Suggested Events for December 22nd-28th, 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

Done with your holiday shopping? Need something last minute? Rather than another tchotchke, how about a gift certificate to a local restaurant, an online donation to a local charity in their honor, or a membership to a local museum or to the Friends of your local library? (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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.

Saturday, December 22nd at 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.  ($)

Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 22nd & 23rd at 2pm – FAMILY 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.  ($)

Sunday, December 23rd from 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. ($)

Sunday, December 23rd at 6pm – CHRISTMAS CAROLING: All are invited to join local 4-H Club for Christmas Caroling Down Main Street.  Meet at the Cummington Community House at 6pm and travel from home to home on Main Street to sing holiday songs.  Return to Community House for refreshments.  Bring plates of cookies to share. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA (FREE)


MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Saturday, Dec. 29th 11am and 2pm - CHILDREN’S THEATER: Berkshire Children’s Theater presents, “Pinkalicious!” at the Berkshire 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!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

Sunday, Dec. 30th 1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE/COMICS: 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!  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

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

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.

Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family winter activity in Western MA, and be entered to win a gift basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op (Value $150)! Deadline to enter for a chance to win: 12/24, 12noon.

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.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 22nd-28th, 2012

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Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

“Hilltown Families is such a great event resource! It’s the first place that we look to see what’s happening locally- even in our own town. With so much media coming our way, it’s nice to know that we can turn to your wholesome and community oriented site. Thanks.” – Amy Cullen (Williamsburg)

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. - Ashley Albert of The Jimmies Guest DJs the Hilltown Family Variety Show for Christmas, spinning tunes by Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Smithereens, Granvile Williams Orchestra, The Drifters, The Ramones, The Enchanters and songs off of her holiday CD, Mama Said Nog You Out. – Story: “The Fridgeville Chronicles: Jelly and Peanut Butter” by Ashley Albert – Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

9am-12noon – HOLIDAY/COOKIES: Stock up on delicious treats at the Hinsdale Cookie Walk!  There will be cookies, cakes, breads, pies, and more to choose from, as well as some locally-made craft items for last-minute holiday shopping.  Takes place at the Old Town Hall Community Center.  Hinsdale, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

9am-4:30pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Bartholomew’s Cobble host their Hot Chocolate Saturdays.  Bring the kids and hike around outside, or enjoy hot cocoa at the visitor center.  413-229-8600. Weatogue Road. Sheffield, MA (FREE w/Admission)

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.  ($)

11-11:30am – HOLIDAY CRAFTS: Make reindeer cards out of your own thumbprints at the Ramsdell Library!  413-274-3738.  1087 Main Street.  Housatonic, MA.  (FREE)

10am-2pm – SANTA/FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Meet Santa at a special holiday tea at the Pelham Library!  There will even be a special performance, featuring Long Tall Sword.  413-253-0657.  2 South Valley Road.  Pelham, MA.  (FREE)

11am-1pm – SANTA/KIDS CONCERT: Berkshire Theatre Group hosts Santa and kid-friendly music with Terry A La Berry in the lobby of the Colonial Theatre (The Garage). 413-997-4444. Pittsfield, 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: Play with LEGOs and Duplos at the Ramsdell Library!  Kids can exercise their creativity and practice building creations of all kinds.  413-274-3738.  1074 Main Street.  Housatonic, MA.  (FREE)

12noon – COOKIE SWAP: 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.  194 Fenn Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

12noon-1:30pm – KAYAKING: Learn to kayak with Wilderness Adventures!  Since it’s cold outside, kayaking will take place in an indoor heated pool.  Open to ages 8-12.  Registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College Highway.  Southwick, MA.  ($$)

2pm – 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 – FAMILY 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.  ($)

2pm & 7:30pm  – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Eric Hill and presented for the second time at The Colonial Theatre. 413-997-4444. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

2pm & 8pm - 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.  ($$)

2-3:30pm – SWIMMING: Take a dip in the heated pool at Wilderness Adventures!  Families welcome to enjoy the special holiday vacation pool party (young children must be potty trained).  Registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College Highway.  Southwick, MA.  ($)

4pm – MOVIE: Mahaiwe screens classic Looney Tunes cartoons this afternoon!  Restored from the classic Technicolor animations, the shorts are the epitome of lazy Saturday activities.  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($)

4-8pm – HOLIDAY: Look Park is decorated for the holidays – visit to ride on the train, see the lights displays, and meet Santa himself in his workshop, filled with miniature New England villages and model trains!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (FREE, fee for parking)

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 lit up for the holidays!  Visit to see the beautiful and elaborate Bright Lights displays, and enjoy an evening out in the crisp winter 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)

6-8pm – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE/DINNER: Visit Yankee Candle for dinner and a chow 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.  ($$$)

