34 Community Highlights: Wild Flower Walks to Textile Drives. Weather to Transportation.

Earth Day to Volunteer Week. Beaver Ponds to Raising Chickens. Wild Flower Walks to Textile Drives…

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!

Hilltown Family Variety Show: This Saturday, April 20th, we will rebroadcast our Weather Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levey.  Tune in for an hour of great music and learning highlights on all things WEATHER!


Community ServiceEarth DayAnimal StudiesNature StudiesHistoryParent WorkshopsCultural Studies


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40 Community Highlights: StoryWalks to Marionette Shows. Salmon Fry to Coatimundi.

There are 3 series of puppet and marionette shows happening during April vacation week in the Pioneer Valley!

StoryWalks to Marionette Shows. Salmon Fry to Coatimundi. American Revolutionary War to Patriot’s Day…

These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play during April vacation week!

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!


StoryWalks ♦ Puppets & Marionettes ♦ Animal StudiesCommunity ServiceHistory ♦ Astronomy


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Suggested Events for March 2nd – 8th, 2013

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

Looking for a whiff of spring? Starting this Saturday, March 2nd, both Smith College Botanic Garden and Mount Holyoke College’s Botanic Garden spring flower shows open featuring hundreds of spring-blossoming bulbs! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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, 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.

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Winter Bucket ListSaturday, March 2nd from 10am-4pm in Hampden CountyMUSEUM ADVENTURE: Happy 109th birthday, Dr. Seuss!  Celebrate today with the Springfield Museums, home of the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden.  Celebrations will take place all day long, including MYO Cat in the Hat bowties and birthday cards for Dr. Seuss, a chance to meet the Cat in the Hat himself, family science adventures, planetarium shows (additional charge), and a Dr. Seuss cake contest where visitors can vote for their favorite, most Seuss-est cake!  413-263-6800.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

Saturday, March 2nd at 10:30am in Hampshire CountyFAMILY PERFORMANCE: Grammy-nominated folk musician David Grover performs this morning at the Jones Library!  His beautiful music is unique amongst folk-style family music in that it speaks to people of all ages, and not just children.  413-259-3090.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, March 2nd at 1pm in Berkshire CountyMUSEUM ADVENTURE: It’s Family Curiosity Day at the Williams College Museum of Art!  Visit the museum to learn all about art – there will be gallery activities, artistic experiments, and lots of art projects!  413-597-3131.  15 Lawrence Hall Drive.  Williamstown, MA. 

Saturday, March 2nd from 11am-12:30pm in Franklin CountyLITERACY: Families with kids ages 6+ are invited to take part in a 6-week workshop series with professional storyteller John Porcino at the Dickinson Library!  Porcino will share beautiful children’s books with families, and the events are a celebration of stories – each week will focus on a new theme.  Registration required.  413-498-2455.  Main Street.  Northfield, MA.  (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Mark Your Calendars: March 16th Hilltown Families & Flywheel present another Saturday Morning Music Party in Easthampton!

Next Saturday, March 9th from 9am-12pm in Hampshire County  – KIDS’ STUFF SWAP: Northampton Dept. of Public Works is holding a Kids’ Stuff Swap and Art Workshops, PopUp Artists’ Shop and Environmental Info table at Smith Vocational School. Pre-registration.  80 Locust St. Northampton, MA (FREE) 

Next Saturday, March 9th from 11am-2pm Berkshire CountyMAPLEFEST: Maple sugaring season has arrived once again, and Hopkins Memorial Forest host its annual celebration to usher in the new season. The celebration will allow people to both observe and take part in the maple syrup production process, from tapping a tree to checking out the finishing and bottling of the final product.  Participants will also be able to visit a working sugar house, assist with sap gathering, and taste the homemade syrup on pancakes and “sugar on snow.” In addition, there will be demonstrations of old-time evaporating methods, dating back to the pre-colonial era, as well as maple sugaring exhibits, videos, and more. Intersection of Bulkley Street & Northwest Hill Road. 413-597-4277. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Next Sunday, March 10th from 11am-3pm in Hampden County – MAPLE HARVEST DAY: Storrowton Village Museum’s 8th annual Maple Harvest Day  will showcase the history and lore of maple sugaring in the Gilbert Farmstead’s front yard with Sugar Maple tree tapping, sumac spile making and sap boiling over an open fire, to educate the public about the origin and legend of the tradition. Inside the historic home, docents will demonstrate 19th century open hearth cooking at the cozy kitchen fireplace as well as quilting and spinning wool. 413-205-5051. Eastern States Expo. West Springfield, MA (FREE) 

BULLETIN BOARD

March 3

Teen Social Justice Workshop: How Did Young People Lead the Drive for Workers’ Rights? Join Temple Israel (27 Pierce St.) in Greenfield on Sunday, March 3 from 12:30-2:30pm for the next in their series of teen social justice workshops exploring Jewish history and ethics. This week they will be learning about the essential role young people played in organizing the garment workers’ strikes in New York City. There will be history, study of Jewish ethical identity as expressed across the spectrum of religious observance, critical thinking activities and a special segment on learning Yiddish workers’ songs. Free and open to everyone. Refreshments will be provided. For more info contact Samantha Wood: cornerrobot@gmail.com. 413-522-3832

March 3

Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company at the Academy of Music Theatre, this Sunday, March 3rd, at 2pm. This vibrant performance will feature over 70 dancers of all ages as well as guest musicians Emerald Rae (a National Scottish Fiddle Champion) and Liz Simmons (a Honey Voiced Singer). Tickets are $12/adults, $10/seniors, $10/children and are available through the Academy of Music Theatre at www.academyofmusictheatre.com or by phone at 413-584-9032 ext. 105 (box office fees may apply). Join in the fun of the jigs and reels with your children at this toe tapping hand clapping afternoon of family fun!

March 9

Piti Theatre presents 4th Annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival on Sat., March 9 at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls. Family show at 2pm with Piti’s “To Bee or Not to Bee,” leading U.S. mask artist Larry Hunt of Masque Theater, children’s mask parade, syrup tasting, free Real Pickles and more! Evening show at 7pm for ages 8+ with Masque Theater’s 20 mask variety show, juggling/comedy with national touring actor Jack Golden, brother-sister duo June and the Bee. Family show $5, Evening $12/$8 under 16. Fri., 3/8: paper pattern mask making workshop for grades K – 5, 4:30 – 5:30 pm at Mem. Hall. Children can be in next day’s mask parade. Sun. 3/9: Mask Movement for ages 15+ at Hart Yoga, 1-4pm. info@ptco.org, www.ptco.org/shows/syrup

Beginning Feb 25

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in our Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to our Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.

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

MotherWoman is coming to the Hilltowns, offering two support groups to Hilltown mothers.  The first group meets on Mondays in Ashfield at St. John’s Corner House from 11am-12:30pm, offering a free, safe, confidential drop-in group for mothers of infants & young children a place to feel heard, valued, understood, nurtured and energized.  Expectant mothers welcome. Free childcare is available for children up to age four. Contact Anna Westley for more info at 413-625-6948. A second group will be hosted by the Cummington Family Center at the Cummington Community House on the 2nd Thursday each month from 10-11:30am.  Contact Stacey Mackowiak for more info at 413-634-8853.  More info on both at www.itavillage.com.

Volunteers wanted for Salamander Tunnel Maintenance Day in Amherst on a Saturday in March (determined by the weather). One of Amherst’s many claims to fame are the Henry St. amphibian tunnels, North America’s first, designed to direct spotted salamanders under the road, thus avoiding the tires of passing autos. All are invited to ready the tunnels for the annual spring migration. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment will be raking leaves, shoveling sand and debris, clipping brush, repairing plastic mesh fences, pounding in wooden stakes, and picking up litter and will have some tools and gloves available for families to help out (but please bring your own if you have them.). All ages are welcome! FREE • Please call 413-256-6006 to be added to the call/email list to volunteer.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 2nd-8th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for Feb 23rd, 2013

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 23rd – March 1st, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including:

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 30 Community Highlights: Spotted Salamanders to Orchids. Afro-Cuban Dances to Purim Celebrations., and our bi-weekly column, Berkshire Family Fun for Late February – Early March, 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

This week we’re also featuring 15 Purim Events in Western MA, 2013.

