Suggested Events for December 8th-14th, 2012

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Did you know that Christmas trees were pretty much only a German tradition until the 1840s, when Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, gave her a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts, and the custom began to catch on in the English-speaking world? Discover more about the history of holiday traditions at Old Stubridge Christmas by Candlelight.

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

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

BEST BETS

On Saturday, Dec. 8th from 10am-5pm in Franklin CountyHOLIDAY STROLL: 7th annual holiday celebration, “A Special Day in Northfield.” The event is a non-commercial community holiday celebration that offers families an opportunity to explore, be creative, and enjoy what Northfield has to offer! Local artists and antiques stores will be open, too, so if you want to do any holiday shopping, you can shop locally and/or handmade. 413-498-5921 or 413-498-2414. Free parking behind 105 Main Street. Northfield, MA (FREE)

On Saturday, Dec. 8th from 11am in Berkshire CountyHOLIDAYS/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: The Berkshire Museum hosts the Festival of Trees Family Day today!  The event includes fun family activities, performances, and, of course, the museum’s hall filled with beautiful and uniquely decorated Christmas trees.  There will be special events taking place throughout the day, including a visit from some of the fascinating animals at Burpee’s Zoo (11am), cookie decorating and a cookie contest (supplies for decorating provided, BYO cookies for contest – participants should bring 4 dozen of their favorite cookie and register in advance), and performances by the Taconic High School chorus and the Berkshire Singers.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

On Saturday, Dec. 8th from 1-4pm in Hampden CountyVICTORIAN HOLIDAY: The Wistariahurst Museum invites families to make Victorian crafts at their Holiday Crafts for the Family event. Learn how to make Christmas crackers, beautiful beaded ornaments, lanterns and more! Reservations suggested.   Santa will also be at the museum to read “The Night Before Christmas” at 4:30pm by the fire. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA (>$)

On Sunday, Dec 9th from 12noon-4pm in Hampshire CountyHANNUKAH: Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with the Yiddish Book Center!  There will be a performance of The Magic Dreidel at 2pm, before which will be two workshops for families that will teach Hannukah songs and lines from the show so that community members can participate in the performance!  A workshop for ages 8+ takes place from 12noon-12:30pm, and a workshop for ages 3-8 takes place from 12:30-1:30pm.  All are welcome!  413-256-4900.  1021 West Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

SANTA SIGHTINGS

If your kids are looking forward to meeting Santa, but you just can’t bear the thought of going to the mall, there are several non-commercial venues to see Santa this weekend.  Here are a few:

  • Dalton: Santa at the Dalton CRA on Saturday.
  • Florence: Breakfast with Santa at Look Park on Saturday.
  • Holyoke: Santa visit Holyoke City Hall on Saturday.
  • Holyoke: Santa at Wistariahurst Museum on Saturday.
  • Lenox Dale: Santa at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday.
  • Westfield: Breakfast with Santa at Westfield State University on Saturday.
  • West Springfield: Santa at West Springfield Senior Center Community Breakfast on Sunday.
  • West Springfield: Santa at Mitteneague Park on Sunday.

BULLETIN BOARD

Dec. 7th-9th

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration. Music, dance, songs and stories celebrating the return of the light. The 28th annual show with songs about feasting and festivities, a lively Mummer’s Play, and a traditional folk story. The Shea Theater at 71 Avenue A in Turners Falls on Dec. 7th & 8th at 7:30pm and Sun., Dec. 9th at 2pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors & children, four & under free. Bring a non-perishable item for the Franklin Area Survival Center and receive a free snack at intermission! Reserve tickets at 413-863-2281 or purchase in advance at Jones Library in Amherst, Broadside Books in Northampton, the World Eye Bookstore in Greenfield, or online at Brattleborotix.com. More info: www.welcomeyule.org. 413-665-3206.

Dec. 7th-9th

Pioneer Valley Ballet is proud to present its 34th annual production of the Nutcracker, an enchanting, classic ballet production at the landmark Academy of Music Theatre: Fri, Dec. 7 at 4pm & 7:30pm, and Sat, Dec. 8 & Sun, Dec. 9. at 1pm & 4:30pm. All tickets are reserved seating and available online and in person at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Senior discounts available in person only. To purchase tickets, call the Pioneer Valley Ballet at 413-527-6363, or the Academy of Music box at 413-584-9032 x105, or visit www.academyofmusictheatre.com. All shows have discounted high school & college student RUSH seats available 1/2 hour prior each performance at box office window. RUSH seats are restricted to upper balcony only.

Dec. 8th

Meet the Illustrator at the Montague Bookmill (440 Greenfield Rd. Montague). Brendan Flannelly-King is a children’s illustrator from Ashfield and his first picture book is coming out! Come celebrate Good News Nelson (written by Jodi Moore and published by Story Pie Press) with him as he signs, sells and reads from the book Saturday, December 8th at the Montague Bookmill from 11am-1:30pm. Its a heartwarming story of neighbors helping neighbors, youth empowerment, animal rescue, compassion and friendship with adorable little kitties throughout! Visit www.storypiepress.com to learn more about Good News Nelson. A portion of proceeds will go to The Humane Society of the United States and Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.

Dec. 9th

Fire in the Darkness: A Winter Hanukkah Festival. As winter solstice approaches, Hanukkah is a welcome opportunity to bathe in light. Everyone is warmly welcomed to a joyous Hanukkah celebration to celebrate the Jewish festival of light. Performances by local fire dancers, live music, latkes, candle-lighting and a toasty bonfire. Dress warmly! Sunday, November 9th from 4-6pm at Congregation Bnai Israel, 253 Prospect Street, in Northampton, MA. 413-584-3593. Contact rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org for more information.

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

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LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 8th-14th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
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Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

“We love to go to Breakfast with Santa at The Garden House at Look Park (Florence). The kids get sooo excited for Christmas!” – Kerry Kmetz of Easthampton

6-10am – 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.

