7 Holiday Podcasts from the Hilltown Family Variety Show

Originally broadcasted out of Northampton, MA on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM (Valley Free Radio) for the holidays, we’ve gathered seven holiday episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show from over the years to share with your family as we celebrate the season. Enjoy these hour long, commercial-free podcasts that celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the New Year and the spirit of peace and giving. Choose a podcast here…

Berkshire Family Fun for Mid-Late February, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
February 9th-22nd, 2013

Valentine’s Day is next week and school vacation week is the week after… and we’ve got you covered in Berkshire County!  In our list of events below you will find all sorts of fun activities to do with the kids and even some date night options for the parents!  If you’re looking for winter vacation camp options for the week of Feb 18-22, 2013 in the Berkshires, check these out:

Winter Vacation Camp Options in Berkshire County – Feb 18-22:

By special arrangement with Hilltown Families, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox is pleased to offer our readers a rare opportunity to take in a classic Shakespearean performance paired with a guided tour backstage. On Friday, Feb. 15th at 10am, schools and homeschooling families are invited to a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tina Packer Playhouse, followed by a backstage guided tour where participants can learn how the process of theatre is crafted in the costume shop, prop studio, and production workshop. Tickets for this package are only $8/person and a Study Guide for educators is available to download before attending. To reserve discounted tickets, contact Alexandra Lincoln, and let her know you are a Hilltown Families reader: 413-637-1199 x131. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox. www.Shakespeare.org.

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

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through February 22nd, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Late January – Early February, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 26th – February 8th, 2013

Ready to shake off those winter blues? There are several events coming up in Berkshire County that will get you moving and having fun! Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will host National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Winter Wildlife Day happens at the WRLF, and Williamstown’s 10th annual Snowfest will take place too!

There will also be ways to supplement learning for older students! In honor of Black History Month, the Berkshire Museum will present “Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery,” and the Norman Rockwell Museum’s Curator of Education, Tom Daly, will review Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights throughout his career. There will be a presentation about frogs and salamanders by Berkshire Community College professor Tom Tyning at the Berkshire Atheneaum for those interested in nature studies, and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss will give a presentation at Williams College, talking about “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through February 8th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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Berkshire Family Fun for Mid-Late January, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
January 12th-25th, 2013

We’re nearly a month into winter with a healthy layer of snow on the ground, a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoying the beauty of the Berkshires!  There are several opportunities to dust off and put your snowshoes to good use over the next couple of weeks!  So strap on your snowshoes and select your choice destination for winter fun, including snowshoe race at Constitution Hill in Lanesborough, the Haskins Center’s Cabin Fever Festival in North Adams, Mountain Meadow Preserve in Williamstown, Notchview in Windsor, the Becket Quarry in Becket, Winter Trail Days at Hilltop Orchard in Richmond, and Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through January 25th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events Suggest Event

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Celebrating the New Year with Your Family in Western MA

Celebrating the New Year

Hilltown Family Variety Show New Year’s Day Peace Episode: A New Year’s Day episode with music about both world and inner peace for the New Year. Music by Babtunde Olatunji, Cat Stevens, Elizabeth Mitchell, Sweet Honey in the the Rock, Michelle Shocked, Pete Seeger and many other amazing musicians. – Story: Fawnie Byer reads “Peace Feather Story” off of Peace in the World Smiling.

It’s the last day of the year! There are a number of community events families can join in today to celebrate the last day of the year while ushering in the new year!

NEW YEAR’S EVE

If you’re looking for a fun Parents’ Night Out instead? Check out Popcorn Noir’s Glitter Ball in Easthampton

Other New Year’s Eve highlights include magician David Hall at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, New Year’s Eve kid-friendly celebration at Chandler’s Restaurant in South Deerfield, celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation in Springfield, and museum adventures at MASS MoCA in North Adams and Old Sturbridge Village.  Find out all the details on these New Year’s Eve happenings HERE.

