6th Annual Geography Expo Supports Self-Directed Learning

Sign up for the 6th Annual Geography Expo
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Pittsfield, MA

The 6th Annual Geography Expo is an intergenerational geography fair featuring the work of students from all school choices throughout Berkshire County and beyond. It’s free to participate and open to all, taking place on Wednesday evening, April 2nd, at the Berkshire Atheaneum in Pittsfield, MA. Want to participate? Pick your country, state or region, sign up, and get busy studying and preparing your presentation! Sign up details below.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, the world will be on display from 6-8pm in the Community Room at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA. Sponsored by The Berkshire County Homeschool Community and Berkshire County 4-H, the 6th Annual Geography Expo will fill the library’s large Community Room with sights, sounds and culinary scents from around the globe.

We asked Teresa O’Brient of Stockbridge, and Elaine Caligiuri of Lee, organizers of The Expo, to share with our readers information on this great opportunity for students from all educational backgrounds (homeschool, public/private school, exchange students, etc.) to participate in a self-directed, community-based learning opportunity that explores cultures both near and far… Click here to find out what they shared and how youth around the region can participate in this free event!

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to DiNO-Light at The Colonial Theatre

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to…

DiNO-Light
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Friday, February 21st at 2pm

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see a DiNO-Light, at The Colonial Theatre on Friday, February 21st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 2/18/14 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

About DiNO-Light

Lightwire Theater presents the Corbian Visual Arts and Dance hit, Darwin the Dinosaur. This heart-warming original story, also known as Dino-Light, features a friendly dinosaur who wanders away from home and discovers a world of creatures who light up the darkness and help him find the true meaning of love. Unique and visually dazzling, Darwin has been praised for its cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology, and dance by audiences all over the world.

“An eye-popping display of storytelling that’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen.” “Corbian Visual Arts and Dance is a force to be reckoned with” – Broadwayworld.Com

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to “A Christmas Carol” at The Colonial Theatre

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to…

A Christmas Carol
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Sunday, December 15th at 2pm

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to see A Christmas Carol at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, December 15th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $120) is easy & simple… see below!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see a theater production of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, December 15th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 12/10/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music. Shows run: Saturday, Dec 14, 21, & 28 at 7pm; Sunday, Dec 15, 22, & 29 at 2pm; and Friday, Dec 20 & 27 at 7pm.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi

Mary Verdi Opens the Holiday Season
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Thanksgiving Weekend

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $60) is easy & simple… see below!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see Christmas at The Colonial Theatre with Mary Verdi on Sunday, December 1st at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 11/26/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT MARY VERDI

Mary Verdi and special guests Bobby Sweet & Ron Ramsey will ring in the Holiday Season on Thanksgiving Weekend at The Colonial Theatre on November 30 at 7pm and December 1 at 2pm. Every year, Mary Verdi’s Christmas at the Colonial show invites families from across the Berkshires to a very special holiday celebration. Mary created this show for all to enjoy an unforgettable performance that includes a sing-along of old favorites, dancing, a children’s choir, bell choir, and a full band with strings and horns featuring area performers.

In its 4th year at The Colonial, this year’s show will feature Mary Verdi and her band, guest artists Bobby Sweet & Ron Ramsey, A Children’s Chorus, Dalton Ballet, Berkshire Music School Violins, St. Ann Children’s Chorus, Berkshire Pulse Drum Core, Neighborhood Gang, and of course, Santa!

Mary will be performing selections from her Christmas in the Berkshires CD as well as holiday favorites like “Silver Bells,” “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “Oh Holy Night,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!” — www.maryverdi.com

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack of Tickets to “The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater” at The Colonial Theatre

The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
February 19th, 2013
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA

Enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets for a fun show and visit with The Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and the Berkshire Humane Society who will be in attendance too, helping raise awareness about animal adoption! Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater on Tuesday, February 19th at 2pm, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA!

The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater will delight audiences of all ages with amazing circus skills and extraordinarily talented and rescued pets.  Enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets for a fun show and visit with The Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter and the Berkshire Humane Society who will be in attendance too, helping raise awareness about animal adoption! Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  More details below.

ABOUT THE POPOVICH COMEDY PET THEATER

The World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is a perennial favorite featuring Gregory Popovich and his cast of jugglers, clowns, 15 house cats, 10 dogs, 4 geese, 8 white doves, and 2 parrots. Each of the show’s 15 cats and 10 dogs were once strays, rescued from animal shelters.

Gregory grew up in a unique environment, as the child of Russian circus performers Alex and Tamara Popovich. In addition to their juggling and performing skills, Gregory’s parents were dog trainers. From a very young age, Gregory formed a special bond with animals. Eventually, the connection he formed with his mother’s showdogs led to his participation onstage, assisting with Tamara’s dog act. At the age of six, Gregory began to learn the art of juggling. Eight years later, he prepared his first solo act – juggling on a free standing ladder. After the public debut of this feat, Gregory became a member of the renowned Moscow Circus at the age of 17.

The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater is a family-oriented blend of the unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich, and the extraordinary talents of his performing pets. They love to show off onstage – performing a variety of stunts and skits! Audiences will be delighted to see this extravaganza of European-style clowning, amazing juggling and balancing acts, and of course, very talented performing pets. Debuting in The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater’s 2013/14 season are the following new vignettes: Funny Winner Dog, Trained Geese, Dog Football, Dr. Doolittle, Brave Parrots, and Pet Fire Marshalls.

The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater has performed in more than 20 countries, and is currently in its 4th season at the Planet Hollywood Resort/Casino in Las Vegas. Mr. Popovich and his Pets have been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, and as a finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Feature stories have appeared in People, The New Yorker and USA TODAY. Most recently Gregory wrote a book about cats entitled, You CAN Train Your Cats.

Find out more about Gregory Popovich and his world famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at www.comedypet.com.

ABOUT THE COLONIAL THEATRE & BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires.  Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Berkshire County, including The Colonial Theatre. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. For more information on BTF call 413-298-5536 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.  The Colonial Theatre is located at 111 South Street in Pittsfield, MA.  For schedule and ticket information visit www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org or call 413-997-4444.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to The Popovich Comedy Pet Theater on Tuesday, February 19th at 2pm, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $60) is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY  THROUGHOUT THE REGION  below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: 02/12/13 by 11:59pm (EST)

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack to “A Christmas Carol” at The Colonial Theatre

Berkshire Theatre Group’s
7th Annual Community Production of
A Christmas Carol
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA

From December 15-30, 2012, Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, adapted by Eric Hill and presented for the second time at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. – Enter for your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to their final performance on Sunday, Dec. 30th at 2pm!

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see BTG’s 7th annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA!

This community production runs Dec. 15th-30th, and we are giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to see their final performance on Sunday, Dec. 30th at 2pm. Win tickets and surprise your family on Christmas Day with the gift of community theater!  Deadline to enter to win: Monday, Dec. 24th, 2012 by 12noon (EST). More details below.

ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE

Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience Charles Dickens’ classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music.

“In 2006, we introduced Berkshire audiences to our production of A Christmas Carol at our Unicorn Theatre,” says BTG Artistic Director, Kate Maguire. “The production instantly became an annual favorite. Last year—we moved to The Colonial Theatre where A Christmas Carol has found a wonderful new home. The Colonial is a perfect setting for this timeless tale about goodness and greed.”

A Christmas Carol runs December 15–30, 2012 at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield with 7:30pm performances Thurs.-Sat., and 2pm performances on Sat. & Sun. (excluding opening night). Before each performance families are invited to arrive early and be treated to a performance by BTG’s Children’s Chorus of holiday music and sing-a-longs in The Garage.

The Colonial Theatre is located at 111 South Street in Pittsfield, MA.  For schedule and ticket information visit www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org or call 413-997-4444.

ABOUT THE COLONIAL THEATRE & BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires.  Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Berkshire County, including The Colonial Theatre. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. For more information on BTF call 413-298-5536 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Berkshire Theatre Group’s 7th annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, at The Colonial Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 30th at 2pm in Pittsfield, MA (valued at $100) is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY   below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 at 12noon (EST).

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack to “A Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpillar” at The Colonial Theatre

A Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpillar:
Treasured Stories by Eric Carle
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Sunday, October 28th @ 2pm

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to  A Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpillar at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Sunday, Oct. 28th at 2pm. Deadline to enter: 10/23/12.

Hilltown Families and the Berkshire Theatre Group have partnered up to offer a free family 4-pack of tickets to one lucky family to see the much-anticipated new production from Mermaid TheatreA Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpillar!

This new production brings together three of Eric Carle’s most beloved tales. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is joined by a whimsical cast of adventurous animals drawn from the pages of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and a young girl on an unusual quest from the poignant story, Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me. Evocative music, stunning visual effects and innovative puppetry entertain and educate.

This production in Berkshire County is on Sunday, October 28th at 2pm at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. Win a 4-pack of tickets and take your family for a delightful Sunday afternoon performance! Deadline to enter to win: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT THE COLONIAL THEATRE & BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires.  Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Berkshire County, including The Colonial Theatre. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. For more information on BTF call 413-298-5536 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Mermaid Theatre’s production of A Brown Bear, a Moon, and a Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA Sunday, October 28th @ 2pm (valued at $60) is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY   below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST).

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out to See FOUND at The Colonial Theatre

FOUND
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Friday, September 21st @ 8pm

We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to see FOUND, a new musical comedy by Hunter Bell, arriving at the Berkshire Theatre Groups’s Colonial Theatre on Sept 21 & 22 in Pittsfield. Enter to win one of two pairs of tickets to the Friday night performance.  Deadline to enter to win: 9/18.

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway to see the new musical comedy, FOUND, on opening night to be performed at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Colonial Theatre on Friday, Sept. 21 at 8pm and Saturday, Sept. 22 at 2pm & 8pm- a night out in the heart of the Berkshires!

Win tickets to the Friday night production and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 9/18/12 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT FOUND

Based on Davy Rothbart’s popular Found books, magazines, tours and appearances on This American Life comes a new musical comedy about the things we’ve lost and the ways they bring us together. Hunter Bell joins composer/lyricist Eli Bolin, director Lee Overtree, and indie-comedy favorite the Story Pirates troupe in a semi-autobiographical account of Davy’s life and loves as he performs around the country, set against a backdrop of the hilarious and heart-breaking real notes and letters from the pages of Found magazine, as they come to life on stage.

Davy has built a touring show sharing notes, letters, any scraps of paper with words, lost by others. With him on his journey, are his best friends Mikey D. (his lovable, bearish tour manager) and Denise (his dry, caught in the friend zone, merch-seller extraordinaire). When Davy meets and falls for Kate, a schoolteacher, the fate of the tour and the trio’s lives change dramatically, forcing Davy to choose between a life on the road or a life with Kate. Painted over the backdrop of hilarious and heartbreaking actual found ephemera, Found explores not just the things, but the people we find in life and proves we all have stories worth telling. Sometimes those stories are big. Sometimes they’re on a post-it note.

From the award-winning team of  Victoria Lang (SILENCE! The Musical, Johnny Guitar, Matt & Ben), Jamie Salka (Dazzle, The Goat), Eva Price (Peter & the Starcatcher, The Addams Family, Voca People), David Gallo (The Drowsy Chaperone, Blue Man Group) and Hunter Bell ( [title of show], SILENCE! The Musical ) comes the next exciting new multi-media theatrical experience.

Adult Audiences Only.

ABOUT THE COLONIAL THEATRE & BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires.  Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Berkshire County, including The Colonial Theatre. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. For more information on BTF call 413-298-5536 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.

HOW TO WIN

We’re putting together a BUCKET LIST of things to do and places to see in Western MA with the family in the fall (Sept-Dec). Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family autumn activity in Western MA, and be entered to win a pair of tickets to see FOUND at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Friday, Sept. 21st at 8pm. To win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE IN THE FIELDS BELOW (one entry Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out to See FOUND at The Colonial Theatreper household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 9/18/12 @ 7pm (EST)

Read the rest of this entry »

Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack to Story Pirates at The Colonial Theatre

Story Pirates
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Saturday, September 15th @ 2pm

Described as “Monty Python meets Schoolhouse Rock,” Story Pirates is different every time, and includes a story that’s improvised onstage based on suggestions from the kids in the audience. Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see them at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on Saturday, Sept. 15th at 2pm. Details on how to enter to win are below.

Story Pirates, a nationally respected education and media organization and creators of the pre-Broadway workshop, FOUND, perform a hilarious and kid friendly show presented by the Berkshire Theatre Group at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on September 15th, 2012 at 2pm… and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway!  Win a pack of tickets and take your family for a delightful Saturday afternoon performance! Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, Sept. 12th, 2012 at 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT STORY PIRATES

While many children’s theater troupes tell stories to kids, the Story Pirates believe that every child has a story to tell!  The process begins by collecting stories from local kids — whether it’s a world where cats can fly or a rock opera about fuzzy alien tickle monsters, the Pirates will turn any short story into a hilarious sketch comedy musical!  Described as “Monty Python meets Schoolhouse Rock,” this show is different every time, and includes a story that’s improvised onstage based on suggestions from the kids in the audience. Story Pirates is pitched perfectly to grown-ups and kids alike!

Story Pirates was founded in 2003 by a group of people seeking to bring quality education programs to under-resourced New York City public schools. The Pirates approach was to show kids everywhere that their ideas, their words, and their stories are important. They made kids’ own stories the basis for a big, loud, outrageous, musical sketch comedy show; because they believe kids’ imaginations are worth cultivating and ought to be celebrated.  Story Pirates now operates branches in both New York and Los Angeles, and serves to over two hundred and fifty schools and community-based organizations annually around the country.  Find out more about Story Pirates at www.storypirates.org.

