15 Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall in Western MA

15 Smart Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall
Friday, November 28th, 2014

The annual Moonlight Magic holiday stroll will be kicking off the holiday season in the village of Shelburne Falls on Black Friday! Stroll the Village with your family and enjoy local shopping and holiday fun!

  1. The Springfield Museums’  “Holiday Wonderland and Lighting of the Quadrangle” begins on Black Friday, with special exhibitions, performances, and hands-on art activities.
  2. Zoo on the Go will be at Sunderland Public Library with an educational program that brings live animals, artifacts, and other educational materials.
  3. Discover the art of glass blowing at Snow Farm by making your own glass ornament during their annual Seconds Sale in Williamsburg.
  4. Join the Berkshire Museum on a wildlife expedition through the galleries with this year’s “Festival of Trees 2014 On Safari” in Pittsfield.
  5. Learn about the historic trade of paper marbling and redware potter at Historic Deerfield.
  6. The Spirit of Springfield’s annual Tower Square Parade of the Big Balloons is on Black Friday, an exciting big balloon street!
  7. See Leo Lionni’s stories come to life at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst with a performance of Tico and the Golden Wings and Geraldine the Music Mouse with puppets and dancers.
  8. Moonlight Magic will be kicking off the holiday season in the village of Shelburne Falls with a lighting of the village, Santa, music, street performances, and more!
  9. Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield returns this season for holiday fun!  Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display.
  10. Get your bodies moving post Thanksgiving and enjoy time ice skating on Black Friday!  There are several open skates to choose from, including: Smead Skating Arena in Springfield; Collins/Moylan Arena in Greenfield; Fitzpatrick Skating Arena in Holyoke; and UMass Mullins Center in Amherst.
  11. If you want some Santa time, but want to skip the mall, Santa will be arriving by helicopter at  Amelia Park Children’s Museum in Westfield, by firetruck to the Hotel Northampton
  12. Bring the family to KidSpace at MASS MoCA in North Adams to see their current exhibit, It’s Only Human. Before heading out, download their gallery guide for this exhibit and get ready to explore the pedagogical concept of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and ART!)
  13. Discover how New Englanders of the past cooked their Thanksgiving meals at Historic Deerfield’s Open Hearth Cooking Demonstrations.
  14. The New England Air Museum is holding their annual Santa visit and behind-the-scenes event. Photos with Santa and a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum in Windsor Locks, CT.
  15. Spend Thanksgiving weekend at Old Sturbridge Village and learn about Thanksgiving customs of the 19th Century.

 

 

 

Suggested Events for November 22nd-28th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is a great community centered organization which helps children take the important aspects of education into consideration… It has most definitely enriched my life by showing me what is a true sense of community and UNITY.” Meghan Keegan (Ware, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families’ Event

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event takes place this Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm in Northampton—a one of a kind FREE event for families to volunteer together while educating children about important social issues and the value of community service. Through service-based learning, together we can generate 600 hours of community service in a single morning that support human services, education and children’s welfare support organizations in our region. With a Community Passport in hand, families can travel to five different stations with hands-on activities for kids of all ages, ranging from creating art for elders to tools that support literacy. (Registration for this event has ended.)

Bulletin Board

Nov 22

Art Supporting Music – The Little Drummer Craft Fair returns to the Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls on Saturday, November 22, 9am-4pm. This juried craft fair features over sixty-five artists and craftspeople from throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond, presenting their unique handcrafted products. All proceeds benefit the FCTS Music Department and award-winning Drumline. Support the annual FCTS food drive – bring 2 canned goods for the food drive and receive a ticket to a special raffle drawing. Free admission and free parking, ADA accessible. Lunch items, baked goods available, prepared by our culinary students. 82 Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls, MA. www.facebook.com/littledrummercraftfair

Nov 22

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their fall Open House, Saturday, November 22, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 120 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Nov 22

Visit the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair, Saturday, November 22nd in Hadley, MA! Enjoy King Winter, roving musicians, unique crafts to make and buy, candle dipping, jump rope making, games, food, and pony rides. See the performance, The Mouse Bride: A Marionette Show, performed by the Early Childhood staff. Come experience the wonder that abounds at the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair! There is nothing else like it! Saturday, November 22nd. 10:00am – 4:00pm, 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Every Sat

Find locally-grown food and live music every Saturday from 9am – 2pm at the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market. Four vegetable farms offer organic greens, root vegetables, and winter squash all season long. Apples, cranberries, cheeses, meats, eggs, breads, ferments, mushrooms, pastries, chocolates, maple syrup, honey, herbs, cold-pressed juices, and prepared foods from over 25 farms and food producers add to the mix. Bring your family by the market every Saturday through April 18th at Smith Voke, 80 Locust Street, Northampton (Route 9 between downtown Northampton and Florence Center). Food Stamps/SNAP accepted. Subscribe to the market’s newsletter at www.nohowintermarket.com/subscribe or contact nohowintermarket@gmail.com for more information.

Nov 28

Start the holiday season off right with the Springfield Museums! On Friday, November 28, the Museums will present their Holiday Wonderland Celebration from 10am–5pm, with loads of family activities, a performance of Hansel & Gretel by the National Marionette Theatre, and the opening of this year’s Adventures in Gingerbread exhibit, all free with museum admission. That evening, it’s a touch of old New England at the annual Lighting of the Quadrangle from 5–7pm. The evening lighting ceremony is FREE and open to the public, and includes free hot cocoa and cookies, carriage rides, music, and an appearance by St. Nick himself! For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org or call 413-263-6800 ext. 488.

Open House Dec 1

Gan Keshet (Rainbow Garden) Jewish Community Preschool Open House: Monday, Dec 1 from 9:30-11am (Snow date, Mon., Dec. 8) at 253 Prospect St., Northampton, MA. Come visit with your child and meet their experienced staff. The Preschool offers: Part/Full Day Options; flexible scheduling; Farm/Garden Based Activities; and a Summer Program. Ask about HGF Right Start Grant- your family could be eligible to receive $1000-2000 towards your child’s tuition! The preschool values diversity and welcome all families in the community. Contact Preschool Director, Wendy Stein at 413-584-3593 x204 or gan.keshet@cbi.northampton.org. For more info visit online: www.cbinorthampton.org; www.facebook.com/Gan.Keshet.Jewish.Community.Preschool.

On Wednesday, December 10th, Hilltown Families will be will be participating in Valley Gives! As we enter our 10th year, this will be our 1st Annual Appeal Campaign, asking you to support us with a financial donation so that we may continue to support education through community engagement through this communication network you have grown to love and depend upon. We are inviting folks to be a part of our virtual STREET TEAM, helping us spread the word about our participation in Valley Gives and rallying support on our behalf. Join us in this exciting campaign! Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org for information on how to get involved. Want to learn more about the vision and mission of Hilltown Families? Check out this TEDx Talk: Supporting Education Through Community Engagement. — And mark your calendars, DEC 10, for an exciting day of giving through Valley Gives!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your holiday event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 22nd-28th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Volunteer Engagement During Thanksgiving Cultivates Community Building Through Service-Based Learning

Thanksgiving Holiday Offers Opportunity of Meaningful Community Service in Western MA

As Thanksgiving approaches, families can integrate food-related community service into their schedules in order to honor the role that food plays in the holiday’s celebration. From community meals to food pantries to other food-related community resources, opportunities abound for families to engage in service or to participate in a community-building meal.