NEW YEAR’S DAY

On New Year’s Day, there are First Day Hikes in Goshen and Pittsfield, and more museum adventures as previously mentioned in North Adams and Sturbridge.  Also, churches throughout the Pioneer Valley will be letting the beautiful sound of bells ring out through the crisp air in remembrance of Lincoln’s landmark policy to end slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation. Come out to hear the bells ring, or celebrate in your own home by ringing bells and learning together about the history surrounding the proclamation and the changes that it brought to the country.

20 Community Highlights: First Nights to First Day Hikes. Emancipation Proclamation to John F. Kennedy.

Ring in the New Year with First Nights and First Day Hikes! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

First Nights to First Day Hikes. Emancipation Proclamation to John F. Kennedy. Dinosaurs to Bubbles… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!

NEW YEARS EVE

In Holyoke on New Year’s Eve, families can enjoy performances, music, museum adventures, merry-go-round rides, and a New York-style ball drop by 4pm as part of Holyoke’s First Night, Jr., a special family celebration to ring in the new year! Popular magician Ed Popielarczyk will share illusions, there will be live ice-carving, families can get unique balloon sculptures created, the merry-go-round will be offering unlimited rides, and there will be lots of other special guests and events.

Northampton’s First Night provides endless opportunities for family fun on New Year’s Eve! The 12-hour event features a wide variety of performances at spaces throughout town. Families can see puppet performances, learn about numerous types of music and instruments, watch local youth share their skills in a talent show, see incredible feats of physics performed by the A to Z yo-yo team, watch family-friendly theater, and dance along to local favorites for kids and adults.

Both Wilbraham and Orange celebrate too! Wilbraham will celebrate New Year’s Eve as part of their 250th celebration.  There will be live music, food, entertainment, and fireworks! And the 16th Annual Starry Starry Night celebrates New Year’s Eve in the heart of downtown Orange with live music, dancing, and hayrides. Puppet parade and fireworks too.

Another annual tradition is at Jiminy Peak in Hancock where there is a beautiful torchlight parade down the mountain as soon as the ski lifts close, followed by fireworks over the mountain!

HIKES

What better way to usher out and welcome in a New Year than a hike through the winter woods with your family?  On Saturday, December 29th, explore Bartholomew’s Cobble with the Trustees of Reservations in Sheffield– the yearly Hot Chocolate Saturdays series begins this week! Throughout the winter, families can hike, snowshoe, and/or cross-country ski at the Cobble, and end their excursion with a cup of cocoa in the visitor center. Families can practice looking for signs of birds and mammals, and can explore the changes that have taken place to the landscape since winter set in.

On New Year’s Day, guided hikes across the country start off the new year on Tuesday, January 1 as part of a National First Day Hikes movement, a “get outdoors” initiative for people of all ages. In the morning, Mass DCR will offer a guided hiked of the DAR State Forest in Goshen. Visitors can learn about the history of the Daughters of the American Revolution State Forest and enjoy a tour of the Nature Center. Meet at the warming hut for a short (1 mile) for a free family-friendly hike.

In the afternoon on New Year’s Day, families can explore remnants of abandoned farmland, forest succession and perhaps see some wildlife at Pittsfield State Forest on a free guided First Day Hike with Mass DCR. The 45-minute, 2.5 mile trek will follow the Tranquility and Hawthorn trails – dress warmly and bring your snowshoes. Leashed dogs are welcomed too.  Meet at the State Forest Ski Lodge. Afterwards return to the rustic lodge for  hot chocolate by the fireplace.

HISTORY

Old Sturbridge Village is open for school vacation! Kids get free admission, and families can enjoy a host of historic and seasonal activities, including sledding and skating! There will also be indoor performances of all sorts, crafts demonstrations, and hands-on activities for kids. Families can learn about life in early New England, and the many different skills and resources that 1830’s life required.

Monday evening, December 31st, celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation – and celebrate, the new year, too! – with historical reenactments, celebration, and more in Springfield! Taking place at the Sovereign Bank building, the city of Springfield’s unique new year’s celebration will be hosted by the Peter Brace Brigade, and will feature historical reenactors, dressed in period clothing and Civil War uniforms. There will also be music, treats, and celebratory champagne for adults.