ABOUT THE COLONIAL THEATRE & BERKSHIRE THEATRE GROUP

The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires.  Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Berkshire County, including The Colonial Theatre. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. For more information on BTF call 413-298-5536 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.

HOW TO WIN

We’re putting together a BUCKET LIST of things to do and places to see in Western MA with the family in the fall (Sept-Dec). Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family autumn activity, and be entered to win a 4-pack of tickets to see Story Pirates at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, Sept. 15th at 2pm. To win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE  (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 9/11/12 @ 7pm (EST)

Read the rest of this entry »

Family Geography Expo Open to All!

Discover the World!
Family Geography Expo at the
Berkshire Athenaeum on April 5th

Geography Expo at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield on Thursday, April 5th. Sign up to participate or just come visit. Students visiting the expo can discover countries worldwide, learning about the global geography, world languages, cultural differences, food and more!

Learn about international cultures together as a family by participating in the annual Geography Expo, hosted at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA, sponsored by the 4-H Earth Stars Club and the Berkshire County Homeschool Community.  The event gives kids the chance to delve into learning about a country and then share what they’ve learned about the culture, customs, etc. of the place with the community.

Students are asked to sign up for a country in advance (to avoid duplication).  Then, they’ll create a display that works as a learning tool for visitors to the expo.  Visitors will be able to “tour the world” and visit the display for each country.  Kids can offer samples of traditional foods, play music from their country, or let visitors examine objects that they’ve collected from their country.

Visitors will also be given a paper passport where they can collect stamps from each country they visit- students can create their own stamp, sticker, or other marker to represent their country!

The expo is a fantastic learning opportunity for kids, no matter whether they are participating or just visiting.  Students representing countries will, obviously, learn all about their country- from the activity they can learn to appreciate and respect cultural differences.  Students visiting the expo can discover countries worldwide, learning about the global geography, world languages, cultural differences, food and more!

The event is an excellent supplement to the studies of geography, history, and culture that kids get in school.  The Geography Expo takes place on Thursday, April 5th from 5-7pm at the Bekshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA and is sponsored by the 4-H Earth Stars Club and the Berkshire County Homeschool Community. To sign up as a participant, or for more information, contact organizer Teresa O’Brient: berkshierra@aol.com, 413-298-0099.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Woodley Wonder Works]

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT GIVEAWAY: Traditional Irish Music with Danú in the Berkshires

Traditional Irish Musical Group, Danú
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Friday, March 16th @ 8pm

Internationally acclaimed traditional Irish musical group, Danú, comes to at the Colonial Theatre on Friday, March 16th at 8pm to ring in St. Patrick’s Day. At the forefront of the Irish music scene, Danú takes its audiences on a musical journey to their native Ireland, offering a moving and memorable concert experience not to be missed. Enter to win tickets for a parents' night out in the Berkshires. Deadline to enter to win: 3/14th @ 7pm (EST).

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families has a pair of tickets to giveaway to one very lucky couple to ring in St. Patrick’s Day with internationally acclaimed traditional Irish musical group, Danú, on Friday, March 16th at 8pm at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Friday, March 16th at 8pm - a night out in the heart of the Berkshires!

Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT DANU

Named after an ancient Irish goddess, Danú is at the forefront of the traditional Irish music scene. Having toured extensively throughout the world, Danú takes its audiences on a musical journey to their native Ireland, offering a moving and memorable concert experience.

Danú’s standing room only concerts throughout Ireland are truly amazing events, featuring high-energy performances and a glorious mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire. According to The Washington Post, Danú is a “vibrant mix of virtuosity, energy, and empathy.”

For over a decade, Danú’s virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, bouzouki, and vocals (Irish and English), have performed around the globe and recorded seven critically acclaimed albums. Their live DVD, One Night Stand, was filmed at Vicar St. Dublin. Winners of numerous awards from the BBC and Irish Music Magazine, Danú has toured throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America with stops at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Symphony Space in New York City and major concert engagements in the United Kingdom, India, Israel and across Europe. Danú’s popular recordings are available on the Shanachie label and live performances are often broadcast on NPR, the CBC and the BBC. – www.danu.net

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Danú in concert, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Friday, March 16th at 8pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!   To enter win simply:

  1. KINDLY CONSIDER SHARING THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOU WITH EVENTS IN THE BERKSHIRES and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
  6. We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 7pm (EST).  Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: Gratitude in the Berkshires

Thankful for the Berkshires

Recently my husband and I have been reading Mark Nepo’s amazing, Oprah-lauded book, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. The book is comprised of 429 pages of daily affirmations, reflections and meditations and has been a wonderful way to connect with my husband first thing in the morning over a cup of coffee, if we are lucky, before the kids get up. Today’s affirmation began with a quote from Berkshire-based musician James Taylor: “We could never have guessed; We were already blessed where we are …” It has taken me a long time to realize that and, like it is for many parents, can still be a daily struggle when juggling work and kids and homework and sports schedules and general adolescent unease. But by taking a few moments each morning to reflect on what I have, who I am, where I am going, and where I live each morning, is a wonderful reminder of how blessed I really am.

BArT SHOWCASE

This column has served as a biweekly reminder of how lucky my husband and I am to be raising our children in the Berkshires. Besides the lush landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation, as well as the arts and culture at our fingertips just waiting to be explored, we are also lucky to live in an area with some of the best school systems in the state. From sports teams that regularly reach post-season tournaments, and award-winning theater programs among area schools, state-recognized musicians and hardworking debate teams, if one takes a close look at the schools in Berkshire County you will witness some pretty amazing things happening.

Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., the Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter School in Adams is opening its doors for the fall trimester’s Student Arts and Technology Showcase. The evening is an opportunity for students to present their artistic feats through a variety of dramatic and musical acts in the BArT atrium, while a wide array of student watercolors, still-life drawings, digital photos, musical compositions, and animations will be displayed throughout the building. The BArT chorus also will make their school-year debut! The gallery opens at 6 p.m. with performances beginning at 7 p.m.

Then on Friday, Nov. 18, the school’s class of 2012 will host a Dinner and Family Movie Night fundraiser to raise money towards the purchase of new young adult novels for the school’s library. There is a small fee for tickets, but that will get you two slices of pizza, a drink, and the choice of one of two movies — “Aladdin” or Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner is served from 6 to 7 p.m. and the movie runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Popcorn, drinks, and assorted desserts also will be available for purchase.

BArT is located at 1 Commercial Place in Adams. For more information log onto the school’s website at www.bartcharter.org.

WELCOME TO THE BIG TOP

One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions each year is visiting the annual Festival of Trees at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, but for some reason last year we missed it. Not this year though! With the theme “Under the Big Top” I can’t wait to see what tree decorators have come up with.

This year’s event, opening Nov. 18 and running through Jan. 2 promises to be “a dazzling, fun-filled holiday extravaganza with more than a hundred decorated holiday trees scattered throughout Berkshire Museum’s galleries.” In addition to the trees, there will be special exhibits of vintage circus memorabilia, posters, and photography adding to the exciting Big Top atmosphere.