Healthy living requires not only healthy food, but access to food in general. For many families in western Massachusetts, access to food is provided by community organizations that run food pantries and community meals. These organizations – vital to our communities – depend on community support, and rely on donations and volunteers in order to provide the essential services that they offer. This Thanksgiving, families can participate in community service by helping out with a community meal offered by a local organization. Taking place in numerous locations and hosted by a range of different organizations, community Thanksgiving meals help to offer a special meal to those who may not be able to prepare one on their own, who might not have anyone to share Thankgiving dinner with, and also offer families an opportunity to engage in an intergenerational holiday celebration with a diverse group of people.

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Dark Star Orchestra at the Calvin Theatre

Dark  Star Orchestra
Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA
Friday, December 5th, 2014 at 8pm

Enter for your chance to win! You pay for the sitter and we’ll pay for the tickets!

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Continuing our fall promotions, we are pleased to offer a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see  Dark Star Orchestra, at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Friday, December 5th, 2014.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 12/2/14 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT DARK STAR ORCHESTRA

 Performing to critical acclaim worldwide for nearly 17 years and over 2200 shows, Dark Star Orchestra continues the Grateful Dead concert experience. Their shows are built off the Dead’s extensive catalog and the talent of these seven fine musicians. On any given night the band will perform a show based on a set list from the Grateful Dead’s 30 years of extensive touring or use their catalog to program a unique set list for the show. This allows fans both young and old to share in the experience. By recreating set lists from the past, and by developing their own sets of Dead songs, Dark Star Orchestra offers a continually evolving artistic outlet within this musical canon. Honoring both the band and the fans, Dark Star Orchestra’s members seek out the unique style and sound of each era while simultaneously offering their own informed improvisations creating a sound that truly encapsulate the energy and the experience. — www.darkstarorchestra.net

Enter for a chance to win!

We’re entering our 10th year with a first! Join us!

Hilltown Families enters 10th year!
Support us in our 1st Annual Appeal.


This December, Hilltown Families will be entering our 10th year! We will also be participating in our 1st ever Annual Appeal through Valley Gives on December 10th!

For the next few weeks we will be posting a weekly update with exciting news about our Annual Appeal campaign leading up to December 10th, including ways you can participate with us, premiums we will be offering on December 10th, and showcasing Hilltown Families’ highlights.

Supporting Education through Community Engagement

For nearly a decade, Hilltown Families has been working towards creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community-based education and engagement.

In this TEDx Talk, “Supporting Education Through Community Engagement,” Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield, shares her story on why feeling connected to where you live matters, and how community-based education and community-service learning can help grow active citizens who care about where they live.

We Need Your Help!

Are you already a fan of Hilltown Families?  Join our virtual Street Team!!!  Get social with us and share Hilltown Families on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, email and your blogs!  As we get closer to December 10th we’ll be asking our virtual Street Team to rally for Hilltown Families, inviting friend, fans and family to support Hilltown Families with a donation during Valley Gives Day.

To get started, connect with us through our various social media channels.

Then get busy Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, and Pinning our updates, letting those in your own social networks know why you support Hilltown Families and your plans to make a donation of any size on December 10th.

Beginning December 1st we’ll have specific Call to Action requests for our virtual Street Team members! “Join” our Street Team Event Page on Facebook and get real time updates in your Facebook newsfeed!

Matching Grant

Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’  Meet Your Match Bonus is one way you can help us raise over $7,500 on December 10th This is a special competition only for nonprofits that secure matches for Valley Gives Day. Bonus awards will be announced at the end of the day and will be chosen randomly. Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts will award $2,500 to 25 randomly selected nonprofits that meet their matches. Minimum match must be $2,500.

If you’re a BIG BIG fan of Hilltown Families and can support us with a donation of $500 or more, your donation can be pooled together with other supporters to create a matching grant of $2,500. Please email Rick Feldman or Sienna Wildfield to make arrangements prior to Valley Gives Day.

Engage in Community-Based Learning & Service: Become a Pet Foster Family

Pet Fostering Helps Animal Welfare Organizations While Allowing Families an Opportunity for a Short Term Commitment to Care for Animals

There are many local community organizations through which families can foster pets. While some organizations care only for dogs, others include cat care, and still others offer foster opportunities for small caged mammals and even birds! Whatever shape the pet-sized hole in your family’s heart takes, there’s likely an animal in a shelter waiting to fill it. Learn more about the humane societies and animal rescues below, fill out an application, and enjoy your fostering experience!

Have your children been begging for pets as presents? As the holiday season approaches, requests for living gifts can come in a deluge, and for kiddos who have yet to truly conceptualize the long-term commitment that pet parenting entails may not understand the true weight of the “forever” attached to the acquisition of a family pet. However, families can enjoy the adventure of having pets at home by participating in a local animal shelter’s foster family program!

In addition to allowing children experience pets without a permanent, years-long commitment, pet fostering is a meaningful and exciting way to participate in community service. All across western Massachusetts, animal rescue organizations and humane societies work hard to provide food, warm homes, and companionship to animals who might otherwise go without these three basic needs. As any animal-loving child knows, a domestic animal without a home, proper food, or love from a human companion is neither a happy creature or a healthy creature. However, with the help of foster families, animal shelters are able to offer pets the comfort and care of a family and a true home environment while they wait for placement with a permanent family. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for November 15th-21st, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families has been my family’s passport to Western MA since we moved here four years ago from Tanzania. We’ve discovered so many wonderful events and places…” – Karen Zwick (Williamsburg, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families’ Event

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event takes place on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm in Northampton—a one of a kind FREE event for families to volunteer together while educating children about important social issues and the value of community service. Through service-based learning, together we can generate 600 hours of community service in a single morning that support human services, education and children’s welfare support organizations in our region. With a Community Passport in hand, families can travel to five different stations with hands-on activities for kids of all ages, ranging from creating art for elders to tools that support literacy. Space is limited, so reserve a spot for your family today!

Bulletin Board

Coupon Code: HilltownOG

Red Fire Farm offers Bulk Organic Produce for Thanksgiving! Great deals on sweet potatoes, butternut squash,onions, carrots, garlic, and lots more while they last! Order on the farm website and use the Coupon Code HilltownOG for $3 off any bulk order. Coupon expires after 11/28. One use per customer – great for Thanksgiving and storing into the winter! Pick up orders at Red Fire Farm markets and CSA locations in Northampton, Montague, Granby, Springfield and more. Order by Tuesday, Nov 18, for Thanksgiving. Contact Red Fire Farm with any questions: thefarmers@redfirefarm.com or 413-467-7645. Place your order for Bulk Organic Produce online at www.redfirefarm.com/farmers_markets/bulkorders.html with $3 OFF Coupon Code HilltownOG

Nov 14

Come to the Renaissance Center on Friday, November 14th evening of Renaissance board games! Cozy up next to the fire and play some cribbage, chess, backgammon, fox and geese, nyot and more! There will be Renaissance music, door prizes and refreshments courtesy of the Renaissance Center’s Reading Group. This event is free and open to the public, no reservations are necessary. Families with children are encouraged to participate in this merry evening of games! For more information, please visit the Renaissance Center website at www.umass.edu/renaissance or call Sonia at 413-577-3600. The Renaissance Center is located at 650 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. Parking is free. See you there! from 7-9pm for a family-friendly.