On Tuesday, January 1st at 2pm, ring a bell to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation! Churches throughout the Pioneer Valley will be letting the beautiful sound of bells ring out through the crisp air in remembrance of Lincoln’s landmark policy to end slavery – celebrate in your own home by ringing bells and learning together about the history surrounding the proclamation and the changes that it brought to the country.

SCIENCE

The Springfield Museums are alive with science adventures! On Saturday, December 29th, families can take in a performance by Dinoman Dinosaurs at the Springfield Museums. Dinoman will take the audience on a trip through the Mesozoic era, using magic, mayhem, and spectacular props. On Sunday, December 30th, the museums host BubbleMania! BubbleMania: Effervescent Entertainment is filled with comedy and wit, and will teach audience members all about the amazing magic of bubbles – all to a soundtrack of swing music. Then on Friday evening, January 4th, visit the Springfield Museums for Stars Over Springfield, an exciting skygazing event at the museums’ observatory. Hosted by the Springfield Stars Club, the event will help kids learn about the things that they see in the sky every night. In case of overcast weather, a planetarium show will be presented instead.

YOUTH EXHIBIT

Opening reception for a group exhibit titled Places We Live, Play & Learn: Narratives of Life by Western MA Youth Photographers, comprising of 20 Western MA youth ages 10-18, takes place on Sunday at noon, December 30th in Cummington.  Youth participants in this group exhibit were encouraged to explore, document and share their connections to their hometowns through photographic images and an accompanying narrative. Combined, the pieces together reflect and communicate how these participating youth view and understand their local history, culture and/or community values, as well as the significance of the physical spaces surrounding them.

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

Make a New Year’s resolution to spend time with your husband, wife, partner and/or friends this year!  Book a babysitter or sleepover for your kids and consider these four options for a fun parents’ night out this coming week:

In Franklin County on Saturday, December 29th: Celebrate New Years Eve a few days early at the Arts Block in Greenfield! The Roger Salloom Band, Charles Neville, and Jessica Freeman will play a fantastic show at Brick Wall Bistro.

In Hampshire County on Monday, December 31st: Ring in the New Year at Popcorn Noir’s Glitter Ball in Easthampton with dinner, music and a party! There will be tarot card reading, gogo dancers, hula hooping, costumes, and more!

In Hampden County on Thursday, January 3rd: Test your knowledge together on Springfield history at a trivia-themed Culture and Cocktails event at the Springfield Museums! Guests can also explore the Wood Museum of Springfield History’s newest exhibit, titled, “The John F. Kennedy Experience!”

In Berkshire County on Saturday, December 29th: Bring your sweetheart or good friend to Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, home of Furnace Brook Winery, for a full moon snowshoe trek and bonfire.  There will also be wine tasting and live entertainment following a 1.5 hour guide trek through the woods.  Snowshoe rentals available too.  – Also in Berkshire Cty., on Friday, January 4th: Yes, Maria, Yes! You can see the David Wax Museum at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield! The group – named one of the best acts at the 2011 South by Southwest festival – plays a fusion of Mexican folk, American roots, and indie rock.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

SUPPORTING BOOK TITLES

Berkshire Family Fun for the New Year!

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
December 29th, 2012 – January 11th, 2013

The year ends with a flurry of marionette shows, musicals, magic shows, and community theater productions in the Berkshires, and a new year begins with a First Day Hike at the Pittsfield State Forest.  Culture and amazing natural resources to fill your days while we usher out one year and in another!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through January 11th, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

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6 Holiday Podcasts from the Hilltown Family Variety Show

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Holiday Radio Shows/Podcasts

Originally broadcasted out of Northampton, MA on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM (Valley Free Radio) for the holidays, we’ve gathered six holiday episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show from over the years to share with your family as we celebrate the season. Enjoy these commercial-free podcasts that celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the New Year and the spirit of peace and giving.


