PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to See Mavis Staples at The Calvin Theater

Mavis Staples
plus Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside
Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA
Thursday, November 7th, 2013 8pm

Mavis Staples, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient, comes to the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA, on Nov 7th! Enter to win a pair of tickets for a parents’ night out!

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!

For November we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Mavis Staples plus Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, Nov 7th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 11/4/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  Details below…

ABOUT MAVIS STAPLES

It has been more than sixty years since Mavis Staples began singing with her ground-breaking American gospel, soul, and R&B singing family group, the Staple Singers. She is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. One True Vine, the follow-up to 2010′s Grammy-winning album You Are Not Alone features new songs written specifically for Staples by returning producer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco).

Mavis has been described by Rolling Stone as having “an almost superhuman ability to implant the pure power of passion and emotion.” She just returned from a series of dates in Australia with Bonnie Raitt and dates in New Zealand with Wilco directly prior to her appearance at the White House for the filming of a PBS All-Star show dedicated to Memphis Soul this past spring. Mavis will be touring internationally in support of One True Vine including a stop in Western MA at the Calvin Theater! – mavisstaples.com

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PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Michael Franti & Spearhead

Michael Franti & Spearhead
Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA
Tuesday, Sept 17th, 2013 at 8pm

Parents’ Night Out! We’re giving away a pair of tickets for a night out at the Calvin Theater in Northampton to see Micahel Franti & Spearhead on Tuesday, Sept 17th at 8pm.  Deadline to enter for a chance to win is 9/10/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  Details below

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!

For September we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see  Michael Franti & Spearhead at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Tuesday, Sept 17th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 09/10/13 by 11:59pm (EST).  Details below.

ABOUT MICHAEL FRANTI

Musician, humanitarian, and children’s book author, Michael Franti, is recognized as a pioneering force using music as a vehicle for positive change as well as his unforgettable, high energy shows with his band, Spearhead. With the multi-platinum success of his song “Say Hey (I Love You)” and the chart breaking 2010 release of The Sound Of Sunshine, Franti and his band guarantee a show that will be thought provoking as well as a fun dance party! ”Music is sunshine,” says Franti, one of the most positive and conscious artists in music today. “Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose.” Franti has a brand new single, “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like)” hitting radio now leading into his brand new album, All People. www.michaelfranti.com.

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Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Friday, August 16th, 2013 @ 8pm

Parents’ Night Out to see Dropkick Murphys plus Swingin’ Utters at Mountain Park! Enter to win a 4-pack of tickets to take your spouse, partner or gang of friends on Friday, August 16th!

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!

For August, Dropkick Murphys are coming to Mountain Park…and we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out! Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner and gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 08/13/13 @ 11:59pm (EST). Details below…

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Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with YES

YES
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Saturday, July 27th, 2013 @ 8pm

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!

This month at Mountain Park, enjoy an evening with YES performing three classic albums in their entirety: The YES Album, Close to the Edge, and Going For the One and we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out! Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner and gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 07/23/13 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT YES

Founded in 1968, Grammy-award winning recording artists YES have created some of the most important and influential music in rock history, selling close to 50 million albums worldwide. YES continues creating masterful music four decades on that inspires fans and musicians from around the world. On this tour, for the first time since 1973, YES will perform their three classic albums in their entireties, all in one concert: 1971’s The YES Album, 1972’s Close to the Edge, and 1977’s Going for the One.  For the latest news and tour info, visit www.yesworld.com.

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Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with Chicago

Chicago
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Friday, June 21st, 2013 @ 8pm

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!

This month at Mountain Park, enjoy an evening with Chicago, winner of the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award and we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out!  Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner and gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 06/18/13 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT CHICAGO

Chicago is one of the most successful American bands of all time with musical ambitions that go beyond rock into classical, jazz, and soul. Since the 1969 release of their debut album Chicago Transit Authority, they’ve been able to fill arenas with satisfied fans. Beyond the staggering sales and chart statistics, their music has endured, played constantly on the radio and beloved by tens of millions. Record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles (11 of those #1) , and 5 consecutive #1 albums. An incredible 25 of their 32 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards. The line-up on tour will include original band members Robert Lamm on keyboards, vocals, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, James Pankow on trombone and Walt Parazaider on woodwinds.
For the latest news and tour info, visit www.chicagotheband.com.

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PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band

Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band
Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA
Thursday, May 9th, 2013 at 8pm

Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band plus The Felice Brothers

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!

For May we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see  Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band plus The Felice Brothers at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 9th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 05/06/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT JOSH RITTER

The Beast In Its Tracks, the sixth album from renowned singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, was released past March.  The new album follows Ritter’s 2010 release, So Runs The World Away, of which Bob Boilen from NPR Music declared, “I’ve come to expect good records from him…but this one took my breath away,” while the Boston Globe praised, “quite sensational…marks the finest music he has made.” In 2011, Ritter made is debut as a published author with his New York Times Best-selling novel, Bright’s Passage. Of the work, Stephen King writes in The New York Times Book Review, “Shines with a compressed lyricism that recalls Ray Bradbury in his prime . . . This is the work of a gifted novelist.” – www.joshritter.com

ABOUT THE FELICE BROTHERS

What separates The Felices mud-stomping folk from that of their peers is their no-winking honesty the sense that these songs and the places and people they’re singing about aren’t literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness. – www.thefelicebrothers.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band plus The Felice Brothers at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 9th, 2013, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons 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 is Monday, 05/06/13 by 11:59pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum at the Calvin Theater

Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum
Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA
Saturday, April 13th, 2013 at 8pm

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!

For April we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, April 13th, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 04/09/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS

Carolina Chocolate Drops’ members met at the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, N.C., and have spent the years since revitalizing and refreshing a glorious tradition of African-American string-band music. But this is no mere trio of nostalgia-miners: Members Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson are as likely to work with a progressive orchestra, or to reinvent Blu Cantrell’s R&B hit “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” as they are to draw on old-time jug-band favorites. — www.carolinachocolatedrops.com

ABOUT DAVID WAX MUSEUM

Anointed as Bostons Americana Artist of the Year (2010 Boston Music Awards), the David Wax Museum has been called pure, irresistible joy (Bob Boilen, NPR) and hailed by TIME.com for its virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies. It is no surprise that its acclaimed performance at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival was hailed as one of highlights of the entire weekend by NPR. The Museum fuses traditional Mexican folk with American roots and indie rock to create an utterly unique Mexo- Americana aesthetic. Combining Latin rhythms, call-and-response hollering, and donkey jawbone rattling, they have electrified audiences across the country and are kicking up a cloud of excitement with their high-energy border-crossing sensibility (The New Yorker). — www.davidwaxmuseum.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Carolina Chocolate Drops plus David Wax Museum at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, April 13th, 2013, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons 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 is Tuesday, 04/09/13 by 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater

Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 8pm

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!

For this spring we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, March 22nd, 2013.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 03/19/13 by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT GAELIC STORM

Celtic-rock group Gaelic Storm’s dazzling new #1 Billboard World Album Chicken Boxer is a heavyweight record that comes out swinging with a mix of empowering anthems and traditional ballads. Gaelic Storm has earned a reputation as one of the world-music scene’s preeminent Celtic bands. With catalog sales of more than 1 million, the group has now had three albums debut at #1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, 2008’s What’s the Rumpus?, 2010’s Cabbage, which remained parked in the top slot for three consecutive weeks, and now, 2012’s Chicken Boxer. The group’s ability to deftly incorporate a rock sensibility into their sound affords them rare crossover appeal. In recent years, they’ve performed on the same bill with acts ranging from Zac Brown Band and the Goo Goo Dolls to Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett, at events as varied as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Milwaukee’s Summerfest. Chicken Boxer, and Gaelic Storm live, deliver a titanic knock out.

