Suggested Events for December 28th, 2013-January 3rd, 2014

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families always keeps us informed as to what’s going on! When boredom strikes during vacation week, we know where to go…Hilltown Families’ blog or Facebook page to find out what extra special fun thing is going on!” – Angie Gregory (Northampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Dec 31

Why should the grownups get to have all of the fun? Come celebrate New Years Eve for the KIDS at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield on December 31st from 11am – 1pm. Countdown to 12NOON instead of Midnight with interactive live entertainment by guitarist Tom Carroll. Full award winning kids menu & lunch menu will be available. Noise makers will be handed out and an apple cider toast … Just for fun! Please call for reservations. 413-665-1277.

Jan 4

Pioneer Valley Ballet is holding auditions for an original ballet, Beauty & The Beast on January 4, 2014 in Easthampton. A moving ballet based on the fairy tale by the Brothers’ Grimm, Beauty & The Beast follows the story of a young woman who discovers the true meaning of love in an unexpected place. Full of whimsy and magic, Beauty & The Beast performs at The Academy of Music on March 29 & 30, 2014 in Northampton. Children 4.5 – 12 are invited to audition. No dance experience needed. Adults and advanced dancers (en pointe) should contact the studio for audition information. Registration and information at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

Jan 5

Lander-Grinspoon Academy hosts a community concert with Mister G for families on January 5 at 3pm in Northampton. Mister G, a local children’s singer/songwriter, has performed nationally & internationally. This concert is open to the entire community & is co-sponsored with Gan Keshet preschool & Hilltown Families. Mister G’s debut family album was Pizza for Breakfast. To date, he has released 3 other CD’s. In 2013, he was a Latin Grammy nominee for Best Children’s album. In 2012, Mister G was the Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner, & he was a Grammy nominee in ’11 & ‘12. Tickets are $5/child; $7.50/adult; capped at $20/family & are being sold at Lander-Grinspoon Academy during regular school hours. Tickets will also be available at the door.

30-Day Transformation for only $400. Get a month’s worth of wellness services at Window of Heaven Acupuncture & Yoga for only $400. Imagine how you would look and feel after 3 acupuncture treatments a week, one private yoga lesson a week, personalized Chinese herbal supplements, nutritional counseling and manageable lifestyle suggestions based on your individual constitution. All these services would normally cost over $1000, but now is available for $400. It is time to face up to your age-old health concerns and make a commitment to your wellbeing. Sleep better, digest better, be pain-free and have the energy you need! For more information about this deal and services we offer visit www.windowofheavenacupuncture.com or call 413-303-1246. Northampton, MA.

Have you heard about the new Central Berkshire Parent Child Home Program offered by Child Care of the Berkshires? The mission of CCB is to strengthen families through high quality child care, education, support services and advocacy. One way they accomplish this is through their Central Berkshire Parent Child Home Program, a free home visiting program. Enrollment is currently taking place for families of children, 18 mos-3 yrs, in the towns of Becket, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Washington, Windsor, and Cummington for free home visits, books, and toys. For more information, please call 413- 672-2577 or email emorris@ccberkshire.org.

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

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 28th, 2013-January 3rd, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

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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 Family Friendly New Year’s Eve Events in Western MA

Looking for 2013 events?  Check here, New Year’s Eve 2013.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Western MA, 2011

The 2012 original poster by Stephen St. Francis Decky.  Stephen St. Francis Decky is an artist and filmmaker from Northampton. His paintings and films have appeared in galleries and festivals nationally and internationally, and his short fiction has been published in several literary journals. He is currently working on his Masters Degree at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Celebrate New Year’s in Hampshire County all day on the 31st at First Night Northampton starting at 12noon!  First Night is a fundraiser for the Northampton Center for the Arts, and it provides an opportunity for families to enjoy many different forms of art, including live music and dance performances.  Over 20 different studios and businesses in downtown Northampton participate in the event, offering a wide variety of venues for showcasing art!

Family-friendly event highlights include a performance from A2Z’s yo-yo team at the Academy of Music Theater, a parade through downtown with the Offbeat Drumming Ensemble and Hooping Harmony, and an acrobat performance from SHOW Circus Studio. Fireworks light up the night sky at 6:15pm, which can be seen from almost anywhere in town! Check their program schedule for a full schedule of events.

Not only is the event fun and for a good cause, but it’s also a way to present new forms of art and expression to your kids.  Try attending a performance of a new kind of dance or a concert of music you’ve never heard!  The “ticket” to the event is a button, which can be purchased on the event’s website.  For more information, visit www.firstnightnorthampton.org. ($$)

Other New Year’s Eve Highlights for Families in the Four Counties:

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY

12noon-10pm -  GAMES & PLAY: Celebrate the new year with a day of role-playing games and sword play!  There will be rounds of Magic the Gathering, Neflheimer, roleplaying games, and more.  Takes place at Western Mass Family Golf.  Call to register. 413-824-0008. 249 Russell Street.  Hadley, MA.  ($$)

FRANKLIN COUNTY

11am-1pm – NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY: Kid’s countdown to noon at Chandlers Restaurant. Great food, party favors and sparkling apple cider to toast with. Live music and a sing-a-long too! Reservations recommended: 413-665-1277. 25 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA ($)

6-10:30pm – FIRST NIGHT: 16th Annual Starry Starry Night celebrates New Year’s Eve int he heart of downtown Orange with live music, dancing, hayrides, giant puppet parade and fireworks! Orange, MA (FREE)

HAMPDEN COUNTY

10am-4pm – FIRST NIGHT, JR.: Holyoke’s First Night, Jr. celebration takes place today!  Families can enjoy live music, magic, free admission to the Children’s Museum, a visit to the Merry-Go-Round, ice sculptures, and a ball drop (earlier in the day, just for little ones!).  Holyoke, MA.  ($)

BERKSHIRE COUNTY

11am – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: SHOW Circus Spectacular presents a circus show at the Berkshire Museum as part of Under the Big Top, the museum’s special Christmas Tree exhibit!  There will be fantastic performances of acrobatics, juggling, and contortion.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($)

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.