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. – Recording artist Mama Doni will be the guest DJ for a “Heart of Chanukah” radio rebroadcast of Hilltown Family Variety Show! – Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

8:30am and 10:30am – BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: Enjoy the best kind of holiday breakfast there is – one that includes Santa!  Westfield State University hosts the annual event in the Scanlon Banquet Hall and, along with breakfast, the event includes face painting, special prizes, and entertainment from friendly clowns.  Get tickets early – space is limited!  413-572-5449.  577 Western Avenue.  Westfield, MA.  ($)

9:30 and 11am – BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: Have breakfast with Santa at Look Park!  An annual event, the park hosts Santa Claus himself and offers a delicious breakfast – make reservations ahead of time, spots go fast!  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street,  Florence, MA.  ($)

10am-12noon – TOY SWAP: Northampton ReUse Committee is hosting a Holiday Toy Exchange.  Adults and mature children are invited to drop off toys on 12/7 from 5-8pm and 12/8 from 8-9am.  Toy donors can pick-up toys on 12/8 from 9-10am and the general public is invited from 10am-12noon.  Clean gently used working toys and sports equipment are welcomed.  Held in the Smith Vocational HS cafeteria. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

10am-12noon – ANIMAL STUDIES: Hike Peaked Mountain and learn to search for sign of animals who are still around for the winter!  The Trustees of Reservations – and local naturalist Kevin Kopchynski – will guide the exploratory hike.  Dress for the weather!  Registration required.  413-532-1631.  Monson, MA.  ($)

10am-1pm – HISTORY/HIKE: Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries will sponsor a hike at the historic Becket Quarry.   Look for moose tracks and industrial archaeology at the 300-acre Historic Becket Quarry and Forest Preserve. Located high atop the Berkshire Highlands and preserved by the Becket Land Trust, this former granite quarry offers a feast of fauna, glacial erratics and rich helpings of cultural history. This site features artifacts of the former Hudson-Chester Company that was in operation for almost a century until the 1960s and is often called a “ghost quarry” for its spooky, abandoned appearance. Best for ages 10yo and older. Pre-register. 413-584-3009. Becket, MA ($)

10am-4pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: The 4th Annual Dickens Days Village Stroll happens in the district of downtown Westfield with a  whole day filled with holiday events and activities. Westfield, MA (FREE)

10am-5pm – CRAFT SALE: Shop local and handmade for the holidays at RED Studio Sale, a special sale event featuring unique, interesting hand-crafted items from local artists and artisans!  Goods for sale include hand-printed t-shirts and pillowcases, abstract paintings, enamel and Czech glass jewelry, and delicious homemade treats!  1 Stage Road.  Westhampton, MA.  (SALE)

10am-5pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: 7th annual holiday celebration, “A Special Day in Northfield.” The event is a non-commercial community holiday celebration that offers families an opportunity to explore, be creative, and enjoy what Northfield has to offer! Local artists and antiques stores will be open, too, so if you want to do any holiday shopping, you can shop locally and/or handmade. 413-498-5921 or 413-498-2414. Free parking behind 105 Main Street. Northfield, MA (FREE)

10:30am-12noon – NATURE CRAFTS: Use found materials to create nature crafts at the Great Falls Discovery Center!  Who knows – you might create a masterpiece worthy of gifting!  413-863-3221.    2 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

10:30am-12:30pm – AUDITIONS: Audition to be a part of the Minerva Arts Center’s 3rd annual Holiday Showcase!  Community members of all ages with any kind of talent are invited to share their skills at the audition, and, if selected, can choose to be a part of one or both nights of the performance.  Takes place at the First Congregational Church of Williamstown.  413-346-4502.  906 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

11am-4pm – CAROLING: The annual Lenox Caroling Festival takes place this weekend – and competition will take place today at numerous locations throughout town!  Visit one – or all! – of the locations to hear a variety of beautifully performed holiday music.  Lenox, MA.

11am – HOLIDAYS/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: The Berkshire Museum hosts the Festival of Trees Family Day today!  The event includes fun family activities, performances, and, of course, the museum’s hall filled with beautiful and uniquely decorated Christmas trees.  There will be special events taking place throughout the day, including a visit from some of the fascinating animals at Burpee’s Zoo (11am), cookie decorating and a cookie contest (supplies for decorating provided, BYO cookies for contest – participants should bring 4 dozen of their favorite cookie and register in advance), and performances by the Taconic High School chorus and the Berkshire Singers.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

11am-1:30pm – CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: Meet local illustrator Brendan Flannelly-King and hear a reading from Good News Nelson, a story about a young boy, animal rescue, neighbors helping neighbors, and youth empowerment (plus it’s full of kittens!), at the Montague Bookmill!  413-367-9206.  400 Greenfield Road.  Montague, MA.  (FREE)

11am-4:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Historic Deerfield is celebrating the holidays with traditional decorations, open hearth cooking demonstrations, silhouette making (a historic craft), and craft making for visitors (create a gift to share!).  Visitors will learn about holiday celebrations in early New England, as well as the sweeteners and spices used in baking (and where they came from!) in Deerfield’s early days.  It’s a unique opportunity for kids to learn about the history of the spice trade, and the long history of imported goods and dependency on a world market that the United States has.  413-775-7127.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  ($)

11am and 2pm – THEATER/HOLIDAYS: Mill City Productions presents, “Fireside Yuletide,” a theatrical reading of classic family holiday tales, including, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and more!  The show features local actors and actresses, and is appropriate for families made up of all ages (as long as kids have basic audience skills) – even teenagers will love the nostalgia-filled show.  115 State Street, Building 4.  North Adams, MA.  (<$)

11-11:30am – CRAFTS: Decorate a festive holiday-themed box at the Ramsdell Library!  Kids can make boxes for themselves, to decorate their houses with, or even to share gifts with!  413-274-3738.  1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA.  (FREE)

11:30am-12noon – LEGOS: The Ramsdell Library has LEGO Club this morning!  Kids can visit the library to experiment with the blocks – they can collaborate to create a masterpiece, or just make smaller creations.  Either way, LEGOs are a great way to practice motor skills (for younger kids), and provide an engineering-style creative outlet for older kids!  274-3738.  1087 Main Street.  Housatonic, MA.  (FREE)

11:30am-12:30pm – SANTA: Santa will be paying a visit to Holyoke City Hall this morning!  Stop by to meet the man in red, and enjoy some milk and cookies, too!  413-322-5620.  536 Dwight Street.  Holyoke, MA.  (<$)