Nov 18

Lander~Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA, welcomes families from all Jewish traditions and backgrounds. Their mission is to provide a rich, academically rigorous, and values-based education integrating general and Jewish studies in a nurturing environment. Come to their Open House, Tuesday, November 18 from 8:30am – 10:00am to meet faculty, parents, students, visit classrooms, and their neighbor, Abundance Farm. LGA’s seasoned educators emphasize the social and ethical components that teach children compassion, respect, and the importance of diversity and equality. For more information, contact Gail Lansky, Admissions Director at glansky@lgaschechter.org, 413-584-6622 x105, or visit www.landergrinspoon.org.

Nov 22

The Common School: Community, collaboration, social justice, intrinsic motivation, deep understanding, diversity, inclusivity, environmental education- Come learn how these words are put into action at their fall Open House, Saturday, November 22, from 10am-12noon. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 120 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at outreach@commonschool.org or visit www.commonschool.org.

Nov 22

Visit the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair, Saturday, November 22nd in Hadley, MA! Enjoy King Winter, roving musicians, unique crafts to make and buy, candle dipping, jump rope making, games, food, and pony rides. See the performance, The Mouse Bride: A Marionette Show, performed by the Early Childhood staff. Come experience the wonder that abounds at the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair! There is nothing else like it! Saturday, November 22nd. 10:00am – 4:00pm, 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

On Wednesday, December 10th, Hilltown Families will be will be participating in Valley Gives! As we enter our 10th year, this will be our 1st Annual Appeal Campaign, asking you to support us with a financial donation so that we may continue to support education through community engagement through this communication network you have grown to love and depend upon. We are inviting folks to be a part of our virtual STREET TEAM, helping us spread the word about our participation in Valley Gives and rallying support on our behalf. Join us in this exciting campaign! Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org for information on how to get involved. Want to learn more about the vision and mission of Hilltown Families? Check out this TEDx Talk: Supporting Education Through Community Engagement. — And mark your calendars, DEC 10, for an exciting day of giving through Valley Gives!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your holiday event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 15th-21st, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Animalia: An Intimate Portrait of Endangered Species

Artist Dawn Howkinson Siebel’s Portraits of Endangered Species Are a Call to Action
Sunday, November 9, 2014 through Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Animalia: The Endangered at the Hampden Gallery, celebrates the artist’s keen understanding of the life force embodied in these majestic animals. Siebel paints these intimate oil portraits of endangered species, wherein the being-ness of each animal shines forth. Melting into a deep shadow that holds the animal like an embrace, the darkness swallows form and place, and stands in for context. With each stroke of the brush, Seibel champions for the rights of these animals to simply be. The artist reminds us…the animals are disappearing.

This November, UMass Amherst’s Hampden Gallery hosts an exhibition by the multitalented Dawn Howkinson Siebel, perhaps best known for her painted and batik-dyed silk kimono collection sold at Bergdorf Goodman in the ‘80s, and more recently for her Better Angels series, in which she painted over 300 individual portraits of New York City firefighters who served on September 11, 2001 on burnt blocks of wood. Of Better Angels, she says the project evolved from her desire to “create something positive in response to something terrible.”

Her FAC show, Animalia: The Endangered, is a timely follow-up to that work: one that will hopefully spark a positive, urgent response in viewers to an ongoing environmental disaster. “Over 40 percent of all species on Earth are threatened with extinction,” Siebel says. “The ‘threatened’ classification includes 2129 Critically Endangered, 3079 Endangered, and 4728 Vulnerable animal species – and counting. These numbers are two to three times higher than they were only fifteen years ago.”  Read the rest of this entry »

What Strengthens Your Sense of Place and Community Pride?

Why People Love Where They Live

It’s a happy part of our culture here in western Massachusetts to celebrate all of the things that make our communities so wonderful. We’re constantly celebrating everything from cultural heritage to local food to beautiful landscapes, and it’s easy to identify all of the things that make us love our homes (check out our archived Mash Notes to Paradise posts to see some serious community appreciation). Difficult though it may be to imagine living anywhere else, folks from around the country love their homes just as much as we love ours, and the reasons for their affinity for their communities are as interesting and geographically specific as ours are right here in Massachusetts!

Families can discover the magic within communities across the continent by listening to an archived post of the Hilltown Family Variety Show titled, On the Road. Featuring guest DJ Steve Weeks, the episode features geographically-themed songs alongside brief interviews taped during Weeks’ summer travels all over the United States and Canada. Each interview features information about what makes a particular community special, as told through the perspective of a community member. Interviews come from people in maritime Canada, Las Vegas, New Orleans, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Dakotas, southern California, and other unique locales. Covering nearly all of the corners of the country (and a bonus international location), the episode showcases the wonderful aspects of local culture that are unique to each of the featured locations. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Beloved Schoolgirl Madeline at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans
On View in Western MA, November 15, 2015 – February 22, 2015

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines / Lived twelve little girls … the smallest one was Madeline.” So begins each book in Ludwig Bemelmans’ beloved and universally recognized Madeline series about a brave, mischievous, and lovable young girl attending boarding school in Paris. Published in the United States in 1939, the first book about Madeline came at a time when travel opportunities were limited; Bemelmans’ lush, evocative paintings and illustrations of the “City of Light” offered readers of all ages an escape from the ongoing economic and political turmoil occurring across the globe.

Three generations later, Bemelmans’ illustrations- not to mention his precocious heroine!- are just as beloved. Celebrate Madeline’s 75th anniversary in print by visiting Madeline at 75: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA,  this winter! The first exhibition dedicated solely to Bemelmans’ work in fifty years, it contains a selection of original artwork from his books, as well as mural panels, objects from the French bar he briefly owned, La Colombe, and personal items such as his well-loved paintbox. The exhibition begins on Saturday, November 15th, 2014, and will run through February 22, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event: November 22nd!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for November 8th & 9th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for November 8th-14th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 30 Community Highlights: Renaissance Games to Ice Hockey. Food Swap to Clothing Exchange., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

November 8th-14th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Music EducationArtSustainabilityRenaissance StudiesService-Based LearningPetrology/GemologyParent WorkshopsUrban Water ManagementPlant Studies Sports/Ice HockeyCultural StudiesAviation/Veterans DayLiteracyCollaborative ConsumptionEducator’s Workshop

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Serving up Gratitude & Kindness for Thanksgiving
  2. Sing About Science and Math
  3. Oak & Acorn: Healthy Comfort Foods
  4. Let’s Play: Drawing Pen Pals
  5. Turners Falls Encoded: New QR Walking Tour

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for November 8th-14th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I love Hilltown Families. I would be lost without this site. It’s my go to when I need to get my son out of the house. I am a single mom and new to Western Mass. This is an excellent way to satisfy my curious boy and make new friends. He has learned so much about art, appreciating music, kids cooking classes, farming, staying fit and sports. We have been able to be a part of the community through your efforts. Thank you so much.” – Kate Lynch (Holyoke, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Hettie Belle Farm Local Meat and Poultry CSA! Thanksgiving Turkeys! 100% grass-fed beef & lamb. Pastured pork, chicken, turkey, goose & ducks fed only certified organic grain. Meat & poultry grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. 100% antibiotic and hormone free. It really does matter! Monthly distribution in Greenfield, Florence, and on-farm in Warwick, MA (November-March). Details at www.hettiebellefarm.com. SNAP benefits accepted. Monthly payment plan options to make this sort of direct farmer/consumer relationship possible. Questions? Email Jennifer@hettiebellefarm.com. Do consider becoming a member family!