The 27th annual Festival of Trees festivities begins Friday, Nov. 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with an Opening Night Party, an evening of exhilarating entertainment and delicious delicacies for the whole family. The festivities include performances by a troupe of atmospheric aerialists, a nimble contortionist, and towering stilt walkers. The RSVP period is over, but you may be able to sneak a late ticket by calling 413-443-7171, ext. 45 or by e-mailing events@berkshiremuseum.org.

Then on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the museum will host aerial circus workshops with Show Circus Studios, where the company will bring their aerial rigging and years of professional circus performances to the museum for a truly unique experience, as the lucky workshop participants try their skills aloft. Recommended for ages 8 to 16; the workshop size is limited to 10 per session. Registration is required: call 413-443-7171, ext. 10. Workshop participants must be accompanied by an adult. For more information visit www.berkshiremuseum.org.

Stay tuned in upcoming columns for more events associated with the Festival of Trees!

POP ON OVER TO THE NORMAN ROCKWELL MUSEUM FOR SOME FAMILY FUN

Looking for something to do over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge has you covered.

On Saturday, Nov. 26, from 1 to 4 p.m., the museum will host a Pop-Up Festival where families will learn about the art of paper during this fun-filled afternoon of workshops, tours, and talks exploring the world of mechanical books and cards. Museum-goers will even get a chance to design their own holiday gifts to share. For more information visit www.nrm.org.

Also beginning at the museum this month is its educational program “Kids Create!,” scheduled to take place the last Wednesday of each month through April (Nov. 30, Dec. 28, Jan. 25, Feb. 29, Mar. 28, and Apr. 25) at 10:30 a.m. Parents and children ages 2 to 5 will get to explore the galleries with the museum’s Chief Educator Melinda Georgeson for an exciting interactive look at the world of art. Find more information on this low-cost program on the museum’s website.

One last thing you might want to add to your calendars, as December fills up quick, is the museum’s “Cabaret for Christmas” event on Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. where visitors can enjoy an old-fashioned afternoon of music, art, and heartwarming treats! At 4 p.m., Curator of Education Tom Daly will explore the spirit of the holidays in Norman Rockwell’s art, and at 4:30 p.m., the Sheri Buxton Trio will perform seasonal favorites. Norman Rockwell’s favorite cookie recipe will be served with hot chocolate, and patrons also can make a holiday pop-up card to take home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Student Tours at Hancock Shaker Village

Student Tours at Hancock Shaker Village

Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield is a fantastic resource for learning about local history and Shaker culture, and the village even offers educational group tours!  Designed specifically to fit within the state’s learning standards, the tours teach kids all about life during the 19th century.  Though the tours are designed for classes, homeschool groups, scout troops, and other groups of kids can do the tours, too!  During November, 90 minute guided tours of the village are available by appointment.  This is a great way to supplement learning about local pioneers!  To learn more, visit www.hancockshakervillage.org.

Hancock Shaker Village’s 14th Annual Country Fair

Hancock Shaker Village’s 14th Annual Country Fair
Pittsfield, MA
September 24th & 25th, 10am-5pm

Hancock Shaker Village’s 14th annual Country Fair (Courtesy photo)

Hancock Shaker Village’s 14th annual Country Fair promises fun for the whole family with Shaker-inspired games in the Kids Tent, a farmers’ market with samples of heirloom vegetables to taste, vendors and demonstrations of handmade crafts, wagon and pony rides, antique engines and tractors, a pie contest, live music and more.

At the Country Fair, more than 70 vendors will fill the Village with fresh produce, finished farm products, fine crafts of all sorts, and antiques. The Farmers’ Market tents will boast vegetables, flowers, maple sugar treats, and hand-made cheeses. Artisans will sell furniture, Shaker-style oval boxes, original paintings, candles, and hand-woven textiles.

At the Kids Tent, Hancock Shaker Village interpreters will lead a host of fun activities, including crafts, old-fashioned games, and face painting. There will be wagon rides through the scenic Village grounds and, of course, a hay pile to jump and play on and pony rides

For more information about fair call 800-817-1137, or visit www.hancockshakervillage.org.

Read the rest of this entry »

Experience Pittsfield Cultural Panorama Card

Pittsfield Cultural Panorama Card Rewards Those Who Experience Pittsfield’s Offerings Firsthand

Mary Rentz, Pittsfield 250 Committee co-chair writes:

Pittsfield Cultural Panorama Card

The Experience Pittsfield Cultural Panorama Card provides a fun way for people, whether they live here or are visitors, to try out the many cultural opportunities in our city. The lottery prizes at the 20-stamp level offer significant benefits for the winners, such as a tuition rebate for lessons at the Berkshire Music School, or a year-long family membership and gifts from Hancock Shaker Village. On top of that, it adds a sense of adventure to something that is already interesting and entertaining.

Like a passport that documents a person’s travel history, the new “Experience Pittsfield Cultural Panorama Card” keeps track of cultural attractions visited all year long during Pittsfield’s 250th birthday celebration. Only this passport has an added benefit: those who visit 10 or more venues on the itinerary will receive souvenirs and memorabilia, and will be eligible for drawings of valuable prizes.

The Experience Pittsfield Cultural Panorama Card is part of the year-long celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the city’s founding in 1761, and seeks to highlight the many cultural activities which are available year round. It is funded by a special grant from the Pittsfield Cultural Council, and operates using a simple process: visitors get their card stamped, and they win prizes.

At 10 stamps, the passport holder may choose from a selection of Pittsfield prizes; at 20 stamps, they may enter a lottery of their choice for memberships at museums, passes and tickets, for performances, or tuition rebates for classes. Those who garner 25 stamps will be recognized on the P250 website and at the Thanksgiving Weekend festivities, when the P250 celebration ends.

Many events are free. Furthermore, museum passes for free museum passes may be checked out at the Berkshire Athenaeum. For theatre shows or other ticketed events, ticket stubs can be brought to a redemption site for a stamp; and, venues’ websites and the 1/2 TIX booth often have reduced-price tickets.

Blank passport cards are now available at the Pittsfield Visitor Center, 111 South Street (at the Colonial Theatre); the P250 headquarters and exhibit at 441 North Street; the Berkshire Athenaeum; the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, and other cultural venues. In addition to being available at several tables during Pittsfield’s Third Thursday downtown block party, it may also be downloaded from pittsfield250.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

3rd Annual Pittsfield Hula Hoop Festival Returns to the Berkshires

Hula Hooping, Hiking, Mandalas,
Slacklining & Drumming
Saturday, July 30th
Springside Park, Pittsfield, MA

Pittsfield City Hoopla is a unique family-friendly event that celebrates the value of the movement arts in our everyday lives and community.