The Heart of Chanukah with Guest DJ, Doni Zasloff Thomas
(The Mama Doni Band) ◊ Playlist/Video



Doni Zasloff Thomas (Mama Doni) brings The Heart of Chanukah to the Hilltown Family Variety Show with a lively program of songs and stories for Chanukah, including musical selections from Sha Na Na, The GrooveBarbers, and Woody Guthrie, along with Mama Doni Band originals, including “Chanukah Fever,” “Latke Man,” and “Honey. This Ain’t Money.” She also reads a Chanukah story, offer some great family activities for the holiday, and share some of her favorite Chanukah recipes, such as Judah Mac-N-Cheese and Choco-latkes. – Story: “Too Many Latkes” by Richard Codor


Hilltown Family Variety Show Holiday Episode
Playlist/Video



HFVS producer Sienna Wildfield hosts a holiday show celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice and Kwanzaa. Music from years past by artist like The Jackson, Burl Ives, Gene Aurty and the Vince Guaraldi Trio, interwoven with kindie artists like Uncle Rock, Recess Monkey, Ben Rudnick & Friends and Laurie Berkner make a fun show for the whole family!


Christmas Show with Guest DJ, Ashley Albert
(The Jimmies) ◊ Playlist/Video



Ashley Albert of The Jimmies Guest DJs the Hilltown Family Variety Show for Christmas, spinning tunes by Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Smithereens, Granvile Williams Orchestra, The Drifters, The Ramones, The Enchanters and songs off of her holiday CD, Mama Said Nog You Out. – Story: “The Fridgeville Chronicles: Jelly and Peanut Butter” by Ashley Albert


Winter Solstice Show with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn
(Charity and the JAMBand) ◊ Playlist/Video



Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMBand Guest DJs a holiday show for the Hilltown Family Variety Show with a Winter Solstice theme of light, love, community and music! – Story: “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen


Hilltown Family Variety Show Holiday Peace Episode
Playlist/Video



HFVS producer Sienna Wildfield and co-host Persephone (6yo) host a post-holidays pre-New Year’s Day show with music reflecting the season and songs of peace by great musicians, including Lui Collins, Timmy Abell, The Hullabaloos, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, and many others. – Story: Fawnie Byer reads “Peace Feather Story” off of Peace in the World Smiling


Hilltown Family Variety Show New Year’s Day Peace Episode
Playlist



HFVS producer Sienna Wildfield and co-host Persephone (5yo) host a New Year’s Day episode with music about both world and inner peace for the New Year.  Music by Babtunde Olatunji, Cat Stevens, Elizabeth Mitchell, Sweet Honey in the the Rock, Michelle Shocked, Pete Seeger and many other amazing musicians. – Story: Fawnie Byer reads “Peace Feather Story” off of Peace in the World Smiling

Suggested Events 01/01/11-01/07/11

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Start the year off right and get the family outside! Take the kids sledding or on a New Year's Day hike! Several free First Day Hikes are featured for Saturday. Pick one in the Pioneer Valley, Hilltowns or Berkshires and set tracks for a great new year! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest an EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

BEST BETS

Sunday, January 2nd at 4pm – MARIONETTE SHOW: The Cummington Family Center and the Tanglewood Marionettes present Cinderella at the Community House (33 Main St.) Cummington, MA (FREE)

Friday, January 7th at 6:30pm – MOVIE: Northampton Community Music Center hosts a movie/sing-along for kids of all ages to “The Wizard of Oz.” Bring blankets and get cozy.www.ncmc.net Northampton, MA (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Hilltown Families presents: "Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families" on Jan. 12th @ 6:30pm. Free & open to the public.

On Saturday, January 8th at 10amFAMILY CONCERT: Mister G kicks off the Nonotuck Community School Winter Concert Series with a family concert at First Churches of Northampton (129 Main St.) More info here. 586-5996 Northampton, MA (>$)

On Wednesday, January 12th at 6:30pm, Hilltown Families presents ..Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families, an interactive and fun presentation for adults with author Susan Tordella at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 12th at Cup & Top Cafe (1 North Main St.). Learn how cleaning toilets, washing dishes and raking leaves empower families. Florence, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Pioneer Valley Local First - buy localPioneer Valley Local First writes: In the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts we are blessed with natural beauty and a vibrant local living economy made up of independent businesses, family farms, educational institutions and active community organizations. It’s a rich and diverse culture and one that Pioneer Valley Local First is dedicated to protect and strengthen. Our mission is to encourage people to Think Local First so that they Buy Local First.  We also encourage and support companies to be socially, locally and environmentally responsible. In addition we educate Pioneer Valley citizens, community organizations, businesses and local governments about the benefits of doing business with locally owned, independent businesses. Help the Pioneer Valley to continue to be its unique, wonderful self; so that our place, doesn’t look like every place, by using your Pioneer Valley Local Business Guide.

