Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 15th – 28th, 2012
There are just a couple more weekends left before Christmas, followed by school winter vacation. Berkshire County continues to celebrate the change of season and several of the museums and community centers will have activities for kids during the week of winter vacation. – Then it’s the New Year!
Cookies with origins from around the world are a staple of the holidays! Gingerbread Men to Hermits to Sugar Cookies are baked up in home kitchens and given as gifts. This weekend kids can learn how to make Rugalach at the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington, and next weekend families are welcomed to participate in a homemade cookie swap a Moments House in Pittsfield or pick up cookies at the Hinsdale Cookie Walk. Take the time to learn about the history behind cookies from other cultures, or make that recipe your grandmother handed down and share the backstory with your family and friends.
Find out about over 50 community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through December 28th, 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.
Berkshire Carousel — 413-499-0342. Berkshire Mall.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 11am-4pm – 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. (FREE)
Downtown North Adams — 413-662-3000. Main Street.
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. (FREE)
Mass MoCA — 413-662-2111. Mass MoCA Way.
The museum will be open during school vacation week from 11am- 5pm, closed Christmas Day but opened on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Check out a museum pass from your local library.
The Clark — 413-458-2303. 225 South Street.
The Clark is open during school vacation week from 10am-5pm, closed Christmas Eve & Day and New Year’s Eve & Day Tuesday. Check out a museum pass from your local library.
Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My!, on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s Stone Hill Center, 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.
Images Cinema — 413-458-1039. 50 Spring Street.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 10:30am and 1pm – 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! ($)
Notchview — 413-532-1631. Old Route 9.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 10am-1pm – Explore Notchview’s Boreal Forest with Aimee Gelinas and the Trustees of Reservations. Learn to identify trees such as spruce, fir, and Christmas fern, and search for signs of intrepid winter-battling mammals. Registration required. 413-532-1631. Old Route 9. (<$)
Crane Museum of Papermaking — 413-684-2600. 30 South Street.
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, closed Christmas and New Year’s Eve & Day. (FREE)
Crane & Co. Model Farm — 413-684-2472. 161 Main Street.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 12noon-8pm – 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! (FREE)
Hinsdale Old Town Hall Community Center
Sun., Dec. 16th from 1-6pm – Hinsdale Dayz host a Festival of Trees at the Old Town Hall Community Center. Santa and Mrs. Claus 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. (FREE)
Sat., Dec. 22nd from 9am-12noon – Hinsdale Dayz sponsors their annual Holiday Cookie Walk at the Hinsdale Town Hall. Come get holiday cookies, breads, cakes or pies to give as edible gifts this holiday season.
Lee Library — 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street.
Wed., Dec. 26th from 10:30-11:30am the library will host a Curious George Storytime. Registration requested.
Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre — 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street.
How about a Parents’ Night Out? Shakespeare and Company presents David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries through Dec. 30 at the Bernstein Theater! ($$)
Lenox Community Center — 413-637-5530. 65 Walker Street.
Sat., Dec. 15th at 11am – Meet Santa at the Lenox Community Center! (FREE)
Sat., Dec. 15th from 7-11:30pm – 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. ($)
Ventfort Hall — 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.
Throughout the month of December, there will be theater performances, concerts, dances, tours, viewings of Les Petites Dames de Mode, and Victorian Holiday Teas. From Dec 27th-30th, puppeteer Carl Sprague will present a marionette production of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “Hansel and Gretel.” After the show, kids can meet the antique puppets used in the show at a Victorian Tea, and there will also be an opportunity to learn about the puppeteer’s methods. ($)
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 — 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road.
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. ($)
Berkshire Athenaeum — 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue.
Fri., Dec. 28th at 1pm – Richard Perlmutter presents Beethovens Wig at the library. Richard Perlmutter sings while accompanying himself on piano, classical guitar, and mandolin. Hailed as opening the door to “serious music” in a way that’s fun, “Beethoven’s Wig” is now honored as a great musical family entertainment. (FREE)
Berkshire Museum — 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Rte. 7.
During the December school break, the museum will be open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm Sunday, 12noon to 5pm Closed Christmas Day & New Year’s Day. Check out a museum pass from your local library.
Sat., Dec. 15th at 11am & Thurs., Dec. 27th at 1pm– Be a mad scientist at the 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. (FREE with museum admission)
Sun., Dec. 23rd from 2-4:30pm - The Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema screens the Royal Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. ($$)
Thurs., Dec. 27th at 2pm & Fri., Dec. 28th at 11am- Berkshire Children’s Theater presents, “Pinkalicious!” at the Museum! The show is a musical stage adaptation of the book of the same name, and is about a little girl learning how to exercise her self control! Pinkalicious loves anything pink, but her special favorite are pink cupcakes – and, despite her parents cautioning, she eats so many that she turns pink! ($$)
Colonial Theatre — 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.