February 23rd – March 1st, 2013

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

History | Outdoor Adventures | Plant, Animal & Nature Studies | Fiber Arts
Astronomy | Parent Workshops | Cultural Studies
Museum Adventures | Science, Film & Sign Language

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. How to Organize a Food Drive
  2. The Northampton Parents Center: A Welcoming Oasis For Families with PreK Kids
  3. Must-Hear Music Monday: In the Pursuit of Poetry
  4. 3 Soup Recipes for Winter
  5. HFVS Mid-Winter Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

HILLTOWN FAMILIES EVENTS

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

HILLTOWN FAMILIES WINTER RESOURCES

Winter Bucket List
Ice Skating in Western MA

Suggested Events for February 23rd – March 1st, 2013

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

Need to shake off some of that cabin fever? Heather from Northampton says, “Fill up a thermos with hot soup and go cross country skiing at Notchview (Windsor, MA) with the family.” One of many recommendations from our post, 50 Winter Suggestions: Things to Do & Places to See in Western MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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, 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.

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am & 1pm in Hampden County – FAMILY CONCERT: SteveSongs is coming to the Springfield Museum for a family concert sure to get the kids dancing way! A “meet and greet” will follow each concert. Check out these videos to get ready for next weekend. Springfield, MA ($)

Saturday, February 23rd from 10am-4pm in Berkshire County – WINTERFEST: City of North Adams’ 16th Annual WinterFest will have your family shaking of cabin fever! All of downtown will turn into a winter fun-land with activities happening all day, including horse-drawn wagon rides, ice sculptures, culinary delights, ice skating and many performances. 413-664-6180. Downtown. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Winter Bucket ListSaturday, February 23rd at 11am in Hampshire County – FAMILY CONCERT: The Northampton Community Music Center presents the Deedle Deedle Dees in concert at the Eric Carle Museum!  An educational rock band, the Deedle Deedle Dees sing about science, history, and everything in between, making their fun, catchy songs educational as well as entertaining.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am in Franklin County – LUAU: Kids got cabin fever?  Pretend it’s summer for just a day – Chandler’s Restaurant is hosting a luau for kids!  Families can order lunch and enjoy special Hawaiian-themed food and drinks, as well as crafts, games, and Hawaiian music!  Reservations suggested.  413-665-1277.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA. ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Friday-Sunday, March 1st-3rd: WINTER CARNIVAL: The Holyoke Winter Carnival spans three days!  There will be a free luminaria event, ice skating, dog show, domino tournament, firemen’s hockey benefit, family movie night, chili cook-off, pancake breakfast, cake decorating contest, and spaghetti dinner featuring Zydeco Connection.  413-244-6766. Holyoke, MA 

Saturday, March 2nd from 10am-3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Family Day at the Smith College Museum of Art.  Try your hand at several art projects inspired by fisherman, fireworks, flowers, and more on view in the Collecting Art of Asia exhibition.  Smith students will lead families with kids ages 4yo+ in projects, have snacks available and be on hand to assist.  Elm Street At Bedford Terrace. Smith College Museum of Art. Northampton, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Feb 24

Purim Justice Fair, co-sponsored by Congregation Bnai Israel and Beit Ahavah, will be held Sunday, February 24, from 3:30-5:30pm at Beit Ahavah, 130 Pine St, Florence. This family-oriented Purim Festival is for all ages. Festivities will include spirited singing, interactive games and booths including face-painting, bingo, palm reading, blackjack, bowling and ring-toss. All proceeds (suggested donations $3-$5) from the event will go to support local and international social justice and environmental causes. Please bring canned food for a sculpture activity to donated to Northampton Survival Center. Bring homemade humantaschen to share to take part in our humantaschen bake-off contest. Come in costume! Contact: rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org

Beginning Feb 25

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in our Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to our Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

March

Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA is offering half-day Saturday workshops in March for students ages 13+. Try flameworking (glass beads and small sculpture), ceramics, digital printing on alternative surfaces, or stained glass with upcycled materials. A great parent/teen opportunity – or some creative alone time for mom or dad. Our instructors are fun, encouraging, and wildly talented. Our studios in a historic New England farm setting are comfortable and professionally equipped. Treat yourself! www.snowfarm.org/intergenerational-workshops.html. 413-268-3101. info@snowfarm-art.org.

Guess what’s growing in Pelham? A Preschool! One of the Valley’s pre-eminent elementary schools is growing to include a preschool in the fall of 2013! Pelham Elementary is renowned for its MCAS scores, respected for its staff, and revered for its reputation of being a caring, nurturing place for our youth. Open to residents of all towns, with a number of slots reserved for Pelham residents. Full day program, hours and prices competitive. Options for before and after school care. Make your child’s first experience in the world of education one to grow on. For details call 413-362-1101 or email Principal Lisa Desjarlais at desjarlaisl@arps.org.

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

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer.  On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA.  Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.

The Amherst Toy Library is now opening!  Offering free toy rentals for children up to 8 years old!  Located on the 2nd floor of the Bangs Community Center in downtown Amherst, the Toy Library is open Wed & Thurs from 11am-1pm and Fridays from 9am-12noon.  Donation of new or gently used toys (puzzles, games, block, etc) are needed, but not stuffed animals or cloth toys.  If you’d like to donate or volunteer, contact Randa or Shangzhu at amhersttoylibrary@gmail.com

Allison Scott, Youth Action Coalition Programs Liaison writes: “GirlsEyeView (GEV) offers a supportive and creative space for young women to express themselves through photography & creative writing, free of charge. We write stories & poems, share our ideas about important issues, & laugh! GEV exhibits work several times a year in our schools & in community spaces. In Ware, we create color and b&w photos using digital cameras & Photoshop. Our program is open to girls in middle & high school as well as those who are not in school. We meet Mon & Wed from 2:30-5pm at Ware Jr/Sr High School. In Amherst, we shoot with black & white film & manual cameras, & develop our prints in the darkroom. We’re open to 7th-9th grade girls & we meet Tues & Thurs from 2:30-5pm at Amherst Regional High School.”  www.youthactioncoalition.org


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 23rd-March 1st, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for Feb 16th, 2013

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

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for February 16th-22nd, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Best Bets, Mark Your Calendars and Bulletin Board. Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 35 Community Highlights: Shaker Song to Gospel Music. Sojourner Truth to George Washington.. and our bi-weekly column, Berkshire Family Fun for Mid-Late February, 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

February 16th-22nd, 2013

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

History • Culinary History • Animals • STEM • Culture
Music & Dance Studies • Film • Sports • Creative Free Play • Fairy Tales

RECAP

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

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. The Struggle of Winter Wear
  2. Western MA Folk Remedies for Sore Throats
  3. 12 Great Educational Web Sites for Kids
  4. Q&A: 10 Western MA Museums & Attractions
  5. Kids Got Lice? What to Do!

HILLTOWN FAMILIES EVENTS

GIVEAWAYS

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

HILLTOWN FAMILIES WINTER RESOURCES

Winter Bucket List
Ice Skating in Western MA

Suggested Events for February 16th-22nd, 2013

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

School playgrounds might be quiet next week, but there’s still a whole lotta fun going on during school Winter Vacation Week! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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, 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.

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. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Children’s Theater at Williston Northampton performs “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan,” and Hilltown Families has a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway for the opening day!