On Saturday, July 30th, from 10 am to 10pm, the Pittsfield City Hoopla festival will return to the public gardens of Springside Park, Pittsfield Massachusetts’ largest public park located at 874 North Street, for its third year of festivities inspired by the craft, craze and creativity of the hula hoop.  Boasting a full day of hoop related classes, contests, jams, art, vending and performance, the Pittsfield City Hoopla is a unique family-friendly event that celebrates the value of the movement arts in our everyday lives and community.

This year’s Hoopla will introduce some new activities for participants. ‘Yogaslacker’ Danielle Gismondi from Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams will facilitate a slackline throughout the day. According to Slackline.com, slacklining is the sport of walking a small, flat nylon rope between two points. It is practiced in the backyard, on college campuses and city parks, and even 3000 feet above the ground. Some people do it for fun, others for the obvious athletic benefits, and others still for a meditative purpose. Since slacklining’s development in the late 1970s, slacklining has grown into an international craze, and is a common and popular pastime within the outdoor community. Also a part of the circus arts scene, slacklining is making it way back to the stage in more creative ways.

Artist Bridgit Noone will facilitate a table for coloring mandalas. The Mandala Project, founded by Lori Bailey Cunningham, explains a “mandala” as being from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit loosely translated to mean “circle”. “Far more than a simple shape, it represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds”, she states. Both Navajo and Tibetan cultures are known for their colorful mandalas.

The grand finale of Pittsfield City Hoopla begins at 8pm with an “enchanted illuminated spin extravaganza.”

Returning again this year, David Frazier from the Vincent Hebert Arboretum will be leading walks along the trails at Springside Park for any one interested in learning more about the trees, gardens, and history of the grounds.

At 5pm the Hoopla will offer its first-ever hooping contest featuring prizes from local businesses. Sign-ups for the contests will occur through out the day and are open to all interested.

Food will be available for purchase on site and vendors will be selling handcrafted hoops and other creative items.

The grand finale of Pittsfield City Hoopla begins at 8pm with an “enchanted illuminated spin extravaganza” featuring live drumming by Aimee Gelinas and her Rhythm Keepers from Pittsfield, and fire hoop and dance performances by Lita Lundeen-Setchfield, Angyl Fyre, Maria Mariposa and more.

Read the rest of this entry »

We Are Pittsfield: Oral History Project in the Berkshires

Pittsfield Debuts “We Are Pittsfield” Oral History Project

There are thousands of stories in a community two hundred and fifty years old, and the City of Pittsfield aims to collect as many as possible this year through an oral history project called We Are Pittsfield. The We Are Pittsfield project is designed to capture & retell Pittsfield’s past and present for future generations, told by those who live in, visit, and love the city. We Are Pittsfield will create an archive of stories and memories about Pittsfield on a dedicated website, located at www.WeArePittsfield.com, as well as being stored at the Berkshire Athenaeum’s Local History Room.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our city than through the shared memories of our community members,” says Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto.  “The stories we collect through We Are Pittsfield will provide future generations with an extraordinary window into the beloved people and places of Pittsfield.”

The We Are Pittsfield oral history project is funded through a grant from the Pittsfield Cultural Council, and is part of the Pittsfield Panorama project, using arts and culture to celebrate Pittsfield 250th anniversary in 2011. The city of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development is providing staff support.

Andy Kelly and Sue Kelly are co-chairs and co-founders of We Are Pittsfield. “We were inspired by other communities that have organized oral history projects and felt that this was the perfect time to do it in Pittsfield, as we celebrate our 250th anniversary,” says Andy Kelly. “As a Pittsfield native, I know there are so many great stories out there, and we want to share them!” Sue Kelly adds, “It’s important to us that all voice be heard, including youth, immigrants, and elders, in order to provide the fullest and most accurate portrait of our city.”

Read the rest of this entry »

12th Annual Berkshire Junior Solar Sprint

Area Middle School Students to Compete in Junior Solar Sprint

Solar Sprint 2010

The Berkshire JSS is organized by the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) and sponsored by the Berkshire Gas Company, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, Western Massachusetts Electric Company, MCLA STEM Pipeline Network, Energy Federation, Inc., the U.S. Department of Energy, and other local sponsors.

Cynthia Grippaldi of Center for EcoTechnology writes:

On Saturday, June 4, area middle school students will gather at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield for the twelfth annual Berkshire Junior Solar Sprint (JSS). More than 80 students from across and beyond Berkshire County are expected to participate in the JSS this year.

The Junior Solar Sprint competition was started by the US Department of Energy in 1991 to expose students to photovoltaics and its potential for their future. The JSS is a fun and educational competition for students in grades 5-8 who work in teams to design, build and race model solar vehicles powered by the sun. The students are challenged to use scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork. In the process they learn firsthand about engineering, physics and non-polluting transportation.

Registration for students begins at 8:30 a.m. Judging of entries begins at 9:30 and races begin at 10 a.m.. The solar vehicles will be judged for speed, craftsmanship, innovation and technical merit, and the top three winners in each category will be eligible to compete in the regional JSS championship in Springfield on June 12. In addition, there is a prize for ‘Best Use of recycled Materials’ and a student’s choice ‘Best in Show’.
Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT GIVEAWAY: Tickets to Tom Paxton at The Colonial Theatre

Tom Paxton
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Saturday, May 21st @ 8pm

Tom Paxton has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture, and celebrating the tenderest bonds of family, friends, and community. Enter to win tickets to see Tom Paxton on Saturday, May 21st in the Berkshires!

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families has a pair of tickets to giveaway to one very lucky couple to see acclaimed storyteller and legendary folk musician Tom Paxton at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, May 21st at 8pm - a night out in the heart of the Berkshires!

Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT TOM PAXTON

Tom Paxton will appear in a solo acoustic concert at the Colonial on Saturday, May 21 at 8pm. This legend of the folk music scene will take the stage for a one-night only event.

Tom Paxton has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture, and celebrating the tenderest bonds of family, friends, and community. In describing Tom Paxton’s influence on his fellow musicians, Pete Seeger has said: “Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.” Paxton has been an integral part of the songwriting and folk music community since the early 1960s, and continues to be a primary influence on today’s “New Folk” performers.

Paxton’s song books, critically acclaimed children’s books, award-winning children’s recordings, and a catalog of hundreds of songs, all serve to document Tom Paxton’s 45-year career. An internationally recognized and loved cultural figure, he has always chosen goodwill over commercial success. … This is the man who wrote and lives the words, “Peace will come, and let it begin with me.” He is one of the great songwriters of the last century and will be reckoned as one of the greats in this century, as well. – www.tompaxton.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets Tom Paxton in concert, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, May 21st at 8pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!   To enter win simply:

  1. KINDLY CONSIDER SHARING THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
  6. We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 at 7pm (EST).  Read the rest of this entry »

Student-Scientists in the Berkshires

Science & Innovation Fair in the Berkshires

The First Annual Science and Innovation Fair, featuring the work of over 100 student-scientists from Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School, will be hosted by Berkshire Museum on Thursday, February 10th, 2011. Berkshire high school students, who have conducted scientific research and completed engineering projects in concert with faculty advisors, will display the exciting results of their work. The public is invited to view the work of these innovative students from noon to 8pm, which includes free public admission to Berkshire Museum that day.