Discover more about Gaelic Storm at www.gaelicstorm.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Gaelic Storm at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, March 22nd, 2013., is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons 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 is Tuesday, 03/19/13 by 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

GIVEAWAY: Gift Basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op

Old Creamery Co-Op Gift Basket Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a gift basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op in Cummington, MA (valued at $150).  A great gift for yourself, or someone you love. Deadline to enter to win, Dec. 24th by 12noon.

This fall the Hilltowns became home to another community co-operative grocery store in Western MA: The Old Creamery Co-Op in Cummington, MA!

To celebrate this new beginning, Hilltown Families and the Old Creamery Co-op have partnered up to offer one of our readers a gift basket (valued at $150), abundant with a collection that is representative of what you will find when you visit this Hilltown gem! Details on how you can enter for a chance to win are below!

VISION OF THE OLD CREAMERY

The Old Creamery is a small country store cultivating a big vision: “…to make the world a more just, loving, and environmentally sustainable place, starting in our own neighborhood, through the vehicle of a vibrant, community-oriented retail store.”  Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley purchased the Old Creamery in 2000 and have since helped transform it into a vibrant community hub in the heart of the Hilltowns, transitioning to a community owned co-op last month!

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Alice and Karen Doherty, the co-op’s new general manager, have put together a list of great gifts you can find at the Old Creamery Co-op, gifts that reflect the co-op’s values & vision, some of which will be found in our Gift Basket Giveaway:

List of 20 Gifts You Can Find at the Old Creamery Co-op

  1. Two mugs from our crafts gallery and a bag of locally roasted Indigo coffee.
  2. Vermont-made wooden toys from sustainably harvested timber.
  3. Tessier’s maple syrup, in a variety of sizes. The quintessential New England gift!
  4. The book World Enough and Time by local author Christian McEwen.
  5. Les Costes Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the richest-flavored, most delicate, buttery olive oil I have ever tasted. For an extraordinary gift, pair it with Eiswein Vinegar with Quince from Germany, unique among the vinegars I’ve tasted.
  6. Nitty Gritty Grain Co. of Vermont bags of regionally grown cornmeal, grains, and flour.
  7. Lotus Foods heirloom rices, supporting farmers from many countries in their efforts to grow delicious and nutritious heirloom varieties using environmentally sustainable growing methods.
  8. Sap House Meadery’s assorted flavors of meads in exquisitely beautiful bottles. I enjoy the aroma as much as the flavor.
  9. Bug Hill Farm Black Currant Cordial to drizzle on ice cream, to mix into seltzer, or flavoring in a cooking sauce.
  10. Faber Castell environmentally sustainable beeswax crayons and colored pencils.
  11. One of many really cool, well-engineered kitchen tools.
  12. Assorted chocolates from all over the world; many are organic and fair trade. Put a selection together in a small basket.
  13. A colorful African Market Basket from Ghana.
  14. Beautiful bamboo kitchen towels and sustainably produced bamboo wooden kitchen spoons and spatulas.
  15. A book about canning, canning jars, labels, and a canning funnel.
  16. Wise Ways locally made herbal medicines, and skin-care and personal-care products with a book on medicinal herbs.
  17. Locally made Ooma Tesoro’s marinara sauce, and other Mediterranean condiments.
  18. Maggie’s socks, from a regionally owned company.
  19. A member-owner share in The Old Creamery Co-op.
  20. And the very last of the old-style Old Creamery T-shirts, sweatshirts, or baby jumpers.

Alice also suggests that folks think about giving nontraditionally this holiday season too! “Give the precious gift of your time,” she suggests. “Offer to accompany your friend/family member on walks in the woods, cook a meal for someone you love, or offer to teach something you know, like knitting, cooking, bicycle maintenance, or furniture repair. Take the time to write a card (make your own or buy one of our many cards by local artists). Invite your gift-recipient to accompany you to one of our many local arts venues (theater, music, dance) or to your favorite restaurant.”

The Old Creamery Co-Op is located on Route 9 in Cummington (445 Berkshire Trail Road). As you approach the Old Creamery’s white turn-of-the-twentieth-century building the first thing you notice is the sizable statue of a cow on the front roof overlooking Route 9. The cow connects us with our roots. In 1886 this building housed the Cummington Cooperative Creamery, the co-op of local dairy farmers. These co-op members brought fresh cream from their farms to be churned into butter here. At its most active, 145 dairies produced 20,000 pounds of butter per month.  Find out more at www.oldcreamery.coop.

HOW TO WIN

We’re putting together a BUCKET LIST of things to do and places to see in Western MA with the family this winter, post-holidays (January-March). Recommend your favorite attraction, must see or must do family winter activity in Western MA, and be entered to win a gift basket from the Old Creamery Co-Op (valued at $150), filled with gift quality items and artisanal & local foods you can find at the co-op, including several from the list above. To enter to win simply:

  • POST YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS OUTLINED ABOVE IN THE FIELDS 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).
  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • 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).

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Win Tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro at the Calvin Theater

Jake Shimabukuro at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Saturday, Dec. 1st at 8pm

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!

For November we are pleased to offer a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, December 1st, 2012.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 11/27/12  by 11:59pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT JAKE SHIMABUKURO

Jake Shimabukuro (photo credit: Merri Cyr)

In his young career, ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro has already redefined a heretofore under-the-radar instrument, been declared a musical “hero” by Rolling Stone, won accolades from the disparate likes of Eddie Vedder, Perez Hilton and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, wowed audiences on TV (Jimmy Kimmel, Conan), earned comparisons to Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, and even played in front of the Queen of England.

With his new record Grand Ukulele, Shimabukuro’s star may burn even brighter. An ambitious follow-up to 2011’s Peace, Love, Ukulele (which debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Charts), the Hawaiian musician’s new record finds him collaborating with legendary producer/engineer Alan Parsons, best known for his work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Beatles’ Abbey Road and his own highly successful solo project.  Parsons ended up helping Shimabukuro expand his sound, bringing in a 29-piece orchestra and a big-name rhythm section, including drummer Simon Phillips (The Who, Toto), session superstar bassist Randy Tico and Kip Winger (Winger, Alice Cooper), who helped with the orchestration.

Discover more about Jake Shimabukuro at www.jakeshimabukuro.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see Jake Shimabukuro at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Saturday, December 1st, 2012, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  1. SHARE YOU FAVORITE COMMUNITY HOLIDAY EVENT IN WESTERN MA below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 11/27/12  by 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

DVD Giveaway: The Complete Series of The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series

The Magic School Bus celebrates the excellent idea of field trips as a vehicle for supplementing the education of children outside of the classroom, but Ms. Frizzle takes it even further combining magic with science for animated adventures sure to enrich the learning of science with elementary children. This complete series of all 52 episodes is a resource all teachers and parents will benefit from having it in their DVD collections. Selecting episodes to supplement curriculum in the classroom or interests at home will add enthusiasm and adventures to various fields of science.

Not many children’s brands can stand the test of time, entertaining and educating multiple generations. The Magic School Bus, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, is one such brand. This month the Emmy Award winning TV series has been re-launcehd to DVD, The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series, bringing together all 52 episodes of the program on 8 DVDs… and Hilltown Families has a set to giveaway to one very lucky family! Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, October 2nd by 7pm (EST). Find out how to win below.

ABOUT THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS

The Magic School Bus (Scholastic) has been capturing children’s imaginations since the first book came out in 1986. Since then, the acclaimed series has sold over 60 million books and spawned a successful animated TV series, which premiered in 1994, with support from The National Science Foundation. Now the longest-running science series to air on television, the star-studded program features the voices of Lily Tomlin, Wynonna Judd, Dolly Parton, Tony Randall and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Along with the adventurous and energetic Ms. Frizzle and her pet lizard, Liz, the entire class – along with the audience –invites students to explore volcanoes, the inside of the human body and much, much more! www.scholastic.com/magicschoolbus.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series DVD collection ($79.95 value) is as easy as 1-2-3(4)!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING THIS POST ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  • POST A QUESTION BELOW YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR OUR WEEKLY QUESTION & ANSWER COLUMN TO BE ANSWERED BY OUR COMMUNITY OF READERS (one entry per household);
  • FULL NAME (first/last);
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) (must include your town to be eligible);
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address);
  • From our favorite entries (so make them good!) we’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, October 2nd by 7pm (EST).