12noon-3pm – HISTORY: The Lenox Historical Society will host their annual Holiday Open House. Stop in and see their holiday exhibit, “In the ‘Nick’ of Time.” Refreshments & raffle. Main Street. Lenox, MA (FREE)

1pm and 4:30pm – BALLET: The Pioneer Valley Ballet presents, “The Nutcracker” at the Academy of Music!  Seeing a performance of the classic Christmas tale is a great family tradition, and ballet is a unique and beautiful art form!413-527-6363.  Main Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

1-3pm – HOLIDAY FUN: Make your own ornaments and decorate a miniature version of a gingerbread house at the Berkshire South Community Center this afternoon!  The Holiday Family Fun event is everything that its name implies – along with hands-on creative activities, there will be face painting (transform yourself to look like a holiday character!), hot cocoa, and holiday cookies!  413-528-2810.  15 Crissey Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($)

1-4pm – VICTORIAN HOLIDAY: The Wistariahurst Museum invites families to make Victorian crafts at their Holiday Crafts for the Family event. Learn how to make Christmas crackers, beautiful beaded ornaments, lanterns and more! Reservations suggested.   Santa will also be at the museum to read “The Night Before Christmas” at 4:30pm by the fire. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA (>$)

2pm – LOCAL HISTORY: The Shaw-Hudson House is one of New England’s most historically accurate and well preserved house-museums – visit today to learn about the interesting history that it represents, and hear museum expert and author Bill Hosley share information about the local treasure!  Older students interested in history will love this rare opportunity to get up close and personal with artifacts tying directly to their community.  Meet at Town Hall.  304 Main Street.  Plainfield, MA.

2-3:30pm – READING: Read to Ralph the Reading Dog at the Storrs Library – he’s the best reading buddy to have because he’ll never lose patience if the story is read slowly, and he’ll never be judgemental if you miss a word!  Ralph sits quietly and listens patiently for readers of all abilities.  Registration required.  413-565-4182.  693 Longmeadow Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE)

2:30pm & 7pm: BALLET – The Albany Berkshire Ballet present “The Nutcracker” at the Colonial Theatre. 413-997-4444. 111 South St. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

4-7:30pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Explore downtown Great Barrington during their Holiday Stroll – the town is decorated for the holidays, the air is cool and crisp, and the town is alive with holiday spirit.  Visit locally owned shops to get a jump start on shopping locally (and potentially handmade!) for the holidays!  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

4-9pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Celebrate the holiday season the old-fashioned way at Old Sturbridge Village!  The historic village’s Christmas by Candlelight series offers families a chance to enjoy non-commercial, relaxed holiday festivities and activities.  Go for a sleigh ride, learn about roasting chestnuts over an open fireplace, make your own tin holiday ornaments, vote for your favorite homemade gingerbread house, sing along to Christmas carols with villagers dressed in period clothing, and more!  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

5-8pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Light Up the Holidays at the Dalton CRA. Lights, refreshments and Santa will be waiting. Tree lighting takes place at 7:30.  400 Main Street. Dalton, MA (FREE)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights!  Visit Bright Nights to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air.  413-733-3800.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

6pm – HANUKKAH: Amelia Park Childrens Museum will celebrate Hanukkah with a lighting of the menorah near the greet and latkes at the museum. 413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  ($)

6:30pm – HANNUKAH: Celebrate Hannukah at Temple Israel!  The temple will host a community celebrate with latkes, dreidel-playing, donuts, games, and songs.  All are welcome – bring a menorah to light if you wish.  27 Pierce Street.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Enjoy an evening of Broadway-style music and dance as the Minerva Arts Center presents, “The Return of the Gleekers!”  The center’s Gleekers are a group of dedicated fans of the NBC show, “Glee,” and have spent time exploring theatricality, dance, and song in order to present the show!  413-346-3502.  1288 Massachusetts Avenue.  North Adams, MA.  (<$)

7pm – THEATER: Northampton High School presents their Fall One-Act Festival!  The show features The Real Inspector’s Hound and The Actor’s Nightmare – both directed, produced, and starred in by students!  The festival takes place inside the school’s new (and exciting!) Black Box Theater.  413-587-1344.  380 Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

7-10pm – OPEN MIC: Berkshire Community College is hosting an Open Mic night in their cafeteria as a fundraiser for the performing arts department!  Anyone can perform – talents from spoken word to opera are welcome.  The event, sponsored by PARTBEATS (a performing arts group at BCC), will also include a raffle for an acoustic electric guitar – valued at $750! 413-236-1660.  1350 West Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (<$)

7:30pm – THEATER: The Shea Theater hosts Welcome Yule, a performance of stories, songs, and dance to drive away the dark of winter.  The show incorporates elements of storytelling, and features the talents of numerous community members!  413-665-3206.  71 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  ($)

8pm – THEATER: Smith College students present Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in the studio theater at Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts.  Green Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

7-8pm –  Performabus: Easthampton’s Artwalk tonight is a special holiday-themed one – featuring a particularly surly version of Santa!  The event will feature Performabus: A Mystery Tour of Easthampton – it’s an actual bus, which will make stops throughout town (at Eastworks and Cottage Street) and take riders on an adventure with Santa (played by one-man performance artist Seth Lepore), who will discuss the effects of the 2012 end-of-the-world conspiracy on his workshop.  The event – definitely not for kids – will be quite funny, and will showcase a side of Santa never before seen!  After the bus tour, the party will continue at Popcorn Noir.  Parsons Street or Cottage Street.  Easthampton, MA.