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT GIVEAWAY: Tickets to see Sweet Honey in the Rock in the Berkshires

Sweet Honey in the Rock
The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA
Friday, January 28th @ 8pm

In the best and in the hardest of times, Sweet Honey In The Rock has come in song to communities across the U.S. and around the world raising her voice in hope, love, justice, peace, and resistance. Sweet Honey invites her audiences to open their minds and hearts and think about who we are and how we treat each other, our fellow creatures who share this planet, and of course, the planet itself.

Continuing our Parents’ Night Out promotions, Hilltown Families has two pairs of tickets to giveaway to two very lucky couples to see the Grammy Award winning a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Friday, January 28th at 8pm - a night out in the heart of the Berkshires!

Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK

The internationally renowned ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock, founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon in 1973 at the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company, is coming to the Colonial for one performance only.  The metaphor of sweet honey in the rock captures completely these African American women whose repertoire is steeped in the sacred music of the Black church, the clarion calls of the civil rights movement, and songs of the struggle for justice everywhere.

Rooted in a deeply held commitment to create music out of the rich textures of African American legacy and traditions, Sweet Honey In The Rock possesses a stunning vocal prowess that captures the complex sounds of Blues, spirituals, traditional gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, Hip Hop, ancient lullabies, and jazz improvisation. Sweet Honey’s collective voice, occasionally accompanied by hand percussion instruments, produces a sound filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms. Find out more about Sweet Honey In The Rock at www.sweethoney.com.

ABOUT THE COLONIAL THEATRE

The Colonial Theatre re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, as a year-round performing arts center. Located in the heart of the Berkshires, the theater presents all genres of live music, touring Broadway musicals, comedy acts, family presentations and community events. The Colonial Theatre is a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit organization. For more information, call 448-8084. For tickets, call 997-4444 or visit www.TheColonialTheatre.org

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets Sweet Honey in the Rock in concert, at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Friday, January 28th at 8pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!   To enter win simply:

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
  6. We’ll randomly draw two winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 7pm (EST). And your odds are doubled as two participants will win two pairs!

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $35 and $55 and may be purchased in person at the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street Monday-Friday 10pm-5pm, by calling 997-4444, or online at http://www.TheColonialTheatre.org.

Kwanzaa Community Celebration in Western Mass

Berkshire Community Kwanzaa Celebration
December 30th, 2010 in Pittsfield, MA

The Women of Color Giving Circle of the Berkshires presents the 5th annual Berkshire Community Kwanzaa Celebration on Thursday, December 30th, from 6pm to 8pm at the American Legion (41 Wendell Ave.)  in downtown Pittsfield.

Kwanzaa is a festival that is celebrated annual from December 26 through January 1.  An annual celebration of family and community, the name Kwanzaa is a Swahili word for “first fruits”.

The Berkshire Community Kwanzaa Celebration on the 30th is a community celebration open to everyone.  The evening will focus on food, singing and  ceremony to highlight Nia, the fifth principle of Kwanzaa.  Swahili for purpose, Nia is celebrated on this 5th day of Kwanzaa.  According to Kwanzaa founder Dr. Maulana Kerenga, on this day “we focus on ways to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”

Local member of the Grammy Award-winning African-American women’s a capella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, Evelyn Harris, will be performing during the celebration.

The fifth annual Berkshire Kwanzaa Celebration is cosponsored by the City of Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development. Tickets will be sold at the door (>$). For more information, contact Nakeida Bethel-Smith at 464-7307.

Hancock Shaker Village 50th Anniversary Country Fair

Hancock Shaker Village 50th Anniversary Country Fair

Celebrating the bounty of the harvest, the Country Fair will be held on September 25th and September 26th from 10:00am to 5:00pm in Pittsfield, MA. At the Kids Tent, Hancock Shaker Village interpreters will lead a host of fun activities, including crafts, old-fashioned games, and face painting. There will also be wagon rides through the scenic Village grounds and, of course, a hay pile to jump and play on.

Hancock Shaker Village’s 50th anniversary Country Fair promises fun for the whole family with Shaker-inspired games in the Kids Tent, a farmers’ market with samples of heirloom vegetables to taste, a juried fine craft show, wagon rides, antique engines and tractors, sustainable gardening tips, a pie contest, square dancing demonstration, quilt show, and more.

Celebrating the bounty of the harvest, the Country Fair will be held on September 25th and September 26th from 10:00am to 5:00pm in Pittsfield, MA. “For those who have told us they miss the Hancock Shaker Village Craft Fair, we’re delighted that we have more fine craft artists than ever lined up for this year’s Country Fair,” said Ellen Spear, president and CEO of Hancock Shaker Village “This event is always a festive highlight of the year and a great way for families to learn about our mission and its connection to sustainable, principled living.” Children 12 and under and Hancock Shaker Village members are admitted free of charge. Admission for adults is $17.00 and youth visitors aged 13 to 17 are $8. For more information, call 800.817.1137 or visit www.hancockshakervillage.org.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hancock Shaker Village Celebrates 50 Years as a Living History Museum

Hancock Shaker Village 50th Anniversary Charter Day

Hancock Shaker Village Charter Day is a family-friendly event featuring children’s music, plays, storytelling, lawn games, wagon rides, free ice cream, and more!

It’s the Hancock Shaker Village’s 50th anniversary and they are celebrating with Charter Day, a family-friendly celebration of Hancock Shaker Village’s official “birthday” as living history museum on August 21st, 10:00am to 5:00pm in Pittsfield, MA. This fun-filled day will include:

  • Lawn games
  • Wagon rides
  • Shaker story time
  • Kids concert with Mister G
  • Clara and Claire, a short play for young audiences
  • Free ice cream
  • Demonstrations
  • Exhibits
  • Community slideshow

Mister G. will perform children’s music concerts at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 2:30pm. His career spans twenty years as a performing musician and recording artist. He began blending his love of music and education in the late 1990s, and specializes in promoting literacy through song creation. He has toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and his songs have been featured in television programs around the world.

Clara and Claire, a short play for young audiences written and directed by Berkshire resident Juliane Hiam and conceived by Sharon Smullen, will be performed at 12:00pm and 3:30pm. The play tells the story of two girls from different periods of history who have a magical, accidental meeting at Hancock Shaker Village. One is Clara Sperle, who was the last child to be raised by the Hancock Shakers. Clara went to live with the Shakers at age eight and remained there until she was a young woman. The other is a fictionalized modern day child who is visiting Hancock Shaker Village on a class field trip. Their encounter will bring the audience on a journey that reveals the wonders of simplicity. The production will feature two local 12-year-old actresses, Rebecca van der Meulen and Harper Glantz.

Charter Day will also include children’s lawn games, wagon rides, free ice cream by Crescent Creamery, Shaker Story Time, plus the full schedule of Village daily tours and demonstrations. Admission will be half-price and free for members and children 12 and under.  For more information, call 800.817.1137 or go to www.hancockshakervillage.org.

