Sledding Hills in Western MA

20 Recommendations for Keeping the Family Entertained in Subzero Weather

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Rachael Laurie writes: “Board games: Battleship, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Hullabaloo, Twister. Lots of games.”

How does your family stay entertained when you’re snowed in (and the temps dip below 0°)?

  • Amy Meltzer writes: “Blokus, Backgammon, Spot It, Clue, puzzles…baking cookies…and what my girls call “book conferences” when we all get in bed and read together.”
  • Andrew Woodland writes: “Play banjo!”
  • Gillian Kyle Budine writes: “Cozy up and read!”
  • Aviva Lester Sieber writes: “We do arts and crafts, and read.”
  • Robin Shtulman writes: “Board games!”
  • Leah Pilet-Stinson writes: “Making forts, baking, arts and crafts, set up our tent for indoor camping!”
  • Prudence Wholey writes: “Games, reading, Scrabble.”
  • Samantha Wood writes: “Reading near each other, watching movies, playing piano and making soups.”
  • Mercedes Echevarria writes: “Baking cookies, reading, playing games.”
  • Amy Jean Smith writes: “Baking, reading, coloring, playing music and lots of indoor activities that get you moving. My toddler’s favorite is a CD of music with different music for walking, marching, running (in place), skipping and formal walking. And watching the creatures outdoors.”
  • Michele Lussier writes: “Books, movies, baking, cuddling/napping…”
  • Mike & Mimi Blissed Ross writes: “Creating, music, art, reading, homeschooling, cooking things that require the oven! Dancing! Exercising! Latin music hot hot hot!”
  • Jeremia Pollard writes: “We go outside.”
  • Dorothy Elaine Lavachia Stant writes: “Go Crazy.”
  • Amy Kane-Coyne writes: Playing Banannagrams. Art projects. Baking brownies.
  • Michael Muller writes: Games. Reading. Audio books.
  • Kate Bailey writes: V.I.D.E.O.
  • Aime DeGrenier writes: Coloring, visiting with our awesome neighborhood kids, puzzle.
  • Joshua Farber writes: Kitchen table science experiments involving snow – predictions and proposed variations can be drawn by the under-literate crowd. My 8 year old wrote her first lab report this past Friday!

[Photo credit: (ccl) Renielet]

Searching for Nests & Animal Tracks in Winter

Stalking Winter Nests & Wildlife Tracks
Family Outdoor Adventures

“Because robin nests are fairly large, and so well built, they are one of the easiest to spot after the nesting season. Look for them in shrubs and on horizontal branches in the lower halves of trees.”

During the cold months of winter, many of the creatures often seen during the rest of the year have migrated south, are tucked away in burrows for most of the winter, or have become even better at hiding so as not to be easily spotted against the snow. But their signs are still there and a lot of fun searching for! Looking for signs like tracks, scat, dens, and nests is a fun and educational way to learn about the habits of wildlife living near you.

To inspire families into winter tracking expeditions, Mass Audubon offers an online list of the Top 5 Nests to Spot in Winter! The list includes information on the American Goldfinch, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, and Chipping Sparrow, as well as Eastern Gray Squirrels, who builds nests high up in trees as well. The nest list not only shares information on spotting and identifying five different nests, it also includes facts about the nest’s structure, specific reasons for why each nest is created the way that it is, and interesting facts.

Identifying nests together with your family can teach them a lot about the habits of each bird species, and can help them develop a greater awareness of the many animal signs present around them. Mass Audubon also has Winter Walk Bingo Cards families can download and print that would make for fun this winter while searching for nests and other signs of wildlife.

Maybe even take Kurt’s advise and after a week of constant ten degree weather, head to the wetlands and explore an area otherwise not easily accessible outside of winter. Read more in his post, “The Ripple: Winter Wetlands.”

Looking for organized activities to do together while looking for nests and other animal tracks, here are some upcoming events in January worth checking out:

[Photo credit: (ccl) carfull...Wyoming]

5 Winter Carnivals & Festivals in Western MA

Five Winter Carnivals & Festivals Happening in the Four Counties of Western MA

Winter Carnival in Holyoke, MA

Jan. 29th – Feb 4th, 2012

January 29th-February 4th, 2012 ♦ A weeklong winter celebration happens with the Holyoke Winter Carnival!  Between January 29th and February 4th, there will be over 25 different events taking place all over the city.  This year is the first year that Holyoke has hosted a winter carnival- the idea behind the event (besides fun!) is to bring together the city’s diverse community through winter-themed events.  There are events taking place every single day- the highlights of which include a domino tournament (if your kids don’t know how to play, they can learn), a dog show full of local pups, an intergenerational music show, community dinners, a hot chocolate social at the Holyoke merry-go-round, sledding and accessible outdoor winter activities, and many of other events centered around art and music.  Attending winter carnival events is a way to be a part of and to learn more about the city’s unique culture and community… plus it’s fun!  For more information on the celebration and a complete schedule of events and locations, visit www.holyokewintercarnival.org.

Winter Carnival in Greenfield, MA

Feb. 3rd-5th, 2012

February 3rd-5th, 2012  ♦ Following Holyoke’s inaugural weeklong Winter Carnival is Greenfield’s 90th Annual Winter Carnival happening February 3rd-5th!  Greenfield Winter Carnival begins with a community bonfire, at which there will be fire dancers and exciting fireworks.  Other events for the weekend include a hockey game featuring Greenfield players, a guided showshoe trek through the Rocky Mountain trails, a cardboard sled race, the annual cribbage tournament, a cookie bake-off and chili cook-off, the 4 mile Sleigh Bell Run, and a Family Fun Day at the Greenfield Youth Center with art activities, face painting, games, and a movie.  Activities that take place throughout the weekend include sledding, ice skating, pony rides, and more!  Winter Carnival is a way to get your family outdoors and is a way to appreciate and celebrate the local community and culture.  Just because winter in Western MA is cold doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it!  For more information, visit www.greenfield-ma.gov.

Winterfest in Amherst, MA

Feb. 11th, 2012

February 11th, 2012 ♦  The town of Amherst’s annual Winterfest will be at  Cherry Hill Golf Course on February 11th from 12noon-6pm.  Winterfest is a community celebration of winter and the unique activities that can only take place during the coldest, iciest, crispiest time of year!  The event includes, of course, traditional winter activities like (weather dependent) sledding, snow tubing, and cross country skiing (lessons will be available!), as well as activities unique to Winterfest, like the Frisbee long toss contest, the Cardboard Classic (which involves cardboard boxes and sledding), and sled dogs!  Along with all of the fun, there will be bird watching treks where visitors can learn about the birds who stay in the area for the winter and how to identify them.  If you get hungry during the day, you can snack on chili from the chili cook-off, and parents can test beverages at the wine tasting.  The event is made up of such a unique array of activities that any family can be kept entertained!  For more information, visit www.winterfestamherst.com.

10×10 Festival in Pittsfield, MA

Feb. 16th-26th, 2012

February 16th-26th, 2012  ♦ This year, Pittsfield is hosting the Berkshires’ first ever winter contemporary arts event- the 10×10 Festival!  From February 16th-26th, the city will come alive with events, exhibits, and performances featuring contemporary art, dance, music, theater, and more!  The festival’s name comes from the amount of work shown: Barrington Stage Company will include ten 10-minute plays from Barrington Stage Company; Beacon Cinema will present ten short films shot using cell phones; Mission Bar and Tapas will host ten songwriters; YBar will present ten poets; and New Stage will host ten comedy acts!  Other locations in town will showcase artwork.  Going to some of the festival’s events or looking at artwork is a way to discover art with your family, and to art taking place in the community.  For more information, visit www.discoverpittsfield.com.

WinklePicker in Ashfield, MA

WinklePicker Festival in Ashfield, MA

Feb. 17th-19th, 2012

February 17th-19th, 2012 ♦  WinklePicker festival is coming to the Hilltowns!  The festival’s tag line is, “When New Englanders Go Barnyard Crazy!” and there will be a number of opportunities for family fun through out the weekend in Ashfield, MA.  This Mardi Gras-themed festival will include several live concerts (including Buckwheat Zydeco, the Primate Fiasco, and Chris Smither), a Cajun music camp for kids (the end result of which will be a kids’ group opening for Buckwheat Zydeco!), and Cajun & Creole cuisine cooking classes with chef Michelle Nugent.  There will also be, in the spirit of Mardi Gras, an exhibit of costumes from which kids can learn about the art of costuming and costume design.  WinklePicker will be full of opportunities to learn and experience Cajun culture and traditions!  For more information, visit www.WinklePickerFest.com.

Suggested Events 03/12/11-03/18/11

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

Suggest an Event

It's sheep shearing season! Winterberry Farm in Leverett will host their 23rd Annual Sheep Shearing Day this Saturday in Leverett, MA. Take the kids and be a part of this New England tradition. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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. 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!

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 03/05/11-03/11/11

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

Winters can be nearly a month longer in the Hilltowns compared to our neighbors down in the Valley - but that doesn’t stop hilltown kids from breaking out their tricycles and scooters before the spring thaw arrives! (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, March 5th at 10am – FAMILY CONCERT: The Nields will perform a family concert at The First Churches of Northampton, part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Northampton, MA ($)

Then in the evening on Saturday, March 5th from 6:30-10pm – FAMILY POLKA NIGHT:  Cafe Sun’s 2nd annual Sweetheart Family Polka Night at the Sunderland Elementary School (Swampfiled Dr.) with legendary polka band, The Eddie Forman Orchestra. Desserts served. 768-9857 www.cafesun.org Sunderland, MA ($, FUNDRAISER)

On Sunday, March 6th from 10am-5pm – MAPLE FESTIVAL: Head to the Hardwick Winery to take part in their first annual Maple Festival.  Enjoy hayrides, sap boiling demos, ox rides, horse logging demos, a lumberjack contest, petting zoo, and a fire pit to keep warm.  Live jazz from 11-2, and breakfast (for a small fee) from 10-2.  3305 Greenwich Road.  www.hardwickwinery.com.  967-7763.  Ware, MA.  (FREE)

Also on Sunday, March 6th at 12pm- MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Free family day at the Clark!  Explore the museum, attend a family-friendly gallery talk, and then take part in castle building, fantasy creature creation, and macrame bracelet weaving- all inspired by the work of Albrecht Durer.  225 South Street.  www.clarkart.edu.  458-2303.  Williamstown, MA.  ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday, March 12th at 7:30pm – MOMS’ NIGHT OUT WITH THE NIELDS: Hootenanny has been a smashing success and is now a Valley institution for mothers and young children. Many mothers have said “I want a Hootenanny for grownups!” That’s exactly what we’re doing. Join Katryna and Nerissa for an evening of singing, great food, pampering and fun. “Mom’s Night Out with The Nields!” A benefit for MotherWoman. Saturday, March 12, 7:30-10:30pm Eastworks in Easthampton. Cash bar and great door prizes. Motherwoman will honor parent educator, Maria Curtin-McKenna that evening. Please submit a story, with photo, about how Maria has made a difference in your life. Beat the Winter blues. Come sing-along with The Nields! Tickets $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Limited free tickets available for low income moms. www.MotherWoman.org

Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to bring the community together while supporting Hilltown Families with a birthday party!  Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Save the date now.  More details to come! Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

BULLETIN BOARD

ART WORKSHOP: Purim Art Workshops for Parent and Child at Art Always. Make beautiful baskets using a variety of collage materials, and festive masks! Ages 5+. $25 for parent/child pair; $10 for any additional family member. Sunday, 3/13, 1-3pm (you must pre-register by Thurs, 3/10). Arts & Industry Building, 221 Pine St. Florence, MA. www.art-always.com 584-3050

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR HILLTOWN HOMEBUYERS: Buying a House? Financial assistance is available now! Hilltown CDC, on behalf of the towns of Chesterfield and Cummington, has grants up to $4,500 for down payment and closing costs as well as deferred payment loans up to $35,000 as a mortgage subsidy. Home purchase must be in Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Peru, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg or Worthington. Eligibility requirements must be met including household income level, completion of certified first time homebuyer workshop and first time homebuyer status. Contact Bea at 296-4536, ext 115 or click here for more information about this and other homebuyer activities.

DONATIONS SOUGHT: For the creation and maintenance of an organic flower and vegetable garden at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School.  The garden will include five raised vegetable beds, a climbing bean tunnel, and a flower garden.  It will be a valuable educational resource and will provide food for students and teachers.  Donations of supplies (or discounts on supplies) and/or funds are being sought.  Specific supplies necessary are topsoil, wood, plants, and/or fencing materials.  On April 30th there will be a workday to being building the garden, and all are welcome to attend.  For more information, contact Emily Crehan at 625-2377 or emilycrehan@yahoo.com.

BABY SIGN LANGUAGE: Free Baby Sign Language Class for parents and their babies on Saturday, March 5th at the Cummington Family Center from 10:00 to noon.  The Cummington Family Center is located in the Cummington Community House at 33 Main St in Cummington.  The class will be taught by Sujata Rege Konowitz, baby sign language instructor.  This new technique of communicating with your baby helps decrease frustration for babies and allows parents and babies to enjoy early interaction.  For more information contact Lee at the Worthington Health Center, 238-5511 x155.   This class is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development with support from the Cummington Family Center. (FREE)

PARENT EDUCATION WORKSHOP SERIES: Three free workshops will be offered at the Bridge Street School in Northampton, MA on Fridays from 9:30-11am: Kids Don’t Come With Instructions (March 11th); Siblings, Will They Ever Leave Each Other Alone? (March 25th); and Who’s in Charge? – Surviving Everyday Routines (April 8th). All workshops are for parents of kids 2-5yo and are led by preschool consultant, Erika Frank. Free childcare available. Pre-reg at 587-1471 or email bblack@northampton-k12.us at least 24 hours in advance. Presented by the Northampton Parents Center and the Northampton Public Schools/Community Partnerships for Children and funded by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

SCREENINGS: The Family Resource Center in North Adams offers FREE Ages and Stages Screenings. Infants and young children have so many developmental changes and milestones in the early years, it’s helpful to know where your child is developmentally and how to best support their growth. Ages and Stages is a well respected screening tool that will guide families in understanding their child’s development. The FRC staff will spend an hour with you and your child to go through this screening tool. Please contact their office for more information or an appointment at mzepka@ccberkshire.org or 664-4821

CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE: Need Help Paying for Child Care? The Family Resource Center staff can put families on the Massachusetts Early Education and Care centralized wait list for child care subsidy. The process is very simple and only takes about 10 minutes for you to provide the basic family information needed. Call 664-4821 for more information.

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.

John Boydston of Daddy A-Go-Go Guest DJs the HFVS this week playing music by The Time Outs, The Candy Band, NRBQ, Ziggy Marley, Yosi and the Super Dads and many others!

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, March 5th, 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.

    9:30-11:30am - FARM ADVENTURES: Family Farm Days at Red Gate Farm. Explore Maple Sugaring with the kids.  For ages 2-8yo with adult. Snowshoes are available. Call to register. http://www.redgatefarm.org Buckland, MA (>$)

    9:30am-4pm – MAPLE DAYS: Visit Old Sturbridge Village for Maple Days, an opportunity to learn about how maple syrup was produced in the 19th century!  Learn about tree tapping, sap boiling, and cooking with maple syrup, and see the process from start to finish.  40 Stallion Hill Road.  http://www.osv.org.  800-SEE-1830.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

    10am-9pm- GIANT SANDBOX: Didn’t get to go south to enjoy a sandy beach for school vacation? Visit the Eastfield Mall for a healthy dose of sand! A giant sandbox has been built in the mall’s food court, containing more than enough sand for you to get your fix of summer. 1655 Boston Road. www.eastfieldmall.com. 543-8000. Springfield, MA (FREE)

    10am – FAMILY CONCERT: The Nields will perform a family concert at The First Churches of Northampton, part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Northampton, MA ($)

    10am-12Noon – BABY SIGN LANGUAGE: Baby sign language classes offered at the Cummington Family Center.  The class will be taught by Sujata Rege Konowitz, baby sign language instructor.  This new technique of communicating with your baby helps decrease frustration for babies and allows parents and babies to enjoy early interaction. 33 Main St. 238-5511 x155 Cummington, MA (FREE)

    10am-2pm – POTTERY SALE: 32nd Annual Pottery and More Seconds Sale sponsored by the Artspace Community Center.  Proceeds from the sale go to support community art and music programs as well as the Strings for Kids program in the Greenfield Public Schools.  1 Lenox Street. www.franklyarts.com.  772-6811. Greenfield, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

    10am – FAMILY MOVIE: Visit Images in Williamstown and get ready for spring and baseball season by watching the movie “Everyone’s Hero.”  Kids who wear their baseball/softball uniform or a jersey (jacket, cap, etc.) from their favorite team will get a surprise treat. 50 Spring Street.  www.imagescinema.org.  458-1039. Williamstown, MA.  ($)

    10am-4pm – SPRING BULB SHOW: The Botanic Garden of Smith College will have their annual Spring Bulb Show. 16 College Ln. 585-2740 Northampton, MA (>$)

    10am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with Springfield Museums.  Activities throughout the day include a Dr. Seuss cake contest, an art activity, a photo booth, and scavenger hunts within the museum galleries.  21 Edwards Street.  www.springfieldmuseums.org.  800-625-7738.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

    10am-10pm – WOMEN’S RETREAT: Gathered Resources of Women (GROW) hosts their monthly Red Tent Temple of the Berkshires retreat.  Women 13 and up are invited to attend and take part in drumming, chanting, reiki, massage, singing, story telling, reading, napping, etc.  175 Wendell Avenue.  www.gatheredwomen.org.  Pittsfield, 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)

    11am-12Noon – STORY TIME: Stories from Natures Garden at the Lee Library (100 Main St.). Join Anne Gannon, horticulturist with The Trustees of Reservations, for a program of stories and activities sharing the wonders of nature in all seasons. Open to ages 2-7 with caregivers (older siblings welcome). To sign-up or for more information email rborsody@cwmars.org or call the Lee Library at 243-0385 Lee, MA (FREE)

    11am-3pm – SUMMER CAMP FAIR: Head to Wildwood Elementary in Amherst for the second annual summer camp fair!  Sponsored by Amherst’s LSSE, the fair offers information about many of the numerous summer programs available in the valley, and there will be a special performance by Ed the Wizard from 12-3!  71 Strong Street.  http://www.lsse.org.  259-3065.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE!)

    11:30am – PUPPET SHOW: Rumpelstiltskin with The Robbins-Zust marionetts at The Marketplace Cafe.  53 North St. 358-4777 Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

    12:30-2pm – ART CLASS: Artist Numa Navarro teaches collage and acrylic techniques.  Participants will create paintings of butterflies, using author/illustrator Eric Carle’s books for inspiration.  Ages 7-11, pre-registration required.  44 Oak Street. www.springfieldlibrary.org.  263-6846.  Indian Orchard, MA.  (FREE)

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

    1-3pm - PRESCHOOL EXPO: Visit First Church for the Franklin County Preschool Expo to learn about childcare, playgroups, preschool and more in the Franklin County area.  43 Silver Street.  774-3449.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

    1-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Find out what it’s like to be a museum curator.  Explore the galleries and try your hand at designing and labeling a mock min-exhibition.  Don’t forget to vote for the exhibition you’d like to see next.  Williams College Museum of Art. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive. www.wcma.org.  597-2429.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

    1-6pm – ANIMAL TRACKING: Visit the Leverett Library for an afternoon of learning about animal tracks and signs.  Great for ages 8+, the program will take place both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting).  75 Montague Road.  www.leverettlibrary.org.  548-9220.  Leverett, MA.  (FREE)

    2pm and 7:30pm – FAMILY THEATER: Amherst Regional High School presents the musical “City of Angels.”  Good seats go fast, so get tickets while you still can!  21 Mattoon Street.  http://www.arhsparentcenter.org.  362-1701.  Amherst, MA.  ($$)
    2-3:30pm – BOOK GROUP: Family Adventures in Reading (FAIR) begins at Central Branch Library.  The program is a series of book discussion get-togethers following family book reading.  Each book and discussion follows a different theme.  220 State Street.  www.springfieldlibrary.org.  263-6828. Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

    3:30-5pm – CHESS CLUB: For kids ages 7 & older is Chess Club at the Jones Library with Andy Morris-Friedman. www.joneslibrary.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    6:30-10pm – FAMILY POLKA NIGHT: Celebrate V Day at the Cafe Sun’s 2nd annual Sweetheart Family Polka Night at the Sunderland Elementary School (Swampfiled Dr.) with legendary polka band, The Eddie Forman Orchestra. Desserts served. 768-9857 www.cafesun.org Sunderland, MA ($, FUNDRAISER)

    7pm – JUGGLING COMEDIANS: The Flying Karamazov Brothers will perform at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle St.). 528-0100 http://www.mahaiwe.org Great Barrington, MA ($$)

    8pm – FAMILY THEATER: UMass students perform the US premier (and first English adaptation) of Night on the Galactic Railroad, a popular children’s story from Japan.  374 Whitmore Building.  545-0415.  Amherst, MA.  ($)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 02/26/11-03/04/11

    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

    Western MA Sugar Shacks are opening up this weekend serving breakfast and fresh maple syrup! Click on the photo for a list of Sugar Shacks in Western MA. Give them a call to see if they've serving up sweet goodness this weekend! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield - Sap drips from a tapped maple tree in the hilltowns.)

    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

    In the early afternoon on 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 ($)

    Later in evening on Saturday, February 26th from 5-8pm - OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Participate in Red Gate Farm’s Fire and Ice celebration. Go sledding under the lights and warm up by the fire afterward. Dinner and cocoa provided- fun for all ages! 4 Norman Road. 625-9503. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (>$)

    After brunch at one of the local sugar shacks on Sunday, February 27th, from 2-4pm – SINGALONG: A community singalong happens at the Jones Library in the Amherst Room, lead by Rise Up Singing songbook creators, Peter Blood & Annie Patterson. All are welcome. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Friday, March 4th at 7pm- FAMILY THEATER: See “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” at The Academy of Music. Knuffle Bunny is the story of a simple family trip to the laundromat and the things that go unexpectedly horribly wrong. The show is full of adventure, songs, and, of course, gigantic dancing laundry. 274 Main Street. 584-9032. www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Northampton, MA. ($)

    Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to bring the community together while supporting Hilltown Families with a birthday party!  Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Save the date now.  More details to come! Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

    SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES FAIR: Looking for that perfect summer program for your 4- to 19-year-old? Come to the 8th annual Pioneer Valley Summer Opportunities Fair at The Williston Northampton School on Sunday, Feb. 27, 12-3pm. There will be over 35 local, national, and international programs for elementary, middle & high school students. Programs include language, service, academic, sports, leisure, or cultural specialties. Ask programs questions, hear about scholarships/financial aid, and collect brochures. There will be 3 workshops: Choosing the best program for your child ages 4-10, Maximizing summer experiences for college admission, and How to find and land a great summer job or internship. ncronan@williston.com. 40 Park St., Easthampton (FREE)

    LIBRARY CLOSURE: The Forbes Library Children’s Department in Northampton will be closed from Saturday, February 26 – Monday, March 7 while new carpet is installed.

    DONATIONS WANTED: Two hilltown farm families recently lost their barns. The Howe’s barn roof collapsed under the snow load killing a heifer, and the Joyner’s barn and hay was lost to a fire. Donations to assist our neighbors can be sent to The West Cummington Church, P.O. Box 148, Cummington, MA 01026

    Deadline to enter to win: March 2nd

    VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts invites you to attend a Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, February 26th. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with The Food Bank, might want to volunteer in the future, or just wants to learn more about The Food Bank can attend. Orientation sessions will introduce you to the work of The Food Bank and the variety of volunteer opportunities we have available. A form is available on The Food Bank’s website where those interested can RSVP. Orientation sessions are held regularly on the second Tuesday and fourth Saturday of every month. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA. 247-9738. www.foodbankwma.org.

    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: Feb. 28th.

    COOKBOOK SWAP/BOOK DISCUSSION: On Wednesday, March 2nd, Hilltown Sustainability will host a cookbook exchange and discussion of the book, The Vegetarian Myth. The meeting will be at the Village Congregational Church in Cummington at 7:30. The Vegetarian Myth was written by Lierre Keith, a former vegan of 20 years, and addresses food, justice, and sustainability. Come to share your thoughts and insights, and trade for some new cookbooks, too! For more information, contact Leni Fried at 634-5591.

    Lynne Guyette, Easthampton Family Center Coordinator writes: The Easthampton Family Center will hold its first parent meeting this year on Friday, March 4, 2011. The meeting will take place at the family center during its egular playgroup time from 10:30am to 12:00pm. All family center members are invited to attend this meeting. There will be extra supervision and activities for the children while the meeting takes place. I hope to see you all there on the 4th of March. This is your opportunity to be heard and to help support the growth of the Easthampton Family Center.

    Deadline to enter to win: March 9th

    OPEN CALL FOR ARTWORK: Artists from Berkshire County (and beyond!) are invited to submit artwork (both 2- and 3-D) for the upcoming group exhibit, “Forty Shades of Green: Celebrating Ireland and Irish Culture.” The show will appear at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield from March 12th-April 9th. Work of any type is welcomed, and submissions should be fully prepared for display. For more information, visit www.culturalpittsfield.com or call 499-9348.

    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 Josh Wachtel of Radio Free Earth Guest DJs the Hilltown Famiy Variety Show, spinning tunes by Harry Nilsson, The Holy Modal Rounders, The Blazers, The Mills Brothers, The Gardenias, Michelle Shocked, Merle Travis, Radio Free Earth, and many others! 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 26th, 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.

    SUGAR SHACK FUNDRAISER: Visit Steve’s Sugar Shack for opening day. The sugar shack will be donating a portion of their profits on Saturday to the Pioneer Valley Humane Society, so bring your appetite and order as many pancakes as you want- it’s for a good cause! Steve’s will be open Saturdays and Sundays for breakfast through April 10th. 34 North Road. 527-0294. Westhampton, MA.

    8am-3pm – WINTER FESTIVAL: Annual Winter Festival happens in downtown North Adams. This family fun event includes hay rides, ice sculpting, carnival games, refreshments, crafts, music, ice skating and more. 664-6180 www.northadams-ma.gov North Adams, MA (FREE, >$)

    9am-5pm – BOTANICAL STUDIES: 2011 Amherst Orchid Society Show at Smith Vocational High School. Visit to see tons and tons of orchids of all kinds of varieties! Plants will be judged- see if you can predict the winners. Northampton, MA. (>$)

    10am-1pm - OUTDOOR FESTIVAL: Five College Outdoor Festival happens at Hampshire College to celebrate outdoor sports and adventures. Demos with Zoar Outdoor, pancake brunch, adventure race, climbing competitions. 559.5536 www.hampshire.edu Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-1pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Animal tracking and winter wanderings with Earthwork Programs at the Bullitt Reservation. A fun family outing, go tracking with Frank on the Pebble Trail and enjoy the outdoors with snow games. Register in advance: 628-4485 Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    10am-9pm- GIANT SANDBOX: Didn’t get to go south to enjoy a sandy beach for school vacation? Visit the Eastfield Mall for a healthy dose of sand! A giant sandbox has been built in the mall’s food court, containing more than enough sand for you to get your fix of summer. 1655 Boston Road. www.eastfieldmall.com. 543-8000. Springfield, 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-1pm: INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURES: A historic and cultural adventure of Pakistan, inspired by Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, will take place at the Town Hall. Kids ages 9-12 can learn to write their name using Urdu letters, leaf through text books used by children in these mountainous schools, dress-up in their traditional clothing, enjoy Nan and tea, partake in a Pakistani craft, and listen to traditional music. 259-1213 www.mnspear.org Shutesbury, MA.

    11am – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime at the Northfield Public Library. Enjoy what’s left of school vacation by lounging in comfy clothes and listening to stories. 115 Main Street. 498-2455. www.northfieldpubliclibrary.org. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

    12Noon – YOUTHFILM: The Northampton Arts Council will host a YouthFilm Fest at the Academy of Music, featuring films directed, crafted, written and starred by local children and teens. Films screened early in the afternoon are suitable for young kids. Films screened later in the day are more appropriate for older kids. To see the schedule of films visit www.northamptonartscouncil.org Northampton, MA. (KIDS FREE, ADULTS >$)

    1pm – MOVIE SCREENING: Despicable Me (PG) will be screened at the Whately Public Library (202 Chestnut Plain Rd.). 665-2170 www.whately.org/library Whately, MA (FREE)

    1pm – CUPCAKES: Decorate cupcakes with Dona at Huntington Public Library. All supplies will be provided, and children ages 9 and up are invited to attend. Please pre-register. 7 East Main Street. 667-3506. www.thehuntingtonpubliclibrary.com. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

    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 ($)

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

    1-3pm – OPEN HOUSE: Visit Sheep Hill for the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation’s winter open house. Enjoy simple crafts, mulled cider, and a roaring fire, as well as outdoor activities like showshoeing and sledding! 671 Cold Spring Road. 458-2494. www.wrlf.org. Williamstown, MA. (>$)

    1-4pm – ANIMALS STUDIES: Fox Fun for Families Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). Observation of mounts, skulls, books and outdoor tracking. For ages 7yo+ Indoors and outdoors. (800) 859-2960 Northfield, MA (FREE)

    2:30pm – THEATER: The Piti Theatre Company presents the nature fable Elmer and the Elder Tree at the Orange Town Hall. The show is interactive, and includes music and dance. 6 Prospect Street. 978-544-1100. www.townororange.org. Orange, MA. (>$)

    3:30 PM – FAMILY THEATER: Visit the Williston Northampton School for their annual February vacation children’s performances. This year’s show is Story Theater: Journeys of Transformation from Around the World and Beyond, and is based on a collection of folk stories. 18 Payson Avenue. 529-3434. www.williston.com. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

    4pm – SPORTS ADVENTURES: The Mt. Holyoke Lyons hockey team takes on their rival team, the Smith Pioneers, at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. This is one of the biggest games for the two teams- come cheer them on and see some great women’s hockey! 575 Maple Street. 532-2929. sophia.smith.edu. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

    5pm - HISTORICAL THEATER: The Norman Rockwell Museum presents, “Ain’t I A Woman: The Story of Sojourner Truth.” Actress Debra Zull performs a one-woman show that chronicles Truth’s life as an abolitionist, evangelist, and civil and women’s rights leader. Great for older students! 9 Route 183. 298-4100. www.nrm.org. Stockbridge, MA. ($)

    5-8pm - OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Participate in Red Gate Farm’s Fire and Ice celebration. Go sledding under the lights and warm up by the fire afterward. Dinner and cocoa provided- fun for all ages! 4 Norman Road. 625-9503. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (>$)

    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 »

    Beat Cabin Fever at the Old Creamery!

    Cure the Winter Doldrums at the Old Creamery

    Did you know the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA offers a diverse array of fun free events for everyone?  We encourage you to check out our Community Calendar for all scheduled events from now through June.

    The first Friday of every month is Games Night in the cafe.  Bring your family, your friends and your  favorite games to share or use games provided by the Old Creamery.  The Old Creamery provides complimentary popcorn and beverages and schedules this event to start early enough, 6:30 pm, so that children will be able to get their parents home at a reasonable hour.  Games Night is full of fun, laughter and good cheer for all ages.

    The second Thursday of the month is Film Night in the Sustainability Library on the second floor of the Old Creamery. Films begin at 7 pm. A series of films is planned on a variety of topics associated with environmental sustainability and critical ecological and social problems.  Discussions in a supportive environment follow each film and complimentary refreshments are served.

    The Old Creamery Coffee House tradition continues on the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm.  Our community is rich with local artists and the Old Creamery is thrilled to showcase their talents in the café.  Consider coming a bit early to enjoy a dinner from the deli before the show begins.  Baked treats and beverages are available for purchase throughout the evening.

    The popular Tastings are held once a month during late winter and spring, on Sunday evenings in the café.  Each month participants learn about and taste samples of some of the special products that the Old Creamery carries.  This year’s series includes tasting of chocolate, olive oils, vinegars, wines, and cheeses.  This series is very popular so pre-registration is required and donations are accepted to help defray the cost of the event.

    Along with these Old Creamery sponsored events, the Creamery also hosts the Sustainability Library and the Wholesale Food Buying Club upstairs on the east side of the 2nd floor.  The sustainability library is full of books related to the topic of living sustainably.  These books are available for loan to anyone in the community and there are comfortable chairs that welcome anyone who wants to sit and read in the library.  The Wholesale Food Buying Club has ordering information in the library.  The food deliveries are left in the kitchen upstairs.  Feel free to ask Alice or Amy for assistance if you’re not clear how to use the system.

    The Old Creamery is an incredible resource for our community and this is one of the prime reasons for the effort to keep the Old Creamery in the community as a community owned cooperative.  The Old Creamery Co-op is committed to continuing the tradition established by current owners Alice Cozzolino and Amy Pulley of creating and nurturing community.  For more information about the Old Creamery Co-op, join us for one of these  community  events or visit www.oldcreamery.coop or contact me at cherylann@oldcreamery.coop.


    Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-Op by Cherylann Richards

    Cherylann Richards is the Outreach Coordinator for the Old Creamery Co-op and writes about the ongoing adventure of working to transition the locally beloved Old Creamery in Cummington into a community owned food cooperative. Cherylann is a past employee of The Old Creamery and completed her Masters of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School this past May.  She is in the process of becoming an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a board certified chaplain with the ultimate goal of working as a medical chaplain.  Cherylann loves Old Creamery made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and all things outdoors; cross country skiing at Notchview, hiking or swimming with her dog Tula, camping, and bicycling.- Check out Goings-On at the Old Creamery Co-op every third Wednesday of the month.

    Suggested Events 02/12/11-02/18/11

    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

    The Magic Wood at Notchview in Windsor, MA (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

    In the morning on Saturday, February 12th at 10am FAMILY CONCERT: The Alchemystics perform at The First Churches of Northampton as part of Nonotuck Community School’s 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series. The band labels themselves as new roots music- the group plays a mixture of reggae, soul, hip hop, and dub. Before the show, students from Easthampton’s SHOW Circus Studio’s Circus Stars Youth Performance Troupe will present a show of tumbling, juggling, and other circus feats! 129 Main Street. 586-5996. http://www.nonotuck.org. Northampton, MA. ($)

    Later from noon-6pm down in the Pioneer Valley — WINTER FEST: Amherst Leisure Services hosts Winterfest 2011. Bring the family to enjoy both indoor and outdoor winter activities a the Cherry Hill Golf Course (323 Montague Rd.). There will be sled dogs, music, kids carnival, cross country ski lessons, fireworks, sledding & tubing, hay rides, food, and much more. www.winterfestamherst.com Amherst, MA ($)

    Also at the noon hour, up in the Berkshires VALENTINE: Family Valentine’s Day celebration at Ventfort Hall (104 Walker St.). Activities through out the day: bonfire, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, Nutshell Playhouse in concert, Victoria Tea, “The Might Mysterious Megapuff”, guided tours and more. 637-3206 www.guildedage.org Lenox, MA ($)

    Then on Sunday, February 13th at 2pm UKES & YOYOS: Northampton Arts Council presents Ukes and Yoyos at the Academy of Music Theatre, featuring extraordinary ukulele and yoyo performers. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

    And in the evening in the Hilltowns on Sunday at 6:30pm FOOD ADVENTURE: Visit The Old Creamery for their popular Chocolate Tasting! Learn about and taste many different varieties of chocolate. Pre-registration requested. 445 Berkshire Trail. 634-5560. www.theoldcreamery.coop. Cummington, MA. (FREE!)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Saturday, February 19th from 9am-2pm — WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET: Bernardson Winter Market happens at United Church (58 Church St). www.buylocalfood.org Bernardson, MA (MARKET)

    Sunday, February 20th from 2-5pm — BUBBLES: BubbleMania! at the Colonial Theater. Loaded with visual comedy, quick wit, big band swing music and the untamed, often unbelievable qualities and beauty of bubbles. www.thecolonialtheater.org Pittsfield, MA ($)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    DEBUT OPENING CELEBRATION: Despite the “wintery mix” that made last Saturday night a slippery, slushy evening, a hearty crowd of supporters of Hilltown Families came out to the debut opening celebration of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit at Cup & Top Cafe in Florence, MA. See snap shots taken at the opening (thank you Tony Lemos!) in our Facebook photo album. The show will be up at the cafe through March and the proceeds from the sales go to benefit Hilltown Families. — In April the show travels to Haydenville to Bread Euphoria where it will be on display in the Corridor Gallery at Andrew Quient Pottery. Mark your calendars for April 10th. There will be a Benefit Birthday Bash at Bread Euphoria for Hilltown Families from 4-7pm with pizza and birthday cake donated by the bakery and a family concert with Mister G. Interested in volunteering for the party planning? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

    SAVE THE DATES FOR PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN SCREENINGS: Preschool screening will be held on April 4th at Littleville Elementary School. Kindergarten Screening will be held for children living in the towns of Huntington, Montgomery, Russell and Worthington on April 14th at Littleville Elementary School. Kindergarten Screening will be held for children living in Blandford, Chester or Middlefield on April 14th at Chester Elementary School. More information will be coming soon, including the ages of eligible children and how to schedule an appointment.

    ART EXHIBIT: From Feb. 2 – Feb. 28, Mexican-inspired metal embossments created by students from the Montessori School of Northampton will be displayed at The Green Bean. Students from K-6 created embossed metal designs based on Mexican folk imagery. They began with drawings of designs containing forms found in nature, transferred their designs to aluminum sheets, embossed them by drawing and punching shapes, and added color to highlight elements of their designs. The project was guided by art teacher Barbara Neulinger and fits into the school’s cultural curriculum. This is the third year that The Green Bean has hosted an exhibition of work from the school’s students. 241 Main Street. 584-2326. Northampton, MA.

    SHORT STORY CONTEST: The Westfield Athenaeum Library is holding a short story contest. Stories can be about any topic, and submissions will be accepted from January 31st-February 26th. Submissions may be no longer than three pages, and should have been written within the last year. Stories will be judged based on creativity, grammar, presentation, and overall writing skills, and all submissions will become the property of the Boys and Girls library at the Athenaeum. More information is available at the Athenaeum Library website- www.westaeth.org.

    JUNIOR SOLAR SPRINT: Are you an educator? Homeschooler? Attend a free Junior Solar Sprint workshop on Tuesday, February 15th from 4-7pm and learn how to lead middle school students through the Junior Solar Sprint experience- a program where kids design, build, and and compete with model solar cars. 950 North Street. www.cetonline.org. 445-4556. Pittsfield, MA.

    DOCTOR FOR A DAY: The Hampshire District Medical Society is again sponsoring their annual “Doctor for a Day” program. Juniors and seniors interested in becoming a physician should pick up an application in the Gateway High School Guidance Office in Huntington, for a chance to spend a full day shadowing a real physician! Applications, including two letters of recommendation, are due to the Society by February 18, 2011.

    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 is our Black History Month Episode celebrating musical legends, including: Ella Jenkins, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, and many others. 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 12th, 2011

    First Annual Northampton Ice Art Festival

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs 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.

    8am-12Noon - ICE FISHING: Get outside for the Annual Children’s Ice Fishing Derby on Ashfield Lake for all school aged children. There will be prizes and a spaghetti supper, plus an educational presentation following the supper for the kids. 628-4400 Ashfield, MA (FREE, />$)

    WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    9am-2pm – Winter Farmers’ Market in the basement of Thornes through April 30th. Food, live music and art. Northampton, MA
    10am-2pm – Winter Farmers’ Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.). Amherst, MA
    10am-2pm – North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Blue Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com Amherst, MA
    10:30am-1pm - Springfield Winter Market happens at Forest Park. 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month. www.buylocalfood.org Springfield, MA

    9am-1pm – FAMILY BREAKFAST: Enjoy a locally grown breakfast, proceeds from which benefit the Northampton Survival Center. Visit the Food Shed at Enterprise Farm for a meal of pancakes made from local wheat flour from Four Star Farm, local bacon and sausage from Austin Brothers Farm, and local cider and locally roasted coffee from Pierce Brothers. 72 River Road. 665-8608. www.enterpriseproduce.com. Whately, MA. ($)

    9:30am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Learn about the history of chocolate, and how it became a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Try chocolate cake made from an original recipe from 1824. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. 800-SEE-1830. www.osv.org. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

    10am- FAMILY CONCERT: The Alchemystics perform at The First Churches of Northampton as part of Nonotuck Community School’s 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series. The band labels themselves as new roots music- the group plays a mixture of reggae, soul, hip hop, and dub. Before the show, students from Easthampton’s SHOW Circus Studio’s Circus Stars Youth Performance Troupe will present a show of tumbling, juggling, and other circus feats! 129 Main Street. 586-5996. http://www.nonotuck.org. Northampton, MA. ($)

    10am – FAMILY CONCERT: Enjoy the music and storytelling of Sarah Pirtle and Erin Berard, founders of the touring program Courage Stories. Some songs and stories inspired by life on the farm! 4 Norman Road. 625-2355. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. ($)

    10am – NATURE WALK: Take a nature walk with Ted Watt at Benson Place. Look for tracks, snow fleas, bird songs… 337-5340 Heath, MA (FREE)

    10am-12Noon – ANIMAL STUDIES: Berkshire Sanctuaries is sponsoring a Bird Banding Demo at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary for families w/kids 3yo & older. Use mist nets, band birds, record data, relase birds unharmed. (472 West Mountain Rd.) berkshires@massaudubon.org Lenox, MA (>$)

    10am-12Noon - OPEN HOUSE: Spring Street Preschool with host a Kids’ Party and Preschool Open House with a student art show, bake sale and kids’ activities. http://www.springstreetpreschool.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-4:30pm - MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Visit Historic Deerfield for the 2011 American Heritage Chocolate Celebration! Enjoy learning all about how delicious chocolate treats are (and once were) made, make Valentines, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. 84 Old Main Street. 774-5581. http://www.historic-deerfield.org. Deerfield, MA. ($$)

    10:30-11:20 – SCIENCE ADVENTURE: Visit the Haskins Center in North Adams for Kitchen Chemistry: Science Fun for Families, a hands-on workshop where children and their parents can explore science through everyday materials found in most every kitchen. Activities will likely be messy, and every child will be able to bring home their own ocean in a jar. Pre-registration required. 210 State Street. 664-4821. www.ccberkshire.org. North Adams, MA. (FREE!)

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

    12Noon – VALENTINE: Family Valentine’s Day celebration at Ventfort Hall (104 Walker St.). Activities through out the day: bonfire, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, Nutshell Playhouse in concert, Victoria Tea, “The Might Mysterious Megapuff”, guided tours and more. 637-3206 www.guildedage.org Lenox, MA ($)

    12-2pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Get henna-ed! Professional henna artist Sangita Desai will visit the Meekins Library for a seminar in which participants can learn about the Indian tradition of henna and pick out their own designs to be henna-ed on their hands. Ages 12+, pre-registration requested. 2 Williams Street. 268-7472. www.meekins-library.org. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE!)

    12Noon-6pm – WINTER FEST: Amherst Leisure Services hosts Winterfest 2011. Bring the family to enjoy both indoor and outdoor winter activities a the Cherry Hill Golf Course (323 Montague Rd.). There will be sled dogs, music, kids carnival, cross country ski lessons, fireworks, sledding & tubing, hay rides, food, and much more. www.winterfestamherst.com Amherst, MA ($)

    1pm – STORYTELLING: Author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney shares stories and reflects on how he pieces together tales. Pinkney is a 2010 Caldecott Medal winner. 125 West Bay Road. 658-1100. www.carlemuseum.org. Amherst, MA. (FREE with museum admission!)

    1-3pm – ARTS AND CRAFTS: Get creative with lace, paper, stickers, glitter, etc. at the Dickinson Library! Sponsored by The Friends of the Library, this Valentine-making workshop is open to anyone! 115 Main Street. 498-2455. www.northfieldpubliclibrary.org. Northfield, MA. (FREE!)

    1–3 pm: CRAFTS: Make Your Own Paper at the Berkshire Botanical Garden for families w/kids 5yo+. Learn the craft of paper making from beginning to end, and take home hand-crafted paper for cards, collage, printing or framing. 298-3926 Stockbridge, MA ($$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 02/05/11-02/11/11

    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

    Bill Koch Cross Country Ski League held their annual Lollipop Races for kids ages 6 and younger at Notchivew this past Sunday in Windsor, MA. (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 5th from 5-7pm – HILLTOWN FAMILIES CELEBRATION: Visit Cup and Top Café (1 North Main St.) for the family-friendly opening celebration of the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA, a fundraiser for Hilltown Families. There will be giveaways of local food products (click here to enter to win), screening of The Nields Organic Farm for the kids, refreshments, soup, birthday cake, and a playspace for the kids. All images are for sale and all proceeds go to benefit Hilltown Families. 585-0445. www.cupandtop.com. Florence, MA. (FREE/FUNDRAISER)

    On Sunday, February 6th at 1pm & 3:40pm – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Traditional English Long Sword dance groups That Long Tall Sword and Flesh Wounds (of Smith College) will be doing two shows at the Eric Carle Museum’s Great Hall (125 West Bay Rd.). 658-1100. http://www.carlemuseum.org. Amherst, MA. (FREE!)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, February 12th at 10am – FAMILY CONCERT: Enjoy the music and storytelling of Sarah Pirtle and Erin Berard, founders of the touring program Courage Stories.  Some songs and stories inspired by life on the farm!  4 Norman Road.  625-2355.  http://www.redgatefarm.org.  Buckland, MA.  ($)

    On Sunday, February 13th at 1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: World premier of Mr. G’s Community Chorus at Cup and Top Cafe. The chorus, made up of children ages 6-10, will sing Mr. G songs as well as classics by artists like Bob Marley and Patsy Cline. 1 North Main Street. 585-0445. http://www.cupandtop.com. Florence, MA. (FREE!)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    BIRDS OF PREY OPEN HOUSE: On Sunday, Feb 6th from 1-4pm,Greenfield Center School will host a Birds of Prey Open House from 1-4. Come from 1-2 to hear Tom Ricardi, Raptor Rehabilitator, talk about his work. See several majestic live birds of prey. From 2-4 enjoy light snacks and bird-related activities and projects. Dissect an owl pellet, make masks and more. Kindergarten through 5th grade classes will be open for touring. All activities are free. www.centerschool.net

    MAMMA MIA SING-ALONG: Fun! Fun! Fun! 3rd Annual Mamma Mia Sing-Along & Costume Contest! Sat., Feb. 5, 7:30 pm, Academy of Music, Northampton. Contest: 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Out! For Reel LGBT Film Series presents this fabulous evening of fun, singing, & laughter. Mamma Mia!, starring Meryl Streep, is a musical and love story set to ABBA songs. Closed captions. Dress up in island or wedding garb, hats, boas, overalls, flippers for the Anything Goes Costume Contest. Judges include Mayor Clare Higgins & Sen. Stan Rosenberg. Tix: $11 Advance/ $14 Door / $9 Student – Academy Box Office only. Tix online at http://www.OutForReel.org or State St. Fruit Store, Northampton, Academy B.O., Food For Thought, Amherst, & World Eye Books, Greenfield. For more information: www.OutForReel.org

    BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th by 7pm.

    Lilly Lombard of Grow Food Northampton writes: WE REACHED OUR GOAL! Thanks to over 1300 contributors, including the Kestrel Trust that helped us tip our bucket [on Tuesday], we have secured the funds to buy the Bean & Allard farmland to create the Northampton Community Farm! We expect to close on the purchase of the land in mid-to-late February, and look forward to a groundbreaking celebration at the site after the spring thaw. Our Farm will proudly post a Forever Farmland sign and will stand as a permanent reminder that, when we as citizens dare to think BIG, act collaboratively, and exercise enormous tenacity, we can achieve wonders!

    VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Volunteer Opportunity at New Hingham Elementary School in Chesterfield, MA. A group of students would like to create a New Hingham newspaper and is asking for parent or community support. Volunteers would be needed during recess periods (approximately 12:15-12:45) to work with students developing stories and conducting interviews. A student-run newspaper is a great way to build community and to allow students of various grades to work together. For more information, contact Michael Fredette at the school office or by email at mfredette@hr-k12.org.

    Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th by 7pm.

    SUSTAINABILITY: On Saturday, February 12, from 10-11:30am there will be a free home composting workshop at Ward’s Nursery in Great Barrington. Attendees will participate in a hands-on demonstration of how to build an efficient and active compost pile. A good home compost system can improve lawns, gardens and houseplants; help the planet by reducing household waste volume; and save money by reducing waste costs and saving the expense of having to purchase topsoil or compost in bags. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Avie Maloney at aviem@cetonline.org or call 413-445-4556 ext. 30.

    GATOR GRINS AT LITTLEVILLE AND CHESTER: Hilltown Community Health Center’s dental outreach program ‘Gator Grins’ will provide a dental education program on February 8th for Littleville Elementary School in Huntington. On February 15th, the program moves to Chester Elementary School in Chester. Students at Chester who were served in the past will automatically go onto the schedule. Parents of students who are new to the program can contact Kirsten Cooper at 667-3009 ext. 239, or email her at kcooper@hchcweb.org to enroll.

    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 we will be rebroadcasting The Fox & Frog Folk Song Episode where we feature several folk songs, including “Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” “Simple Gifts, The Fox” “Frog Went A-Courtin’.”  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

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Q&A: Where’s a Good Sledding Hill in Western MA?

    Question and Answer

    Wanted: Sledding hill for the preK kids that isn’t too steep nor too many big kids. Check out or reader recommendations below, and share your own recommendation here.

    • Kara Kitchen recommends: Look Park (Florence, MA)
    • Jara Malikin recommends: We love JFK (Northampton, MA) and in fact, just came from there. There is enough room for everyone to spread out and it’s clear at the bottom of the hill (i.e,. no trees to dodge).
    • Erika recommends: The hill behind Mary Dryden Memorial Elementary school (Springfield) is great. fun enough for little or big kids. Very few people there when we have gone, even on the weekends. Also, across the street, there is a great hill behind Cathedral High School.
    • Cultural Pittsfield recommends: Clapp Park in Pittsfield is terrific!
    • Robin Sidel recommends: GCC (Greenfield Community College).
    • Sienna Wildfield recommends: The Worthington Golf Course and the Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA.
    • Jeanne Barron recommends: Clarke Schools for the Deaf (Northampton, MA)- a  little steep but a really long run at the end so lots of room to go… (not crowded but don’t tell too many people!)
    • Faith Ann recommends: Beacon Field, Greenfield
    • Michael Chabler recommends: For my son, I just took one of those small, round sleds and tied a rope through its handle. Then I pulled him on a flat, snow-covered surface. He had a blast.
    • Kristen Handschuh recommends: Behind the middle school in Amherst. Located on Chestnut St.
    • Bob Clancy recommends: The hill behind the Rowe Elementary School is a blast! Young and old will enjoy it. Park in the parking lot after school or on weekends.
    • Christa Figueroa recommends: HCC (Holyoke Community College) is great for all ages. Depending on where you decide to start from you can have a very small slide down or a very steep slide. Our family really likes it.
    • Susan Wessels recommends: Chester Elementary has a great hill for anyone up in the hilltowns.
    • Amanda Saklad recommends: We just got home from the great hill behind Stop and Shop in Belchertown – GREAT hill. lots of families. Yesterday was the hill at Crocker Farm in Amherst (Rte 116) – easy parking at the school.
    • April Albrecht recommends: There’s a great hill behind Stop n Shop off of Route 9 in Belchertown! Just turn onto George Hannum Rd and go straight. Vere right after you go under the little bridge and you’ll see the hill on your right!
    • Jim McSweeney recommends: Try the hill behind the school near the brewery in Williamsburg.
    • Mandy Gerry recommends: Hospital Hill in Northampton! Beautiful view from the top, too!
    • Kristen recommends: Behind the middle school in Amherst on Chestnut St. Plus, there is within walking distance two more hills in fields of middle school and wild wood elementary school.

    Have a favorite sledding hill in Western MA you’d like to share.  Post it in the comment field for other families to discover too.

    Suggested Events 01/29/11-02/04/11

    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

    Save your shopping for the Greenfield Winter Farmers' Market next Saturday, Feb. 5th. Winter Farmers' Markets are great community events to take the family to. The kids can discover locally grown roots and grains, chat with farmers, see demonstrations and taste samples - and parents get to stock up on locally grown foods, like these fresh sunflower sprouts selling at the Northampton Farmers' Market two weekends ago. (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 Saturday, January 29th starting at 11am – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Free Day 2011 at MASS MoCA. Tours, sale, photo booth, art-activities, demos, ice cream and more. http://www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (FREE)

    All weekend long from 9am/10am-5pm – TRAINS: The Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will take place at the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (1305 Memorial Ave.). Over 50 model railroad displays in varying scales, vendors, crafts, clinics, and more. If you have kids crazy over trains, here’s 7 acres of railroad mania! 267-4555 www.railroadhobbyshow.com West Springfield, MA (>$)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Opening party for the debut on "Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit" is on Saturday, Feb. 5th from 5-7pm. Bring the kids and come celebrate 5 years with an opening reception at Cup & Top Cafe in Florence, MA.

    On Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm – HILLTOWN FAMILIES ART OPENING: Visit Cup and Top Cafe for the opening reception of the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA, a fundraiser for Hilltown Families. There will be giveaways of local food products (click here to enter to win), screening of The Nields Organic Farm for the kids, refreshments, birthday cake, and a playspace for the kids. All images are for sale and all proceeds go to benefit Hilltown Families. 585-0445. http://www.cupandtop.com. Florence, MA. (FREE/FUNDRAISER)

    On Sunday, February 6th from 1-4pm – BIRDS OF PREY OPEN HOUSE: Greenfield Center School will host a Birds of Prey Open House from 1-4. Come from 1-2 to hear Tom Ricardi, Raptor Rehabilitator, talk about his work. See several majestic live birds of prey. From 2-4 enjoy light snacks and bird-related activities and projects. Dissect an owl pellet, make masks and more. Kindergarten through 5th grade classes will be open for touring. All activities are free. www.centerschool.net

    BULLETIN BOARD

    Dance/Movement/Yoga for Children and Teens in Shelburne Falls with Kate Pousont: Ongoing movement classes in the beautiful studio at Shelburne Falls Yoga. Classes emphasize anatomically sound technique and the joy of movement, incorporating exercises from a variety of dance forms as well as improvisation, kinesthetic games, and yoga. Newly forming teen class will combine dance, body conditioning, and yoga to increase body awareness, strength, and flexibility. Kate is a longtime performer and teacher of modern dance and ballet and a certified Kripalu Yoga and Yoga ed. instructor. She has performed throughout the northeast and also teaches at PVPA and Valley Dance Project. 413.475.2441 or pousont@mtdata.com for more information.

    Hilltown Families turned five at the turn of the year … and we are celebrating all year long! This month we are offering 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses, celebrating local food and businesses with a sample of products from Dean’s Beans, Tea Guys, Bart’s Ice Cream, Dufresne’s Sugar House, and Appalachian Naturals. Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th.

    VOTE FOR HILLTOWN FAMILIES – BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    FREE RELAXATION WORKSHOP: The Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a free workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn relaxation skills to help with stress, fear, and anxiety. The workshop will be 10am-12Noon on Saturday, January 29th at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Rd.) in Huntington. “Mind-body techniques”, focused breathing, and using your imagination are becoming more and more understood and welcomed as a compliment to traditional medical practices. Presenter, Ann Buscemi, who is certified in Therapeutic Hypnosis and Emotional Healing, will teach some very simple techniques that can be used anywhere, anytime. Call Lee at the Worthington Health Center for info and registration: 238-5511 x155.

    Win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Alchemystics in Northampton on February 12th - part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Deadline to enter to win: 02/08/11 @ 7pm (EST).

    RECYCLING FUNDRAISER: The Littleville Elementary School PTO in Huntington, MA is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Protect the environment by donated used items (cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, digital video cameras, ink jet cartridges, MP3 players and more). Items may be dropped off at the school on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays and this will be an ongoing fundraiser.

    SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: 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!

    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 we are playing lots of new music, including: Billy Kelly, Lunch Money, Steve Weeks, Luv Clowns, Grove Kid Nation and Jamie Broza.

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

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

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

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

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, January 29th, 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-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Winter Farmers’ Market in the basement of Thornes through April 30th. Food, live music and art. Northampton, MA (MARKET)

    9am-1pm - PARENTING WORKSHOP: As a follow-up to Friday (1/28) night’s lecture, Kim Payne will facilitate a workshop based on his ideas presented in the book, “Simplicity Parenting.” Hosted by the Hartsbrook School. 584-3198. www.hartsbrook.org Hadley, MA ($$)

    9am-5pm – TRAINS: The Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will take place at the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (1305 Memorial Ave.). Over 50 model railroad displays in varying scales, vendors, crafts, clinics, and more. If you have kids crazy over trains, here’s 7 acres of railroad mania! 267-4555 www.railroadhobbyshow.com West Springfield, MA (>$)

    9:30-11:30am - OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Join Red Gate Farm for Family Farm Day! Explore the farm, go snowshoeing, and learn about animal tracks! 625-9503. http://www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (FREE!)

    9:30am-4pm - FIRE & ICE: Learn about old-fashioned winters at Old Sturbridge Village with ice harvesting, ice-skating, sleigh rides and 18th century-magic tricks. 800-733-1830 Sturbridge, MA ($)

    10-11:30am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Animal Tracking: An Outdoor Adventure with Rachel Roberts at the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). Learn about animal tracking and animals’ winter behaviors with science educator Rachel Roberts. The adventure will include looking for tracks at Northfield Mountain, as well as tracking games. Dress warmly- lots of time will be spent outdoors! Pre-registration required. For ages 5yo+ 800-859-2960. Northfield, MA. (FREE!)

    10am-12Noon: RELAXATION WORKSHOP: The Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn relaxation skills to help with stress, fear, and anxiety at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Rd.). Call for to reg and for more info. 238-5511 X155 Huntington, MA (FREE)

    10am-12Noon – NATURE STUDIES: Tracking at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (127 Combs Rd.). Identify and follow tracks of native animals and learn about their habitat and winter behavior. 584-3009 Easthampton, MA ($)

    10am-2pm – WINTER MARKET: Visit the Amherst Winter Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.) where chef Tom Hidas will be creating a soup using ingredients from all of the market’s local farmers. The soup will be presented to local leaders and the market’s sponsors at 12pm. 512-9664. http://www.amherstwintermarket.com. Amherst, MA. (FREE!)

    10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Blue Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com Amherst, MA (MARKET)

    10am-5:30pm – GIRLS IN SPORTS: Mass College of Liberal Arts hosts National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Attend a day of clinics (including basketball, softball, volleyball, zumba, tai chi, and tennis), as well as an MCLA women’s basketball game (vs. Worcester State University). For grades 3-8, pre-registration required. 662-5437. http://www.mcla.edu. Williamstown, MA. (FREE!)

    10:30-11:30am – PLAY TIME: The Family Resource Center will offer a Cabin Fever Festival at the Haskins Center Gym. Many snow themed activities, including: build a bear cave; make an indoor snowball; decorate snowflakes; make hot cocoa mix; listen to winter songs and stories. Must pre-register at 664-4821. North Adams, MA (FREE)

    11am – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Free Day 2011 at MASS MoCA. Tours, sale, photo booth, art-activities, demos, ice cream and more. http://www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (FREE)

    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 ($)

    2-6pm – CONCERT: Check out the second annual Berkshire Bluegrass Show, featuring Acoustic Blue, Cedar Ridge, and Dyer Switch. Hosted by the Italian American Club. 442-6098. http://www.acousticblueonline.com. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

    5pm - PUPPET SHOW: Talking Hands Theatre presents “Little Superheroes” – a puppet show about what kids can do to protect the environment, at the Jewish Community of Amherst (742 Main St.). Amherst, MA (FREE)

    7:30-9:30pm – COMMUNITY DANCE: Head to the Wendell Town Hall for a night of International Circle Dancing! Beginners welcome- dances will be taught if needed. Celtic, Israeli, Turkish, Arabic, Armenian and American dances will all be featured. 978-544-3218. www.hinesmusic.com. Wendell, MA. (Donation)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 01/22/11-01/28/11

    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

    Winter can be an excellent time to get the family outside to explore local habitats, find signs of wildlife and discover winter adaptations of animals in the region. Tracks can easily be identified in snow, like these raccoon tracks found in Florence, MA. - Several free or low cost community tracking adventures happen this weekend, including in the towns of Ashfield, Easthampton, Florence, Lenox, and Williamstown. Bundle them up and head outdoors for a day of wildlife adventures! (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

    In the morning on Saturday, January 22nd from 10am-3pm – WINTER TRAILS DAY: Activities at Notchview Reservation for annual Winter Trails Day. Cross-country ski lessons for all levels, clinics, snowshoe hike. Bring skis or rent in advance from your local ski shop. Snowshoes available on site. 684-0148www.ttor.orgWindsor, MA (FREE)

    Later in the day on Saturday, January 22nd from 1-7:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Opening Day Celebration for MC Escher: Seeing the Unseen at the Berkshire Museum (39 South St). Hands-on fun with drawing activities, the art of printmaking, Escher’s Animals, multimedia presentation and opening reception (5-7pm). 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    In the evening on Saturday, January 22nd at 7:30pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    And not to be missed on Sunday, January 23rd at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present 2 time Grammy Award winning artist, Bill Harley in his triumphant return to the Pioneer Valley as part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series at Flywheel Arts Collective in the old Town Hall. Families are invited to come sit and listen to Bill’s funny and engaging stories and songs. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door. Easthampton, MA ($)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, January 29th from 10am-5:30pm - GIRLS IN SPORTS: National Girls & Women in Sports Day for girls in grades 3-8 at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (375 Church St.). Must pre-reg 662-5000 Williamstown, MA (FREE)

    On Sunday, January 30th from 10am-5pm – TRAINS: The Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will take place at the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (1305 Memorial Ave.). Over 50 model railroad displays in varying scales, vendors, crafts, clinics, and more. If you have kids crazy over trains, here’s 7 acres of railroad mania! 267-4555 www.railroadhobbyshow.com West Springfield, MA (>$)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    PARENT/DAUGHTER WORKSHOP: Empower your daughter to make real friends, communicate assertively and be true to herself. The Real Parents, Real Daughters workshop, taught by bestselling author & educator Rachel Simmons, will introduce 4th & 5th grade girls to the skills to speak & listen with courage, improve parent-daughter communication patterns, & establish healthy friendship habits. Your daughter will get personal attention in our small group & take home fun memories and life-changing skills. Workshops are 2 hours long, once a week, for four consecutive weeks: January 24, 31, Feb 7 & 14 at LGA Schechter in Northampton, MA. Note: new Parents of Girls workshop starts Feb 28. Register for both HERE.

    Advocate for Hilltown Families! Invite your family, friends and neighbors to Vote for Us: Best Local Blog! - Deadline: Feb. 6th by 12Noon

    BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    Arianna Grindod writes: NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) is offering free teacher training workshops that focus on Solar Sense. Learn about solar energy science and its technological applications; how to integrate concepts of renewable energy into your STEM curricular activities; and how students can earn the Clean Green Power Champion Patch for participating in the pr…ogram. Contact NESEA to request a free educator workshop in your area agrindrod@nesea.org. See More K-12 Education K-12 EDUCATORS HOME http://www.nesea.org

    Hilltown Families 3rd Annual Handmade Valentine Swap. Deadline to sign up: January 30th. Open to all Western MA families.

    RECYCLING FUNDRAISER: The Littleville Elementary School PTO in Huntington, MA is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Protect the environment by donated used items (cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, digital video cameras, ink jet cartridges, MP3 players and more). Items may be dropped off at the school on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays and this will be an ongoing fundraiser.

    FREE RELAXATION WORKSHOP: The Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a free workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn relaxation skills to help with stress, fear, and anxiety. The workshop will be 10am-12Noon on Saturday, January 29th at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Rd.) in Huntington. “Mind-body techniques”, focused breathing, and using your imagination are becoming more and more understood and welcomed as a compliment to traditional medical practices. Presenter, Ann Buscemi, who is certified in Therapeutic Hypnosis and Emotional Healing, will teach some very simple techniques that can be used anywhere, anytime. Call Lee at the Worthington Health Center for info and registration: 238-5511 x155.

    Win a pair of tickets! Deadline to enter: 1/25/11 @ 7pm (EST).

    COMMUNITY CHORUS: Do you like to sing? Do you like other people? Come sing with other people! Minerva Voices, The Minerva Arts Center’s premiere choral group, is looking to expand its enterprise by adding talented voices of all ages and ranges. Come to Minerva Voices’ first meeting and rehearsal of the New Year on Thursday, January 27th from 6:30 to 8:30 at 1288 Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams, MA. No audition required, just a pleasant demeanor and a willingness to sing. Meetings and rehearsals will be held on Thursday evenings this season, culminating in a final performance this Spring: “The Best of Broadway.” For more information, visit www.MinervaArtsCenter.org, e-mail MinervaArtsCenter@gmail.com or call (413) 346-4502.

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

    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!

    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 Keller Williams guest DJs HFVS. He’s put a great show together, playing some of his favorite family friendly music, including past and current hits, along with music from his new family album, Kids.

    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!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 01/15/11-01/21/11

    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

    With the fresh snow fall, outdoor adventures this weekend will take you outside to explore and enjoy, including a moonlight snowshoe hike in Northfield on Saturday and Winter Tracking with Earthworks in Conway on Sunday. (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.

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, January 22nd at 11am – WINTER FEST: Blue Star’s 2nd Annual Sleigh Rally and Winter Fun Fest, hosted by Blue Star Equiculture at Burgundy Brook Farm (3090 Palmer St., Rt. 181). 289-9787 http://www.equiculture.org Palmer, MA (>$)

    On Sunday, January 23rd at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present 2 time Grammy Award winning artist, Bill Harley in his triumphant return to the Pioneer Valley as part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series at Flywheel Arts Collective in the old Town Hall.  Families are invited to come sit and listen to Bill’s funny and engaging stories and songs. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Brown Paper Tickets. Easthampton, MA ($)

    BEST BETS THIS WEEKEND

    On Saturday, January 15th from 10am-2pm – WINTER FARE: Northampton Winter Fare at Smith Vocational and Technical High School, a one-day winter farmers’ market. Locally-grown foods, workshops, barter fair, and more. 665-7100 http://www.buyocalfood.org Northampton, MA (MARKET)

    Saturday evening, January 15th at 8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Concert & Dinner in the Hilltowns. Chris Smither will be performing at the Ashfield Town Hall. Pre-concert dinner at Elmer’s from 5-7:15pm. For dinner reservations and concert info call 628-4003. http://www.elmersstore.com Ashfield, MA ($$)

    On Sunday, January 16th at 1pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    Sunday evening, January 16th 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 (>$)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    NEW MUSIC SERIES: New 5-Week Music Series with Mister G on Mondays in Northampton beginning Jan. 17th: Mister G’s Community Chorus for kids 6-10yo (3:30-4:15pm). Imagine the Young at Heart Chorus for kids! Join the coolest chorus for kids singing classic rock, folk, soul & Mister G’s irresistible originals. – Mister G’s Jamboree for kids 0-5yo (10:15-11am or 4:30-5:15pm). While teaching at the Smith College Campus School, Mister G developed an innovative approach to early childhood music immersion. Music and movement have never been so much fun (& educational). – All classes at Cradle in Thornes Marketplace. Cost is $75 ($55 for each additional child) & includes Mister G’s CD, Pizza for Breakfast. Mention “Hilltown Families” when you register through mistergsongs.com, and get a free Mister G T-shirt.

    BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    Hilltown Families is giving away a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Grammy award winning artist Bill Harley, along with 2 copies of Bill Harley’s newest CD release,"The Best Candy in the Whole World." Deadline to enter to win is 01/19/11.

    Leslie Lucio writes: International Adoption Family Playgroup – A new playgroup for families with children who have been adopted internationally will be meeting in Northampton on January 15 at 3:30. This will be our first get together and we would love to have interested families join us. Most children are five and under, but we welcome families with children of all ages. Please email us if you are interested : LeslieLLucio@gmail.com

    NEW BABY/TODDLER GROUP IN HILLTOWNS: Free 10-week series for parents and their young children at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russel Rd.) in Huntington, MA on Friday mornings from 10-Noon, beginning January 21st through April 1st. Parents of infants under one year will meet together for five weeks to learn infant massage, baby sign language and to meet other hilltown families with babies. Parents of toddlers and preschool age children will meet for parent /child “playshops” that will include cooking projects, art activities, and games. In the final five weeks of the series, both groups will meet together for scheduled topics such as Music with Your Child, Stress Reduction, and Chat with a Pediatrician. Assistance with transportation is available. Call Lee at the Worthington Health Center, 238-5511 x155, or Kim at the Gateway Family Center, 667-2203, for more information. (FREE)

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

    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!

    FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER: 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. Saturday, Jan. 22th, 29th and Feb 5th from 9am –12:30pm at the Hilltown CDC office in Chesterfield. Pre-registration is required. Contact Bea at 296-4536 x115 or beavh@hilltowncdc.org.

    VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Eastern States Exposition’s Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, MA is seeking volunteers interested in discovering the rich heritage of New England and sharing that knowledge during school programs held throughout the year. Dressed in Early American-inspired apparel , volunteers will guide and help children learn what life was like for youngsters in the 19th century. Volunteers will gain a wealth of knowledge about crafts, food and daily life of the era and will dress in a provided period costume to authenticate the experience. Prospective volunteers must be available weekdays and training sessions begin January 24. More info call 205-5051 or email storrow@TheBigE.com

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

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

    Don’t miss Bill Harley on the Hilltown Family Variety Show this weekend! On WXOJ 103.3FM (Northampton, MA) on Saturday, January 15th at 9am and Sunday, January 16th at 7am  We are re-broadcasting Bill’s visit where he told an early version of “The Best Candy in the Whole World” and his song “Everybody’s a Baby ‘Bout Something”.

    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

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

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, January 15th, 2011

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

    10am – FILM: Images Cinema (50 Spring St.) will screen Party Mix, a collection of shorts compiled by the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Party Mix is a collection of funny shorts for kids ages 6yo+. 72mins. 458-1039 www.imagescinema.org Williamstown, 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)

    10am-3pm – GAME DAY: Board and card games will be available for the community to come and join in with one another at the Huntington Library. 667-3506 www.thehuntingtonpubliclibrary.org Huntington, MA (FREE)

    10am-2pm – WINTER FARE: Northampton Winter Fare at Smith Vocational and Technical High School, a one-day winter farmers’ market. Locally-grown foods, workshops, barter fair, and more. 665-7100 http://www.buylocalfood.org Northampton, MA (MARKET)

    1pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    1pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: The Springfield Museums will host a Premium Live Reptile Show, present by Animal Adventures, an expert “adventue guide” to introduce & educate families to a variety of exotic creatures. 263-6800 http://www.springfieldmuseums.org Springfield, MA (FREE w/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    1-3pm – NATURE STUDIES: Feed Your Bird Buddies at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, a workshop for children 5yo+ . Hands-on class that introduces recipes using fruit, nuts, seeds, and other natural materials. Families will make and take home their own creations to feed wintering birds. Pre-registration required: 298-3926. Stockbridge, MA ($)

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

    3:30pm – INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION FAMILY PLAYGROUP: A new playgroup for families with children who have been adopted internationally for kids up through 5yo. Email LeslieLLucio@gmail.com if interested. Northampton, MA

    4-6pm – HIP HOP SHOW: Youth Hip-Hop Show to honor local community leaders for MLK weekend at Berkshire Community College (1350 West St.). Dance party follows frm 7-11pm. 446-6261 Pittsfield, MA ($)

    6:30-9pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Snowshoeing in the moonlight at Northfield Mountain Education Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). . No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Rentals available. For ages 12+. Pre-reg 800-859-2960 Northfield, MA ($)

    7:30pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Concert & Dinner in the Hilltowns. Chris Smither will be performing at the Ashfield Town Hall. Pre-concert dinner at Elmer’s from 5-7:15pm. For dinner reservations and concert info call 628-4003. http://www.elmersstore.com Ashfield, MA ($$)

    8pm-Midnight: DANCE PARTY: 3rd Annual Full Belly Dance Party For Local Food Security at the Hampshire College Red Barn. A fundraiser for the Kestrel Trust and the Amherst & Northampton Survival Centers. Love band (The No-No’s), cash bar. 259-1695 Amherst, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Saturday Snowshoe Treks in Western Massachusetts

    Snowshoeing at Notchview in Windsor, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    The Trustees of Reservation writes:

    Join a Trustees guide in exploring our special places across central and western Massachusetts. Each Saturday we will host a snowshoe hike at a different sites from 10am-12noon. Lack of snow or bad conditions may cancel a trek. Please call 413-532-1631 x13 the day before to confirm

    • December 18th, 2010 – Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, MA (Easy/Moderate)
    • January 8th, 2011 – Notchview in Windsor, MA (Part of Winter Trails Day – Various Ability Levels)
    • January 15th, 2011 - Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, MA (Easy/Moderate)
    • January 22nd, 2011 - Bullitt Reservation in Ashfield, MA (Moderate)
    • January 29th, 2011 - Peaked Mountain in Monson, MA (Easy/Moderate)
    • February 5th, 2011 – Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA (Easy/Moderate)
    • February 12th, 2011 – Little Tom in Holyoke, MA (Moderate/Challenging)
    • February 19th, 2011 - Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, MA (Easy/Moderate)
    • February 26th, 2011 – Brooks Woodland Preserve in Petersham, MA (Moderate)

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