7:30pm – Santaland Diaries: Shakespeare and Company presents David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries Nov 30- Dec 30 at the Bernstein Theater!  How about a Parents’ Night Out tonight? 413-637-3353.  70 Kemble Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($$)

7:30pm – Concert: Ventfort Hall hosts the Greg Caputo Quartet, featuring Vivian Caputo – the concert will feature well-loved standards in a beautiful, historic mansion decked out for the holidays.  413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($$)

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Sunday, December 9th, 2012

“Hilltown Families is the perfect portal into all the great events, organizations, and people that our region has to offer. You’re building community, one email at a time!” – Wendy Sweetser, The Trustees of Reservations The Highland Communities Initiative

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. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

8am-12noon – COMMUNITY BREAKFAST: Have pancakes for breakfast at the West Springfield Senior Center to benefit Operation Santa, an annual community project that provides food and a gift (for kids under 15) to families in need during the holiday season.  The intergenerational breakfast you’ll enjoy will be for a great cause!  128 Park Street.  West Springfield, MA.  (<$)

10am-5pm – CRAFT SALE: Shop local and handmade for the holidays at RED Studio Sale, a special sale event featuring unique, interesting hand-crafted items from local artists and artisans!  Goods for sale include hand-printed t-shirts and pillowcases, abstract paintings, enamel and Czech glass jewelry, and delicious homemade treats!  1 Stage Road.  Westhampton, MA.  (SALE)

11am-3pm – GINGERBREAD: Visit the Lenox Library to see a collection of beautiful gingerbread houses created by talented local chefs and bakers!  Bid on your favorite if you’d like to take one home, and browse the library’s book sale, too.  413-637-0197.  18 Main Street.  Lenox, MA.  (FREE)

11am-3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Arrowhead is open for tours on Saturdays & Sundays.  Arrowhead was the home of Herman Melville from 1850 to 1863, author of Moby Dick. Come see daily life as the Melville family experienced it with tours of Arrowhead.  413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Rd. Pittsfield, MA ($)

11am-2pm – CHANUKAH: LYA hosts Chanukah Wonderland, an afternoon filled with Chanukah activities and crafts.  There will be face painting and interactive Chanukah games. The program will end with the Magic of Joe Bongio.   Chanukah Wonderland is sponsored by Beis Medrash Lubavitch and is open to the entire community. 413-567-8665.  1148 Converse Street.  Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

11am-4:30pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Historic Deerfield is celebrating the holidays with traditional decorations, open hearth cooking demonstrations, silhouette making (a historic craft), and craft making for visitors (create a gift to share!).  Visitors will learn about holiday celebrations in early New England, as well as the sweeteners and spices used in baking (and where they came from!) in Deerfield’s early days.  It’s a unique opportunity for kids to learn about the history of the spice trade, and the long history of imported goods and dependency on a world market that the United States has.  413-775-7127.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  ($)

11:30am – CHANUKAH CONCERT: Felicia Sloin, a Jewish “Entertain-ucator” uses music, percussion, and movement to engage all ages in a celebration of Jewish holidays and culture.  Puppeteer Kate Holdsworth will join her for a fun performance.  413-442-4360 x.14. Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, 270 State Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

12noon-4pm – HOLIDAY FAIR: Visit the Whately Library for the annual holiday fair, filled with locally handmade gifts, goods, art, and more.  You’ll be able to find everything from hand-knitted hats and mittens to maple syrup, wreaths to beautiful handmade note cards!  413-665-0054.  218 Chestnut Plain Road.  Whately, MA.  (SALE)

12noon-4pm – HANNUKAH: Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with the Yiddish Book Center!  There will be a performance of The Magic Dreidel at 2pm, before which will be two workshops for families that will teach Hannukah songs and lines from the show so that community members can participate in the performance!  A workshop for ages 8+ takes place from 12noon-12:30pm, and a workshop for ages 3-8 takes place from 12:30-1:30pm.  All are welcome!  413-256-4900.  1021 West Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

1pm and 4:30pm – BALLET: The Pioneer Valley Ballet presents, “The Nutcracker” at the Academy of Music!  Seeing a performance of the classic Christmas tale is a great family tradition, and ballet is a unique and beautiful art form!413-527-6363.  Main Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

1:30m & 4:30pm: BALLET – The Albany Berkshire Ballet present “The Nutcracker” at the Colonial Theatre. 413-997-4444. 111 South St. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

2pm – THEATER: The Shea Theater hosts Welcome Yule, a performance of stories, songs, and dance to drive away the dark of winter.  The show incorporates elements of storytelling, and features the talents of numerous community members!  413-665-3206.  71 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  ($)

2pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: The Whole Children Chorus and the Florence Community Band – featuring special guest Mayor David Narkewicz – perform Songs of the Season this afternoon at Northampton High School!  Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  

2pm – THEATER/HOLIDAYS: Mill City Productions presents, “Fireside Yuletide,” a theatrical reading of classic family holiday tales, including, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and more!  The show features local actors and actresses, and is appropriate for families made up of all ages (as long as kids have basic audience skills) – even teenagers will love the nostalgia-filled show.  115 State Street, Building 4.  North Adams, MA.  (<$)

2-4pm or 5:30-7:30pm – SANTA: Santa’s house at Mitteneague Park opens for the season today!  Santa will arrive with a special police and fire truck escort and will be around to meet-and-greet visitors, too!  Churchill Road.  West Springfield, MA.  (DONATION)

2:15-3:15pm – GYM TIME: The Greenfield YMCA is having open gym time for families this afternoon!  Kids ages 0-8 and their caregivers are welcome to come play in the warm indoor space.  451 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

3pm – CHANUKAH CONCERT: Felicia Sloin, a Jewish “Entertain-ucator” uses music, percussion, and movement to engage all ages in a celebration of Jewish holidays and culture.  Puppeteer Kate Holdsworth will join her for a fun performance.  413-442-4360 x.14.  Berkshire Mall, Macy’s Court, Old State Road, Lanesboro, MA (FREE)

3pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: Become a handchime player instantly at Ventfort Hall’s Christmas concert!  Director Jane Holland will lead participants of all ages (kids must be old enough to follow directions, be patient, and sing along) in learning to play traditional Christmas carols – kids can learn about the interesting multi-player instrument (similar to hand bells), and will learn about how basic written music and audible notes match-up.  Cider, tea, and treats follow the show.  413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($$)

3pm – CHORUS CONCERT: Berkshire Lyric presents, “Deck the Halls,” at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church!  The show also features the Blafield Children’s Chorus, the Monument Mountain High School Chorus, the Spartones, and Guademaus – all local groups with a wide range of styles, and a ton of talent.  The show will include a variety of holiday music, and is a great opportunity for kids (with audience skills!) to learn about classical music and music history.  413-499-0258.  67 East Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($)