Coupon Code: HilltownOG

Red Fire Farm offers Bulk Organic Produce for Thanksgiving! Great deals on sweet potatoes, butternut squash,onions, carrots, garlic, and lots more while they last! Order on the farm website and use the Coupon Code HilltownOG for $3 off any bulk order. Coupon expires after 11/28. One use per customer – great for Thanksgiving and storing into the winter! Pick up orders at Red Fire Farm markets and CSA locations in Northampton, Montague, Granby, Springfield and more. Order by Tuesday, Nov 18, for Thanksgiving. Contact Red Fire Farm with any questions: thefarmers@redfirefarm.com or 413-467-7645. Place your order for Bulk Organic Produce online at www.redfirefarm.com/farmers_markets/bulkorders.html with $3 OFF Coupon Code HilltownOG

Nov 8

Coming Home Launch with Author, Illustrator Greg Ruth. Saturday, November 8th at 12pm. In celebration of the release of a new picture book from Greg Ruth and in observance of Veterans Day The Odyssey Book Shop will launch Coming Home. A stunning picture book that tells the story of a boy watching for his military parent to come home. A boy waits. A dog waits. Is today the day their loved ones will come home? Readers everywhere – not just those with loved ones in the military – will treasure these powerful reunions of families and their heroes. FREE and Ages 3+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307 www.odysseybks.com

Nov 10

Open House at Amherst Montessori School, November 10 at 9am. For mid-year and Fall 2015 enrollment. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler (12 months) through Sixth Grade. To register for the Open House, call 413-253-3101 or email Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Join us for Valley Gives!

On Wednesday, December 10th, Hilltown Families will be will be participating in Valley Gives! As we enter our 10th year, this will be our 1st Annual Appeal Campaign, asking you to support us with a financial donation so that we may continue to support education through community engagement through this communication network you have grown to love and depend upon. We are inviting folks to be a part of our virtual STREET TEAM, helping us spread the word about our participation in Valley Gives and rallying support on our behalf. Join us in this exciting campaign! Email Sienna at swildfield@hilltownfamilies.org for information on how to get involved. Want to learn more about the vision and mission of Hilltown Families? Check out this TEDx Talk: Supporting Education Through Community Engagement. — And mark your calendars, DEC 10, for an exciting day of giving through Valley Gives!

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event takes place on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm in Northampton—a one of a kind FREE event for families to volunteer together while educating children about important social issues and the value of community service.  Through service-based learning, together we can generate 600 hours of community service in a single morning that support human services, education and children’s welfare support organizations in our region. With a Community Passport in hand, families can travel to five different stations with hands-on activities for kids of all ages, ranging from creating art for elders to tools that support literacy.  Space is limited, so reserve a spot for your family today!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 8th-14th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Gingerbread Houses: Edible Architecture Brings Families Together

Holiday Tradition of Building Gingerbread Houses
Stimulates Creative Free Play!

Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, along with skills in architectural design, engineering, communication, and collaboration.

It may seem as if the holiday season is far away in the distance, but now that Halloween has come and gone, preparations are beginning for holiday celebrations in western Massachusetts! One of the most important parts of any community celebration of a holiday (winter or otherwise) is the food. An important part of every culture, the food associated with a specific event plays an important role in its celebration and says a lot about those who celebrate. The preparation of specific traditional dishes often brings families together, and creates a tradition that can be a part of each holiday for years to come.

One of the most iconic food-related ways to celebrate early winter’s holidays is by making a gingerbread house. Constructed out of delicious (and also sturdy and long-lasting) spicy gingerbread, festive gingerbread houses represent not only the role of food in holiday celebrations, but also the importance of creativity and intergenerational collaboration. Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, and skills in architectural design, engineering, communication, and collaboration will all come into play during such an activity. And speaking of play – play you shall! Even if the family gingerbread masterpiece isn’t an architectural wonder, the process of decorating it is a fantastic opportunity to participate in creative free play together! Read the rest of this entry »

Fall Chrysanthemum Show at Smith Offers Community-Based Learning

Budding Botanists Will Love This Show at Smith College Botanic Garden

It might be chilly outside, but Smith College’s greenhouses in Northampton are bursting with color this time of year! Annually, with the month of November, comes The Botanic Garden of Smith College’s Fall Chrysanthemum Show, an exhibition filled with colorful mums of all shapes and sizes (some as large as eight inches across!). Budding botanists will love exploring the greenhouse and inspecting blossoms to learn about chrysanthemums.

Of particular interest at the show is the showcase of hybrid mums created by students in Smith College’s horticulture class. Every year, the mum show includes blooms engineered by students specifically for characteristics like petal shape, color, and/or size. Hybrid blooms are created by hand-pollinating blossoms, a process that requires careful attention to be paid to the plants’ reproductive process. Visitors to the show can view the students’ hybrid flowers and vote for their favorite of the original blooms. The competition has been going on for nearly a century, and past winners’ blooms can be viewed in an online gallery. Take a look at the archived blossoms and try to guess what the flowers whose genetic material was hybridized might have looked like! Read the rest of this entry »

Philosophy for Children Class at MHC Supports Community-Based Education

‘Big Ideas for Little Kids:’ PBS Doc Features Mount Holyoke College Class

Each fall, students in Professor Thomas E. Wartenberg’s Philosophy for Children class pack up kids’ picture books and bring big ideas to elementary school students in the Pioneer Valley.

Rather than slogging through philosophers’ names and theories, however, the Mount Holyoke College students are teaching second graders at the Martin Luther King Charter School in Springfield, MA, to question their own assumptions, listen to each other’s points of view, and sometimes even change their minds—all through the lens of children’s books.

The class, co-taught by Wartenberg and Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella last year, is the subject of a documentary film that will premiere on PBS affiliate WGBY Channel 57 on Monday, November 3, at 8 pm. Big Ideas for Little Kids will be rebroadcast (see schedule below) and available online starting November 4 at wgby.org/bigideas.

“The second graders learn some of the basic rules for having a philosophical discussion, from what it means to be a listener who respects differences in opinion, to how to build a good argument when making a point,” filmmaker Julie Akeret, a regional Emmy Award winner, says. “These young students are excited to be asked not only what they think, but why.”

When the class was filmed last fall, the Mount Holyoke students used six children’s picture books, each focusing on a different question of philosophy. Frederick, for example, prompts the question, “What is work?” through the story of a mouse who composes poetry while his family and friends gather food for winter. The Giving Tree inspires an impassioned examination of whether a tree surrendered “her whole self” when she gave up her lush branches and towering trunk so her son could build a home. And Emily’s Art incites a debate about whether a judge really knows best in an art contest. Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Clean Water: A Family Celebration

The Art of Clean Water: A Family Celebration

What do storm drains have in common with art, watersheds, and poetry? They’ll all be a part of The Art of Clean Water celebration put on by Enchanted Circle Theater and their community partners on Saturday, November 8th from 10am-11:30am at the Holyoke Public Library! The celebration will feature an unveiling of new artwork inspired by Holyoke students on several of the storm drains in downtown Holyoke. The event will be focused on education and advocacy around water for youth and local families and will have activities and opportunities to learn for the whole family.