Deadline to enter to win: Jan. 4th

CIRCUS ARTS CLASSES: A new session of week day kid’s circus classes will begin on January 10th at SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, MA. We will work on trapeze, fabric, juggling, tumbling and acrobatics, human pyramids, balancing, strength and flexibility. Circus is a great way to increase self esteem, have fun, get in shape, improve focus and learn new skills. Classes for students new to circus will be held on Tuesday and Thursday. Ages 5-7 will run from 3:30-4:30pm and ages 8+ will be from 4:30-5:30pm. Continuing circus students are able to choose from Level 2 classes on Monday (ages 5-7 from 3:30-4:30pm and ages 8+  from 4:30-5:30pm) or the SHOW Stars Performance Troupe on Wednesdays (All ages, 4-5:15). Registration is available online.

Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for 5 years! Help HF continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and/or enhanced publicity. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for details.

NATURE GAMES: Check out Mass Audubon’s Winter Walk Bingo cards.  Print out these cards and head out into the snow with your kids.  Try to find five in a row!

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Emailhilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

ENERGY ASSISTANCE: The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund is available to any Massachusetts resident who, because of temporary financial difficulty, cannot meet a month’s energy expense and is not eligible for state or federal energy assistance.  Income eligibility guidelines for 2010-2011 can be found HERE.  Emergency Grant Applications are already being accepted with all other grant applications being accepted starting on Monday, January 3rd, 2011.  For more info visit www.magoodneighbor.org or call 1-800-262-1320

Deadline to enter to win 5 annual family memberships is Jan. 3rd.

DONATIONS OF ITEMS WANTED: The Franklin County 4-H Community Service Project for 2011 is providing “comfort care bags” to the Department of Children and Families in Greenfield. Items needed: Stuffed animals (new or gently used) for ages newborn to 8 years old; Toothbrushes and tooth paste for children – teens; Baby bottles, baby lotion, wet wipes, diapers and onesies; Pajamas for 1 – 8 year olds; Underwear for 3 – 8 year olds; Socks for 3 year olds – teens; Books (new or gently used) for 1 – 8 year olds; Crayons, pens, pencils, drawing books; Playing cards.  If you have any questions, please contact the Franklin County 4-H Community Service Coordinator, Ellen White at white246@verizon.net

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Tune in to 103.3FM WXOJ (Northampton) every Sat. from 9-10am & Sun. from 7-8am - or anytime to our podcast.

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week on the HFVS is our New Year’s Day Peace Episode. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    SATURDAY, JANUARY 1st, 2011

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    10am-5pm - MASS MOCA: Explore MASS MoCA as they open their doors on New Year’s Day.  Kidspace open 11am-4pm. New Katharine Grosse installation on view. 662-2111 www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    All Day – ICE SKATING: New Year’s Day activities all day at Amelia Park Ice Arena (21 South Broad St.). Big Screen broadcast of NHL’s Winter Classic, BBQ & of course, ice skating! 562-2277 Westfield, MA

    10am – HIKE: First Day Hike at D.A.R. State Forest.  Meet in the Day Use Area off Route 112, main parking lot. Goshen, MA (FREE)

    10am – HIKE: First Day 2011 Hike with Williamsburg Woodland Trails at Bradley Sanctuary.  Directions here. 268-7523 Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

    1pm – HIKE: First Day Hike at Mount Greylock State Reservation.  For families with kids 7yo+. An easy 1.8 mile hike on the Bradley Farm Trail, followed by hot cocoa by the fireplace.  Bring shoshoes & poles. Leashed dogs welcomed. Meet at the visitors center (30 Rockwell Rd.) 499-4262 Lanesborough, MA (FREE)