A Christmas Carol runs December 15–30 with 7:30pm performances Thurs.-Sat., and 2pm performances on Sat. & Sun. (excluding opening night). Before each performance families are invited to arrive early and be treated to a performance by BTG’s Children’s Chorus of holiday music and sing-a-longs in The Garage. ($$)
Tues., Dec. 18th & Wed., Dec. 19th at 10am – 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.
Sat., Dec. 22nd from 11am-1pm – Berkshire Theatre Group hosts Santa and kid-friendly music with Terry A La Berry in the lobby of the Colonial Theatre (The Garage). (FREE)
First Church of Christ – 413-442-6120. 27 East Street.
Sun., Dec. 16th at 3pm – The Berkshire Concert Choir presents, “Awake My Soul,” a holiday concert featuring Randall Thampson’s, “A Feast of Praise,” for chorus, brass, and harp.
Moments House — 413-443-6800. 194 Fenn St.
Sat., Dec. 22nd at 12noon – Bake up a storm (or maybe even a blizzard!) and bring your delicious homemade cookies to a swap at Moments House! Participants should bring a dozen cookies, and will leave with a full dozen of other participants’ delicious holiday treats. RSVP, including type of cookies contributed, requested. (FREE)
Temple Anshe Amunim — 413-442-5910. 26 Broad Street.
Sun., Dec. 16th at 2pm: David Grover performs a Chanukah concert at Temple Anshe Amunim! 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. (FREE)
Norman Rockwell Museum — 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
The NRM is open during school vacation week: weekdays 10am-4pm; weekends from 10am-5pm. Closed Christmas Day and New Years Day. Check out a museum pass from your local library.
Wed., Dec. 26th – Fri., Dec. 28th from 1-5pm -Make your own comic book art at drop-in workshops at the Norman Rockwell Museum! The museum is currently hosting an exhibit of comic book art by Alex Ross, and the activities included in the workshops will give kids a chance to create their own comic book-style artwork. Superheroes will be roaming the museum, too – be sure to visit the galleries to find them! (FREE with museum admission)
Red Lion Inn — 413-298-5545. 30 Main Street.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 1-3pm – The 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. (FREE)
Berkshire Co-op — 413-528-9697. 42 Bridge Street.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 10-11am – Kids can learn to make their own homemade ruggelach at the Co-op! 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. (FREE)
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road.
Wed., Dec. 26th-Fri., Dec. 28th — Special programs offered during school vacation week, including Kid Kaboodle (ages 1-5); Family Concert with Terry A La Berry & Friends; Energizers (ages 5-8 & 8-12); Seonsory Play (Ages 0-4); Family Dance Party. (FREE-$$)
The Guthrie Center — 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road.
Thurs., Dec. 20th at 6pm — The Guthrie Center is hosting a Circle of Sound: Global Sound Meditation in honor of the Winter Solstice. Bring a drum, a bowl, or your own voice to join in the making of Sound, or just come to meditate on the intentions of peace. (FREE)
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center — 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street.
Sat., Dec. 22nd at 4pm — Mahaiwe screens classic Looney Tunes cartoons! Restored from the classic Technicolor animations, the shorts are the epitome of lazy (yet nostalgically fun) Saturday activities. ($)
Sun., Dec. 23rd at 7pm — Mahaiwe is screening the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (FREE)
Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School — 318 Monument Valley Rd.,
Sat., Dec. 15th & Sun., Dec. 16th from 10am-2pm – Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets featuring locally grown, produced and prepared food from farmers and food producers in the region, including produce, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, baked goods and preserves; and handcrafted gift items and holiday decorations made by local artisans. (FREE admission)
Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School — 413-528-4015. 35 West Plain Road.
Sat., Dec. 22nd at 7:30pm — The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School hosts Nowell Sing We Clear, a festive show filled with holiday music and cheer! Takes place in the auditorium. ($$)
Ramsdell Library — 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street.
Sat., Dec. 15th from 11-11:30am – Candy is delicious to enjoy, but it has artistic potential, too! Explore candy as a medium for making miniature figurines at the library. (FREE)
Sat., Dec. 15th from 11:30am-12noon – The library hosts a 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! (FREE)
Sat., Dec. 15th from 2-5pm – Celebrate winter, the holidays, and new changes to the library at the library. There will be plenty of treats for all. (FREE)
Clam River — Hammertown Road.
Wed., Dec. 19th from 10am-12noon – Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council in exploring the Clam River. The evergreen-filled property bumps up against the river – explore the area, search for animal signs, and enjoy the winter air! Registration required. (FREE)
Bartholomew’s Cobble — 413-229-8600. Weatogue Road.
Fri., Dec. 21st from 4-6pm – The Trustees of Reservations are hosting a Winter Solstice celebration! 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). (FREE)