6:30pm – SOLSTICE STORYTELLING: Celebrate the solstice at the Magical Roundhouse.  Celebrate the season by sharing stories about holding onto light and love during the darkest part of the year.  This event is a way to introduce your family to solstice celebrations and a way to foster togetherness within the community.  Bring a snack to share and something to donate to the Franklin Area Survival Center.  Reservations recommended. 413-625-5140.  68 Van Nuys Road.  Colrain, MA.  ($)

7:30pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: 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.  413-528-4015.  35 West Plain Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($$)

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Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

“Hilltown Families has allowed my family to participate in so many community events! Thank you all and Blessings of Peace and Love this Holiday Season.” – Susan Clark (Charlemont)

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.

10:30am-2:30pm – SANTA: Get ready for Christmas by enjoying a delicious brunch with Santa at the Lord Jeffrey Inn!  413-253-2576.  30 Boltwood Walk.  Amherst, MA.  ($$)

1am-3pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Arrowhead  is open for tours on Saturdays & Sundays during the holidays.  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. Pittsfield, MA ($)

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. ($)

12noon-3pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Learn to track mammals during winter with Wilderness Adventures!  Take a hike (or snowshoe, depending on weather) to learn to identify common plants, and learn to search for signs of mammals like raccoons, porcupines, and skunks.  Registration required.  413-568-1287.  526 College Highway.  Southwick, MA.  ($$)

2pm – FAMILY 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.  ($)

2pm - 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.  ($$)

2-4:30pm – BALLET: Make seeing the The Nutcracker a family holiday tradition!  The Berkshire Museum’s Little Cinema screens the Royal Ballet’s performance today.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

2pm & 7:30pm  – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Eric Hill and presented for the second time at The Colonial Theatre. 413-997-4444. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

4-8pm – HOLIDAY: Look Park is decorated for the holidays – visit to ride on the train, see the lights displays, and meet Santa himself in his workshop, filled with miniature New England villages and model trains!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (FREE, fee for parking)

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. ($)

5-6pm – STORYTIME: A special Luminarium Storytime takes place at the Hatfield Library tonight!  Have some holiday snacks and listen to holiday stories.  413-247-9097.  39 Main Street.  Hatfield, 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)

6pm – CHRISTMAS CAROLING: All are invited to join local 4-H Club for Christmas Caroling Down Main Street.  Meet at the Cummington Community House at 6pm and travel from home to home on Main Street to sing holiday songs.  Return to Community House for refreshments.  Bring plates of cookies to share. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA (FREE)

6-8pm – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE/DINNER: Visit Yankee Candle for dinner and a chow 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.  ($$$)

7pm – HOLIDAY FILM: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is screening, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” this evening as a holiday gift to the community – free admission!  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

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Monday, December 24th, 2012

10am – SANTA: Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance at Yankee Candle this morning  - and they’ll be arriving via helicopter in order to fit their visit into the very busy pre-Christmas schedule!  Kids can get their very own reindeer antlers to wear, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, and see holiday balloons made with Magical Moments.  25 Greenfield Road.  South Deerfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-2pm – HOLIDAY: Look Park is decorated for the holidays – visit to ride on the train, see the lights displays, and meet Santa himself in his workshop, filled with miniature New England villages and model trains!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (FREE, fee for parking)

11am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Mass MoCA is open and offering lots to see and do for families during school vacation!  The KidSpace will be open, and there will be a museum tour (for older students) at 2pm.  Families can explore the museum galleries and learn about the many different pieces exhibited!  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is lit up for the holidays!  Visit to see the beautiful and elaborate Bright Lights displays, and enjoy an evening out in the crisp winter air.  413-733-3800.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

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Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

9:30am-4pm – HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village is open for school vacation!  Kids get free admission, and families can enjoy a host of historic and seasonal activities, including (weather-dependent) sledding and skating!  There will also be indoor performances of all sorts, crafts demonstrations, and hands-on activities for kids.  Families can learn about life in early New England, and the many different skills and resources that 1830’s life required.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  (FREE/$)

10-11:30am – 1-5pm – MOVEMENT: Kid Kaboddle, a morning of activities for kids ages 1-5 at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA (>$)

10am-5pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 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. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE w/admission)

10:30am – STORYTIME: Lee Library will host a Curious George Storytime. Registration requested.413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. (FREE)

11am and 2pm – PUPPETS: CactusHead Puppets present, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” at the Eric Carle Museum!  CactusHead puts a new spin on the classic, favorite tale – don’t miss it!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$)

11am-4pm – HISTORY: The Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College is offering special hours for school vacation!  Families can visit the museum to learn about everything from dinosaur bones to how the Pioneer Valley was shaped – the museum is home to hundreds of plant and animal fossils, taxidermic animals of numerous species, and lots of exhibits on geology, mineralogy, and more!  413-542-5054.  1 Barrett Hill Road.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