4-6pm – HANNUKAH: The Congregational B’Nai Israel is celebrating Hannukah tonight with an all-ages community event!  There will be a bonfire (and fire dancing!), live music, latkes, candles, and more.  Families can extend their celebrations of the holiday, or learn about Jewish traditions.  253 Prospect Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE)

4-6pm – HOLIDAY READING: Celebrate the holidays with a community reading of Hannukah and Christmas stories at the Meekins Library!  The community event will feature Margaret Wise Brown’s The Fir Tree, William Locke’s A Christmas Mystery, and Eric Kimmel’s retelling of The Spotted Pony.  All ages welcome! Bring an item to donate to the Hilltown Survival Center or the Dakin Animal Shelter.  413-268-7473.  2 Williams Street.  Williamsburg, MA.  (FREE)

4-9pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Celebrate the holiday season the old-fashioned way at Old Sturbridge Village!  The historic village’s Christmas by Candlelight series offers families a chance to enjoy non-commercial, relaxed holiday festivities and activities.  Go for a sleigh ride, learn about roasting chestnuts over an open fireplace, make your own tin holiday ornaments, vote for your favorite homemade gingerbread house, sing along to Christmas carols with villagers dressed in period clothing, and more!  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

6pm – TREE LIGHTING: The tree-lighting in Lenox Dale takes place tonight at Veterans Memorial Park!  Santa Claus himself will arrive via fire engine (how exciting!), and there will be treats for all.  Walker and Crystal Streets.  Lenox Dale, MA.  (FREE)

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Monday, December 10th, 2012

5:30-7:30pm – HANNUKAH: LYA hosts a celebration for Hannukah tonight!  The event includes dinner (featuring latkes and donuts, of course!), a menorah lighting, a performance by the LYA choir, and – as a special event! – a visit from Bubble Trouble with Jeff Boyer!  Reservations suggested.  413-567-8665.  1148 Converse Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  ($)

6pm –CHORAL PERFORMANCE: The Northampton Community Music Center brings together choral groups from all over the Pioneer Valley for an evening Holiday Choral Festival for all ages.  The Helen Hills Hills Chapel hosts the performances, including Williston-Northampton School’s Caterwaulers and Widdigers, Northampton High School Chamber Choir, the Hartsbrook School 7th & 8th grade Choir, NCMC’s High Definition,  Hilltown Cooperative Charter School Chorus, NCMC’s Ku’umba Women’s Choir, Valley Jazz Choir, and Valley Rock Choir.  413-585-0001. 139 South Street. Northampton, MA (FREE)

6:30-8pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: The Northampton Parents Center is hosting a workshop titled, “Talking To Your Kids About Sex: A Workshop for Parents of Young Children,” at Bridge Street School.  Facilitated by Jane Fleishman, the workshop will provide information and strategies for parents who are (or will soon be) addressing the topic with their children.2 Parsons Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE)

7-9pm – ARCHAEOLOGY: Archaeologists often must apply a skill set similar to those used by forensics experts – they look at remnants of lives (caves, basements, stone walls, etc.) and use tiny clues in order to deduce the use of the place, item, etc. Learn about how archaeologists have used these skills to determine information about the history of the earliest European settlers in New England tonight at Greenfield High School, where Central Connecticut State professor Ken Feder presents, “Monk’s Caves, Sacrificial Altars, and Wandering Celts.” Takes place in the auditorium. Best for older students. 1 Lenox Street. Greenfield, MA. (DONATION)

ONGOING FOR MONDAYS

  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the South Hadley Family Center. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: At the MN Spear Memorial Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013! 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Williamstown Youth Center! Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires. 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am-12:20pm – ICE SKATING: Smead Arena offers a public skating session this morning – great for families with kids who are still learning to skate, daytime skating sessions offer low-key and less crowded ice time. Open ice times take place at the same time Monday-Friday. 413-781-2599. 1780 Roosevelt Avenue. Springfield, MA. (<$)
  • 2:30-5pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Meekins Library’s Teen/Preteen Time takes place this afternoon! Teens can visit the library to hang out with friends, work on homework, play games, use computers, and check out awesome new books, movies, and music. 413-268-7473. 2 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30-4:30pm – BREAK DANCE: Learn to break like a b-boy! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts offers a weekly break dance class, taught by Joshua McHugh, accomplished dancer and dance teacher. 413-499-9348. 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ($) ♦
  • 3:30-5pm – ANIME: The Springfield Central Library hosts Anime and Manga Club on Monday afternoons! Kids enthusiastic about the popular Japanese style of animation and cartooning can visit the library to read new manga and watch great anime! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30-7pm – SCRABBLE: Enjoy an evening of friendly Scrabble at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center! Open to anyone ages 8+, the game night offers families an opportunity to practice fair play and basic sportsmanship while allowing kids to expand their spelling, vocabulary, and basic practical math skills. Sponsored by Bobbie Halig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires holds gym group at the Haskins Center! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 6-7pm – MUSIC: Learn to drum, Afro-Carribbean style! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts offers a weekly drum class, lead by Aimee Gelinas of Gaia Roots. Drums available to borrow. 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ($) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Visit Longmeadow High School for open gym time! Basketball equipment will be provided by Longmeadow Rec Dept, and the event is open to anyone ages 13-20. Runs through 11/12. 413-565-4163. 95 Grassy Gutter Road. Longmeadow, MA. ($) ♦

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

4-5:15pm – COOKING: Whole Foods Market is hosting a cooking class for kids today at their Hadley store!  Participants will make whole-grain cookies and bread while learning about making healthy choices for eating and developing healthy eating habits.  Registration required. Open to ages 8-12.  413-586-9932.  Russell Street.  Hadley, MA.  (<$)

6:30-7:30pm – YOUTH HOLIDAY PARTY: The Emily Williston Memorial Library Youth Dept. is hosting a holiday party. Come celebrate the holidays in the Youth Department – fun food will be served! Enjoy cookie decorating, Holiday crafts and games, seasonal songs, and a performance by Emily’s Players, “Four Friends at the Holidays.”  413-529-1605. 9 Park St. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

6:30-8:30pm – PARENT WORKSHOP:  Does your child have lots of energy?  Is it sometimes hard to keep up?  If your child is very active, get some advice and learn strategies for parenting your spirited child with The Collaborative for Educational Services!  Their Active Child workshop will take place at the South Hadley Family Center.  Registration required, childcare available by request.  413-586-4998.  7 Woodbridge Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR TUESDAYS