Bring your children to investigate microscopic critters with the Hitchcock Center, create trash art and poetry with the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and learn about rain gardens with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission… to name just a few highlights! Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for November 1st-7th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“A network I can SEE. Values I can relate too. People and places I know. Fresh, up-to-date content. And as a small business owner, if I want to do outreach, Hilltown Families will be my go-to place! Thanks for keeping this site going for so long so well.” – Julie Meyer (Florence, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Oct 31

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting their annual Witches Ball on Halloween Night! Come dressed in your Halloween costumes and enjoy a buffet including oozing zombie zits, lumberjack fingers, shredded mummy guts, vampire eyeballs and more. The fun doesn’t end with the food- Cloud 9 Productions will be at the Witches Ball for kid’s karaoke, there will be pumpkin decorating, and Teaching Creatures will be bringing some creepy crawly creatures to learn about, some of them you can even touch! Seatings for this event are at 4pm and 5:30pm, be sure to make your reservations soon! 413-665-1277. ($)

Nov 1

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun – Joshua Glenn and Catherine Newman. Saturday, November 1st at 11am. Joshua Glenn with the help of local blogger, Catherine Newman, will show you indoor games to play that test your skills and stretch your imaginations. The book offers a gold mine of creative, constructive fun: intricate clapping games, bike rodeo, Google Earth challenges, croquet golf, capture the flag, and the best ever apps to play with Grandma, to name only a handful. Gaming is a whole culture for kids to explore, and the book will be complete with gaming history and interviews with awesome game designers. FREE and Ages 8+. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com.

Nov 1

November 1. Free Family Fun @ SCMA 1-4pm. Celebrate creativity through the arts! Everyone is welcome to the Smith College Museum of Art’s free Family Fun @ My Museum: Once Upon a Painting event on Saturday, November 1 from 1-4pm. Kids can create their own fairy tale book with story elements drawn from works on view. Listen to fairy tales—familiar and fractured—read aloud by 4th and 5th grade students from the Smith College Campus School, in the galleries: 1pm; 1:30pm; 2pm; 2:30pm; and 3pm. Pick up something bound for your library, at their Pop-Up Book Fair. Come dressed as your favorite storybook character. Free admission and snacks; open to all; no registration required. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Questions: museduc@smith.edu.

Nov 2

Picture Book Launch: The Mitten String- Jennifer Rosner. Sunday, November 2nd at 2pm. The Odyssey Bookshop is proud to be launching local author, Jennifer Rosner’s debut picture book, The Mitten String which is a story of “of kindness, love, and overcoming difficult circumstances, be it a disability or the frequent loss of mittens.” Come for a storytime, read by the author herself, and a finger knitting demonstration with sweet treats! An American Sign Language translator will be translating the event. Discover an original folktale about a girl who knits, a deaf woman, and a piece of blue yarn. FREE and All Ages. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com.

Open House Nov 3

The Williston Northampton Middle School in Easthampton, MA, is a close community of 80 seventh- and eighth-graders that offers an educational experience characterized by active engagement. Students develop their individual interests and talents with the guidance of our exceptional faculty. The Williston Northampton Middle School will hold its open house on Monday, November 3 from 6:30-8pm in the Whitaker-Bement building on the Williston Northampton campus. Interested families and students are welcome. Find more information online at www.williston.com/admission, call 413-529-3241, or email admission@williston.com.

Nov 10

Open House at Amherst Montessori School, November 10 at 9am. For mid-year and Fall 2015 enrollment. Following the pioneering approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, Amherst Montessori School nurtures the child’s spirit, curiosity, confidence, and leadership, building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. AMS programs feature thoughtfully-prepared classrooms to support the child’s development, and a curriculum that integrates music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE, Spanish and more. Young Toddler (12 months) through Sixth Grade. To register for the Open House, call 413-253-3101 or email Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org. www.amherstmontessori.org

Hettie Belle Farm Local Meat and Poultry CSA! Thanksgiving Turkeys! 100% grass-fed beef & lamb. Pastured pork, chicken, turkey, goose & ducks fed only certified organic grain. Meat & poultry grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. 100% antibiotic and hormone free. It really does matter! Monthly distribution in Greenfield, Florence, and on-farm in Warwick, MA (November-March). Details at www.hettiebellefarm.com. SNAP benefits accepted. Monthly payment plan options to make this sort of direct farmer/consumer relationship possible. Questions? Email Jennifer@hettiebellefarm.com. Do consider becoming a member family!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 1st-7th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting Math Education to Real Life Scenarios

Statistics Have More Meaning When Pulled From A Greater Context

How many potatoes will Britons eat over the next 3 minutes?

Have you ever wondered how much humans consume, how far we travel, or how long we spend on certain activities? If you’ve ever driven by a landfill or watched a trailer of food getting unloaded at a grocery store, you certainly might wonder about the amounts of things being transferred, consumed, and perhaps eventually recycled or discarded. Families who have traveled on planes or trains may have wondered at times about the speed at which they’ve moved or the amount of fuel that it takes to transport them.

Quantifying all of these questions (and countless others) is a fantastic way to provide context for children’s budding math skills. Encompassing all four mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), basic statistics and data collection allows children to understand not only how to calculate rate and collect information, but provides them with a meaningful context for the mathematical concepts that they learn. By embedding math skill development in studies of everyday life, we can provide children with a reason to learn to understand when to divide or multiply, and when to add versus subtract. Read the rest of this entry »

Become A Citizen Scientist Through Project BudBurst

Mapping Nature Observation Connects the Seasons of a Plant’s Lifecycle

Nothing captures the passing of time quite like the impact of the seasons on plant-life. A great opportunity for Citizen Scientists to claim some seasonally-based nature education opportunities.

Generally when we study trees and their leafing habits, it takes place during the springtime when buds are just beginning to bust out into leaves. At that time of year, trees’ leaves are still intact and are easy to observe. However, fall is also a great time to participate in leaf-based citizen science, and Project BudBurst offers families the opportunity to participate in a large-scale phenology-based science project.