Ticket Giveaway: Parents’ Night Out at Mountain Park with Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA
Friday, Sept 14th, 2012 @ 7pm

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or gang of friends for a night out to see Darius Rucker plus Joel Crouse at Mountain Park in Holyoke on Friday, Sept. 14th. Deadline to enter to win is 09/11/112 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

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!

This month at Mountain Park, Darius Rucker brings country favorites and Hootie classics to the Pioneer Valley on Friday, September 14th at 7pmand we’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a group of friends to enjoy an evening out!  Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or gang of friends for a fun evening away from the kids. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 09/11/12 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT DARIUS RUCKER

As leader of Hootie & the Blowfish, Darius Rucker was one of the most popular frontmen in mainstream pop/rock during the mid-’90s. The band’s debut album, Cracked Rear View, was virtually inescapable in 1995, eventually selling more than 16 million copies and becoming one of the most successful albums of all time. Hootie & the Blowfish couldn’t recreate that magic on future albums, though, and the band took a break from the studio after releasing 1998′s Musical Chairs. Rucker used his free time to launch a solo career, which allowed the singer to explore his R&B and country influences.

Darius Rucker is now riding high with the release of his sophomore country album, Charleston, SC 1966. USA Today raved, “Rucker has made a fine-sounding country album, full of singable choruses, bittersweet fiddle and steel, and guitars with bottomless twang,” and Rolling Stone said, “On his Nashville debut, Rucker’s rich baritone, sentimental ballads and bright hooks made him the most successful African-American country singer since Charley Pride.” Rucker amps up that formula on album number two. The debut in referral is his chart-topping 2008 release, Learn To Live  an album that produced three consecutive No. 1 singles and Top 5 smash, “History In The Making,” Ruckers success in the country music format was recently recognized at the 43rd Annual CMA Awards when he received the Top New Artist title and again with ACM, Teen Choice, and AMA Award nominations. Charleston, SC 1966–a title which pays tribute to one of Rucker’s biggest influences, Radney Foster–includes the multiple-week #1 hit single, “Come Back Song,” and his current Top 10 single, “This.”

For the latest news and tour info, visit www.dariusrucker.com.

ABOUT MOUNTAIN PARK

Following its opening in 1894 as a picturesque retreat on the side of Mount Tom, Mountain Park expanded and evolved into one of the most beloved amusement parks in New England. At the beginning of the 20th century, Holyoke was the most prosperous community in the state and the first planned industrial city in the United States. The city’s progress drew crowds of visitors to Mountain Park, and the park gradually developed into a bustling destination. Although the park closed its gates in 1987, the echoes of laughter from generations of visitors still reverberate throughout the Pioneer Valley. Today, Mountain Park evolves into the next millennium as a new host for music, entertainment and outdoor family fun.

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 lawn tickets to see Darius Rucker plus Joel Crouse at Mountain Park in Holyoke on Friday, Sept. 14th, 2012 at 7pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! 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)

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT TICKET GIVEAWAY: O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater

O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Friday, Sept. 7th at 8pm

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!

This month we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Friday, September 7th, 2012. Opening act, Barefoot Truth.

Win tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 9/4/12 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT O.A.R.

O.A.R.s Wind-up Records debut album, King, marks a new beginning for the band, while also paying homage to their past. It is the seventh studio effort in a career that began with their high school recording, The Wanderer. Bringing back the title character from their first album, O.A.R. takes the listener on a journey to discover that what the Wanderer, and the band members themselves, had been searching for all along, was there from the beginning. As the closing song on the new disc states, a return Back to One. – www.ofarevolution.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pairs of tickets to see O.A.R. at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Friday, September 7th, 2012, with opening act, Barefoot Truth, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply:

  1. INSPIRE OUR READERS BY SHARING HOW YOU LIKE TO SPEND AN EVENING OUT AWAY FROM THE KIDS when there’s nothing happening at the Calvin (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 9/4/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Ticket Giveaway: First Annual Hilltown Bluegrass Festival

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

First Annual Hilltown Bluegrass Festival
Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen
Sunday, June 10th from 2-7pm

First Annual Hilltown Bluegrass Festival at  Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen on Sunday, June 10th from 2-7pm. Enter to win a 4-pack of tickets! Deadline to enter to win is Friday, 06/08/12 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

The First Annual Hilltown Bluegrass Festival will take place at the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, MA on Sunday, June 10, 2012 from 2-7pm… and Hilltown Families has a 4-pack of ticket to giveaway to one lucky family!

Win the tickets and take your family and friends to a fun new music festival in the Hilltowns! Deadline to enter to win is Friday, 06/08/12 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT FIRST ANNUAL HILLTOWN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

The festival is a fundraiser to benefit the Hilltown Community Development Corporation (CDC). It will feature live bluegrass and old-time music by New England bands.  Headlining the festival is Western Mass-based ‘Appalachian Still‘, a bluegrass and old-time band formed in 2005. While rooted in bluegrass and old-time traditions, Appalachian Still draws significant influence from classic rock, blues, folk, and country. They have two albums to their credit, “Lost and Found” released in 2007 and “Feelin’ Alive” in 2010. Joining Appalachian Still is ‘Acoustic Brew‘, playing what they affectionately refer to as “Brewgrass – a bluegrass-infused blend of original compositions, traditional songs, and old school country and blues, generously seasoned with covers of classic tunes from bands like the Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Band, Fred Eaglesmith and more.” Also joining the line-up are bands Sweetheart Mountain and Rocky Hill.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a 4-pack of tickets to the First Annual Hilltown Bluegrass Festival at the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, MA on Sunday, June 10th from 2-7pm is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED YOU TO THE HILLTOWNS OVER THE YEARS below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Friday, 06/08/12 @ 7pm (EST)

Tickets for the show are $15 per person with kids 12 and under free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.appalachianstill.com. The Three Sisters Sanctuary is an outdoor event space located at 188 Cape Street, Route 112, in Goshen.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

Michael Franti and Spearhead
Calvin Theatre in Northampton
Thursday, May 31st at 8pm

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!

This month we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 31st, 2012. Opening act, Zach Heckendorf.

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Monday, 05/28/12 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD

For over two decades, the Bay Area born Michael Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music. Franti first formed the punk band The Beatnigs while studying at the University of San Francisco, and later the far more hip hop-inflected The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. In the mid-Nineties, Franti created Spearhead. Frantis music has always reflected his status as a musical citizen of the world. The Sound Of Sunshine — the inspired and inspiring new album by Michael Franti  Spearhead — is a kind of musical sun shower, a bright, beautiful and often buoyant song cycle created to bring all kinds of listeners a sense of hope during rough and rainy times for so many in our world. Arguably the most cohesive, romantic and life-affirming album that Franti and Spearhead have ever made, The Sound Of Sunshine reflects the fact that, as Franti puts it, with time, you get a better sense who you are and how to put together all your musical passions into your own sound. – michaelfranti.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pairs of tickets to see the Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA at 8pm on Thursday, May 31st, 2012, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED  YOU WITH YOUR COMMUNITY OVER THE YEARS  below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, 05/28/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Fab Faux at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

The Fab Faux: A Mixed Bag of Beatles Favorites
Calvin Theatre in Northampton
Saturday, April 28th at 8pm

This is the band to see if you want to know what it might be like if the Beatles toured today. Not like any other The Fab Faux are committed to the accurate reproduction of The Beatles’ repertoire. If you want to hear songs recreated that were written, arranged, and performed with a genius rarely heard in today’s music scene; if you’re too young to know what all the fuss is about; or you just want to see one of the best live rock bands around today—here’s your chance.