    1pm – HIKE: First Day Hike at the Chesterfield Gorge for families.  Casual community meet-up. Walk along the Westfield River. West Chesterfield, MA (FREE)

    1-2:30pm – HIKE:  First Day Hike through the Holyoke Heritage State Park and along the canalwalk in the historic district of Holyoke.  Learn about the city’s past and future possibilities. Hot cocoa. 534-1723 Holyoke, MA (FREE)

    6:30-8:30pm – ICE SKATING: 2nd Annual Snowflake Skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink to benefit the Sunderland 6th Grade Class. Amherst, MA ($)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 12/26/09-01/01/10

    Follow Hilltown Families on

    Discover fun and educational events happening this weekend in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

    SUGGEST AN EVENT

    Ice Storm 2008-9

    Ring in the New Year! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield) This week check out the great events happening at our area's fine museums, enjoy New Year's Eve during First Night, and on New Year's Day take a family on a First Day Hike. - Happy New Year!

    Click here to suggest an eventIf you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, location, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

    FIRST DAY HIKE

    10am in Williamsburg, MA: Scenic hike at Briar Hill Conservation Area. Loop train is less than 1.5 miles and includes a vista of the Conway State Forest. All are welcomed. Sponsored by the Williamsburg Woodland Trails Committee. 268-8371 Call for directions.

    11am-1pm in Goshen, MA: Hike at the DAR State Park with park supervisor, Bob Kabat. A relaxing 2-mile hike along the Accessible trail that runs along Upper Highland Lake into and through the campground to the Nature Center and the wildlife viewing station. All ages welcomed. Free hot cocoa. Hiking poles recommended. 268-7098. Meet at the DAR Day Use parking lot.

    12Noon-2pm in Florence, MA: Hike into the Sawmill Hills in Florence. Do some tracking, take a look at the Vernal Pools, and celebrate a new year with Mother Nature. Meet in the parking lot of Arts and Industry in Florence to carpool to Avis Circle. Please do not park on Avis Circle, as it disturbs the local residents. Dress warmly, snow shoes not required. Ice storm cancels. Co-sponsored by Valley Land Fund and Nonotuck Land Fund!

    BULLETIN BOARD

    Ben Murry from Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA writes: Red Gate Farm has just $3,500 left to raise in our challenge grant campaign.  Our goal is to maximize the matching gift and reach a total of $12,000. Currently, over seventy friends and supporters have contributed a total of $8,500!  Please consider making a contribution to Red Gate Farm.  Every dollar you give is matched, dollar for dollar.  Red Gate Farm is a very small educational organization, and every contribution makes a BIG impact on our programs, our staff, animals and the work that we do. Remember, your gift is tax-deductible, and donations of $60 or more also include a year long family membership to the farm.

    Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood writes: Send in your nominations for CCFC’s 2nd Annual TOADY Awards. Has your jaw hit the floor while scanning the toy aisles this holiday season? If so, let us know! We’re looking for nominees for CCFC’s 2nd annual TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award. On February 13, the Toy Industry Association will gather to present their TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards. But first, in honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, CCFC will present the dreaded TOADY. So send us your nominees by emailing CCFC@jbcc.harvard.edu. The deadline for nominations is January 10, 2010. Click here to view last year’s nominees and why they were selected.

    SLEDDING IN THE HILLTOWS: Bryant Homestead, Cummington: The wide, gently sloping field located across the tree-lined drive from the main house is a perfect place to launch your toboggan. Take time to enjoy fine views of the Westfield River Valley

    FOOD FOR COMMUNITY SENIORS: Know of grandparents in our community who could benefit from a free bag of groceries? The Food Bank’s Brown Bag: Food for Elders program supplies a free monthly bag of groceries in 51 western Massachusetts towns for people ages 55 and older who meet income guidelines. To sign up for the program, call the Food Bank at 413-247-9738. Help get the word out to area seniors. Print this info out and post it in your town hall, post office or library for our senior’s to discover.