Saturday, February 16th from 9am-1pm in Hampden County – SPORTS: Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Springfield College!  Girls will be able to try out and learn about new sports, and will learn about playing higher level sports from some dedicated female college athletes.  After the event, participants can cheer on the Springfield College women’s basketball team as they take on MIT.  Registration required.  Open to girls in grades K-6.  413-748-3000.  Alden Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, February 16th at 12noon in Berkshire County – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Show off your snow-building talents at the Lee Cabin Fever Festival’s Children’s Snow Sculpting Competition!  Build, stack, and scrape away until you’ve created a beautiful, icy masterpiece.  Takes place on the Town Green at 1:30pm, participate in (or watch!) the annual Strut Your Stuff Stroll down Main Street, where participants bare their skin in the cold – the event features swimsuit-clad walkers and runners!  Main Street.  Lee, MA (FREE)

Saturday, February 16th at 2-3:30pm in Franklin County – MARDI GRAS: Celebrate Mardi Gras as a family at the Winklepicker Ball!  The family-friendly event will feature live music from the Primate Fiasco, the valley’s own New Orleans-style street band.  Takes place upstairs at Ashfield Town Hall.  413-628-4003.  412 Main Street.  Ashfield, MA.  ($)

Saturday, February 16th at 2pm in Hampshire County – THEATER: Piti Theater Company – just back from a tour in Switzerland – brings their popular show To Bee or Not to Bee to the Northampton Center for the Arts!  Their original show teachers audiences about the important role that bees play in the production of food.  Beekeepers worldwide have been experiencing trouble maintaining bee populations in recent years – the show’s topic is timely and important.  Kids will learn positive ways to support bees while enjoying the show!  413-625-6569.  South Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am & 1pm in Hampden County – FAMILY CONCERT: SteveSongs is coming to the Springfield Museum for a family concert sure to get the kids dancing way! A “meet and greet” will follow each concert. Check out these videos to get ready for next weekend. Springfield, MA ($)

Saturday, February 23rd from 10am-4pm in Berkshire County – WINTERFEST: City of North Adams’ 16th Annual WinterFest will have your family shaking of cabin fever!  All of downtown will turn into a winter fun-land with activities happening all day, including horse-drawn wagon rides, ice sculptures, culinary delights, ice skating and many performances. 413-664-6180. Downtown. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Sunday, February 24th at 2pm in Hampshire County – VARIETY SHOW: The Really Big Show, the Pioneer Valley’s very own Ed Sullivan show, takes place at the Academy of Music Theatre.  Monte from The River will MC and the show will include a variety of talent, including s contortionists, poets, jugglers, opera stars, comedians, child prodigies, animal acts and many other forms of entertainment.  1-800-838-3006. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

Feb 16

Sunnyside Child Care Presents: “Hot Choco LA LA LA.” Spend the morning singing and dancing with the Valley’s own Mister G! “Kid-friendly, bilingual rockstar…Mister G and his guitar will surely make you feel like bailando!” – The Washington Post. “Mister G is the musical equivalent of a tasty chocolate bar infused with a spicy chili kick!” -Scholastic Family and Children. Warm up with yummy hot chocolate, coffee, and pizza. Chill out by doing art with your friends. Join Sunnyside on Saturday February 16th from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St. Florence MA). Tickets just $5 per person ($20 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund. www.sunnysidekids.org

Feb 18-22

February vacation at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Open Monday, Feb 18! Join the museum for storytimes, art making, scavenger hunts & live performances! See your friends, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Babar, Shrek, and many others in their galleries. Plus, The Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School presents, Goldilocks & the Three Bears: An Epic, Feb 19-22 at 11am, 1pm & 3pm [$6 (Members $5). Museum admission extra.]. So you think you know this tale? Think again! In this epic adaptation, there’s a lot more in store for Goldy than three bears, some chairs, and bowls of breakfast food. Fun for the whole family! Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk. 413-658-1126. www.carlemuseum.org

Feb 23 & 24

Beginning beekeepers will learn everything they need to know to keep bees in natural top bar hives when they attend a Gold Star Honeybees Weekend Intensive. The class is two full days, and packed with information! The class covers hive inspections, bee biology, wax and honey harvesting, problems like CCD, and why bees matter so much! Give your honey the sweet gift of beekeeping for Valentine’s Day! Location: Berkshire Community College, 1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA in the Cafe. Dates: Feb 23 & 24. Times: 8:30am – 4:00pm. Local/organic meals are included. Register online at www.goldstarhoneybees.com or call 207-449-1121. Instructor: Christy Hemenway, author of “The Thinking Beekeeper.” For more info: classes@goldstarhoneybees.com

March

Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA is offering half-day Saturday workshops in March for students ages 13+. Try flameworking (glass beads and small sculpture), ceramics, digital printing on alternative surfaces, or stained glass with upcycled materials. A great parent/teen opportunity – or some creative alone time for mom or dad. Our instructors are fun, encouraging, and wildly talented. Our studios in a historic New England farm setting are comfortable and professionally equipped. Treat yourself! www.snowfarm.org/intergenerational-workshops.html. 413-268-3101. info@snowfarm-art.org.

Guess what’s growing in Pelham? A Preschool! One of the Valley’s pre-eminent elementary schools is growing to include a preschool in the fall of 2013! Pelham Elementary is renowned for its MCAS scores, respected for its staff, and revered for its reputation of being a caring, nurturing place for our youth. Open to residents of all towns, with a number of slots reserved for Pelham residents. Full day program, hours and prices competitive. Options for before and after school care. Make your child’s first experience in the world of education one to grow on. For details call 413-362-1101 or email Principal Lisa Desjarlais at desjarlaisl@arps.org.

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

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer.  On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA.  Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 16th-22nd, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

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Finding School Vacation Events & Activities this Week in Western MA

School Vacation Week: December 2012

Looking for family activities this week during school vacation?

Check out our column, Learn Local. Play Local. for our round-up of museum adventures and storytelling events happening this week.

Also check our list of weekly Suggested Events for a comprehensive list, or select the day of the week:

You can also check out our post, Ice Skating in Western Massachusetts for places to take the kids ice skating, Berkshire Family Fun for Late December, 2012 for adventures in Berkshire County, our Suggest A Class bulletin board for classes being offered this week, and our Things to Do, Places to See resource page for more options.

Want to know what’s happening this weekend and next week?  Make sure you’re subscribed to our Weekly eNewsletter for updates delivered for free to your email inbox every Thursday!

Suggested Events for April 14th-20th, 2012

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

Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade at Historic Deerfield (2011)

Fife and drum music this week, starting at the Historic Deerfield on Saturday with a Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade. And on Monday, Old Sturbridge hosts a special Patriots Day. Both events provide hands-on learning opportunities and reenactments. Great way for kids to learn about Colonial History. Scroll down for details. Click on photo to see images from last year's event in Deerfield. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

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 class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Spring Vacation Week: April 16th-20th: Many students get April 16th-20th off from school, and parents will be looking for activities for their children to enjoy during the break. There are many opportunities to be found in the region, with several boutique options to choose from, including nature, art, sports, ballet, history, gymnastics, stewardship, outdoor adventures, among others. Check out our post, 15 Camps for Spring Vacation Week in Western MA for some highlights of events and week long camp opportunities happening during Spring Vacation Week right here in Western MA. Some options are for the entire week, while others allow you to choose your days and have full day or half-day options. Then scroll down and check out our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events to see what’s happening all week during Spring Break in Western MA… there are over 150 events and activities to choose from!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

The Hilltown CDC’s 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! Entertainment will include live music, workshops, artists & artisans, local food, family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, Maypole, Morris Dancers, and much more!