A Day at the Berkshire Musuem

Mummified in the Berkshires

The performance of "The Mummy's Tale and Other Stories from the Great Beyond" sparked the boys imaginations! (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

As the heat wave continued, the boys and I packed it all up for a full day at The Berkshire Museum, including a performance of The Mummy’s Tale and Other Stories from the Great Beyond. My youngest child is four years old so I was unsure he’d be able to sit through a play. I was even a little nervous that he might be scared of the mummy, or more likely of the house lights going dark.  It turned out there was nothing to fear and so much to enjoy. Ancient myths are comics full larger than life characters – the very good, the ever so bad, all saviors, helpers, hopeless causes. Because of this, the boys just ate them up. They jeered at bad guys and cheered for happy endings. We all danced and laughed along with the young cast who came out after the show to thank the audience and gave the little kids high-fives and big smiles.

After the show, we wandered downstairs for Chow Time at the aquarium, which is held each Saturday at 12:30. We watched tortoises crunch salads bigger than their shells, turtles dive for earthworms and geckos go for jumping crickets.  After a quick stop at the touch tank to visit with the sea-stars, we headed upstairs.

Mummy Jigsaw Puzzle (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

The current exhibit , Wrapped: The Search for the Essential Mummy, is open through the end of October. It’s an extensive adventure into the forensic science of exploring mummies.  The interactive science exhibits were fun, but what my boys truly loved was the art.  The performance had sparked their imaginations. We spent the afternoon examining hieroglyphs, tomb art, headdresses and necklaces. If you go, don’t miss the mummified animals – snakes, cats and more, wrapped to spend eternity with their beloved owners, I suppose.

We moved back down stairs where the Berkshire Backyard exhibit showed us how much there will always be more to explore in the amazing Berkshires. The kids and I tested our animal tracking skills – more successfully than ever this time. We flight tested feathers and even examined a working bee hive, which included access via a plexiglass tube through a window, to the actual outside Berkshires!

Dinosaur excavation (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

Just before it was time to go, we had our own excavation in the dinosaur exhibit. Once goggled, the boys dug industriously in the pea stones dumping them in the trenches to uncover their own dinosaur discoveries. Theo insisted on digging for mummies or snake mummies, but kept finding dinosaur bones anyway. He was the smallest most aggravated little excavator around that day. “This is not a mummy! It’s a dinosaur!”

We left the Berkshire Museum with a few corners not yet explored and made note to come back for more adventures in the fall.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Hula Hoops & Fire Poi in the Berkshires

Pittsfield City Hoopla Comes Spinning Back into Town!

Photo credit: Luther Lotz

Pittsfield City Hoopla returns for its second annual all day hoop-fest this summer on July 24th, 2010. This year it boasts all-day programming in Springside Park (874 North Street), in the public gardens behind Springside House from 12Noon to 5 p.m. and returns in the same location with live drumming and more from 8 to 10 p.m. As always, it is a free event that is open to all ages.

Founded in 2009 by dance artist Stefanie Weber, a Pittsfield native, Pittsfield City Hoopla strives to continue celebrating “the craft, craze and creativity of the hula hoop” this year. The popularity of hooping hasn’t declined one bit since the last Hoopla festival in Pittsfield. Hooping.org, a comprehensive website for all things hoop, sees 40,000 visitors weekly. At music festivals nation wide there are more hoopers hooping around than ever.

As a prelude to the festival there is a hoop-making workshop on Thursday, July 22nd from 6 to 8 P.M. at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts (28 Renne Ave.). The workshop will teach the basics of hoop construction and offer supplies to decorate and customize your new creation. Preregistration is required for the workshop, please contact spin@pittsfieldcityhoopla.org or call 413-281-6734 to register.

Hula Hoop with LED lights (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Warm ups and a welcome by Stefanie Weber kick off the official programming for Pittsfield City Hoopla at 12noon on Saturday, July 24th. The greeting is promptly followed by Join the Circle: Hooping 101, a workshop directed by Arian Shelton and Laura Marie of Hooping Harmony in Greenfield, a mother-daughter hooping team. These hula hoop veterans will coach beginners and new comers the basics of hooping for fitness, fun health and healing. If you don’t have your own hoop, don’t fret, there will be hoops to borrow and hoops for sale through out the day. By the end of this session you will be able to perform some hoop tricks and string them together with ease!

After Join the Circle: Hooping 101, Lolli Hoops of Boston Hoop Troop returns with fellow member Little L. Tosses and Jumps will be the focus of the showcase by these hoop dance pros. Lolli Hoops has presented at various venues in the Greater Boston area and beyond including the Somerville Theater, Middle East Downstairs and the Foundation Lounge at the House of Blues.

Hula hoops (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The festivities continue with Lita Lundeen-Setchfield of One with Fire who will be performing poi, the art of spinning fire. Contemporary poi is a blend of a traditional dance from the Maori culture in New Zealand and Hawaiian men’s rituals from the early 20th century. Fire poi became a popular tourist attraction in Hawaii during the 1960’s and has since gathered much popularity. 

3:30pm marks the beginning of “Open Circle” where everyone is invited to participate in freestyle hooping, jams, sharing, shopping, eating, chair massage and face painting. At 4:30pm all are welcome to exhibit their skills, experiment, try something new, show off to a watchful audience and watch the pros strut their spins for the “Showcases and Performances” portion of the event. In addition to the scheduled activities, the staff of The Vincent Herbert Arboretum will be giving guided tours of the Springside Public Gardens and the surrounding forest eco-system.

EVENING SCHEDULE

Fire poi spinning (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The evening schedule begins at 8pm after a short break. This enchanted illuminated spin extravaganza features live drumming conducted by Aimee Gelinas of Gaia Roots. The drumming is accompanied by LED hula hooping and fire poi spinning, along with an all out fire hoop jam session until 10pm.

Pittsfield City Hoopla 2010 receives funding support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development, Greylock Federal Credit Union and The Earthe Shoppe. For more information, to volunteer, showcase your hooping self, or to make a donation to the event contact 413-281-6734 or spin@pittsfieldcityhoopla.org.

Mummies Come to the Berkshires

Wrapped! Search for the Essential Mummy
Tells the Inside Story of Mummies: both figuratively and literally!

"Wrapped! Search for the Essential Mummy" will be on view from June 19 to October 31, 2010. at the Berkshire Museum in Downtown Pittsfield. FATHER'S DAY SPECIAL: On June 20th, kids can bring their Dads for Free!

Museum visitors often leave an exhibition of Egyptian artifacts with the impression that mummies are all the same and that all mummies were kings or princes during their lives. In reality, mummies are individuals; they vary in terms of their manner of preparation, the decoration of their sarcophagi, and the region in which they lived. And, of course, before they were mummies, they were living people, of either gender, belonging to different classes, working in a variety of occupations – who died of as many causes as people die today. Underneath their ancient linen wrappings lies a multitude of mysteries often too great for scientists and researchers to uncover. Nevertheless, since their first discovery by Western cultures, seekers across the centuries have been trying to unwrap the secrets of mummies.