    LOCAL FAMILY GRIEF SUPPORT: The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens is a non-profit agency providing support to young people and their families, a place to talk about loss and help parents and guardians learn how to help their children through their grief. Children respond differently to death than adults, but they grieve as much as any grown up and benefit from a caring, knowledgeable environment. Children ages 5-12 and their families are meeting on Sunday afternoons, and teens are meeting on Wednesday evenings. The next entry date for new families is coming up in January 2010. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please contact Shelly Bathe Lenn at 584-7086 ext 124 slenn@garden-cgc.org or visit www.garden-cgc.org

    SKIING: Berkshire ski resorts offer learn-to-ski programs for young children.  Read more here.

    JOB POSTING: Community-Based Prevention Specialist with Hampshire Educational Collaborative – Plan, facilitate and evaluate proven strategies aimed at reducing youth substance use. Put your experience to work with Hampshire County coalition team to develop and monitor measurable goals and objectives, collect and analyze data, and prepare written reports. Bachelors in Public Health (or related subject) required; Masters preferred. Knowledge of social-norms marketing a plus.  Competitive salary, flexible schedule (20+ hours), benefits.  Apply immediately with letter of interest and resume to  HR@collaborative.org . Join our team and make a difference. Hampshire Educational Collaborative www.collaborative.org.

    HOMEWORK: Does homework intrude on your time with your family? How much time spent on homework do you this is useful or not for your child? How much time does your child spend on homework each night/week? Share what works and what doesn’t HERE.

    ARCHITECTURE STUDIES: Students studying architecture might be interested in an exhibit of photos on display at the Historic Northampton Museum of historic architectural styles found in Northampton, MA.  The show is titled, New England Architecture. More info call 584-6011.  – Students might also be able to study new architecture style in another photographic exhibit at Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, MA in a show called New Holyoke 1999-2009.  Call 322-5660 for more info.

    HILLTOWN FOOD AND MEAL RESOURCES:

    • Ashfield: Hilltown Churches Food Pantry with the First Congregational Church 625-6086
    • Shelburne Falls: Trinity Church 625-9896 & West County Emergency Food Pantry 774-7034
    • Goshen: Hilltown Food Pantry

    RECALL: Timberland Recalls Children’s Boots Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard. More info here.

    RECALL: Do We Need to Recall 50 MILLION Blinds? Read what Lenore from Free-Range Kids has to say about one of the largest recalls in history here.

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

    Our Holiday Podcast of the HFVS is up, along with one from our archives, which aired on Christmas Day ‘07 back when we use to do our show on Tuesday nights.  Click HERE to check out both podcasts and to listen now.

    Families have three ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • HFVS Podcast: Listen to our most recent episodes anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!
  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio from 9-10am.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA from 9-10am.

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    First Night Northampton 2007-1

    First Night Northampton 2007 (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield) First Night Northampton 2010 is filled with family events, including They Might Be Giant's kid show, family contra-dance, The Nields kid show, PaintBox Theatre, fireworks and much more. Click the image to download (pdf) the performance schedule.

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | School Closings and Delays | Free Museum Passes | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 12/26/09

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    9:30am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Keep the kids busy during December school vacation at Old Sturbridge Village, with a wide range of crafts and outdoor activities offered for all ages through January 3rd.  www.osv.org Sturbridge, MA

    1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Hands-on Family Science. Examine animal characteristics and investigate sound and electricity through engaging activities at the Springfield Museum. www.springfieldmuseum.org 263-6800 Springfield, MA (Free with museum admission.)

    1-4pm - OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Winter Trail Days for first time cross-country skiers at Stump Sprouts.  Free rentals, trail passes and instruction.  Reservations required.  www.stumpsprouts.com 339-4265 Hawley, MA (FREE)

    2-3:45pm – ICE SKATING: Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield. (413)448-8258 Pittsfield, MA ($)

    2pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURES: A tour of MassMoCA called “activitour” that is followed by art-making activities for kids in their Kidspace.  www.massmoca.org 664-4481 x8131 North Adams, MA (Free with Admission)

    4-5:50pm – ICE SKATING: Mullins Center Ice Rink. Rentals available. (413) 545-3990 UMass. Amherst, MA ($)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    HFVS New Year’s Day Peace Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

    Listen to Podcast:


    NEW YEARS DAY PEACE EPISODE

    Tuesdays at 7pm
    January 1st, 2008
    WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
    Northampton, MA


     Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

    PLAYLIST



    [Photo Credit: (ccl) Danny Hammontree]

    Suggested Events 12/29/07 – 01/04/08

    HAPPY NEW YEAR … HILLTOWN FAMILIES LOOKS AHEAD!