Saturday, April 21st at 11am – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Enjoy a pink-themed lunch and a performance of a musical version of the popular children’s book, Pinkalicious!  at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle. There will, of course, be pink cupcakes – but don’t eat too many and get pinkitis!  Show begins at 1pm, lunch includes a meet and greet with the show’s cast and crew!  413-665-1277 ex 1308.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

Sunday, April 22nd from 11am-4pm – EARTH DAY: Celebrate Earth Day at the Springfield Museums!  There will be live music (featuring environmentally-themed songs), free seedlings, a presentation on a birds of prey rehabilitation program, and displays from many local businesses, nonprofits, and initiatives – all Earth Day-themed!  The event is an opportunity to learn about green initiatives happening locally and ways to get involved, as well as a way to celebrate Earth Day!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

BULLETIN BOARD

CLOTH DIAPERS: The Great Cloth Diaper Change Western Mass serves to promote the joys of cloth diapering, celebrate Earth Day, and break a World Record! Saturday. April 21st 11:30am at the Florence Community Center, 140 Pine Street, Florence, MA. Colorful cloth diapers galore! Local Eco-Conscious Vendors! Music! Door Prizes! Raffles! Come capture tons of excitement as we attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ of most number of diapers changed simultaneously. Doors Open at 11:30am. World Record Diaper Change Attempt will be at 12:30 sharp! If you don’t already cloth diaper your baby EVEN BETTER! They will have diapers to borrow for the event and there will be demonstrations of various kinds of cloth diapers that are available.

SUMMER CAMP: Adventure Camp: Four two-week sessions, June 25-August 17, 2012 The Bement School Summer Programs offer a preschool program and adventure day camp for boys and girls ages 15 months to 15 years. Adventure Camp provides a traditional day camp experience. Your child will participate in many activities to make his or her summer a memorable one. At the same time, parents can enjoy peace of mind knowing their child is in a safe and caring place. A sibling discount is available for siblings who enroll in multiple sessions. Bement School, Deerfield, 413- 475-3044. www.bement.org/summer. Optional services include: round-trip van transportation (Hadley, Northampton, Amherst), extended day supervision, enrichment programming, and bag lunches.

SUMMER CAMP: Adventures in Chinese: Two two-week sessions, July 16-Aug 10. Campers, ages 5-12 years, participate in activities designed to build vocabulary and confidence in speaking Mandarin Chinese. Campers will gain an understanding of Chinese art, culture and tradition. They will learn daily conversations in Mandarin including listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Bement School, Deerfield. 413-475-3044. www.bement.org/summer. Optional services include: round-trip van transportation (Hadley, Northampton, Amherst), extended day supervision, and bag lunches.

SUMMER CAMP: Are you looking for a great summer experience for your kids? Check out our post Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA which highlights opportunities happening throughout the region. With a great variety of themes, there are many summer camp/programs your family can choose, including: farm & gardening, music, art, technology, nature, personal development, science, theater, sports, ballet, preK, college… as well as a good old fashion summer camp! Discover what’s being offered near you, and find out how you can add a camp to this growing list too!

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

JOIN 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 DIY posts, seasonal cooking, and community-based educational opportunities. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Giveaway: Crimson & Clover Farm Share

Enter to win a Small Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm in Florence, MA for the 2012 season by sharing a family recipe you're looking forward to preparing this spring with fresh local produce, embellished with the story behind this favorite dish! Deadline: April 16th.

CHEMISTRY: The Edwards Library in Southampton invites library patrons to begin their chemistry adventures at their library for the next few weeks. Beginning April 18th the Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program will be available to check out to families with kids ages 5-12yo for doing experiments at home. Kits may be check out for one week at a time and are available at the library until June. 413-529-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA (LIBRARY PATRONS)

Jennifer Atkins writes, “The MA Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, which is held in Cummington on Memorial Day weekend every year, needs spinners for the very popular Drop-In Spinning area.  We are looking for spinners willing to spend a couple of hours demonstrating their craft, and if they feel comfortable, helping people try it out. We will have some wheels available, or you can bring your own…Please contact Delia Nash if you could help out or would like more information… It is a fun way to help the fair be successful and to meet lots of interesting folks. 413-230-1458. bydelia@yahoo.com.”


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
April 14th-20th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes
Weekly eNewsletter | Events for Working Parents | Workshops for Parents

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 04/16/11-04/22/11

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

“Hilltown Families gives us lots of info about all the different happenings each week that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. This has been an invaluable resource for us to get to cool events and to make connections with other local families. Thank you!” - Stacy Calabretta of Goshen, MA (Photo credit: Angie Gregory)

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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us 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 enhanced publicity. 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

BEST BETS

On Saturday, April 16th from 1-3pm – GEOLOGY: Families are invited to take a walk at the Chesterfield Gorge , along the Westfield River, with professor Richard Little.  Learn about the geology of the gorge and enjoy the outdoors!  Rain date is 4/17.  Meet for the walk in the Trustees of Reservations parking lot in Chesterfield. West Chesterfield, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, April 17th from 11am-4pm – EARTH FESTIVAL: Visit the Springfield Science Museum for the Earth Week Festival!  Tons of special activities, including demonstrations on how to cast a fishing rod provided by the DFW Angler Education Program.  There will also be giveaways and a bluegrass performance.  21 Edwards Street.  800-625-7738.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Mark you calendars for the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds, right in the heart of the Hilltowns!

Saturday, April 23rd at 3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Explore Natural Glow, the Berkshire Museum’s hands-on program where kids can learn about naturally florescent minerals, lichens, and scorpions. Sponsored by the Northern Berkshire Mineral Club. 39 South Street. 413-443-7171. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm – FARM ADVENTURE: Winterberry Farm’s Lambs’ Open House. Visit newborn baby lambs, as well as (maybe) some baby rabbits, ducklings, and/or goslings. There will definitely be chicks! Donations will be collected for Right Sharing of World Resources. 21 Teawaddle Hill Road. 413-548-3940. Leverett, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

BULLETIN BOARD

MEDITATION FOR KIDS: Meditation Course for Children ages 8-12, Sun., May 8. Kids are invited to spend the day at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne attending a 1-day course. Day will start at 9am & include sessions in the meditation hall interspersed with games & activities, ending at 4:30pm. All courses at VMC are offered on a donation basis. To register/watch a video about children’s & teens’ courses: www.Dhara.Dhamma.org

POST C-SECTION WORKSHOP: Post C-Birth Healing 5-Week Workshop at Cradle in Northampton begins on Mon., May 2nd from 6-8pm. This group is for women-post partum, to have a formalized space to process and heal from issues related to C birth experiences. Come share your story. Cost for full workshop: $70. To register, contact Sabrina Herman at Sabrinaherman.awake@gmail.com.

PUPPET FESTIVAL: The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton presents their 3rd annual Puppet Festival, April 18-21, 2011. The theater comes alive with story during school vacation week as puppets and marionettes take the stage all week (ages 4 and older). April 18th: The Woman Who Outshone the Sun, performed by Behind-the-Mask Puppets. April 19th: Jack and the Beanstalk performed by Spring Valley Puppet Theater. April 20th: Sleeping Beauty, performed by National Marionette Theatre. April 21st: Pinocchio, performed by the National Marionette Theatre. All shows begin at 10am and are 50 minutes long. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Academy Box Office, Tuesday-Friday from 3-6pm or by calling 584-9032 x105 or online at www.academyofmusictheatre.com.

BENEFIT CONCERT: Don’t miss Tracy Grammer & Jim Henry and The Nields, live in Shelburne Falls for The Academy at Charlemont‘s annual benefit concert! Sunday, April 17, 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall. Also featuring the debut of the astonishing student band Flapjack Overkill. Visit www.charlemont.org, or call the school at 413-339-4912. All proceeds will benefit The Academy’s scholarship fund.

Alison Krauss

Arianna Alexsandra writes: “Now that Spring is growing, so is the Ashfield Community Garden. If you are an Ashfield Resident and looking for some open, sunny land, inquire about available spaces… Throughout the year we also offer canning workshops and other “anyone can do this” community activities.”

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Despite drought conditions last summer and early ice this winter, trout hatcheries in Massachusetts have produced enough trout to stock the state’s waters.  Trout will be released throughout the beginning of April.  For more information on trout stocking and a list of weekly activities, visit here or call the valley DFW office at 413-323-7632.  Along with trout, the state’s waters will also be stocked with salmon this month.  The salmon release process is more involved than that of trout and requires that fish be transferred by hand in buckets from trucks to waterways.  For a list of dates and locations of salmon releases to volunteer at, click here or call 508-389-6331.Lucindia Williams

EARTH DAY: Celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd) with Transition Northampton by helping to create an Oil Memorial- a large structure made up of empty oil drums and covered in materials and products that oil is used to produce (glue, plastic bottles, shopping bags, candles, CDs, rope, lipstick, etc.).  Families are encouraged to help out with creating the memorial- it is a great way to teach kids about what resources are used to create the products that they use on a daily basis.   The Oil Memorial will be displayed at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Saturday, April 23rd, and families can bring items to contribute on that day.  For more information, contact Bethany at webster.bethany08@gmail.com or Jamie at jpottern@gmail.com.

EARTH DAY: Northampton Public Schools are working together to create the world’s largest ball made from single-use shopping bags for Earth Day.  The ball, which will be rolled through Northampton to Pulaski Park on April 23rd, is being created by students at all four elementary schools in Northampton, along with the high school’s Environmental Club.  Students are working together to collect bags from their families, neighbors, and friends.  The number of bags collected is being recorded and will be reported once the ball has been made.  The goal of the project is to highlight the excessive amount of bags that shoppers use and to show how many non-biodegradable items could be saved if local shops went bag free.

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: April’s Critter of the Month, designated by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, is the New England Cottontail- Massachusetts’ only native rabbit!  The New England Cottontail is currently a candidate to be designated as endangered, as it requires large spaces of thick underbrush in order to survive and only 5% of the state’s forested areas fit this description.  The DFW is currently counting cottontail populations throughout the state, and if you are aware of cottontail populations near you, please alert the DFW by visiting here.

SCREEN FREE WEEK: Celebrate Screen Free Week from April 18th-24th.  Advocated for by the Department of Public Health, Screen Free Week means exactly what its name implies- no screens for you or your kiddos for a whole week! (Except when you need to check Hilltown Families to find fun family events.)  Children who spend excessive amounts of time in front of screens (television, computer, hand held game device, etc.) have higher rater of obesity, poor school performance, and attention problems- not to mention the fact that they take part in far less creative play. Find out more at www.screenfreeweek.org.

SATURDAY SPRING FARMERS’ MARKETS:

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week is a rebroadcast of David Weinstone from Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals.

Listen Now
Listen to Podcast Now

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, April 16th, 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.

7:30am-7:30am – SEWING: Help sew bags for ten different Bagshare locations at the Village Church and Hilltown Sewing Center!  This is a 24-hour event ending on Sunday morning (the 17th).  The event is broken into six four-hour shifts, each lead by an experienced sewer.  Main Street. Cummington, MA.  (FREE)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at Middle Branch  Westfield River. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. Meet atGateway Regional HS. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331 Huntington, MA (FREE)

8am-3:30pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: Head to Hadley for the UMass Livestock Classic!  There will be petting zoos, arts and crafts, hay rides, Joshua the Camel, and raffles, as well as a chance to watch UMass students compete with their livestock.  111 North Maple Street.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

9am – WALK FOR PEACE: Take part in the Cave Hill Classic with your family.  Participants can do either a five mile run or a two mile walk.  The walk is a great walk to get out with the family while supporting the Leverett Peace Pagoda.  Cave Hill Road.  Leverett, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

10am – MOVIE: Images Cinema will screen the animated shorts nominated for Oscars this year.  There are six movies contained in the hour and a quarter run time, and the collection is not rated.  50 Spring Street.  413-458-1039. Williamstown, MA.  ($)

10-11:30am – PARENTING WORKSHOP: Nonotuck Community School presents a workshop lead by Sarah Getoff, MEd LMHC, entitled, “Assertiveness at All Ages: How to Teach Children Skills to Protect them for a Lifetime.”  221 Riverside Drive.  413-586-5996.  Florence, MA.  ($)

10-11:30am - NATURE STUDIES: Explore vernal pools at Laughing Brook with your family.  Naturalist Kevin Kopchynski will lead kids in observing pools and looking for invertebrates, egg masses, amphibians, and reptiles.  Pre-registration required.  739 Main Street.  413-584-3009.  Hampden, MA.  (>$)

10am-12noon – NATURE STUDIES: Explore vernal pools at Bartholomew’s Cobble.  Learn to identify egg masses, fingernail clams, fairy shrimp, wood frogs, and salamanders.  Be prepared to get wet and muddy, and please pre-register.  413-229-8600.  Sheffield, MA.  (>$)

10am-12noon – EGG HUNT: The Basketball Hall of Fame hosts the Easter Egg Extravaganza!  Over 500 eggs will be hidden inside the Hall of Fame- come and find them. 1000 West Columbus Avenue.  413-781-6500.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12Noon – PARENTING SOCIAL: Color Play is a monthly social and craft for families parenting children of color, supporting parents by addressing the cultural imbalances on their children’s community, encouraging self-acceptance and identity awareness. Providing parents with the opportunity to have open dialogue around the many concerns of parenting children of color, it will include a story hour, healthy snack and seasonal craft; as well as, fun interactive parent-child connecting in a diverse setting. Northampton, MA (FREE)

10am-1pm – VOLUNTEER: Help clean up the gardens at the Great Falls Discovery Center for Massachusetts’ Park Serve Day.  All ages welcome.  2 Avenue A.  413-863-3221.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

10am-2pm – TEEN VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY:  Join Grow Food Northampton for the first work day at the Northampton Community Farm.  The fields need to be cleared of rocks for spring plowing, so bring gloves, a spade, and a large bucket if you have any (or all) of those things!  Ages 12 and older. Corner of Spring and Meadow Streets.  Northampton, MA.  (VOLUNTEER)

10am-2pm – EGG HUNT: Shaker Farms Country Club’s annual Easter egg hunt.  Along with the egg hunt, there will be a raffle, games, and a visit from the Easter bunny (delivered by helicopter!).  866 Shaker Road.  413-568-4087.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – HISTORY: Visit Historic Deerfield for a Patriots Day celebration.  Learn about the history behind the holiday and “the shot heard ‘round the world.’  There will be a Revolutionary Muster and Parade, as well as other activities to keep families occupied all day.  84 Old Main Street.  413-774-5581.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – HEALTHY KIDS: The Pittsfield YMCA hosts Healthy Kids Day- there will be zumba, gymnastics, a scavenger hunt, face painting, and more!  292 North Street.  413-499-7650.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – SHEEP SHEARING: Head to Hancock Shaker Village for sheep shearing demonstrations!  1843 West Housatonic Street.  413-443-0188.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-5pm – ART FESTIVAL: The Paint and Pixel Festival will take place at the Northampton Center for the Arts.  Meet creators of comics, graphic novels, picture books, and webcomics!  17 New South Street.  413-584-7327.  Northampton, MA.  (>$)

Read the rest of this entry »

Berkshire Family Fun: April Vacation Week

A School Break Survival Guide

The Frog (played by Mark Hohlstein) offers the Princess (played by Honora Toole) the ball he has retrieved from the well in Castle Hill Theatre Company’s production of ‘The Frog Prince’ set to open Wednesday, April 20, at New Stage Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield.

School vacations at home always sound like a good idea until about the third day in a row of hearing those incessant whines from your children: “I’m bored.” “There’s nothing to do.” Well, this year you have one of two choices — you can lock them in separate rooms for the week and throw away the key or you can follow this simple guide to having some fun in the Berkshires.

STEP 1: KICK OFF THE WEEK IN STYLE

Start your week off on the right foot by celebrating the first weekend of vacation with a bang. Area museums, rec centers, theaters, churches, etc. are making it easy with a plethora of activities for the family; the difficult part is going to be choosing just one.

On Friday, April 15, Barrington Stage Company kicks off the weekend with the Pittsfield Youth Commission Talent Show from 7:30-9 p.m. at the company’s Union Street theater in Pittsfield. The event gives Berkshire County youth the opportunity to showcase their many talents in a fun and safe environment. You must purchase tickets but the prices are minimal. For more info call 413-499-9348 or email mmoyborgen@pittsfieldch.com.

Next up for the weekend … On Saturday, April 16, families can choose from:

  • 1 p.m. family movie, “Twas the Night Before Easter” at the First Congregational Church in North Adams
  • Easter egg hunt at Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamstown (call 413-398-8700 to learn more)
  • Healthy Kids Day for families featuring Zumba, gymnastics, a scavenger hunt and face-painting from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Pittsfield YMCA
  • Sheep shearing demonstrations at Hancock Shaker Village (Route 20, Hancock) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • International Family Film Series at Images Cinema in Williamstown featuring animated shorts “Night & Day,” “Madagascar: Carnet de Voyage,” “The Gruffalo,” “Let’s Pollute” and “The Lost Thing” beginning at 10 a.m.
  • Shakespeare & Company’s whirlwind tour through the life, times and works of Williams Shakespeare in “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World,” 1 p.m. Kemble Street, Lenox
  • “Life in a Vernal Pool,” at Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield where participants will take a look at egg masses of frogs, salamanders, fairy shrimp and fingernail clams from 10 a.m.-noon (413-229-8600)
  • Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Page-Turners: Creating Handmade Art Books” where teens can design, assemble and bind their own books made from fine papers, fabrics and art supplies from 1-4 p.m in Stockbridge.

If I weren’t in Florida my children and I would probably head south to try out the Bartholomew’s Cobble event and then wander on over to one of my favorite Berkshire County Museums — the Rockwell Museum — but good luck choosing from that list. I say, run yourself silly on Saturday and then sit back and relax at home on Sunday. That’s just my recommendation.

STEP 2: RUN DON’T WALK TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIES

I know you’ve heard this from me before, but libraries today offer some incredible FREE programming for families and during school vacations many of them tend to ramp things up. Next week is no different and it all starts at the New Lebanon, N.Y., (just over the Hancock border) with chess instruction for kids of all ages and levels. Chess begins at 6:30 p.m. The library will also offer a bingo afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 18, for kids ages 5 to 12. For more information call the library, located on Route 20, at 518-794-8844.

It’s family game day from 2-4 p.m. at the Milne Public Library in Williamstown on Tuesday, April 19.

Then on Tuesday, April 19, the Milne Public Library in Williamstown will celebrate “National Hanging Out Day” (you’ve gotta love that!) with a family game afternoon. Families are invited to bring a favorite board game or borrow one of the library’s to play between 2 and 4 p.m. One of my favorites is Sorry, but if it happens to be a long rainy afternoon you might want to try one of my kids’ favorites — Monopoly. The library is located at 1095 Main Street. For more information call 413-458-5369.

Next we move on to Wednesday, April 20, where the Lenox Library, New Lebanon Library, the Milne, and the North Adams Library all have programs scheduled. Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 02/19/11-02/25/11

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

February school vacation week adds a splash of color to winter in Western MA! The Hilltown Families list of events & activities will chase away the winter grey with fun family events & activities all week long! (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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us 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 enhanced publicity. 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!

BEST BETS

On Saturday, February 19th from 2-7pm – ICE ADVENTURES: Attend Holyoke’s Winter Ice Festival! Activities include an ice sculpting demonstration, fire juggling, ice skating, a visit from Rivè the River Otter, lights, art, food & fun! Between Appleton and Dwight Streets. 540-0200.  Holyoke, MA. (FREE!)

On Sunday, February 20th from 3-5pm - FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday, February 26th at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: The Deedle Deedle Dees will be a Flywheel in the old Town Hall, with a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song. Presented by Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock. Doors open at 1pm. Easthampton, MA ($)

Sunday, February 27th at 2pm – THE REALLY BIG SHOW: The Northampton Arts Council presents The Really Big Show at the Academy of Music Theatre, a Valley classing featuring Tom Mahnken, of Trailer Park and Unit 7 fame, impersonating Ed Sullivan to introduce their bill of local artists. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

AUDITIONS: Two hour auditions will be held for the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) musical production of Alice in Wonderland on Monday, March 7th at the Amherst High School Cafeteria, arriving at 3:45pm. Up to sixty roles are available and children ages 5-18 are encouraged to audition. No advanced prep necessary. The Missoula Children’s Theatre touring productions are complete with costumes, scenery, props and makeup. The MCT Tour Actor/Directors will conduct rehearsals from 4-8:30pm, 3/7-3/12. Actors will not need to be present at every rehearsal . The production will be presented to the public on March 12th at 1:30pm & 4pm at the Amherst High School Auditorium. For more info call 461-6722 or visit www.alsct.org

FLAG DESIGN CONTEST: Do you have an older student who enjoys graphic design? All are invited to take part in the City of Pittsfield’s Flag Contest, a great project for students and homeschoolers to participate in. Sponsored by Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and State Senator Ben Downing, residents are invited to submit their design for an official City of Pittsfield flag. Click here for an application. Deadline is March 1st and the chosen design will displayed during Pittsfield’s 250th Celebration on April 29th.

Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 23rd

LITTLE RED SCHOOLHOUSE: Storrowton Village Museum’s Little Red Schoolhouse, an educational program open to grade 1-5 school classes, teachers and chaperones, takes place Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30am- 1:30pm. Participants dress in period costumes provided by Storrowton and are given a brief orientation on the roles each played in the 19th century. A “Schoolmaster” or “Schoolmistress” will lead the students through a variety of challenging and fun activities of a child’s school day early in the 19th century – quill pen writing, spelling bees, math drills and more. Copybooks and slates are used for lessons, and students will top off their day with old-fashioned games. For more information contact the museum at 205-5051. West Springfield, MA. (>$)

THE KITCHEN GARDENER: A free clinic at the Worthington Library on Saturday, February 26th at 4pm will explore low cost strategies for season extension, increasing yield, increasing plant vigor, mitigating pests, disease and predation, reducing water usage, the practical possibilities of a four season harvest in our climate, on site fertility programs and more. You can increase yields, flavor and nutrition without spending a lot of money. Bring your ideas and experiences to share and bring an open mind. This program is part of the Worthington Library’s Omnivore’s Dilemma Program and is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Deadline to enter to win: March 2nd

FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER WORKSHOP: Is your family preparing to buy your first home? Taking a free First Time Homebuyer workshop will introduce you to the “team members” you will assemble during your home purchase. Participants will learn how to select a team of professionals to help with the purchase of a home, which mortgage products are available to first time homebuyers, how to prioritize housing wants/needs, what happens in a home inspection, how to make an offer on a house, what happens at the purchase and sale signing and the closing, and more. This workshop is FREE. Wed and Thurs. nights March 30th, 31st, April 6 & 7th from 6 –8:30pm at the Cummington Community House in Cummington. Pre-registration is required. Contact Bea at 296-4536 x115 or beavh@hilltowncdc.org.

ATTENTION SINGERS: Minerva Voices, a non-profit group for everyone from youths to adults, is accepting new singers to perform in a Best of Broadway Anthology with the theme of Family Relations. Directed by Jill Wheat and accompanied by Laurie Brenner, this performance opportunity includes unison, harmony and solo singing for singers of all experience levels. The group rehearses Mondays from 6:30-8:30pm at the Minerva Arts Center (1288 Massachusetts Ave.) North Adams for 13 weeks and will culminate in a performance at the MAC on Saturday, April 9th at 7pm. New singers are encouraged to head over to the MAC on or before the 2/28 rehearsal. For more info contact The Minerva Arts Center: 346-4502 or email MinervaArtsCenter@gmail.com. (>$)

Deadline to enter to win: March 9th

SUPPORT FOR PARENTS OF TEENS: Berkshire Families and Children is offering Guiding Good Choices for parents of children 9-14 who are interested in strengthening family bonds and reducing the risk factors associated with teenage drug use on Wednesdays, beginning on February 23rd in Pittsfield, MA. To register call Lori Munn at 441-7011.

SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week on the HFVS, Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights is our Guest DJ.  Joanie will be spinning tunes by Phish, Otis Redding, Okee Dokee Brothers, Blind Melon, Recess Monkey, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Jonas, and many others – including song from her new release, What a Zoo!

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, February 19th, 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.

    9am-4pm - OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Hot Chocolate Saturdays at Bartholomew’s Cobble. Bring the family to enjoy hot cocoa and miles of trails. There are snowshoe rentals available to hike the trails, a sledding hill and a nature center too. 229-8600 Sheffield, MA, (>$)

    10am-12Noon – PARENTING SOCIAL: Color Play is a monthly social and craft for families parenting children of color, supporting parents by addressing the cultural imbalances on their children’s community, encouraging self-acceptance and identity awareness. Providing parents with the opportunity to have open dialogue around the many concerns of parenting children of color, it will include a story hour, healthy snack and seasonal craft; as well as, fun interactive parent-child connecting in a diverse setting. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    10-4pm – WINTER CARNIVAL: Community Winter Carnival at South Hadley High School.  Indoor and outdoor actiities for kids of all ages. Music, art activities, food and much more. South Hadley, MA (FREE)

    10:30am – MUSIC SERIES: Music series at the Jones Library. For kids of all ages. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    11-11:45pm – KIDS YOGA: Karma hosts a children’s yoga class for kids ages 6-10yo. Stretches, poses and yoga/theater games. Pre-register. 727-8143 http://www.bekarma.com Northampton, MA ($)

    11am-3pm – WINTER CARNIVAL: Pittsfield Winter Carnival happens at the Controy Pavilion on Onota Lake at Burbank Park.  There will be hayrides, sledding races, family ice skating & hockey, ice fishing, carnival games, music, hot cocoa, and much more. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

    11:30am-9pm – ICE SKATING: Outdoor ice pavilion (435 Main Rd.). No skate rentals. 528-1443 x248 Monterey, MA (FREE)

    12:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Chow Time in the aquarium at the Berkshire Museum. 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA (FREE w/museum admission)

    1-4pm – TEEN ART WORKSHOP: Realist painter Patty Mullins will hold a teen art workshop at Norman Rockwell Museum. Art-loving teens will learn how to hone their powers of observation and drawing skills during this creative workshop that will inspire experimentation with materials, techniques, and new ways of seeing. Register by call 298-4100 x221 www.nrm.org Stockbridge, MA (>$)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    1:30-3:20pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Collins/Moylan Arena (41 Barr Ave.). Skate rentals available. 772-6891 Greenfield, MA ($)

    ♦ 2-3:50pm - ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Fitzpatrick Arena (575 Maple St.) Skate rentals available. 532-2929 Holyoke, MA ($)

    2-4pm – CHESS: Love chess?  Want to learn?  Whether you are a chess pro or barely a beginner, you are welcome at Forbes Library’s casual drop in chess sessions!  Bring your own set if you have one!  All ages welcome.  20 West Street.  587-1011. www.forbeslibrary.org.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE!)

    2-7pm – ICE ADVENTURES: Attend Holyoke’s Winter Ice Festival! Activities include an ice sculpting demonstration, fire juggling, ice skating, a visit from Rivè the River Otter, lights, art, food & fun! Between Appleton and Dwight Streets. 540-0200.  Holyoke, MA. (FREE!)


    Sunday, February 20th, 2011

    Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    ICE SKATING:

    • 11:30am-9pm – MONTERY: Outdoor ice pavilion (435 Main Rd.). No skate rentals. 528-1443 x248 (FREE)
    • 1-2:50pm – GREENFIELD: Public indoor ice skating at Collins/Moylan Arena (41 Barr Ave.). Skate rentals available. 772-6891  ($)
    • 2-3:50pm – SPRINGFIELD: Public indoor ice skating at Smead Arena (1780 Roosevelt Ave.) Skate rentals available. 781-2599  ($)
    • 3-5pm – EASTHAMPTON: Public indoor ice skating at Lassone Ice Rink. No rentals, so bring your own skates. Sharpening is available. Refreshments for sale. 529-3000 (>$)

    2pm – GOSPEL MUSIC: Visit Bay Path College for “A Celebration of Gospel Music.”  Hear Bay Path’s own Sister Act Gospel Choir, as well as other guest choirs at this celebration of Black History Month!  588 Longmeadow Street.  565-1000. www.baypath.edu.  Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE!)

    2pm – ALLOY ORCHESTRA: The Northampton Arts Council presents Alloy Orchestra at the Academy of Music Theatre. Alloy Orchestra is a three-man musical ensemble who will perform with the silent film classic, Metropolis. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

    2pm – BUBBLES: BubbleMania! at the Colonial Theater.  The show is made up of spontaneous comedy, jazz music and an array of bubbling skills including fog-filled bubble sculptures, helium-filled foam, bubble ping-pong, and trapping an audience member inside a gigantic soap bubble!  111 South Street.  997-4444.  www.thecolonialtheater.org. Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

    2-4pm – MUSIC: Old Time String Band at the Blue House Cafe (Route 9) with Karl Ferret and a crowd of “a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’” musicians. Menu available. 268-7441 http://www.bluehousecafe.info Haydenville, MA (FREE)

    2-5pm – SEWING: Community bag sew for bagshare at the Bullitt Reservation. Bagshare works to provide reusable cloth bags to local businesses for shoppers to use instead of environmentally unfriendly plastic and paper bags.  332 Bullitt Road.  628-4485. www.thebagshare.org.  Ashfield, MA.  (FREE!)

    3-5pm - FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Berkshire Family Fun: February Vacation Week

    Give Your Kids the Best February Vacation Ever — Without Ever Leaving the Berkshires

    Winter festivals, family concerts, game days, arts & crafts, chocolate, family film series, museum adventures and more await families in the Berkshires during February school vacation!

    Mother Nature can be pretty cruel sometimes here in the Berkshires —teasing us with 50 degree temperatures one day only to turn down the heat again the very next day (complete with a minus-10-degree wind chill thrown in there for good measure) so even the fire in the ski lodge and the heat packs in our gloves couldn’t remove the chill from our bones. At least those temperatures stayed up there long enough for the snow to melt so all of us could find out exactly how much those ice dams on our roofs could hold. How many of you are renovating rooms after that nice little thaw? Well, when you aren’t chopping holes in those ice dams or dealing with the aftermath of thaw inside your house, here are some things that will keep your mind off the frigid temperatures and keep your family busy, especially during the upcoming February vacation, until spring decides to arrive.

    VACATION, VACATION, VACATION

    OK, February vacation may bring more cheers from kids than parents, but with a whole slew of family-friendly activities going on throughout the county you just might make it through the week without losing your mind. To kick off the weeklong fun fest why not head on over to the 66th annual Pittsfield Winter Carnival at Onota Lake from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. The event, sponsored by Vox Berkshire Radio Group and The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank is free for the whole family and also will include a pond hockey tournament — the inaugural Co-op Classic — family skating, karaoke and limbo contests, free games, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice golf and more. A rain date is set for Sunday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. For more information visit pittsfieldcoop.com. Wrapping up the vacation fun on Feb. 26 is another winter festival but this time Berkshire residents need to head north. On Feb. 26 the annual North Adams Winter Fest “Sure Cure for the Winter Blues” all-day event will take place in downtown North Adams with a wide range of fun for the whole family including horse-drawn carriage rides, games, crafts, chowder-tasting contest, activities and more. Events are still being added and can be found here.

    FUN IN THE LIBRARIES

    Libraries offer a whole lot more than just books and story times and during the February break two local libraries will be offering a musical celebration for the whole family. On Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. and at 3 p.m. Feb. 23 musical group the Cat’s Pajama’s will perform at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield and the Milne Public Library in Williamstown, respectively, bringing with them their high-octane kid-rock style of musical comedy with them. Other library events in the area include the Lenox Library’s “A Sampling of Chocolate Tales and Treats” afternoon on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m.-12:30 with “Chocolatina” and Junie B. series illustrator Denise Brunkus for ages 4 and up; “The Wonderful World of Bats” (Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.) and a teddy bear tea (Feb. 26 at 10 a.m.) at the Mason Library in Great Barrington; and a game day on Feb. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. and modeling clay animals workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Milne Public Library.

    MORE CHOCOLATE

    It seems the Berkshires are full of chocolate-themed fun during this vacation. Feb. 25 brings another Chocolate Berkshires celebration to Bisque, Beads & Beyond on North Street in Pittsfield and this time it is geared towards the young and the young at heart. The store’s Willly Wonka Family Craft Night for children aged 7 and up and their families is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and run until 8 p.m. Registration is requested; for more information call 413-442-9300.

    MORE VACATION FUN

    In 1781 Great Barrington slave Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman sued her owner John Ashley for her freedom and won. In honor of Black History Month and February school vacation week Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield will host “A Day in Elizabeth Freeman’s Winter World” on Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring activities designed for school-aged children and their families to introduce them to Mumbet. Registration is requested in advanced. For more information call 413-229-8600 or go online to thetrustees.org.

    MOVIES ANYONE?

    In September Images Cinema in Williamstown kicked off its International Family Film Series which runs through May. On Saturday, Feb. 19, at 10 a.m. and Thursday, Feb. 24, at 3:30 p.m. Images will screen the sixth film in the series titled “Eleanor’s Secret.” The film celebrates the joy of reading and tells the story of 7-year-old Nat who can’t read, making his inheritance of Aunt Eleanor’s collection of books immensely disappointing. Despite his love of having Eleanor read to him, his disinterest encourages his parents to sell the collection to a greedy collector. Once sold, Nat discovers that the library contained only first editions and even more, that the fictional characters come to life. After he is magically shrunken to the size of the storybook characters, Nat joins Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and other classic literary friends in a race against time to return the books to the library. Unfortunately, even if the books get back to the library, Nat is the only one who can read a secret incantation that will save his tiny friends. For more information about the series and upcoming films visit imagescinema.org.

    MUSEUM AND MORE

    There is plenty to do at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield any time of the year, but school vacations usually bring a great array of family-friendly performances throughout the year and the week of Feb. 21 is no different. Feb. 21-26 BTF Plays! will present History’s Mysteries a comedic play filled with folklore, mythology, history and most of all … an excess of theatrical fun. Why do we tell stories and where do they come from? Why is the Great Sphinx sitting in the Egyptian desert? Why are there so many giant statues on Easter Island? Is there really such a creature as the Yeti roaming the high passes of the Himalayas? Go find out for yourselves. For more information visit berkshiremuseum.org.

    SNEAK PEAK

    Area kids may head back to school on Feb. 28 but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end there. On Saturday, March 5, the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown will host “Kids Rule!” from 1 to 4 p.m. where kids find out what it is like to be in charge of the museum for the day. Families can explore the museum’s newly reinstalled galleries and play a game of “Curator’s Challenge.” Children then can add their selection of artwork and labels to a mock-mini exhibition — available only on family day — and choose what artwork will appear in the museum’s galleries next. For more information visit wcma.org. Stay tuned for more Berkshire Family Fun.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Kelly Bevan McIlquham Berkshire Family Fun

    Kelly Bevan McIlquham writes our bi-monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, sharing update, events and activities for families in the Berkshires.  Kelly is a psychotherapist-turned-writer who resides in Hinsdale, MA with her husband, three children, a chocolate lab, a very fat cat, a turtle, and a few goldfish. She is the Features Editor for The Advocate and the Editor of The Family Beat in the Berkshires. Kelly also dabbles in writing for children and has had her non-fiction published by Wee Ones online family magazine. When not writing or editing, her favorite pastime is cheering on her children at various football, soccer, basketball and baseball games. kwm229@msn.com — Check out Berkshire Family Fun the first and third Thursday of each month.

    Suggested Events 04/19/08 – 04/25/08

    Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Present …

    A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CASSEROLE MUSICAL POTLUCK
    AND DEBUT CONCERT WITH
    BRADY RYMER & THE LITTLE BAND THAT COULD!

    Friday, April 25th @ 5:00pm in Northampton

    Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could are cookin’ up a rock ‘n’ roll casserole for their Northampton debut: a musical potluck supper!

    Might just be the best-sounding band in children’s music.Stefan Shepherd of Zooglobble.com, heard on NPR’s All Things Considered

    Multi-award-winning indie musician and From Good Homes founding member Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could invite families to share a meal and share the music at a high-spirited musical potluck supper at:

    • 5:00 p.m.
    • Friday, April 25
    • Lyman Hall at First Churches of Northampton
    • 129 Main Street, Northampton, MA,
    • Potluck contributions are welcome but not required.
    • Tickets are $7 per person. Infants free.

    Co-presented by the local kids’ radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (93.9 The River, Saturday mornings from 7 – 9) and Hilltown Families (www.HilltownFamilies.org). Click here for more info!
    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 community bulletin board.

    Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns
    The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:(>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

    Saturday – 04/19

    WESTFIELD RIVER WHITE WATER RACES

    7am – 10am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to The River from 7-9am or 103.3 FM from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child . [All ages] (Free) LINK

    9am-11:30pm – FISHING DERBY – (Florence) At Look Park. [All Ages] (>$) LINK

    10am-5pm – GREEN FAIR – (Greenfield) Kid-friendly environmental art workshop and parade will be offered at the Franklin County Green Fair 2008, plus much more. [All Ages] LINK

    10am-4pm – EARTH DAY CELEBRATION – (Pittsfield) At the Berkshire Museum. [All Ages] (Borrow a museum pass from your library) LINK

    10am – POND EXPLORATIONS – (Easthampton) Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary is offering explorations of pond ecology for families. 413.584.3009 [Ages 5 & up] ($)

    10:30am – TRAINS – (Shelburne Falls) Volunteer Day at the Trolley Museum. LINK

    10:30am – HAT MAKING – (Huntington) For kids at the Huntington Library. [Families] (Free)

    Noon-4pm – TEA & REVOLUTION – (Deerfield) Historic Deerfield offers an April School Vacation Week “Tea and Revolution” from April 19, 2008 through April 27, 2008 Recognize Patriot’s Day with a week-long focus on the Revolution in New England, and a key ingredient to the conflict – tea. Learn about the importance of tea, and its role in revolutionary politics. Tour objects used in the storage, preparation and serving of tea. Make your own tea cup design and a tea bag to brew at home. Enjoy a cup of tea and simple bread and butter sandwiches. See Revolutionary-era artifacts including engraved powder horns, a piece of Paul Revere’s silver, and tour the Ashley House—the home of Deerfield’s Tory minister. [All Ages] (Borrow a museum pass from your library) LINK

    1pm – POETRY MONTH – (Amherst) Celebrate National Poetry Month with Poetry in Motion with David Zucker at the Eric Carle Museum. Enjoy puppets, masks, costumes and more. [Families] (Borrow a museum pass from your library) LIN

    2pm – FAMILY CONCERT – (Pittsfield) Maria Sangiolo performs at the Berkshire Museum. She sings the blues for sharks, rocks out with mermaids, and gently encourages respect for the planet. 413.443.7171 [Families] (Borrow a museum pass from your library) LINK

    2pm-3pm – CRAFTERNOON – (South Hadley) April is the kick-off month for the Odyssey’s new monthly “crafternoon,” an afternoon in which adults are invited to bring their current craft projects to work on and share ideas. Author Amanda Blake Soule, who will be discussing her new book, The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections. [Parents] (Free) LINK

    4pm – 6:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($) LINK

    Read the rest of this entry »

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