11am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Mass MoCA is open and offering lots to see and do for families during school vacation!  The KidSpace will be open, and there will be museum tours (for older students) at 11am and 3pm, as well as a special tour of the Sol Lewitt exhibit at 1pm.  Families can explore the museum galleries and learn about the many different pieces exhibited!  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($)

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 – FAMILY CONCERT: Terry A La Berry and Friends will host a free post-holiday family concert at Berkshire South Regional Community Center for ages 8-12. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

12noon-3:45pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Explore Asian Art at the Springfield Museums’ Art Discovery Center!  Kids can trace their own Chinese horoscopes, learn about the bold colors and intricate designs found in Asian art, try on costumes, play games, and more!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

1pm & 3pm – FAMILY MOVIE: Whately Library is screening “Brave” (PG). 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Rd. Whately, MA (FREE)

1-5pm – LOCAL HISTORY: 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. If you can’t make it today, the museum is open all weekdays during the same hours. 413-684-2600. 30 South Street. Dalton, MA. (FREE)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: 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!  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

2-3:30pm – SWIMMING: Take a dip in the heated pool at Wilderness Adventures!  Families welcome to enjoy the special holiday vacation pool party (young children must be potty trained).  Registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College HIghway.  Southwick, MA.  ($)

2:30-5:30pm – CRAFTS: Help clean out the Monson Library’s craft supplies stores at Craftapalooza!  Craft all afternoon, and use any of the supplies leftover from previous craft activities that you want.  Kiddos who tire of crafting can experiment with the library’s LEGOs.  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.  (FREE)

3pm – MARIONETTES: Puppeteer Carl Sprague will present a marionette production of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “Hansel and Gretel” at Ventfort Hall. 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. 413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($) 

6-7:30pm – KAYAKINGWilderness Adventures is having family kayak night!  Kids ages 6+ and their families can learn some basic kayaking skills in the indoor pool.  Registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College Highway.  Southwick, MA.  ($$)

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Thursday, December 27th, 2012

9:30am-4pm – HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village is open for school vacation!  Kids get free admission, and families can enjoy a host of historic and seasonal activities, including (weather-dependent) sledding and skating!  There will also be indoor performances of all sorts, crafts demonstrations, and hands-on activities for kids.  Families can learn about life in early New England, and the many different skills and resources that 1830’s life required.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  (FREE/$)

10am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: The Springfield Museums are hosting Wacky Week while school’s out for vacation!  Visit for special performances and activities, including Asian art explorations, New Year’s mask art activities, bowtie making, and a performance from Matt Roberts!  Roberts will present Charismatic Comedy Magic – an interactive comedic show including original magic tricks, and a hands-on magic-learning lesson!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

10am-5pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 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. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE w/admission)

11am – FAMILY CONCERT: Berkshire Theatre Group presents David Grover and Grover’s Gang with the BTG PLAYS! Children’s Chorus at the Unicorn Theater!  Grover spent many years of his career touring with Arlo Guthrie, and has since become a beloved family singer-songwriter.  Grover’s Gang – made up of children tackling various challenges – serves to represent Grover’s commitment to making children accessible to all children, and illustrates the universal nature of music.  413-298-5576.  6 East Street.  Stockbridge, MA.  ($$)

11am-4pm – HISTORY: The Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College is offering special hours for school vacation!  Families can visit the museum to learn about everything from dinosaur bones to how the Pioneer Valley was shaped – the museum is home to hundreds of plant and animal fossils, taxidermic animals of numerous species, and lots of exhibits on geology, mineralogy, and more!  413-542-5054.  1 Barrett Hill Road.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

11am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Mass MoCA is open and offering lots to see and do for families during school vacation!  The KidSpace will be open, and there will be museum tours (for older students) at 11am and 3pm, as well as a special tour of the Sol Lewitt exhibit at 1pm.  Families can explore the museum galleries and learn about the many different pieces exhibited!  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($)

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. ($)

1pm – CHEMISTRY: Be mad scientists 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)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: 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!  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

2-3:30pm – SWIMMING: Take a dip in the heated pool at Wilderness Adventures!  Families welcome to enjoy the special holiday vacation pool party (young children must be potty trained).  Registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College HIghway.  Southwick, MA.  ($)

2pm – FAMILY MOVIE: The Westfield Athenaeum is screening the movie, “Brave” this afternoon!  It’s rated PG, and is entertaining for all ages.  413-568-7833.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

2pm – CHILDREN’S THEATER: Berkshire Children’s Theater presents, “Pinkalicious!” at the Berkshire 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!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