A project sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Project BudBurst’s fall opportunities for citizen science involve making observations of not only deciduous trees and their leaves, but conifers, evergreens, wildflowers, herbs, and grasses, too! Families’ role in Project BudBurst is to help scientists understand the seasonal changes that take place in plants by making observations about their fall state. Information reported by families is used to help scientists understand not only the way that plants look during the fall, but the full cycle of growth and change that they undergo throughout the year. And in supporting scientists in their quest to learn about plants’ changes, families will learn about them too! Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 25th & 26th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for October 25th-31st, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 31 Community Highlights: Symphony to Silk. Spiders to Ghost Tours., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 25th-31st, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

HalloweenSTEMSymphonyHistoric TradesAnimal StudiesCultural StudiesHaunted HistorySkillshareHikingParent WorkshopsPreschool Activities

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. HFVS Halloween Episode with Guest DJ, Andy Z (Radio Show/Podcast)
  2. DIY: Mexican Sugar Skulls
  3. Rag Shag Parades – A Western MA Tradition
  4. Railroads & Locomotives: Three Childrens Books About Trains
  5. 19 Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 25th-31st, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“I check Hilltown Families almost every weekend to see what’s going on. My son and I have done so many fun things we wouldn’t have done, because we wouldn’t have known about them, because of Hilltown Families. It has helped me to feel more a part of my community.” – Ann Lynch (Easthampton, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Open House Oct 25

Smith College Campus School, a coeducational day school enrolling children kindergarten through sixth grade, will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 25th from 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through second grade students and their families are welcome! Come explore classrooms, see what their students are learning, and meet teachers, administrators and current parents. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270. Smith College Campus School is located at 33 Prospect St. in Northampton, MA. There will be another kindergarten through sixth grade open house in January.

Open House Oct 25

Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 25, 10am to 12noon. Tour their classrooms, meet with teachers, stroll around their beautiful campus. Student work will be on display and current families will be available to answer questions. All ages welcome! The Hartsbrook School is a Waldorf school in the Pioneer Valley. Their program from early childhood through high school integrates academic, artistic, and practical work to awaken clarity of thought, warmth of heart, and strength of purpose. Join them at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Oct 25

Halloween Chills & Thrills at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St.) on Saturday, October 25th, from 10am-5pm. Bring the family and come enjoy a full day of spooky art and science activities plus live animal demonstrations, special planetarium shows, and more! Two great performances are free with museum admission – there’s The Garbage Monster and Other Songs by Tom Knight Puppets (11am, Wood Museum – designed for ages 2-5, but all are welcome) and Strings on Stage by The Wayne Martin Puppets (2pm, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum). For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Oct 25

Pumpkin Decorating with Author Sandra Horning at Odyssey Bookshop (9 College Street ) in South Hadley on Saturday, October 25th, at 11am. A storytime with author Sandra Horning, pumpkin decorating and a costume competition is some of the Halloween activities they have in store at Odyssey Bookshop this Saturday. Dress your best, put on your creative cap and come down to the Odyssey for a Pumpkin Party- Pumpkin treats, decorating and a storytime await… This event is free and for ages 2+ www.odysseybks.com

Oct 25

The first-ever OnTrend Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, October 25 at the brand new Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers with find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, and much more. Bring your holiday shopping lists and support our talented local artisans! Free to attend. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at Jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Open House Oct 26

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, October 26, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers and current parents and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Their students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Oct 31

Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield (25 Greenfield Road) is hosting their annual Witches Ball on Halloween Night! Come dressed in your Halloween costumes and enjoy a buffet including oozing zombie zits, lumberjack fingers, shredded mummy guts, vampire eyeballs and more. The fun doesn’t end with the food- Cloud 9 Productions will be at the Witches Ball for kid’s karaoke, there will be pumpkin decorating, and Teaching Creatures will be bringing some creepy crawly creatures to learn about, some of them you can even touch! Seatings for this event are at 4pm and 5:30pm, be sure to make your reservations soon! 413-665-1277. ($)

Nov 1

Celebrate creativity through the arts! Everyone is welcome to the Smith College Museum of Art’s free Family Fun @ My Museum: Once Upon a Painting event on Saturday, November 1 from 1–4pm in Northampton. Kids can create your own fairy tale book with story elements drawn from works on view. Come dressed as your favorite storybook character. Listen to fairy tales—familiar and fractured—read aloud by students from the Smith College Campus School and pick up a little something bound for your library, at their Pop-Up Book Fair. Free admission and snacks; open to all; no registration required. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Questions: museduc@smith.edu.

Open House Nov 3

The Williston Northampton Middle School in Easthampton, MA, is a close community of 80 seventh- and eighth-graders that offers an educational experience characterized by active engagement. Students develop their individual interests and talents with the guidance of our exceptional faculty. The Williston Northampton Middle School will hold its open house on Monday, November 3 from 6:30-8pm in the Whitaker-Bement building on the Williston Northampton campus. Interested families and students are welcome. Find more information online at www.williston.com/admission, call 413-529-3241, or email admission@williston.com.

Red Fire Farm Fall Shares begin Thursday, November 6. Enjoy organic, local and affordable produce through the holidays with Red Fire Farm’s Nov-Dec CSA Shares, available for pick-up in Northampton, Montague, Granby and Springfield. Four hearty distributions of tasty fall vegetables like sweet potatoes, onions, winter squash, Brussels sprouts and greens! $135-140 for the fall season. The share pickups are every other week, on the weeks of Nov 6, Nov 20, Dec 4 and Dec. 18. Nov-Dec Shares are the farm’s most popular winter share! Get your Fall CSA Share now online at www.redfirefarm.com. Contact Red Fire Farm with any questions, thefarmers@redfirefarm.com or 413-467-7645.

Begins Oct 28

Kids ages 7+ Beginner Wheel Throwing Classes with Kathryn Roszko of CyclePottery in Hatfield begins October 28th: Tuesdays 4-5:30pm has two spots left. Adults ongoing, Tuesdays 9-11am and Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm with studio time on Sundays. Veteran’s Day Pottery Camp for ages 9+: 9-12, with the option of staying until 2pm for a long lunch break with a walk along the CT River. $60 for 9-12; $80 for extended day until 2pm. Only four students in all classes, so Kathryn can give lots of individual attention. A great time of year to make pottery for holiday gifts too! kathryn@cyclepottery.com. www.CyclePottery.com. 413-219-9594.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 25th-31st, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Lyle Lovett & his Acoustic Group at the Calvin

Lyle Lovett
& his Acoustic Group
Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 at 8pm

Enter for your chance to win! You pay for the sitter and we’ll pay for the tickets!

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Continuing our fall promotions, we are pleased to offer a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see Lyle Lovett & his Acoustic Group, at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Thursday, 10/30/14 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT LYLE LOVETT

A singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Lovett has appeared in 13 feature films, and on stage and television. Among his many accolades, besides the four Grammy Awards, he was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award, and was recently named the Texas State Musician.

Lovett has been touring in support of Release Me since its release in February 2012. The album was #1 for several weeks on the Americana charts. Produced by Nathaniel Kunkel and Lovett, Release Me represents the end of an era as it was his last record for Curb/Universal Music Group after being on the label for his entire career. Release Me is quintessential Lyle, mixing a smart collection of originals and songs written by some of his favorite songwriters that show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents, but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most infectious and fascinating musicians in popular music.

Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lyle Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His oeuvre, rich and eclectic, is one of the most beloved of any living artist working today — www.lylelovett.com

Enter for a chance to win!

Have Your Kids Roll the Story Dice & Add Creative Color to Storytelling

Story Dice Utilizes the Power of a Child’s Imagination

Children’s creativity is endless, and often causes the line between fiction and reality to be fuzzy at times. Take advantage of their ability to add creative details to their everyday experiences by using story dices at home! A handmade set can be tailored to a child’s interests and preexisting knowledge, and will generate endless sets of story-crafting inspiration that will support children in developing a wide variety of skills.