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Health Coalition hosts Toddler Steps Playgroup at the CHP building. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11am – PLAYGROUP: At Farmington River Preschool for kids 5 and under, sponsored by the Community Health Coalition. 413-664-0104. 555 North Main Road. Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30 or 11am – STORYTIME: The Westfield Library hosts storytime for kids 6 months – 3 years today. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30 – PLAYGROUP: It’s Baby Day at the South Hadley Family Center! 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: At the Berkshire Athenaeum! 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: At the Dickinson Library! 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11am – PARENT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a mother’s group for Spanish-speaking moms at Brightwood Health Center. 413-796-8365. 380 Plainfield Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Preschool playgroup learning experiences at the Haskins Center! Takes place on the lower level. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: At the Greenfield Library. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15am – STORYTIME: At the Lanesborough Library! Stories, crafts, and music for all ages. 413-499-5981. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15am-12:15pm – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a Postpartum Support Group for mothers. The group is a safe space for those adjusting to motherhood and is lead by trained facilitators. Takes place at Berkshire Children and Families. Childcare available. 413-253-8990. 220 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Visit the Great Falls Discovery Center for Kidleidescope, an environment-themed program for kids! Interactive learning opportunities and crafts always included. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Springfield Central Library’s preschool storytime takes place this morning. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: The Lenox Library offers storytime for kids 18 months-3 years. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3-5pm – TEEN: It’s Teen Tuesday at the Chicopee Library – visit for a new activity every week. 413-594-1800. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30-5pm – PARENT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a support group for young mothers and expecting women between the ages of 13 and 19. Group meetings are held bi-weekly and are drop-in. Babies welcome! Takes place at Mercy Care Holyoke. 413-886-0410. 306 Race Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the gym at the Abbot School. 56 North Country Road. Florida, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 6:30pm – BREASTFEEDING: The La Leche League of North/Central Berkshires meets every third Tuesday at The Montessori School of the Berkshires. 21 Patterson Road. Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30-8pm – MUSIC: The Berkshire South Regional Community Center hosts a free ukulele group tonight! Beginners and kids without any knowledge of music reading can join in – the class will teach basic chord progressions and styles of playing from around the world. Registration requested but drop-in is OK. Sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

10am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE/HIKE: Hike Steepletop this morning with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council!  The reserve is relatively flat, and the lack of snow makes for good hiking!  413-499-0596.  New Marlborough Monterey Road.  New Marlborough, MA.  (FREE)

4pm – HOLIDAY STORYTIME: The Monson Library is having a special holiday-themed storytime this afternoon with state senator Stephen Brewer!  There will be holiday treats, too.  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.  (FREE)

4pm – SANTA/TRAINS: The Garden House at Look Park has been transformed into a Victorian-era train station, and Santa and Mrs. Claus have ridden the train all the way to Florence!  Visit Santa, have some holiday cookies, and view a set of beautiful antique trains.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  (FREE)

5-7:30pm – HANNUKAH: The Jewish Community of Amherst celebrates Hannukah tonight with a community party!  There will be live music, holiday food, games, and a celebration of light for all.  BYO candles and menorah if you have one.  742 Main Street.  Amherst, MA.  (<$)

6-7pm – DRUMMING: Williamstown Youth Center Community Drum Circle with Otha Day! A joyful evening of Inter-Generational Community Music-Making.   There will be African hand drums, shakers, bells and claves. Learn and share exciting rhythms, songs and activities from many cultures in addition to improv.  No experience is necessary. All ages and levels can participate together! Bring Your Own Instruments OR use instruments provided.  413-884-5088. 270 Cole Ave. Williamstown, MA (>$)

6-8pm – COMMUNITY POTLUCK: Amherst High School’s International Students Club is sponsoring a community holiday potluck in the school cafeteria.  Bring food to share.  Everyone welcomed. 21 Mattoon Street. Amherst, MA (DISH OF FOOD)

6pm – PJ STORYTIME: Get dressed for bed, and head for the Westfield Athenaeum for a special pajama storytime!  Bring your bear, bunny, or blanket to accompany, and let someone else do the bedtime stories tonight.  413-568-7833.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

6:30-8:30pm – CRAFTS: Visit Art Party Studio for an evening of wintry holiday crafts!  There will be all sorts of special holiday materials to use – experiment with unique media (like glittery twigs, bells, and more!), and create a holiday masterpiece.  116 Pleasant Street.  Easthampton, MA.  (<$)

7pm – PERFORMANCE: Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Academy presents the annual Holiday Jubilee Winter Showcase at the Academy of Music!  The show features talented students from all over the valley.  413-584-9032.  274 Main Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAYS

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Palmer-Monson Family Network hosts infant and toddler play group! 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Bi-weekly in the community room at Becket Town Hall, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-664-0104. 65 Walker Street. Becket, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Lenox Community Center, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-644-0104. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30am or 1:30pm – STORYTIME: Fantastic Fours and Fives takes place today at the Westfield Library! Registration is required for storytime. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30 – PLAYGROUP: At the South Hadley Family Center. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:45-11:15am – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts, “Getting Real about Motherhood,” a support group designed to help mothers share the stress and adjustments of motherhood and work to find ways to feel renewed, valued, and energized. Takes place at the Amherst Family Center, in the basement of the Unitarian Society. Childcare available. 413-256-1145. 121 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Wendell Free Library hosted by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 978.544.5157. 7 Wendell Depot Road. Wendell, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Preschool storytime at the Westhampton Library! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – PARENT GROUP: Enjoy coffee and a chat with other parents at the Westhampton Library – stop in after dropping kids off at school through the end of Sept.! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: The Greenfield Library hosts Sunshine Storytime! 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum hosts, “Creating Together: A Parent-Child Experience,” an art workshop featuring a gallery tour and hands-on art making. Each week brings a new theme and art style to explore. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183 Stockbridge, MA. ($) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: In the gym at Erving Elementary School, hosted by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413- 423-3326. 18 Northfield Road. Erving, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15-11am – STORYTIME: Hosted by the Mason Library – also includes stories, songs, and crafts. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the New Marlborough Library, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-644-0104. 1 New Marlborough-Great Barrington Road. New Marlborough, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30-11:30am – STORYTIME: At the Leverett Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413-548-9220. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30: SINGING: Sing with Your Baby with Wendy happens at the Jones Library. For preK kids and younger, and their parents/caretakers. Takes place in the Woodbury Room. Runs through Dec. 18. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 11-11:30am – STORYTIME: Toddler Time with Stephanie at the Forbes Library! 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am-12noon – GYMNASTICS: Whip City Gym hosts homeschool open gymnastics! The event is not a formal class, but offers kids unstructured play time physical activity amongst true gymnastics equipment. Great for kids interested in gymnastics, dance, or cheerleading, and gym playtime can also help kids work on balance and coordination. Takes place through the school year. 413-569-3231. 320 College Highway. Southwick, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 1-3pm – CHESS: Drop-in chess games in the mezzanine at Forbes Library. All ages, BYO chess set or borrow one. Playing chess can help kids develop logic and analytical skills. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30pm – LEGOS: The Berkshire Athenaeum hosts LEGO Club on the third Wednesday of each month. Kids can use LEGOs to experiment with basic principles of architecture, physics, and design. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ♦ (FREE)
  • 3-5pm – MOVIE: The Mason Library screens classic films every Wednesday afternoon! The “Mason Matinee” is best for tweens/teens and adults – call to find out what’s playing. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30-4:30pm – STORYTIME: The Ramsdell Library hosts Time for Tots, and special story, craft, etc. time for littlest kiddos. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:50-4:30pm – ICE SKATING: Visit Fitzpatrick Arena for an afternoon of skating! The rink offers daily public skating sessions at the same time, Monday-Friday. 413-532-2929. 575 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 4pm – CHESS: Visit the East Longmeadow Library for some afternoon chess! Playing chess can help kids develop analytical skills and logic. 413-525-5432. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 4-5pm – STORYTIME: At the Cushman Library! 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30-7:30pm – KNITTING: The Wednesday Night Knitters meet tonight at the Cushman Library! Knitters with any level of experience are welcome to join – bring a project to work on! No formal instruction is offered, but if help is needed, there will be many experienced knitters on hand. Great intergenerational opportunity for kids learning how to knit. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Sing your heart out with Berkshire Sings!, a community singing group at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Singers of all abilities welcome (adults, too) to sing pop, jazz, folk, showtunes, and more. Sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Visit Longmeadow High School for open gym time! Basketball equipment will be provided by the Longmeadow Rec Dept, and the event is open to anyone ages 13-20. 413-565-4163. 95 Grassy Gutter Road. Longmeadow, MA. ($) ♦

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Thursday, December 13th, 2012

5-9pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Downtown Turners Falls comes alive for the holidays tonight for, “It’s a Wonderful Night!”  The town will be filled with festive storefront displays, roving musicians, caroling, a tree lighting (where Santa will be visiting!), and a free screening of, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” at the Shea Theater at 8pm.  Some shops will have extended hours for the evening, in order to encourage visitors to shop locally for the holidays!  Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY PARTY: Moments House will host a community holiday party.  There will be a dinner buffett, sing-a-long with Terry A la Berry, kid’s activities, music by Whiskey City and refreshments & cash bar. Tickets online at www.momentshouse.org. Moment’s House is non-profit organization that funds a special house for cancer patients and their families and loved ones to find support, answers, companionship, and a loving and caring atmosphere in Berkshire County. Pittsfield, MA ($)

5-8pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Spend an evening out in downtown North Adams for Hometown Holidays!  Throughout December, downtown businesses will have special hours and deals to keep holiday shopping local, and there will be family activities, live music, holiday crafts, face painting, and more. 413-664-6180.   North Adams, MA. (FREE)

5:30-7:30pm – SANTA: Buttery Brook Park is decorated for the holidays, and tonight specifically it has been transformed into Santa’s Land!  It’s a holiday wonderland filled with beautiful lights displays, and Santa will be there, too!  Meet the man in red, have a ride on the train, and visit the park’s animals to with them a happy holiday, too.  123 Willamansett Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

6pm – BOOK SWAP: Play games and swap your books for new-to-you ones at the Westfield Athenaeum!  There will be lots of games to play, and the swapping is on a bring a book, take a book policy.  413-568-7833.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

6:30pm – PJ STORYTIME: The Monson Library is having pajama storytime tonight!  Get ready for bed, then head to the library for an evening of sleepytime stories.  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – PERFORMANCE: Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Academy presents the annual Holiday Jubilee Winter Showcase at the Academy of Music!  The show features talented students from all over the valley.  413-584-9032.  274 Main Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

5-8pm – Cocktails & Culture: It’s all champagne and mistletoe at the Springfield Museums tonight!  This month’s Cocktails and Culture evening holiday-themed – and attendees can see the museums’ gingerbread house exhibit, decorate and devour holiday cookies, and more!  413-263-6800.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (<$)

ONGOING FOR THURSDAYS

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Health Coalition hosts Toddler Steps Playgroup at the CHP building. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30 or 11am – STORYTIME: Westfield Athenaeum hosts Terrific Twos and Threes – storytime for kids ages 2 and 3! Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11am – PLAYGROUP: The Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys and Girls Club hosts playgroup this morning, including snack, stories, playtime, music, and crafts. 413-583-3527. 488 Chapin Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC CLASS: The Northampton Parents Center is open this morning! Thursday mornings feature music class at 11a with Felicia Sloin or Tom Knight (alternating weeks). Located in the basement of Edwards Church. 413-582-2636. Main and State Streets. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Music and Movement Group meets at the Millers Falls Library! 413-863-3214. 23 Bridge Street. Montague, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Springfield Central Library hosts storytime for kiddos 6 months-3 years. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – SUPPORT GROUP: Longmeadow Rec Dept hosts a New Moms Group at the Greenwood Center! 413-794-5515. 231 Maple Road. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: At the Williston Memorial Library! Stories, snacks, and more. 413-529-1605. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Preschool story time at the Jones Library in the Children’s Room. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Lenox Library offers storytime and crafts for kids 3-5 years old. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC CLASS: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Thursday morning music classes will be from 11 to 11:30 am with Felicia Sloin and Tom Knight alternating weeks. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: At the Hatfield Library, just for preschoolers! 413-547-9237. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires holds gym group at the Haskins Center! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 1-3pm – PLAYGROUP: Baby playgroup at the Forbes Library! In the children’s room with Judy. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 1-2:30pm – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a post-partum support group for mothers with babies up to a year old. Childcare available. Takes place at Midwifery Care of Holyoke. 413-534-2700. 230 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5-8pm – ART WALK: On the first Thursday of every month, the Amherst Art Walk takes place. Families can enjoy arts and culture, entertainment, shopping and dining. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 6-10pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Visit the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College! It’s home to a large variety of natural wonders, including the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks and lots of exhibits on local natural history. 413-542-2165. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Sing some chanteys and bar songs at the Brewmaster’s Tavern– and order some delicious food and drinks while you sing! Takes place on the first and third Thursdays of each month. 4 Main Street. 413-268-7741. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE) ♦

