concert! The show will also feature performances by the Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus and the Greenfield High School Chorus. 413-773-3664. 1 Lenox Street. Greenfield, MA. ($$)

7-11:30pm - CONTRA DANCE: Go contra dancing tonight! Dances are a great way to get exercise, learn about rhythm, and gain better balance and movement skills. Contra dancing provides a friendly intergenerational environment in which people of all ages can contribute and participate equally. Potluck takes place from 7-8pm, and dancing begins at 8. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

8-10pm – THEATER: The New Renaissance Players present “A Christmas Carol” at the Shea Theater… but it’s not the usual version – this special performance is a radio play, adapted from the original version. Performace at 2pm on Sunday too. 413-863-2281. Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. ($)

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Sunday, December 16th, 2012

“Hilltown Families not only keeps my family up to date with happenings around town, but I also enjoy reading the essays that are published. Recently we also participated in the volunteer day and had a great time!” – Oriana Falkowski (Haydenville, 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. commercial-free family radio. 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.

8-11am – SANTA: The Northampton Senior Center is hosting an intergenerational breakfast with Santa – delicious pancakes and holiday fun! 413-587-1288. 67 Conz Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets featuring locally grown, produced and prepared food from farmers and food producers in the region, including produce, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, baked goods and preserves; and handcrafted gift items and holiday decorations made by local artisans, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, 318 Monument Valley Rd., Great Barrington, MA (Admission is free of charge)

10am-3pm - CRAFT FAIR: Make-and-Take Craft Fair of fun and interesting holiday crafts at the Montague Grange today! The fair will include activities for crafters of all ages, including beeswax candles, miniature terrariums, jewelry, and ornaments. Treats for sale, too! 34 Main Street. Montague, MA. (FREE admission, gifts $1-$10 each)

11am-4pm – HOLIDAYS: The Berkshire Carousel presents an afternoon of Christmas Fun for Kids! Music and kids activities, including keepsake photos with horses, ornament making, music and magic. 413-499-0342. Berkshire Mall. Lanesborough, MA (FREE)

11am-4:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Historic Deerfield is celebrating the holidays with traditional decorations, open hearth cooking demonstrations, 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. ($)

1-6pm – HOLIDAYS/SANTA: Hinsdale Dayz host a Festival of Trees at the Old Town Hall Community Center.  Santa and Mrs. Clause arrive at 2pm via fire truck and will visit until 4pm. Holiday refreshments will be served and all attending are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Hinsdale Food Pantry. Hinsdale, MA (FREE)

1:30pm – CAROLING: Join community members for an afternoon of caroling! Meet up at Poet’s Seat to share songs and holiday cheer! Alternately, families can join the group at 11:30am at St. John’s Corner for lunch. Caroling will end at Buckley Nursing Home. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

2pm – HOLIDAY THEATER: Ja’Duke presents, “White Christmas,” an uplifting Christmas musical, at Yankee Candle! Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA. ($$)

2pm – CHANUKAH: David Grover performs a Chanukah concert at Temple Anshe Amunim this afternoon! Grover – whose long career includes performing alongside Arlo Guthrie in the band Shenandoah – writes original music for both children and adult. Show is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires. 413-442-5910. 26 Broad Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

2-3pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: The South Hadley Children’s Chorus performs at the Northampton Senior Center this afternoon! 413-587-1228. 67 Conz Street. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)

2-4pm – THEATER: The New Renaissance Players present “A Christmas Carol” at the Shea Theater… but it’s not the usual version – this special performance is a radio play, adapted from the original version. 413-863-2281. Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. ($)

2-4:30pm – BALLET: Make seeing the The Nutcracker a family holiday tradition! The Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema screens the Bolshoi Ballet’s performance today and on Tues., Dec. 18th at 7pm. There will be a screening of the Royal Ballet performance on Sun., Dec. 23rd at 2pm too. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

3pm – CONCERT: The Berkshire Concert Choir presents, “Awake My Soul,” a holiday concert featuring Randall Thampson’s, “A Feast of Praise,” for chorus, brass, and harp. Takes place at the First Church of Christ. 413-442-6120. 27 East Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

3-5pm – SANTA: Help raise money for the Easthampton Family Center by having milk and cookies with Santa! Along with delicious treats, there will be crafts, stories with Mrs. Claus, and a sing-a-long. Every kid who meets Santa will get a new book! 413-527-5396. Easthampton, MA. (<$)

4-9pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Celebrate the holiday season the old-fashioned way at Old Sturbridge Village! The historic village’s Christmas by Candlelight series offers families a chance to enjoy non-commercial, relaxed holiday festivities and activities. Go for a sleigh ride, learn about roasting chestnuts over an open fireplace, make your own tin holiday ornaments, vote for your favorite homemade gingerbread house, sing along to Christmas carols with villagers dressed in period clothing, and more! 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($)

5-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights for Bright Nights! Visit to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air. 413-733-3800. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