For young children, the line between fiction and nonfiction in their own storytelling is flexible – tales of the previous day’s adventures can easily become intertwined with imaginary interactions with invented characters and impossible events. A normal part of childhood, the tendency to mix fact and fiction together isn’t a problem, it’s just the product of an active imagination! Storytelling of any kind helps children develop all kinds of essential skills, so take advantage of the fantastic imaginary realms of childhood by supporting children in telling all of their tales – tall or otherwise.

One fun way to make storytelling a regular family activity is to create story dice, which offer a tangible set of story-making clues and turn the process of putting together a story into a bit of a game. A set of story dice isn’t made up of a specific number of dice, but an amount that is more than three and less than ten offers a good amount of variety. If done as a DIY family project, story dice can be covered with images of your family’s choosing – generally, an assortment of people, places, animals, objects, and even colors, letters, and numbers cover the sides of the dice. When rolled, story dice generate a set of things around which to craft a story. Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween Candy Collection Shows Kindness to Others

Halloween Candy: Catalyst Towards Service Based Learning

After the magic of Halloween has ended and bits of costumes have been strewn about the house, kids are left with fond memories and gigantic piles of candy. While the candy can be of moderate educational value, it primarily serves as an unnecessary dietary supplement that, if well-rationed, can hang around the house for months to come. As much as most children love to eat candy, health-conscious parents may not want the collected treats to hang around and be consumed. On Nov 1 in Easthampton, Easthampton CrossFit will be collecting unwanted candy to donate to Operation Gratitude!

Halloween brings haunted hayrides, cute costumes, and more candy than anyone needs–or even wants–to eat. This year, families can use Halloween candy as a catalyst toward community service by getting rid of unwanted candy and helping our troops at the same time. On Saturday, November 1, at a “Halloween Candy Give Back,” Easthampton CrossFit will accept donations of candy to be sent to the troops serving overseas through Operation Gratitude, a California-based non-profit that sends military care packages.

“Halloween candy brings a memory of home,” says Jim Rego, a military veteran and a coach at the gym. By donating their candy to the troops, children can learn about service and giving back, and also cut down on eating Halloween candy.

This is a great event for kids who want to trick or treat, but either can’t eat candy due to food allergies or who just don’t want to eat too much. Parents can allow kids to pick out a few pieces of candy to keep, and bring the rest to Easthampton CrossFit ((180 Pleasant Street) on Saturday morning from 11am to 1pm to be donated.

Can’t make it? Want to organize a similar event in your community? Find out how you can organize a collection drive in your community through Operation Gratitude.

Hilltown High School Students Mobilize to Support Democracy

Members of Model United Nations Club Raise Awareness

The entrance to Gateway Regional High School in the Hilltowns features student words of support for Hong Kong protesters.

Hong Kong. A city of more than seven million people, is a global financial center known for its film industry and manufacturing sector. And more recently, known for the protests that have brought tens of thousands to its streets, all demonstrating for free and fair democratic elections. Recently, students at Gateway Regional High School in Huntington, MA, put together a campaign to raise awareness of the events in Hong Kong and to show support for the pro-democracy protesters half a world away. Senior, Cory Bisbee,  had followed the protests closely and decided to start organizing a group of fellow classmates to address them after police shockingly used tear gas and pepper spray on the protesters.  Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 18th-24th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a working mom, I don’t always have the opportunity to make community connections and Hilltown Families provides a needed resource for families like mine that are looking for opportunities to build community… What a great resource!” – AnnMarie D. (Belchertown, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Oct 17

Levellers Press, the publishing wing of Collective Copies, a thirty-year-old worker co-operative in Amherst, Massachusetts, has announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. There will be a book release reading, signing and celebration on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m., at Collective Copies’ Off the Common Bookshop at 71 South Pleasant Street, Amherst. At 6 p.m. Levellers Press celebrates its fifth anniversary as a publishing company. The public is invited.

Oct 18

Common School Children’s Carnival takes place on Saturday, October 18, from 10am-2pm in Amherst. (Rain location: Amherst Middle School.) Join the School for an old fashioned, family-friendly event. There will be games, prizes, activities, great food and fabulous entertainment. From Bounce House to Cake Walk to Live Music, there will be something for everyone. Open to the public. Free Admission. The Common School is located at 521 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Find out more at www.commonschool.org.

Oct 18

The annual Children’s Fair and Open House will be held at the Montessori School of Northampton on Saturday, October 18, from 11am-3pm at 51 Bates Street, Northampton. This day of fun for families features children’s games and crafts, face painting, bounce house, musical entertainment, food and beverages, Circus Folk Unite!, Northampton Martial Arts, Tom Ricardi & Birds of Prey, and author Jarrett Krosoczka. NEW THIS YEAR!–an obstacle course, a book fair, and an art & craft fair. Tours of the school and information on current openings as well as for Fall 2015 will be available. General admission is free; some activities require purchase of activity tickets at a minimal charge. For more info, call 413-586-4538. www.northamptonmontessori.org

Oct 18 & 25

Two Happenings in the Berkshires! Enchanted CobbleSat Oct 18, 3pm-Dusk. Carve/paint Halloween pumpkins at Bartholomew’s Cobble, plus marshmallows & campfire stories. Your creations come alive along Ledges Trail by their flickering “fire” light. 105 Weatogue Rd Ashley Falls-Sheffield. $15/pumpkin. Also, Hauntings in the GardenSat Oct 25, 11am & 3pm (Rain date Oct 26). Explore Naumkeag Gardens with wacky, magical Royal Frog Ballet. Family-friendly tours blend performance, visual art, music & movement to delight all ages. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge. Sponsored by Trustees of Reservations. Members $10; Nonmembers $15; Children $5. Member family max $20; non-member family max $35. www.ttor.org 413-532-1631 x0 westregion@ttor.org

Open House Oct 19

The Yiddish Book Center will host their annual Community Open House on Sunday, Oct 19 (10am-4pm). On the schedule is a full day of events for all ages. Free & open to public. They have a story performer, public tours, a talk and slide show by Yelena Lembersky entitled The Art of Felix Lembersky: Insights from his Granddaughter in conjunction with the opening of a traveling exhibit on Lembersky’s work, and a welcome/update from Aaron Lansky. And to cap it all off, the Sarah Rose Lazarus Concert features Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi at 2pm. Yosi Kosher Catering will be serving up lunch/snacks. The Yiddish Book Center is located adjacent to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. For more info & full schedule visit yiddishbookcenter.org. 413-256-4900.

Open House Oct 25

Open House at The Hartsbrook School, Saturday, October 25, 10am to 12noon. Tour their classrooms, meet with teachers, stroll around their beautiful campus. Student work will be on display and current families will be available to answer questions. All ages welcome! The Hartsbrook School is a Waldorf school in the Pioneer Valley. Their program from early childhood through high school integrates academic, artistic, and practical work to awaken clarity of thought, warmth of heart, and strength of purpose. Join them at 193 Bay Road in Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Open House Oct 25

Smith College Campus School, a coeducational day school enrolling children kindergarten through sixth grade, will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 25th from 9:30-11am. All prospective kindergarten through second grade students and their families are welcome! Come explore classrooms, see what their students are learning, and meet teachers, administrators and current parents. For more information about Smith College Campus School or to preregister for the Open House visit online at www.smith.edu/sccs or call the admission office at 413-585-3270. Smith College Campus School is located at 33 Prospect St. in Northampton, MA. There will be another kindergarten through sixth grade open house in January.