3pm – MARIONETTES: Puppeteer Carl Sprague will present a marionette production of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “Hansel and Gretel” at Ventfort Hall. 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. 413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($) 

7:30pm  – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Eric Hill and presented for the second time at The Colonial Theatre. 413-997-4444. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

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Friday, December 28th, 2012

9:30am-4pm – HISTORY: Old Sturbridge Village is open for school vacation!  Kids get free admission, and families can enjoy a host of historic and seasonal activities, including (weather-dependent) sledding and skating!  There will also be indoor performances of all sorts, crafts demonstrations, and hands-on activities for kids.  Families can learn about life in early New England, and the many different skills and resources that 1830’s life required.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  (FREE/$)

10-10:50am – ICE SKATING: West Springfield Park & Recreation Department is offering free skate time for families at the Amelia Park Ice Arena. 413-263-3284. 21 South Broad St., Westfield, MA (FREE, $2 skate rental)

10am-5pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURES: 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. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA (FREE w/admission)

10am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: The Springfield Museums’ Wacky Week is filled with tons of activities, perfect for kiddos on vacation from school!  Today’s activities include monster mask and New Year’s mask making, family science adventures (11am-2pm), and a performance from The Real McCoy – a construction-themed show filled with stunts, improv, and audience participation!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

11am – FAMILY CONCERT: Berkshire Theatre Group presents David Grover and Grover’s Gang with the BTG PLAYS! Children’s Chorus at the Unicorn Theater!  Grover spent many years of his career touring with Arlo Guthrie, and has since become a beloved family singer-songwriter.  Grover’s Gang – made up of children tackling various challenges – serves to represent Grover’s commitment to making children accessible to all children, and illustrates the universal nature of music.  413-298-5576.  6 East Street.  Stockbridge, MA.  ($$)

11am – CHILDREN’S THEATER: Berkshire Children’s Theater presents, “Pinkalicious!” at the Berkshire 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!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

11am and 1pm – PUPPETS: Tom Knight Puppets presents, “Stone Soup and Other Tales,” at the Eric Carle Museum!  The show is a collection of songs and skits for all ages, topics including animals, books, food, and the environment.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  (<$)

11am-4pm – HISTORY: The Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College is offering special hours for school vacation!  Families can visit the museum to learn about everything from dinosaur bones to how the Pioneer Valley was shaped – the museum is home to hundreds of plant and animal fossils, taxidermic animals of numerous species, and lots of exhibits on geology, mineralogy, and more!  413-542-5054.  1 Barrett Hill Road.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

11am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Mass MoCA is open and offering lots to see and do for families during school vacation!  The KidSpace will be open, and there will be museum tours (for older students) at 11am and 3pm, as well as a special tour of the Sol Lewitt exhibit at 1pm.  Families can explore the museum galleries and learn about the many different pieces exhibited!  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($)

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. ($)

1pm - FAMILY CONCERT: Richard Perlmutter presents Beethovens Wig at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. 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 and open to all. 1 Wendell Avenue. 413-499-9480 x5 Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

1-3pm – FAMILY DANCE PARTY: Disco ball and all!  A fun dance for the entire family at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA ($)

1-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE/COMICS: 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!  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

2-3:30pm – SWIMMING: Take a dip in the heated pool at Wilderness Adventures!  Families welcome to enjoy the special holiday vacation pool party (young children must be potty trained).  Registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College HIghway.  Southwick, MA.  ($)

3pm – MARIONETTES: Puppeteer Carl Sprague will present a marionette production of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, “Hansel and Gretel” at Ventfort Hall. 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. 413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($) 

4:30-6pm – SNORKEL: Visit Wilderness Adventures and have a scuba party in their pool!  Play snorkel games, practice swimming to the bottom of the pool, and gain basic scuba skills.  Ages 7+.  Pre-registration required.  413-569-1287.  526 College Highway.  Southwick, MA.  ($$)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is lit up for the holidays!  Visit to see the beautiful and elaborate Bright Lights displays, and enjoy an evening out in the crisp winter air.  413-733-3800.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

6:15pm - HOLIDAY MOVIE: The Mason Library is screening holiday classic, “Elf!”  Enjoy the hilarious (for all ages!) movie as a family.  413-528-2403.  231 Main Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

7-9pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Take a night hike in the moonlight at Basin Pond!  The Berkshire Natural Resources Council will lead the trek, which will follow the Loop Trail to the dam for views of the wetland area.  Listen for sounds of night animals and enjoy the crisp air (dress warmly!).  Pre-registration required.  Carpool to location – meet at Big Y.  Route 102.  Lee, MA.  (FREE)

7:30pm  – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Eric Hill and presented for the second time at The Colonial Theatre. 413-997-4444. 111 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

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