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Friday, December 14th, 2012

10:30-11:30am – ANIMAL STUDIES: How do New England animals survive the winter?  They all have unique adaptations that allow them to deal with the cold temperatures and changing food landscape.  Learn about these adaptations and the creatures that you may see in the winter at the Great Falls Discovery Center!  413-863-3221.  2 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

4-7pm – MYO HOLIDAY GIFTS: The Art Garden is hosting a family workshop to make your own gifts & ornaments this holiday season. All ages welcomed. Drop-in. Materials provided and idea to make small gifts or seasonal/holiday ornaments.  Feel free to bring photocopies of your favorite photographs to personalize what you make  and bring a snack to share if you have the time and inclination.  413-625-2782.  14 Depot Street (same building as Trolley Museum). Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)

4-9pm – HISTORY/HOLIDAY: Celebrate the holiday season the old-fashioned way at Old Sturbridge Village!  The historic village’s Christmas by Candlelight series offers families a chance to enjoy non-commercial, relaxed holiday festivities and activities.  Go for a sleigh ride, learn about roasting chestnuts over an open fireplace, make your own tin holiday ornaments, vote for your favorite homemade gingerbread house, sing along to Christmas carols with villagers dressed in period clothing, and more!  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

5-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS/SANTA: Walk through a Winter Wonderland at the Crane & Company’s Model Farm.  Both indoors and outdoors, families can enjoy the lights, holiday music and a visit from Santa. Bring your cameras!  413-684-2472. 161 Main Street. Dalton, MA (FREE)

5-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Forest Park is filled with festive holiday lights!  Visit Bright Nights to see the beautiful displays and wander through the park in the crisp wintry air.  413-733-3800.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

5:30-7:30pm – SANTA: Buttery Brook Park is decorated for the holidays, and tonight specifically it has been transformed into Santa’s Land!  It’s a holiday wonderland filled with beautiful lights displays, and Santa will be there, too!  Meet the man in red, have a ride on the train, and visit the park’s animals to with them a happy holiday, too.  123 Willamansett Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

7-9pm – TALENT SHOW: Main Stage is hosting a talent show, filled with great acts and sponsored by Community Resources for People with Autism.  Every participant in the show has Autism or a similar learning difference – seeing the show can help raise awareness about Autism help to clear up common misconceptions about the condition.  It can also help kids understand that their community is made up of a diverse group of people, and can help them learn to appreciate and embrace differences.  20 Franklin Street.  Lee, MA. 

ONGOING FOR FRIDAYS

  • 9-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: In the gym at Shutesbury Elementary School, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413-259-1212. 23 West Pelham Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • F9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At Whole Children, for little ones up to age five. 37 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – MOVIE: The Berkshire Athenaeum shows short kids’ movies every Friday morning. Call to check what’s playing! 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a postpartum support group for mothers with babies up to a year old at the Community Action Family Center. Childcare available. 413-475-1566. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: On the first and third Fridays of each month, the YMCA of Greenfield hosts Jump Into Fitness playgroup! Lots of fun physical activity. Snack provided. 413-475-1543. 451 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15-11am – STORYTIME: The Mason Library hosts Young Children’s Storytime this morning! 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: For little ones at the Pelham Library! 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Monson Library’s baby group takes place this morning – kiddos ages 0-2 and their caregivers can visit for stories, songs, and playtime. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – STORYTIME: The Heath Library offers bi-weekly storytime throughout the fall. 413-337-4934. 1 East Main Street. Heath, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Pre-school storytime at the Griswold Memorial Library! 413-624-3619. 12 Main Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – PLAYGROUP: The Haskins Center hosts baby group! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the community room at the Lanesborough Town Hall. 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – AQUARIUM ADVENTURE: Meet an animal at the Berkshire Museum! Friends from the aquarium will be shared, and kids can learn all about them through stories and activities. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 11-11:40am – STORYTIME: The Greenfield Library hosts Mother Goose on the Loose, a special lap-sit story hour for kids under the age of 3. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11-12:50: ICE SKATING: There will be an ice skating session at the Mullins Center for homeschoolers through June ’13. Some skate sessions can be bumped due to UMass ice hockey, so call to confirm before heading out. 413-230-6516. UMass Mullins Center. 200 Commonwealth Ave. Amherst, MA (>$)
  • 7-10pm – TWEEN: Kids in grades 6-8 can enjoy a fun night out with friends at the Greenwood Center! Hosted by Longmeadow Rec Dept, the event features DJ dance music, and will be supervised by adults. Dress code is the same as school, and students must sign in before entering. Takes place on the second and fourth Friday of each month. 413-565-4163. 231 Maple Road. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Williams College’s Milham Planetarium offers free shows on Friday evenings! Using the planetarium’s Zeiss Skymaster, Williams students will teach visitors about all sorts of astronomical phenomena, including phases of the moon, retrograde planetary motion, varying colors/temperatures of stars, constellations and zodiac signs, and more! Reservations recommended but not required. 413-597-2188. 829 Main Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 8:30pm-12:30am – DANCE: Dance the night away at Dance Spree, a family-friendly, substance free, barefoot community night of dancing! Kids of all ages are welcome, but young children must be accompanied by adults. Takes place on the 4th floor of the Fitzwilly’s building. 25 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (<$) ♦

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