    We’ve survived the holidays (so far!) and are looking forward to an exciting New Year! Lots of fun and exciting events and activities are on the horizon for all families to choose from and enjoy in the months to come, including:

    • Outdoor Adventures for Kids in the Hilltowns, starting on January 7th with our winter program. Hilltown Families (that’s us!) has collaborated with Tekoa Mountain Outdoors to offer a ten week Monday afternoon (4pm-5pm) adventure program for kids ages 5-7 at the TMO Base Camp in Chesterfield, MA, starting January 7th and ending March 31st, 2008. Led by Program Coordinator, Timothy Vogel of Tekoa Mountain Outdoors. If you’re interested in participating be sure to sign up soon. Click here for more information.

    • Family concerts! Hilltown Families is presenting a couple of family concerts this winter, including Uncle Rock at the Florence Civic Center in Florence, MA, at 10:30pm on Saturday, February 2nd; and Princess Katie and Racer Steve (co-presented with Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child) at Lyman Hall in Northampton, MA, at 1:30pm on Saturday, March 8th. Mark you calendars. More details to come!

    • House concerts! Members of the Hilltown Families Listserv are invited to house concerts scheduled this winter. Details will be posted to the listserv. If you are a family living in Western Massachusetts and would like to be a part of the HF Listserv, send us an email to get started!

    • Guest writers! We have a couple of new guest writers that will be joining us on Hilltown Families, including Connie Gills of Constant Wonder, and Katie Sullivan from PK&RS. If you’re interested in being a guest writer for HF, click here to discover our current guest writers and how to send your query. All writing styles and creative ideas are welcome.

    • Contests! We’ll be continuing our weekly contest to win music and apparel on our HFVS posts. Plus, we’ve added books to our contest offerings, including titles donated by our friend Dawn over at Barefoot Books and this week’s sponsor, Grendel Books, ABAA/ILAB.

    Speaking of sponsors …

  • Become a Sponsor
  • To find out how you or your business can help support Hilltown Families by becoming a sponsor, drop us an email or give us a call at 413.296.0096 for more information. We’re offering very reasonable rates throughout the holiday season. By having individuals in our community and area businesses become sponsors, Hilltown Families can continue to offer a weekly list of suggested events, a weekly podcast, updated resources, articles and much more.

    • Submit an Event

    If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com. Comments are warmly welcomed!

    Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 12/29

    8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. [All ages] (Free)

    11am – MEET THE ARTIST – (Amherst) Meet Tommy dePaolo at the Eric Carle Museum. He will be discussing the exhibit Children Should Be Seen: The Image of the Child in American Picture Book Art. 413.658.1100 [Families] (Free w/museum pass) UPDATE:  Tommy dePaolo will not be at the museum after all, but there will be a film about him.  See the comment below.  (Thanks Christy!)

    11am-3:30pm – MEDIEVAL DAYS – (Springfield)The Springfield Museums will be having their school vacation fun with Medieval Days. Today see Roger the Jester perform A Fool for All Reasons at 1pm. 413.263.6800 x420 [Families] (Free w/museum pass)

    7pm – THEATER – (Stockbridge) The Berkshire Theatre Festival will be presenting Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at the Unicorn Theatre. 413.298.5536 x33. [Families] ($$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Hoppin’ John in Ashfield

    Notes from Nan: And a happy December 26th to you!
    BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

    You cannot swing a dead cat at my house this week without hitting someone I am either related to or know real well, and I have not had time to do my usual uproariously funny post. So for that reason I am going to do two things:

    1. Give you this Friday’s dinner menu
    2. Just hand the dang post over to Rob to be funny with. I’m not even going to try this week.

    FRIDAY’S DINNER MENU (12/28/07)

    Here’s what we’re having for dinner on Friday: Read the rest of this entry »

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