Volunteer for First Night Northampton

Volunteer Opportunity: First Night Northampton

First Night is a Northampton tradition enjoyed by the community every year- families love all of the fun events that take place all day (especially the fireworks!) and it’s a wonderful way to wrap up the holidays. However, all of the fun couldn’t happen without the help of volunteers!

The Northampton Center for the Arts, which the event benefits, is seeking volunteers to help out during First Night! There are three shifts available- 1-5pm, 4:30-8:30pm (with a break for fireworks), or 8-11pm. Volunteers are asked to help out at one of the downtown performance venues during their shift, so if you help out, you’ll still get to enjoy the events! Volunteers also get a free First Night button and are able to enjoy the event while they’re not on duty! For more information or to sign up, call the Center for the Arts at 413-584-7327 or fill out their volunteer form online.

Suggested Events 12/25/10-12/31/10

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

Cookies and milk for Santa. (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

On Friday, December 31st – Noon-Midnight: First Night Northampton: Celebrate New Year’s Eve in downtown Northampton for First Night.  Get your button and check out nearly 20 different venues of entertainment the whole family with enjoy. Hoopoe the Clown, Henry the Juggler, Show Circus, Ed the Balloon Man, John Porcino Storytelling, The Nield Kids Concert, Happy Dan, Dennis Caraher, Otter and Moo Puppet Show, Paintbox Theater, and much more.  Schedule of events here. Northampton, MA ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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

Then on 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)

BULLETIN BOARD

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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

WINTER CAMP: SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, MA will be holding a winter circus camp for ages 5-7 on December 29 and 8-12 on December 30. This day camp will run from 9am – 3pm and it will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, balancing, acrobatics, partnering, human pyramids, stretching, strength, and circus games. Our 10% discount for more than one child signing up from the same family applies to our camps as well as our classes. Sign up today before the camps fill up! Each camp is limited to 15 students. Cost: $60/child. Register online at www.showcircusstudio.com/Registration.html or call us at 413-203-4282.

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. (updated 12/30)

Deadline to Enter to Win: December 28th

DECEMBER SCHOOL VACATION: Historians and educators at Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge, MA) are planning lots of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the kids busy – and happy – during December school vacation week (Dec. 26- Jan. 2). The fun includes ice skating (weather permitting – bring your own skates), sledding on 1830s-style sleds, and sleigh rides (snow permitting). A new exhibit of antique ice skates from the Antique Ice Skate Club will be on view, including elaborately decorated vintage figure skates from the 1800s. For more info visit www.osv.org or call 800-1830

Deadline to Enter to Win: January 3rd

CITIZEN SCIENTIST: Every year, MassWildlife participates in a midwinter eagle survey that occurs nationwide. This year, the Midwinter Bald Eagle survey period begins on December 29, 2010 and ends January 12, 2011. Everyone who is outdoors and sees an eagle during this time period is encouraged to report his or her sighting! You can send your report to mass.wildlife@state.ma.us. Please provide the date, time, location, and town of eagle sightings, plus the number of birds, whether juvenile or adult, and your contact information. Bald eagle sightings in the hilltowns include the Chesterfield Gorge, and just off of Route 9 in Chesterfield, so keep a look out!

Deadline to Enter to Win: January 4th

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.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

This holiday season we will have several Holiday Podcasts available to download. Click on the banner to see which ones are available.  Fill your home with holiday music and stories featured on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. Stories you’ll find include Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Trees of the Dancing Goats.

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

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    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 ($)

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    Suggested Events 12/27/08-01/02/09

    Happy New Year!  How does your family ring in the New Year?

    First Night Northampton 2007

    First Night Northampton 2007

    This coming week we welcome in another new year!   How does your family ring in the New Year?  Fireworks?  First day hike? Culinary traditions are very popular. In Spain they eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds. In the Netherlands it’s apple fritters. And down South it’s black-eyed peas.  Share with us in our comment box, local listserv or over on the HF Facebook page.

    SUGGEST 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, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page.

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

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    FEATURED EVENT:

    Wednesday, December 31st, is First Night Northampton.  The city fills with family-friendly festivities from noon until midnight.  The celebration begins at the Northampton Center for the Arts with a parade, followed by entertainment options at venues throughout downtown.  Fireworks will be at 6:15pm, and the evening is filled with much talent and creativity.  Participants must purchase a button that allows you into all venues.  Find out more at the official First Night Northampton 2009 website.

    SATURDAY – 12/27

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    New Year’s Eve with the Family

    FIRST NIGHT NOHO

    This year’s First Night festivities in Northampton, MA, will begin on New Year’s Eve at noon. There will be a special 25th (Silver) Anniversary Show at the Northampton Center for the Arts, followed by a family parade. “Many silvery surprises including dancers, drummers, and giant puppets plus a special presentation of Mixed Nuts, by Double Vision. The Silver First Night Family Parade will begin at the Northampton Center for the Arts and make its way to Pulaski Park and on to Masonic, Center and Main streets. Look for the Giant Mystic Dancer Puppets!”

    • Click here to see the schedule of events.

     

     

    • Click here to read about and see photos from last year’s review of First Night Noho on Hilltown Families.

     

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