Oct 25

Halloween Chills & Thrills at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St.) on Saturday, October 25th, from 10am-5pm. Bring the family and come enjoy a full day of spooky art and science activities plus live animal demonstrations, special planetarium shows, and more! Two great performances are free with museum admission – there’s The Garbage Monster and Other Songs by Tom Knight Puppets (11am, Wood Museum – designed for ages 2-5, but all are welcome) and Strings on Stage by The Wayne Martin Puppets (2pm, Davis Auditorium, D’Amour Museum). For information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org.

Oct 25

The first-ever OnTrend Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, October 25 at the brand new Hadley Farms Meeting House in lovely Hadley, MA. The fair will showcase talented indie crafters and makers of all kinds from throughout New England and New York. Shoppers with find high-quality handmade jewelry, paper goods, wood crafts, home goods, and much more. Bring your holiday shopping lists and support our talented local artisans! Free to attend. For more information, visit ontrendcrafts.com or email Jennifer at Jennifer@ontrendcrafts.com.

Open House Oct 26

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, October 26, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers and current parents and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm, ethical community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Their students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 18th-24th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event: November 22nd!

Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event
Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm
Leeds Elementary School in Northampton, MA

Volunteer with your family to help local non-profits in a single free event on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm during the Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Event, held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton— a one of a kind event for families to volunteer together while educating children about important social issues and the value of community service. — We are all filled and registration has been closed.

Hilltown Families will be hosting a Saturday morning of family volunteering during our fall Family Community Service Event on Saturday, November 22nd from 10am-1pm in Northampton, MA!

Two years ago was our inaugural Family Community Service Night where we focused on human service organizations, and last year was our Spring Family Community Service Event where we focused on animal welfare and food security. Through both events, families were able to put in 750 hours of community service!  Check out this great video that shares the joy and excitement families experienced together while engaged in volunteerism for their community at two of our family community service events… and then make plans to join us for our newest event this fall!

Our third community service event will be on Saturday, November 22nd and will again be held at Leeds Elementary School in Northampton.  We will be offering five volunteer stations for families to participate in hands-on service projects for ALL AGES that support education, children’s welfare, and human services.  Families will also be able to bring home one of their service projects to continue their community service together from home.

Find out more! Sign up your family!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for October 11th & 12th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for October 11th-17th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 33 Community Highlights: Fall Festival to Medieval Faire. Wild Rice to Apples., and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For the best Autumn in New England experience here in Western MA, check out our Autumn Bucket List for recommendations on what to do and where to go from local families in the know! Plus, we have a comprehensive list of Halloween Events in Western MA for spooky community & learning events.

October 11th-17th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

STEMFilm StudiesLocal HistoryAgricultureArcheology/TextilesService-Based LearningPaleontologyArchitectureCommunity CelebrationsMedieval HistorySukkotLocal Food HistoryHaunted HistoryOutdoor AdventuresTheater Studies

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. What’s the Alternative to a Sexualized Halloween Costume? Make Your Own!
  2. 8 Halloween Costume Safety Tips
  3. DIY: Halloween Paper-Maché Piñatas
  4. HFVS Halloween Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Sojourner Truth Memorial: American and Western MA History

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Warm thank you to our sponsors!

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for October 11th-17th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Over the last few years I have participated in the Big Brother/Big Sister organization located in Amherst. Every week I spend some time with my little brother (a 13 year old boy from Northampton) and we always check Hilltown Families to see what’s going on. We’ve learned a lot about what’s going on in our community and have benefited immensely.” – Dennis Caraher (Northampton, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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 community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

Bulletin Board

Oct 11

Enjoy the magic of live theatre and the power of imagination with Bonnie Duncan’s Squirrel Stole My Underpants: A Poignantly Silly Adventure Tale for Families on Saturday, Oct 11 at 11am & 1pm at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. A lonely girl is sent outside to hang up the laundry and keep herself busy. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel appears, steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When she gives chase, she finds herself lost in strange lands and an entire world emerges from her laundry basket. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126.

Oct 11

Oak Meadow Open House is Saturday, Oct. 11, from 11 am to 1 pm, at 132 Main St. Brattleboro, VT. Join Oak Meadow for this fun, annual event! Learn about their progressive, creative, experiential homeschooling curriculum for kindergarten to grade 12. Speak with teachers and college and educational counselors, browse curriculum materials, network with other homeschooling families. Enjoy crafts, music, and refreshments for kids of all ages. FREE and open to anyone who’s interested in learning more about homeschooling. Open House will be held in their new, though incomplete, offices in the renovated historic Brooks House in downtown Brattleboro. Help them imagine the possibilities their new space holds! For more info, visit www.oakmeadow.com

Oct 11 & 12

The 2014 Ashfield Fall Festival (Ashfield, MA) will take place up and down Ashfield’s Main Street on October 11-12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days – rain or shine. The annual festival offers craft and art exhibits by more than 50 exhibitors, locally-grown and prepared foods, live music and dancing, face-painting and other children’s activities, and book and tag sales. Admission is free. Parking is available in lots east of the town center on Route 116 (attendants collect donations for the Ashfield Citizens’ Scholarship Fund).The Festival also hosts the Ashfield Agriculture Commission’s annual Giant Pumpkin and Tallest Sunflower contest. For more information: www.ashfieldfallfestival.org.

Oct 12

Sukkot Harvest Festival! Sunday, Oct 12, 1-4 at Abundance Farm, 253 Prospect Street in Northampton. In celebration of the fall harvest, Abundance Farm is holding a Sukkot Harvest Festival for all ages, open to the public. Activities will include apple cider pressing, a smoothie-making bicycle blender, honey extraction, fermentation workshop, heritage wheat exhibition, wood-fired cob oven, herbal medicine making, nature arts and crafts and more. Delicious food and beverages from local farms and artisans including a falafel cart! Featuring live music from Brian Bender & Little Shop of Horas. Suggested donation $5 per person. For more information contact info@abundancefarm.org or 413-584-3593 x203. Find “Sukkot Harvest Festival” on Facebook.

Oct 17

Levellers Press, the publishing wing of Collective Copies, a thirty-year-old worker co-operative in Amherst, Massachusetts, has announced the publication of Building Co-operative Power: Stories and Strategies from Worker Co-operatives in the Connecticut River Valley. There will be a book release reading, signing and celebration on Friday, October 17 at 7 p.m., at Collective Copies’ Off the Common Bookshop at 71 South Pleasant Street, Amherst. At 6 p.m. Levellers Press celebrates its fifth anniversary as a publishing company. The public is invited.

Oct 18

Common School Children’s Carnival takes place on Saturday, October 18, from 10am-2pm in Amherst. (Rain location: Amherst Middle School.) Join the School for an old fashioned, family-friendly event. There will be games, prizes, activities, great food and fabulous entertainment. From Bounce House to Cake Walk to Live Music, there will be something for everyone. Open to the public. Free Admission. The Common School is located at 521 South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Find out more at www.commonschool.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, community event, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN 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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
October 11th-17th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | School Closures | Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now

Read the rest of this entry »

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