6pm – HOLIDAY: The Williamsburg Grange’s holiday celebration takes place tonight – it’s a community potluck and open mic! Create a delicious (local, if possible!) dish to share as a family, and prepare something to share if your kids are adventurous performers. Proceeds benefit renovations. Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (DONATION)

7pm – CHORAL: Participate in St. John’s Episcopal Church’s 36th annual Community Sing! The event will include a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” – participants should bring their own copy, as few will be available. Families can attend just to listen, too! Nonperishable food items will be collected to donate to the Northampton Survival Center. 413-584-1757. 48 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, December 17th, 2012

6-8pm – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: Visit Yankee Candle for dinner and a show at Chandler’s Restaurant! There will be a delicious holiday buffet, followed by a performance of various musical numbers presented by Ja’Duke Productions! The show will be lead by the Ja’Duke elves, and will include lots of holiday favorites. 800-243-1776. Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA. ($$$)

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 18th, 2012

10am – THEATER: Berkshire Theatre Group is offering a special education performance of, “A Christmas Carol” today just for kids! Suggested for students in 2nd grade and older, the show’s audience will be filled with kids – it’s a perfect time to take younger children with limited audience skills to see the show. The special performances are scheduled so that schools can take field trips to the theater – call to check availability. 413-997-4444. 111 Colonial Theater. South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

5-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights for Bright Nights! Visit to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air. 413-733-3800. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

6pm – STORYTIME: The Westfield Athenaeum’s special holiday storytime will have holiday stories, songs, special tea (apple juice!), and crafts. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

6:30-7:30pm – SING-A-LONG: Sing along to songs for the holidays at the Hubbard Library! David Polansky will share songs for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the entire winter season. Call to register. 413-583-3408. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

7pm – HOLIDAY VARIETY SHOW: The Majestic Theater presents, “Home for the Holidays,” an annual family-friendly variety show featuring several favorite Majestic performers, as well as local musicians, in an exciting musical holiday celebration. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

7-9:30pm – BALLET: Make seeing the The Nutcracker a family holiday tradition! The Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema screens the Bolshoi Ballet’s performance today. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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 19th, 2012

10am – THEATER: Berkshire Theatre Group is offering a special performance of, “A Christmas Carol” today just for kids! Suggested for students in 2nd grade and older, the show’s audience will be filled with kids – it’s a perfect time to take younger children with limited audience skills to see the show. The special performances are scheduled so that schools can take field trips to the theater – call to check availability. 413-997-4444. Colonial Theater. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

10am-12noon - OUTDOOR ADVENTURE/HIKE: Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council in exploring the Clam River this morning. The evergreen-filled property bumps up against the river – explore the area, search for animal signs, and enjoy the winter air! Registration required. Hammertown Road. Sandisfield, MA. (FREE)

2-3pm – HOLIDAY TEA: Enjoy a special holiday tea and a ride on the train at Look Park! The park is decorated for the holidays with beautiful lights displays, and tea will take place in the beautifully decorated garden house (and will include delicious pastries, too). Reservations required. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. ($)

4pm – PUPPETS: The Cushman Library hosts puppeteer Nicole Wander for, “Recycle with Imagination,” a show featuring special handmade puppets made out of creatively used recycled materials! 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

5-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights for Bright Nights! Visit to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air. 413-733-3800. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

6pm – STORYTIME: The Westfield Athenaeum’s special holiday storytime will have holiday stories, songs, special tea (apple juice!), and crafts. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

6:30-8:30pm – CRAFTS: Visit Art Party Studio for an evening of wintry holiday crafts! There will be all sorts of special holiday materials to use – experiment with unique media (like glittery twigs, bells, and more!), and create a holiday masterpiece. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (<$)

7pm – HOLIDAY VARIETY SHOW: The Majestic Theater presents, “Home for the Holidays,” an annual family-friendly variety show featuring several favorite Majestic performers, as well as local musicians, in an exciting musical holiday celebration. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

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 20th, 2012

9:30am – STORYTIME: The Westfield Athenaeum’s special holiday storytime will have holiday stories, songs, special tea (apple juice!), and crafts. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

9:30am-12noon – HOLIDAY: The Belchertown Family Center’s holiday party is this morning! Bring a wrapped book (maybe your family’s favorite to share!) for the center’s gift exchange. Kids can practice their creativity by decorating (and likely devouring) cookies. 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

10am – THEATER: Berkshire Theatre Group is offering a special education performance of, “A Christmas Carol” today just for kids! Suggested for students in 2nd grade and older, the show’s audience will be filled with kids – it’s a perfect time to take younger children with limited audience skills to see the show. The special performances are scheduled so that schools can take field trips to the theater – call to check availability. 413-997-4444. Colonial Theater. South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

10am - OUTDOOR ADVENTURE/HIKE: Hike Chapel Brook with the Trustees of Reservations! The easy to moderate hike will include lots of opportunities to spot animal signs, enjoy the crisp winter air, and get some great exercise. Registration requested. 413-628-4485. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

2-3pm – HOLIDAY TEA: Enjoy a special holiday tea and a ride on the train at Look Park! The park is decorated for the holidays with beautiful lights displays, and tea will take place in the beautifully decorated garden house (and will include delicious pastries, too). Reservations required. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. ($)

4:30pm – KNITTING FOR KIDS: Kids in grades 2-5 can spend the afternoon stitching away at the Monson Library! Instruction will be available for casting on and off and doing basic knit and purl stitches. Kids who are ready to move on to more difficult projects can get support, too! 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)

5-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights for Bright Nights! Visit to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air. 413-733-3800. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

5:30-7:30pm – SANTA: Buttery Brook Park is decorated for the holidays, and tonight specifically it has been transformed into Santa’s Land! It’s a holiday wonderland filled with beautiful lights displays, and Santa will be there, too! Meet the man in red, have a ride on the train, and visit the park’s animals to with them a happy holiday, too. 123 Willamansett Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

6pm – BALLET: Ballet Renverse presents selections from The Nutcracker tonight at their annual holiday recital! Takes place at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School. 413-625-2521. 75 Mechanic Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

6pm – WINTER SOLSTICEThe Guthrie Center is hosting a Circle of Sound: Global Sound Meditation in honor of the Winter Solstice.  Bring a drum, a bowl, or your own voice to join in the making of sound, or just come to meditate on the intentions of peace. 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

7pm – HOLIDAY VARIETY SHOW: The Majestic Theater presents, “Home for the Holidays,” an annual family-friendly variety show featuring several favorite Majestic performers, as well as local musicians, in an exciting musical holiday celebration. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

7-9pm – SOLSTICE PAGENT: Celebrate the solstice with students from the Hartsbrook School! They’ll be performing seasonal music and songs, as well as sharing stories, at Helen Hills Hills. 413-584-3198. 139 South Street. Northampton, MA.

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 21st, 2012

WINTER SOLSTICE

7am and 3:30pm – SOLSTICE SUNWHEEL: Watch the sunrise or sunset at the UMass Sunwheel. There will be a presentation on the significance of the solstices and equinoxes, phases of the moon, and other sunwheels around the world. Learn about the cultural significance of the solstice worldwide! Rocky Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

9:30am – STORYTIME: The Westfield Athenaeum’s special holiday storytime will have holiday stories, songs, special tea (apple juice!), and crafts. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

2pm – FILM: Amherst Cinema screens a special matinee of, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” today! See the film as a family to get into the holiday spirit, and to introduce kids who haven’t seen it to the classic tale. 413-253-2547. 23 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights for Bright Nights! Visit to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air. 413-733-3800. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

4-6pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: The Trustees of Reservations are hosting a winter solstice celebration at Bartholomew’s Cobble! Visit for a campfire, a look at some of the Mayan prophecies for the supposed solstice end of the world, songs, and hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course). 413-229-8600. Weatogue Road. Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

5:30-7:30pm – SANTA: Buttery Brook Park is decorated for the holidays, and tonight specifically it has been transformed into Santa’s Land! It’s a holiday wonderland filled with beautiful lights displays, and Santa will be there, too! Meet the man in red, have a ride on the train, and visit the park’s animals to with them a happy holiday, too. 123 Willamansett Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

6-8:30pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: Celebrate the winter solstice with Mass Audubon! Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary’s solstice tradition is a warm bonfire, paired with hot cider and music. The event is intended to build community, and to welcome the longer, brighter days ahead. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

6-9 – WINTER SOLSTICE: Northfield Mountain celebrates the solstice this year with a hike on the cross-country ski trails – BYO headlamp to light the way! The trek will be filled with facts and quotes about (and celebrating!) the winter solstice. Registration required. 800-859-2960. Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

6:30pm – HOLIDAY PARADE: Celebrate winter with the Puppeteers’ Cooperative of Boston at Amelia Park! Dress in white to be part of the parade – carry a banner or ring a bell and march alongside the Westfield High School marching band and some beautiful giant puppets. The celebration is part of Westfield’s Snowfire Dickens Days. South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

7pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: Ashfield’s community solstice celebration takes place tonight. Gather around a bonfire to share hopes and intentions for the new year, and enjoy storytelling and Morris dancing. Takes place on the Town Green. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

7pm – FAMILY THEATER: Paintbox Theater presents, “A Christmas Carol” – a holiday classic! This special family adaptation of the show will feature lots of audience participation (including a snow-less snowball fight). Performances will take place at Northampton High School. 413-210-1898. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

7pm – HOLIDAY VARIETY SHOW: The Majestic Theater presents, “Home for the Holidays,” an annual family-friendly variety show featuring several favorite Majestic performers, as well as local musicians, in an exciting musical holiday celebration. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

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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