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