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!

This spring  we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see The Fab Faux: A Mixed Bag of Beatles Favorites at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA on Saturday, April 28th at 8pm! Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is 04/25/12 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT THE FAB FAUX

Formed in 1998, The Fab Faux treat the seminal music of the Beatles with unwavering respect through painstaking recreations of the songs (with emphasis on the later works never performed live by the Beatles). Far beyond a cover band, they play the music of The Beatles so impeccably that one must experience it to believe it. Calling them, the greatest Beatles cover band  without the wigs, Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke wrote, the Faux invigorate the artistry of even the Beatles most intricate studio masterpieces with top chops and Beatlemaniac glee. Approaching the songs with the intent of playing them live as accurately in musical reading and in spirit as possible, The Fauxs breathtaking performances tend to dispel all concertgoers previous notions of a Beatles tribute act.

Calling them, “the greatest Beatles cover band – without the wigs,” Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke wrote, “the Faux invigorate the artistry of even the Beatles’ most intricate studio masterpieces with top chops and Beatlemaniac glee.” Approaching the songs with the intent of playing them live as accurately in musical reading and in spirit as possible, The Faux’s breathtaking performances tend to dispel all concertgoers’ previous notions of a Beatles tribute act. “The Fab Faux have the hardest job in the history of R & R and they pull it off damn well. All rock bands want to be like the Beatles; these guys have the nerve to BE the Beatles. Amazingly, they’re so good at it you learn new things about the originals” – Dave Marsh, legendary Rock Critic and Sirius Radio Host. – www.thefabfaux.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pairs of tickets to see the The Fab Faux: A Mixed Bag of Beatles Favorites at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Saturday, April 28th at 8pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES AS CONNECTED  YOU WITH YOUR COMMUNITY OVER THE YEARS  below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 04/25/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Lucy Kaplansky at Iron Horse Music Hall

Lucy Kaplansky
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton, MA
Sunday, Feb 26th, 2012 @ 7pm

Win a pair of tickets to see Lucy Kaplansky at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Sunday, Feb 26th at 7pm. Deadline to enter to win: 2/22 @ 7pm (EST).

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!

For the end of February we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see Lucy Kaplansky at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Sunday, Feb 26th at 7pm with opening act, Sandy Bailey. Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: 2/22 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT LUCY KAPLANSKY

She started out singing in Chicago bars. Then, barely out of high school, Lucy Kaplansky took off for New York City. There she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers – Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Bill Morrissey, Cliff Eberhardt. Lucy was everyone’s favorite singing partner, but most often she found herself singing as a duo with Shawn Colvin. Lucy temporarily left the musical fast track to pursue a doctorate in Psychology and open her own private practice, although she continues to tour extensively across North America, reminding audiences why she has been hailed as “a truly gifted performer…full of enchanting songs” (The New Yorker). www.lucykaplansky.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Lucy Kaplansky at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Sunday, Feb 26th at 7pm with opening act, Sandy Bailey, is easy & simple!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOUR FAMILY ENGAGED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY DURING SCHOOL VACATION WEEK 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 Wednesday, 02/22/12 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Ruth Moody at Iron Horse on Valentine’s Day

Ruth Moody Band
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton
Wednesday, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 7pm

Parents' Night Out ticket giveaway for Valentine's Day to see Ruth Moody at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 02/10/12 by 7pm (EST)

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!

For Valentine’s Day we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see Ruth Moody Band on Valentine’s Day, Wed., February 14th, 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA.

Win the tickets and take your sweetheart or BFF out for Valentine’s Day. Deadline to enter to win is Friday, 02/10/12 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT RUTH MOODY BAND

Although best known for her work with The Wailin’ Jennys, Ruth Moody is a Juno Award winning songwriter who’s made numerous critically-acclaimed albums and appeared more than a dozen times on A Prairie Home Companion. She’s also the former lead singer of The Duhks. She plays guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, and bodhrán and is a gifted songwriter. Writing with a maturity and wisdom that belies her age, her songs are timeless, universal, and exceptionally well-crafted, all sung with an intimacy and honesty that is unmistakably hers. Ruth released her highly-anticipated solo album The Garden in Spring 2010 features with an all-star cast including Crooked Still, Kevin Breit (Norah Jones, k.d. lang), Luke Doucet, and a guest appearance by The Wailin’ Jennys. The Ruth Moody Band, is Adam Dobres (electric guitar), Adrian Dolan (strings, mandolin, accordion) and Sam Howard (bass, vocals). www.ruthmoody.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Ruth Moody Band on Valentine’s Day, Wed., February 14th, 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. is easy & simple!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH DATE NIGHT OPPORTUNITIES  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, 02/10/12 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

Carolina Chocolate Drops
with opening act, Joy Kills Sorrow
Calvin Theatre in Northampton
Saturday, January 28th at 8pm

Enter to win a pair of tickets for a Parents' Night Out to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Saturday, Jan 28th at 8pm. We have TWO pair of tickets to giveaway! Deadline to enter to win: 01/25/12.

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!

To start off 2012, we have two a pair of tickets to giveaway to see Carolina Chocolate Drops, with opening act Joy Kills Sorrow, at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA on Saturday, Jan 28th at 8pm to two lucky winners! Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is 01/25/12 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT THE CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a group of young African-American string band musicians that have come to together to play the rich tradition of fiddle and banjo music in Carolina’s Piedmont.  Although they have diverse musical backgrounds, the band draws its musical heritage from the foothills of the North and South Carolina. Under the tutelage of Joe Thompson, said to be the last black traditional string band player, of Mebane NC, they strive to carry on the long standing traditional music of the black and white communities. - www.carolinachocolatedrops.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA on Saturday, Jan 28th at 8pm , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES AS CONNECTED  YOU WITH YOUR COMMUNITY OVER THE YEARS  below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 01/25/12 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: New Year’s Eve at the Calvin with Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band
plus Love Canon
Calvin Theatre – New Year’s Eve
Saturday, December 31st 8pm

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band plus Love Canon at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on New Year's Eve ,Saturday, December 31st 8pm. Deadline to enter to win: Tuesday, Dec 27th @ 7pm.

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!

To end the year we have a pair of tickets to giveaway for Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band plus Love Canon at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA on Saturday, Dec 31st at 8pm. Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is 12/27/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT ROSH RITTER

Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho. The son of two neuroscientists, he was on his way to follow in their footsteps when he discovered Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” in high school. He has since released five studio albums and has been recently named one of the 100 greatest living songwriters by Paste Magazine, alongside Dylan, Springsteen, and Neil Young. Joan Baez has covered one of his songs; Stephen King named one of Ritter’s albums the best of recent years and David Letterman has requested him twice, so far. His latest studio album, So Runs the World Away, was released in April 2010 and Josh’s first novel, Bright’s Passage, came out this summer. www.joshritter.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets  to see Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band plus Love Canon at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA on Saturday, Dec 31st at 8pm , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. REFLECT BACK OVER THE YEAR AND SHARE WITH US YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF COMMUNITY LIFE IN THE REGION FOR 2011  below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 12/27/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: An Evening with Garrison Keillor at the Calvin Theater in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

An Evening with Garrison Keillor at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Sunday, Dec 4th @ 8pm

Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota, and began his radio career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" in St. Paul. - Deadline to enter to win tix: 12/01/11 @ 7pm.

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!