From June 19 to October 31, 2010, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA will take museum visitors several steps closer on this quest. The Museum’s groundbreaking, world-premiere exhibition, Wrapped! Search for the Essential Mummy, transports visitors to the Egyptian tombs of Akhmim and the funerary tables and labs of ancient mortuaries; through the discovery of mummies by Western explorers and the ensuing “unrolling” soirees of the 19th century, to current-day mummy research, including reconstruction of mummies’ facial features in sculptural busts and digitizing mummies’ body cavities using cutting-edge scanning technology from the leading radiology labs of North America.

Wrapped! takes visitors to the awesome cliffs of Akhmim, Egypt and its sprawling cemetery– 300 miles south of Cairo – the year is 1884 and mummies are being pulled from their ancient tombs by the hundreds. Among those buried in the loose limestone of Akhmim was Pahat, who lived a full life as a smaty priest of the temple cult of Min. Pahat was carefully mummified 2,300 years ago with the best funerary methods and craftsmanship of his era. At the turn of the 20th century, Pahat was excavated, removed from his resting place, and eventually sold to Zenas Crane in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for the now-paltry sum of $300. Crane donated Pahat to Berkshire Museum, which the philanthropist founded in 1903, where the prized mummy has remained on display to this day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Read the rest of this entry »

Who Dwells in the Pittsfield State Forest?

Like This!

Bioblitz in the Berkshires
Friday & Saturday, June 4th-5th in Pittsfield, MA

Specialist will be on-hand to explore and educate, including reptile and amphibian specialist, BCC Professor Tom Tyning. Link to schedule is below. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Celebrating the United Nation’s “Year of Biodiversity,” the Berkshire Museum is holding Berkshire County’s first BioBlitz in Pittsfield State Forest from noon on Friday, June 4th to noon on Saturday, June 5th, 2010. The weekend event will allow scientists and local residents to document the extensive variety of life in their immediate area and see first-hand the diversity and importance of the clean and active ecosystems in their own backyard.

The BioBlitz is an opportunity for biologists, naturalists, and environmentalists to gather in a given area and in a 24-hour period complete a formal survey of all living species. Specialists such as BCC Professor Tom Tyning (reptiles and amphibians), Harvard botanist Walter Kittredge (flowering plants), Berkshire Wild Mushrooms’ John Wheeler (fungi) and Sage College Professor Emeritus Nancy Slack (mosses) will be on-hand to explore and educate. The public is welcome to attend to watch the scientists work, and even participate in sorting specimens.

The biological survey is the “core” of the Berkshire BioBlitz, and anchors a number of interactive, nature-oriented programs which have been scheduled around it. For example, on Friday night, a lively “BioBlitz Drum and Campfire Jam” will take place, followed by a “Moth-Light” demonstration and an “Owl Prowl” hike. A bird walk and a “fitness hike” will be held the following morning, as well as a presentation on Asian Longhorned Beetles—an invasive insect species recently discovered in Worcester, MA.

“It’s a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together and learn about their own backyard,” said Berkshire Museum Natural Science Coordinator, Scott LaGreca. “It’s a powerful tool we can use to get people away from their television sets and computer monitors, and spend time outside—providing an antidote to what some educators have dubbed ‘nature-deficit disorder’. It provides valuable information about Pittsfield State Forest’s flora and fauna that can be used by Pittsfield State Forest staff to better manage the local resources.”

The Pittsfield State Forest is located just five miles from downtown Pittsfield. From Park Square, go west on West Street for 2.7 miles. Turn right on Churchill Street and continue for .7 miles. Turn left onto Cascade Street and continue for .3 miles. The entrance to the forest in just over a mile on your left-hand side.

All events are free and held at the Pittsfield State Forest. Friday evening programs and Saturday morning naturalist hikes are weather-permitting. For a full schedule, click here. Call Scott LaGreca at 413.443.7171, ext. 17 to sign up

Western Mass Students to Compete in Junior Solar Sprint

Like This!

Educational & Fun Competition for Students Promotes Awareness About Transportation, Technology and the Environment

The Junior Solar Sprint happens on June 5th in Pittsfield, MA and is open to teachers, home educators and community groups. A great opportunity for students to learn firsthand about non-polluting transportation.

On Saturday, June 5th, area middle school students will gather at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield, MA to race their model solar-powered cars in the eleventh annual Berkshire Junior Solar Sprint (JSS). Participation is open to teachers, home educators and community groups. More than 80 students from Western Mass are expected to participate in the JSS this year.

The JSS is a fun and educational competition for students in grades 5-8 who work in teams to build model vehicles powered by the sun. In the process they learn firsthand about non-polluting transportation. Now in it’s 11th year, the Berkshire JSS is part of a national program that offers 5th through 8th grade students the opportunity to design, construct and test the performance of a model solar electric vehicle. It inspires teachers, students and their families to learn, teach and raise community awareness about transportation, technology and the environment.

Registration for students begins at 8:30am Judging of entries begins at 9:30am and races begin at 10am. The solar vehicles will be judged for speed, craftsmanship, innovation and technical merit, and the top three winners in each category will be eligible to compete in the regional JSS championship in Springfield, MA on June 13th.

If you are interested in registering a team, or are interested in volunteering for this event, contact Cynthia Grippaldi at 413-445-4556 ext. 25.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Great Way to Recycle Your Kids Tattered & Outgrown Clothes This Weekend

CET’s 15th Annual Earth Day Clothing and Textile Drive This Weekend

On Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25, the Center for Ecological Technology (CET) will hold its 15th annual Textile Drive to collect old clothing and household textiles for reuse and recycling. The event will be held in partnership with Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The collection is open to all Berkshire county residents as well as those living in southern Vermont and eastern New York State. CET is located at 112 Elm Street in Pittsfield, MA.

Materials will be accepted at CET in Pittsfield on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last year’s drive resulted in CET collecting almost 22,000 pounds of materials!

All types of clothing are accepted—including sweaters, shirts, skirts, pants, jackets, overcoats and raincoats. Blankets, gloves, socks, paired shoes and winter boots, sheets, towels, and curtains are also acceptable. Clothing must be clean, dry and packed in strong plastic bags, such as garbage or lawn-leaf bags. Rugs, carpeting and pillows will not be accepted. Please do not bring clothes on hangers. During this year’s drive, CET will also collect donations of non-perishable food items in support of Goodwill’s Food Pantry program. These donations will only be accepted at CET’s Elm Street collection on April 24 and 25.

Goodwill resells the wearable clothing at its local stores and sends the remainder to the textile market. Additionally, Goodwill uses the collection, sorting and retail sales as job training for individuals with barriers to employment. Last year, Goodwill provided services to 122 individuals in eight different programs.

Read the rest of this entry »

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: