Berkshire Family Fun: February Vacation Week

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

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

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

VACATION, VACATION, VACATION

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

FUN IN THE LIBRARIES

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

MORE CHOCOLATE

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

MORE VACATION FUN

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

MOVIES ANYONE?

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

MUSEUM AND MORE

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

SNEAK PEAK

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Bevan McIlquham Berkshire Family Fun

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

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