For the beginning of December we have a pair of tickets to giveaway for An Evening with Garrison Keillor at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Sunday, Dec 4th at 8pm. Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is 12/1/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT GARRISON KEILLOR

Keillor said he plans to retire in “the spring of 2013,” in an interview with AARP so this may be your last chance to see the legendary author, storyteller, humorist, and creator of the weekly radio show A Prairie Home Companion. The show began in 1974 as a live variety show on Minnesota Public Radio. In the 1980s A Prairie Home Companion became a pop culture phenomenon, with millions of Americans listening to Keillor’s folksy tales of life in the fictional Midwestern town of Lake Wobegon, where (in Keillor’s words) “the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all of the children are above average.” His radio show inspired a 2006 movie, A Prairie Home Companion, written by and starring Keillor, Meryl Streep and Lindsay Lohan and directed by Robert Altman was Altman’s last film; he died later that year. His signature sign-off on  his show The Writer’s Almanac is “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets for An Evening with Garrison Keillor at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Sunday, Dec 4th at 8pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. SHARE WITH US A BRIEF ANECDOTE OF FAMILY LIFE IN WESTERN MA below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Thursday, 12/01/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

GIVEAWAY: Eco-Friendly, Locally-Made, Free-Play Toys

Local Artist Creates Toys That Encourage Creative Free Play

Enter to win a fantasy birthday celebration kit that includes these non-toxic limited edition free-play toys by local artist/entrepreneur, Janet Street, plus CD's and a kids birthday party performance by local kids musician, Dennis Caraher. Deadline to enter to win: Midnight on Dec 5th, 2011

We were recently approached by Janet Street, a Northampton artist and entrepreneur who has launched an eco-friendly, open play toy initiative, Easy Keepers, that she is campaigning to fund through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform that showcases creative projects by individuals or groups who are seeking funding… We were intrigued! I shared Janet’s video that outlines and highlights her toys with my 9yo daughter. Her response, “I’d play with those.” – So we invited Janet to tell us more about her project to share with our readers.

Plus, we’re pleased to partner with her in a fabulous promotion to giveaway a very exciting package of toys and music to one very lucky family! Wait until you see the package she has put together! Along with her husband, local musician Dennis Caraher, they are not only offering a limited edition of her new toys, but also music CD’s and a kids birthday party performance! We’ve gushed about it below, but first we want to tell you about both Easy Keepers and Kickstarter, two really cool ideas!

EASY KEEPERS

Easy Keepers are eco-friendly bendable horse toys, created by Northampton artist Janet Street. Janet first came up with the idea and sculpted prototypes in the mid 1990′s but shelved the project until a year ago. With online technology like Kickstarter, and the growing demand for non-toxic, locally-made, creative free-play toys, the time just seemed right to pick back up the prototypes and move forward.

NON-TOXIC: Unable to find an eco-friendly USA manufacturer to make these toys, Janet developed her own process and materials for manufacturing. “My hope is that Easy Keepers will catch on and provide a viable alternative to toys manufactured in China, made of toxic, environmentally harmful plastic, mainly PVC,” writes Janet.

NON-COMMERCIAL: Although the materials are an innovative feature of Easy Keepers, the most important feature by far is the play factor. “It’s a toy that needs no media-driven backstory to dictate what to do with it. No electronics or gimmicks. No overstated “educational” component,” she writes. “My belief is that children want to and need to create their own world of play, using their own imaginations. Toys should be a starting point, an inspiration, for self-discovery.”

KICKSTARTER

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that showcases creative projects by individuals or groups who are seeking funding. It brings together a community of people looking for project funding with people interested in supporting creative ventures. It provides a format for participants to communicate their idea with a wide audience. The site provides an alternative to traditional funding sources, with the main qualification being a compelling presentation of the project. Supporters receive incentives or rewards for their donation, if the funding goal is met. If not, no funds are paid out. If the funding goal is met or exceeded, the donations are paid and Kickstarter receives a small percentage.

“Kickstarter funding will allow us to hire skilled artisans to help make the molds, cast and finish the toys,” writes Janet. “Otherwise, making toys by hand, in small quantities will make it difficult to price the toys reasonably. With the help of our community and new Kickstarter friends, we hope to reach our funding goal by December 5th.”

Want to find out more about Janet’s project on Kickstarter? Check it out at HERE.

GIVEAWAY

Here’s the amazing package Janet and her husband, Dennis Caraher, are offering (valued at over $400):

  • Two limited edition Easy Keepers toys
  • Two Carrying Case Barns
  • One Easy Keepers Gift Certificate
  • Two signed Easy Keepers posters, set of four refrigerator magnets, set of four coasters and bookmark
  • Three music CD’s by Dennis Caraher: I Miss the Mud, Dog Bone Town, Bow Wow Baby
  • Dennis Caraher Music: Kid’s Birthday Party Performance

Win this packet and have the most amazing birthday party for your favorite kid, presents included!

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win Janet’s collection outlined above is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH NEWS & INFORMATION ON NON-COMMERCIAL CREATIVE FREE PLAY below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, 12/05/11 by midnight (EST).

Find out more about Janet Street, Easy Keepers and Kickstarter, check out her project HERE.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Bela Fleck at the Calvin Theater in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

Bela Fleck at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Thursday, Nov 1oth @ 8pm

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Bela Fleck at the Calvin Theater on Thursday, Nov 10th! Deadline to enter to win: Sunday, 11/6 @ 7pm.

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!

For the beginning of November we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see Bela Fleck at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Thursday, Nov 10th at 8pm. Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Sunday, 11/06/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT BELA FLECK

Groundbreaking banjoist/composer/bandleader Béla Fleck has reconvened the original Béla Fleck & The Flecktones’, the extraordinary initial line-up of his incredible combo. Rocket Science marks the first recording by the first fab four Flecktones in almost two decades, with pianist/harmonica player Howard Levy back in the fold alongside Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, and percussionist/ Drumitarist Roy “Futureman” Wooten. Far from being a wistful trip back in time, the album sees the Grammy Award-winning quartet creating some of the most forward thinking music of their long, storied career. While all manners of genres come into play – from classical and jazz to bluegrass and African music to electric blues and Eastern European folk dances – the result is an impossible to pigeonhole sound all their own, a meeting of musical minds that remains, as ever, utterly indescribable. Simply put, it is The Flecktones, the music made only when these four individuals come together. www.belafleck.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Bella Fleck at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Thursday, Nov 10th, 2011 @ 8pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH PERFORMANCE VENUES IN WESTERN MA below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, 11/06/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Crooked Still at the Calvin Theater in Northampton

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see…

Crooked Still at the Calvin Theater
Northampton, MA
Saturday, Oct 8th @ 8pm

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Crooked Still at the Calvin Theater on Saturday, Oct 8th along with their new CD, "Some Strange Country." Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, Oct 5th @ 7pm.

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!

For the beginning of October we have two pairs of tickets to giveaway to see Crooked Still at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Saturday, Oct 8th at 8 pm. Each winner will also receive a copy of Crooked Still’s newest CD, Some Strange Country, from Signature Sounds! — Opening for Crooked Still, Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer.

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 10/05/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT CROOKED STILL

The musical prowess of this defiantly non-traditional bluegrass quintet is ever more apparent as they celebrate their 10th anniversary. They mix radically re-imagined traditional fare seamlessly alongside original compositions. For their fourth album, Some Strange Country, Crooked Still’s uses quasi-orchestral string arrangements and unique vocal distortion techniques to hone in on their unique refraction of roots music.

On Some Strange Country, Crooked Still has honed in on their unique refraction of roots music, recording their most personal, visionary album yet. “The music is not just ‘alternative bluegrass’ or whatever people used to call it,” fiddle player Brittany Haas remarks. “It’s at another level now: artful, but still grounded in that funky, string band thing.”

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to Crooked Still with opening act by Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA on Saturday, Oct 8th, 2011 @ 8pm, along with a copy of Crooked Still’s newest CD, Some Strange Country, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below;
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH PERFORMANCE VENUES IN WESTERN MA below (one entry per household); and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE), Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address with a third party).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 10/05/11 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, by phone at 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole

Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton
Friday, June 3rd, 2011 @ 7pm

We're giving away two pair of tickets for a night of Cajun music with Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole at the Iron Horse Music Hall on June 3rd! Zydeco dance lessons at intermission! Deadline to enter to win: 5/31 @ 7pm.

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!

For June we are pleased to offer a two chances to win a pairs of tickets to see Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole on Friday, June 3rd, 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. There will even be Zydeco dance lesson with Larry Kauffman at the break!

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 05/31/11 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.

ABOUT CEDRIC WATSON

One of the most noted young talents to emerge in Cajun or Creole music in the past few years, Cedric Watson is a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, vocalist, accordionist and songwriter of seemingly unlimited potential. Born in 1983, Cedric grew up in San Felipe, Texas surrounded by the sounds of blues, old soul, country and zydeco. Unlike his hip-hop focused peers, Cedric was drawn to the old-style French songs of Southwest Louisiana and the greater Houston area. He soon made his way to Lafayette, LA where he was enthusiastically accepted into the musical community and immediately recognized as an important participant in the continuity of Creole music. — www.cedricwatson.com

Listen up to Cedric’s song, Zydeco Paradise:

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole on Friday, June 3rd, 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA is easy & simple!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” 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, 05/31/11 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Erin McKeown in Northampton

Erin McKeown
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton
Friday, April 15th, 2011 @ 7pm

Erin McKeown

Western MA musician Erin McKeown will be at the Iron Horse with open act, the fabulous Natalia Zukerman, on Friday, April 15th - Deadline to enter to win a pair of tickets: Tuesday, Apr. 12th @ 7pm.

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!

For April we are pleased to offer a chance to win a pairs of tickets to see Erin McKeown with opening act, Natalia Zukerman on Friday, April 15th,  7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA.

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 04/12/11 @ 7pm (EST). More details below. Read the rest of this entry »

Musical Ways to Discover Heroes of African American History

Heroes of African American History Come to Life on Radio & DVD

Three ways to discover heroes of African American history!

Music is a terrific avenue for kids to discover African American heroes during Black History Month, with a couple of opportunities offered right here on Hilltown Families.

The Hilltown Family Variety Show Black History Month Episode showcased leading musicians who comprise an African American heritage this month, introducing listeners to many great musicians, including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Listen to the podcast here.

♦ Check out this DVD released by Scholastic Storybook Treasures, Duke Ellington …and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history, a historic and musical collection of four stories adapted from best-selling picture books.  Stories featured include:

  • Duke Ellington (based on the story by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Bran Pinkney, narrated by Forest Whitaker). A most fitting tribute to a great man who proudly celebrated the history of African-Americans, from slavery to civil rights struggles.
  • Ellington Was Not a Street (based on the story by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, narrated by Phylicia Rashad). A poetic tribute about growing up amidst many of the great figures in African American History.
  • Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of Vocal Virtuosa (based on the story Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney, narrated by Billy Dee Williams). The dramatic story of how Ella got her sound, on the way to a most remarkable and inspiring career.
  • John Henry (based on the story by Julius Lester, illustrated by Brian Pinkney, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson). Based on the famous African-American folk ballad, this story tells of the legendary contest between a spirited man with a hammer and a steam drill.

Giveaway: 5 Family Tickets to 5 Family Performances @ the Academy of Music Theatre

The Gift of the Arts in Northampton
Musical, Ballet, Puppets & Chinese Acrobatics
5 Performances at the Academy of Music Theatre

For February we’re continuing our five year celebration with another fabulous 5 giveaway… this time we’re partnering with the Academy of Music Theatre (Northampton, MA) and offering 5 family 4-packs of tickets to 5 different performances this late winter/early spring!

Let’s recap our five year celebration to date: We started off the festivities in November with 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs, and in December we partnered with 5 Western MA Museums offering 5 Annual Family Memberships. We began the new year with 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses in Western MA, which we did a drawing for at the debut opening celebration of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA (see photos).

Now, for the shortest month of the year, we have a long list of five family performances you can enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see in Northampton, MA at the historic Academy of Music Theatre. Read about these terrific family performances and enter to win below. Deadline to enter to win: February 28th, 2011 by 7pm (EST).

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
Friday, March 4th @ 7pm

It sounds so simple, just a quick trip to the laundromat with Daddy, Trixie, and her beloved Knuffle Bunny. But, before you know it, things go horribly… hilariously wrong. Chock-full of adventure, song, and gigantic dancing laundry, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical tells a tale of family, best friends, baby steps, and memories that last a lifetime. Based on his beloved Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems joins Grammy Award–winning composer Michael Silversher to lovingly celebrate the heart and heartache that can only come from a family visit to the local laundromat. A Kennedy Center production. Mo Willems will be available to answer questions following this one hour Kennedy Center production. The Kennedy Center has a video that takes a look behind the scenes of the making of this musical. (Ticket Value: $44)

New Shanghai Circus
Sunday, March 13th @ 2pm

In 1999, the New Shanghai Circus realized the dream of all acrobatic troupes from China: they were the first Chinese acrobatic company to be invited to perform on Broadway in New York City. The record-breaking 28 sold-out shows at the New Victory Theater won them the title “Best Foreign Production on Broadway” that year. Today, the New Shanghai Circus is in residence at its own theater in Branson, Missouri where it is among the five most popular events in this mid-west theater mecca. – The Chinese acrobatic tradition dates back to 700 B.C.; The art of Chinese acrobatics developed out of Lunar New Year harvest celebrations, where a village’s peasants and craftsmen would hold a kind of Chinese Thanksgiving. Acrobats used household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop as part of their exciting feats. Performers passed their skills down from generation to generation and great acrobatic families of China entertained everyone from city rulers to village people, performing at ceremonial carnivals and public theaters across the country. Get a sneak preview of their performance in this video. (Ticket Value: $74)

Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird
Saturday, April 2nd @ 1pm

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents a ballet double feature: Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird. Set to Tchaikovsky’s lush score, Sleeping Beauty is an action packed one-hour production that has a fresh take on a classic ballet. Audiences of all ages will be enchanted by the story of a bewitched princess asleep for 100 years, the spiteful Carabosse, and the prince who battles dragons and evil forces to awaken the kingdom. – The full version of the exotic ballet, The Firebird, is a 40 minute performance that celebrates the centennial anniversary of Stravinsky’s musical composition. Based on a Russian folk tale of the magical glowing bird that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor, audiences will be thrilled as Prince Ivan and the Firebird battle “Kaschei the Immortal” for the freedom of the lovely Princess. Come be transported by Stravinsky’s incomparable score and the high quality dancing you have come to expect from the Pioneer Valley Ballet! (Ticket Value: $90)

The Woman Who Outshone the Sun
Monday, April 18th @ 10am

As part of the Puppet Festival at the Academy of Music Theatre during the school vacation week, Behind the Mask Studio performs The Woman Who Outshone the Sun. In this story, a beautiful and mysterious woman with magical powers is exiled from a mountain village and she takes away its water source, a vital river. Through their suffering for what they have lost, the villagers learn important lessons of tolerance, forgiveness, and the frailty of the ecosystem. The show is performed as a bilingual story ( Spanish & English), and based on a poem by Alejandro Cruz Martinez. (Ticket Value: $20)

Pinocchio
Thursday, April 21st @ 10am

The Puppet Festival continues with a production of Pinocchio by David Syrotiak’s National Marionette Theatre. Carlo Collodi’s epic about a puppet who wants to become a real boy is a classic example of storytelling at its best. This adaptation is a faithful re-telling of a childhood classic. Follow Pinocchio as he goes on a series of adventures and realizes that only by being truthful, selfless and kind to others will he realize his dream of becoming a real live boy. (Ticket Value: $20)

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to one of these fabulous family productions at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA is  super easy. To enter to win simply:

1.) Check the dates of the shows and tell us WHICH SHOWS YOU COULD ATTEND. Select all that apply then continue below.

(↑↑↑ be sure to hit the “submit” button) Must continue below ↓↓↓ to be eligible to win:

2.) Next, SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
3.) TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED YOUR FAMILY WITH THE ARTS IN WESTERN MA THESE PAST FIVE YEARS in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
4.) FULL NAME (again) and where you
5.) LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
6.) ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win: February 28th, 2011 by 7pm (EST). If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Giveaway: 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses in Western Mass

Hilltown Families turned five at the turn of the year … and we are celebrating all year long!  This month we are offering 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses, celebrating local food and businesses with a sample of products from Dean’s Beans, Tea Guys, Bart’s Ice Cream, Dufresne’s Sugar House, and Appalachian Naturals.

Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th.  Five winners will be randomly selected and announced during the opening reception for Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA at Cup & Top Café in Florence on February 5th and must be present to win. All of the businesses included in the giveaway have products that are used or sold at the cafe. Details below.

One thing you can say about families in Western Mass is we are committed to creating healthy communities for our children to grow and thrive in.  One avenue that brings many of us together is food… more specifically, locally grown and produced food. Families and communities have come together to advocate for healthy locally grown foods to be served in our schools with programs like Fresh Wednesdays, and to celebrate these foods in our school cafeteria’s during the Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week.

Together we support family farms by choosing to purchase our food as local as possible, and shop all year round at both summer and winter farmers’ markets.  We like to discuss ways to prepare our garden surplus for the dinner table, where to pick local fruits, and organize ways we can share our bounty with neighbors.  In the fall, community harvest dinners bring together families to celebrate with events like the annual Free Harvest Supper of Local Food, and Western Mass restaurants often prepare their menus with locally grown produce. —  Our community is strong with the voice of many activists too and has rallied behind opportunities like creating a community farm, forming a perennial food growing group,  and supporting free workshops on food security. — We have a lot to be proud of living here in Western Mass, and our local food culture is one of the many reasons why!

Here on Hilltown Families we give a visual glimpse into our local food culture with photographic images taken at the multitude of family farms, community events and farmers’ markets happening in our region. Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA debuts this February in Florence with an opening reception on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup and Top Café in Florence, MA (1 North Main St. 585-0445).  As the show travels to different local businesses and institutes, the images will change, showcasing images relative to the season and the host town. The debut show at Cup and Top Café will include images from the Ashfield Farmers’ Market, Northampton Tuesday Market, Summit Farm (Plainfield), Florence Farmers’ Market, Clarksdale Farm (Deerfield), Free Harvest Supper (Greenfield), Red Gate Farm (Buckland), among others.

Both Hilltown Families and Cup and Top Café are celebrating their 5th birthdays and the café has been a proud sponsor of Hilltown Families for the past couple of years. Helen Kahn, owner of the café writes, “Over the last five years the café has literally grown up alongside Hilltown Families, and during that time we have developed a sort of symbiotic relationship. The café provides a physical space that compliments what Hilltown Families has created online for families.”

“The café is a great family friendly destination,” shares Sienna Wildfield, Founder of Hilltown Families. “Helen’s commitment to supporting local farms, local artists and local businesses can be seen on her menu and on her walls.  The café is the perfect spot to debut Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA.”

On the evening of the opening reception, Hilltown Families will announce the winners of each of the 5 gift baskets from 5 local food businesses. These business are featured below and have been selected for the giveaway because all of them have products that are used or sold at the Cup and Top Café. Find out how to enter to win below (it’s super easy), and make plans to come to the opening reception on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup & Top Café (1 North Main St. 585-0445). Must be present to win! Come show your support of Hilltown Families and maybe even walk home with a fabulous gift basket to add spark to your kitchen!

Dean’s Beans (Orange, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Dean’s Beans Gift Box includes a 12oz. bag of Moka Sumatra, a 12oz. bag of Peruvian French Roast Decaf, a Putumayo CD with music from the coffeelands, Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee written by Dean Cycon, Dean’s Bean Travel Mug, a Large Dean’s Beans T-Shirt, a 12 oz. bag of Organic Hot Cocoa Mix, a 12 oz. bag of Organic Baking Cocoa, a 24 oz. bag of Organic Sugar, and a pound of Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. (Value: $85)

Social activism, ecological responsibility, and great coffee meet at Dean’s Beans, a family-owned certified organic, fair trade coffee roaster. Offering fair priced, great tasting products that support peaceful social change, Dean’s Beans is characterized by an unyielding commitment to ethical business practices, people-centered development, and sound ecological practices. The quality of their products is a reflection of the quality of life of our farm partners. The health and strength of their communities are integral to our success. We design and fund grassroots development projects in the villages where we buy our beans. To read about these projects please visit our website at www.deansbeans.com.

Appalachian Naturals (Goshen, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Sundried Tomato Horserdish Dip (12 oz): Rustic blend of freshly grated horseradish roots, farm fresh buttermilk, & a touch of sundried tomatoes. Chipotle Bleu Cheese Dip (12 oz): Spicy southwest sauce with fresh buttermilk, bleu cheese & smoky chipotle peppers. Chipotle Honey Mustard (10 oz): Sweet & spicy mustard with honey from Warm Colors Apiary. Cape Cod Caviar (10 oz): Organic cranberry sauce sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar, loaded with Cape Cod cranberries. (Value: $45)

Since 2004 Appalachian Naturals has been committed to bridging the gap between local agriculture and the grocery aisle, with a slogan “Local Agriculture Is Everyone’s Business.” Located 20 miles east of the Berkshire region of the Appalachian Mountains in the Hilltowns of Western  Mass, their dressings, dips, organic salsas, and barbecue sauces are made locally using ingredients from local farms & artisans; such as: Mapleline Farm, Warm Colors Apiary, Atlas Farm, South River Miso, Red Fire Farm, and Holiday Brook Farm. Appalachian Naturals can be purchased at local markets and co-ops, or at seasonal farmers’ markets and farm stands. Favorites include Sundried Tomato Horseradish, Organic Salsa Veracruz, Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, and Applewood Smoked Barbecue Sauce. www.AppalachianNaturals.com

Dufresne’s Sugar House (Williamsburg, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Dufresne’s Sugar House is offering a gift basket containing a pint each of Light Amber Maple Syrup and Dark Amber Maple Syrup and five packets of maple candy made from the finest early-season light amber maple syrup. (Value: $38)

Located in the beautiful hilltowns of Western Mass, Dufresne’s Sugar House has been making award-winning maple syrup for four generations. That’s over 100 years of sugaring experience!  The Dufresne family works for the maple sugaring season all year round, practicing sustainable forest management, and harvesting  their syrup with a smoke-free, wood-burning evaporator.  They offer three grades of 100% pure and natural maple syrup, along with maple candy, maple cream, maple sugar block and Indian sugar.  Their maple candy make great table/party favors and all maple products are available for both home and commercial use, shipping out daily to customers from MA to California. Find out more about Dufresne’s Sugar House at www.berkshiremaple.com.

Bart’s Ice Cream (Greenfield, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Barbara and Gary are offering coupons for one pint of Bart’s Super Premium Ice Cream (redeemable in grocers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties and in the Berkshires in select stores); and one 56 oz. carton of Snow’s Premium Ice Cream (redeemable in grocers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties). They’re also offering a 9 oz jar of Bart’s Homemade Hot Fudge; and a Bart’s long sleeved t-shirt with“Think Local, Buy Bart’s” on the back (Value: $35)

Bart’s Super Premium Ice Cream and Snow’s Premium Ice Cream has been using locally sourced, high quality ingredients since the 1970’s. The Snow’s brand is a family priced premium product that sells in 1/2 gallons, while Bart’s is a super-premium, that appeals to adults who want something special and are willing to pay a bit more for it. Over the past 3 decades, owners Barbara and Gary discovered they are also passionate about giving back to their community. 1% of their gross sales is donated yearly to charities and fund raisers. They also contribute their time to community boards (CISA and River Valley Market) and are committed to supporting organizations that work toward eliminating environmental and social problems. www.bartshomemade.com

Tea Guys (Hatfield, MA)

GIVEAWAY: This Tea Guys gift box includes a selection of three tins of our unique blends: Tropical Green tea, Pomegranate Pear fruit tisane, and Toffee Chocolate Hazelnut black tea, alongside a ceramic teapot with a stainless steel strainer for brewing the perfect cup of tea. (Value: $65)

Tea Guys is a local family-owned business specializing in artisan whole leaf loose tea blends. Their culinary-inspired tea creations are blended in small batches daily and made with the finest loose tea from around the world, freshly hand-milled spices, vanilla bean, dried fruits, nuts and artisan ingredients to create unique and colorful blends that stimulate the eyes, nose, and palate – and truly taste like no other tea. www.teaguys.com

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win one of these glorious gift baskets is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)! To win simply:

     

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS HELPED YOU DISCOVER WESTERN MA LOCAL FOOD CULTURE in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and the winner will be announced during the open reception as explained below.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).
  6.  

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th, 2011 by 7pm (EST).  Five different winners will win one of the above mentioned baskets during the opening reception of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup and Top Café in Florence, MA (1 North Main St. 585-0445). Winners will be announced at 6:30pm and must be present to win. If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Giveaway: 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs

Celebrating 5 Years with 5 Fabulous Gifts from Hilltown Mompreneurs

At the turn of the year, Hilltown Families will be turning five years old … and we will be celebrating all year long! To start the celebration, we have invited five Hilltown mompreneurs to partner with us. These five crafty businesses, located here in the Hilltowns of Western MA, create handmade products that kids will enjoy receiving — and we have one of each to giveaway to one lucky family!  It’s our birthday, but we’re giving you the presents … just in time for the holiday season!

Read more about these local businesses below, surf over to their web sites to discover what other neat products they’re making, and find out how you can enter to win all five to give as gifts this holiday season below.  Deadline to enter to win: December 13th, 2010 by 7pm (EST).

JAR OF WONDER: jarofwonder.etsy.com

Kerri Simonelli and Niki Lankowski of Haydenville, MA started Jar of Wonder in 2009.  Their line of felt play food has been a fast success, selling at local venues like Twist and A Childs Garden in Northampton, MA, and as far away as Aspen, CO.  Their etsy shop features several felt play food sets, including breakfast, sushi, pasta dinner and lunch.  Their latest sets soon to be featured include Sushi and a new and improved Tea Party, along with play kitchens and aprons for the holiday season. All of their felt food sets are all hand sewn right here in Western MA, using ecofi felt which is made from recycled plastics. Each set comes packaged in a corn plastic compostable package.

Kerri & Niki are offering a Felt Food Tea Party Set ($22 value). The Tea Party Set includes 2 cookies, 2 tea bags and 1 tea sandwich. Deliciously fun play food for your little chef made even more tasty with recycled eco felt. This tea party set is sure to inspire your child’s imagination and plant the seed for hours of open-ended play. You will be surprised with what your little ones will come up with, when given this type of inspirational tool.

SMITHPHOTO WORKS: www.smithphotoworks.etsy.com

Jen Smith of Ashfield, MA is photographer and artist who first created a collection of photo jewelry in 1995, and more recently photo pillows, that both incorporate her original photography into handmade items for the home and body. Jen’s pillows are created with her original photography printed directly onto 100% cotton fabric using the cyanotype photo process. Cyanotype is a photographic printing process invented in the 1800’s. A permanent photographic image is achieved when a negative or object is placed on fabric or paper coated with light sensitive salts, then exposed to sunlight. Unexposed areas dissolve away when fabric is washed in water leaving what is often referred to as a “blueprint.” Jen Smith’s work can be found at Pinch in Northampton and her online etsy shop.

Jen is offering a Mini Lavender Photo Handmade Pillow ($22 value).  This 8″x8″ pillow is printed with a cyanotype image of a gorgeous moth with a solid blue backing.  The pillow is made of 100% cotton and filled with hypo-allergenic polyfil and lavender buds. Spot clean only.

SMARTYPANTS: www.smartypantsproject.org

SmartyPants are eco-funky children’s pants made from a combination of recycled, vintage, and new fabrics.  Lisa Ganci of Shelburne Falls, MA started SmartyPants when her daughter was 21 months old and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Cancer turned her world upside-down as well as inspired her to launch this dual-purpose mission which includes a portion of the proceeds to be donated to Rays of Hope, a Western MA organization that supports families coping with breast cancer.  By using mostly repurposed fabrics, and employing local folks, this project is turning a little piece of the garment industry up-side-down by creating one-of-a-kind, beautiful children’s clothing that are practical, affordable, sustainable and locally produced.

Lisa is offering a gift certificate for SmartyPants to be redeemed for a pair of one-of-a-kind pair of pants ($22-$30 value).  With all of the amazing fabric designs to choose from, it will be hard to select! Her baby/toddler pants, 6m to 2T, have a “butt-panel” that provides extra room for a diaper.  Sizes 2/3 to 5/6 lose the butt-panel, but gain a contrasting rear pocket.  Waist bands are simple elastic and all seams are serged for durability.

SNACKTAXI: www.snacktaxi.com

Erin Kelly-Dill of Plainfield, MA invented snackTAXI back in 2003 as an alternative to the tide of plastic ziplock bags that flowed from her house to the landfill when their 3 kids started school. Her family pack over 500 lunches every year, and had definitely fallen prey to the easy appeal of the ziplock bag. SnackTAXIs was her answer.  Made in our home-based workshop by local sewers, she is committed to keeping her business local, and will never outsource labor.  The exterior of a snackTAXI is comprised of 100% cotton and the interior is lined with polyurethane coated nylon, confirmed to be lead, phthalate and BPA free.  SnackTAXIs are lined with coated nylon, and can be machine washed and dried, or simply wiped clean with a damp sponge.

Erin is offering both a Snack Sack and Sandwich Snack from her line of snackTaxis ($16 value).  With nearly 50 different fabric designs to choose from, picking one can be difficult.  Her Night Owls Espresso design are being offered for our giveaway.  The snack-sack neatly fits rice cakes, pretzels or corn chips, and is equally good for carrot or celery sticks, and the sandwich-sack is the perfect fit for a generous sandwich, bagel or wrap, or a hearty snack.

PEACE TRAVELERS GLOBAL GARLAND: www.etsy.com/people/tlemos

Tony(a) Lemos of Ashfield, MA has been making Peace Travelers Global Garlands since 2009. The tradition of hanging flags began more than 2,000 years ago. Inspired by the Prayer Flags of Tibet, Tony(a)’s garlands offer a special way to express some of the most important wishes of your heart.  The pockets on the flags are intended to carry burdens, hopes, worries, releasing them into the world as the flags blow in the breeze. Families participate together in the visual creation of wishes of peace and unity by tucking poetry, verse, quotes, pictures, paintings, etc. into the pockets on the flags. The garland help to spin a common thread of unity between this and other communities.  The garlands are available at Elmer’s in Ashfield and her online etsy store.

Tony(a) is offering a Peace Travelers Global Garland ($25 value).  Each garland has seven flags, many with designs from different world cultures.  This garland set is a gentle reminder to pause, notice, and honor your world …  a prayer for the environment.  The garland comes with a handout and book list, Ways You Can use the Peace Travelers Global Garland to Learn about World Cultures.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a Felt Food Tea Party Set from Jar of Wonder, Mini Lavender Photo Handmade Pillow from SmithPhoto Works, gift certificate from SmartyPants, Sandwich and Snack Sacks (Night Owls Espresso design) from snackTaxi, and a Peace Travelers Global Garland, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)! To win simply

  1. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS BENEFITTED YOUR FAMILY THESE PAST FIVE YEARS,
  2. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, December 13th, 2010 by 7pm (EST).  All five gifts will be shipped together to one address.  If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

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