Suggested Events for November 23rd-29th, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families has been a huge help to our family! It’s a wonderful resource to find out what is happening in our community (and surrounding communities). We have learned about many things in the area that we were unaware of as well! Thanks Hilltown Families! – Renee Hill (Easthampton, MA)

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, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. 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.

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BULLETIN BOARD

Nov 23

Art Supporting Music – The Little Drummer Craft Fair returns to Franklin County Technical School on Saturday, November 23rd, 9am-4pm. Proceeds from the show benefit the FCTS music department and award winning Drumline! This juried craft fair features artists from throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond, selling unique handcrafted products. Crafts include woodworking, naturals, soaps, creams, salves and lavender, fiber arts and felted creations, jewelry, oil paintings, upholstery, hooked rugs, photography, pet gifts, books, soft toys, quilts & much more! Free admission, plenty of free parking, held indoors, completely ADA accessible. Raffles, refreshments & bake sale courtesy of FCTS student chefs. Find them on Facebook, or at http://www.fcts.org.

Open House Nov 23

The Common School in Amherst will host an Open House on Saturday, November 23rd from 10am-12noon. Offering independent, progressive education for children age 3-12 in the Pioneer Valley, The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and commitment to the environment. Parents and children are welcome to come to the Open House. Come meet the faculty, play in classrooms, and explore the beautiful campus. Accepting applications now for fall 2014. To schedule a visit call 413-256-8989. Find out more at www.commonschool.org

Nov 23

Hartsbrook Winter FairVisit the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair this Saturday, November 23rd in Hadley, MA! Enjoy King Winter, roving musicians, unique crafts to make and buy, candle dipping, jump rope making, games, food, and pony rides. See the performance, The Snow Maiden: A Marionette Show, performed by The Cobb Meadow Marionette Troupe. Storyteller/musician, John Porcino, will perform Celebrations of Light: Stories and Songs to Celebrate the Holiday Season. Come experience the magic that abounds at the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair! There is nothing else like it! Saturday November 23rd. 10:00am – 4:00pm, 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Dec 1

Community Chanukah Celebration at Congregation B’Nai Israel in Northampton, MA on Sunday, December 1st. Party from 4-6pm and movie screening from 6:15-8pm. All are welcome to CBI’s family friendly, Chanukah celebration which will include a live band and dancing, menorah lighting, homemade latkes and treats, and beer for the adults. The party will be followed by a family friendly movie around 6:15. Please bring your own menorah if you have one! For more information contact rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org or visit www.facebook.com/events/671743382859860.

Open House Dec 2

Gan Keshet Jewish Community Preschool: Open House on Monday, December 2 from 9:30-11:30am (Snow date, Mon., Dec 16), 253 Prospect Street, Northampton. Come visit their preschool classroom & meet their experienced staff. Gan Keshet is a play-based, discovery-oriented preschool that offers: Part/Full Day Options until 5:15, gardening and summer program. They are accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year. Ask about the HGF Right Start Grant- your family could be eligible to receive $500-1000 towards your child’s tuition! The Preschool values diversity and welcomes all families in the community. Contact their Director, Wendy Stein, at 413-584-3593 x204 for additional details. cbinorthampton.org/education-2/preschool/general-information

Dec 5

Come to the Odyssey Bookshop on Thursday, December 5th at 4pm to meet someone very special. The Grinch himself will read aloud from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Enjoy free giveaways, stickers, snacks and more! There will even be a photo opportunity with the Grinch himself— so parents, don’t forget to bring your cameras! Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. www.odysseybks.com 413-534-7307

Dec 6-8

The LEGO® KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford, CT at the Connecticut Convention Center from December 6-8. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks, not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Friends and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. There are five identical sessions available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, log on to www.LEGOKidsFest.com.

Dec 30

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

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

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

HILLTOWN FAMILIES EVENTS

This holiday season, Hilltown Families is hosting a Virtual Holiday Food Drive in support of food security in our region! Every $1 donated through the Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive equals $13 worth of food distributed to families in need (the equivalent of nearly 10 meals!). Please take a moment to participate in the Hilltown Families Virtual Holiday Food Drive, and consider organizing a food drive in your community too.

On Saturday, December 7th, from 9:30-11am, Hilltown Families is sponsoring a free Board Game Swap in the community room at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for friends and family too. Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to everyone.

A Serving of Art: A Hilltown Families’ Family Community Service Night: Engaging your family in community service teaches kids positive values while opening up channels of communication between parent and child, and can increase their participation as future volunteers in their community! Join us for an evening of community service on Friday, December 13th from 4-7pm in Shelburne Falls at The Art Garden, for A Serving of Art: Placemat Making, the first in a series of five free family community service nights!


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 23rd-29th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

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. – This rebroadcast Thanksgiving episode by Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband explores, through music and story, some of the many, many things we have to be grateful for in our lives — like the sun, rain, friends and family – – culminating in a vision for world peace where everyone finally has enough food, shelter, community and love. – Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from 6 years of archived show.

9am-4pm – CRAFT FAIR: The Little Drummer Craft Fair takes place today at Franklin County Technical School.  The juried craft fair features local and regional artists and craftspeople and is a great place to find handmade gifts.  Crafts include woodworking, soaps/creams/salves, jewelry, quilts, paintings, fiber arts, rugs, toys, paper products, and much more.  A full schedule and more information is available here.  Proceeds benefit the FCTS Music Department and Drumline.  413-863-8119.  82 Industrial Boulevard.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

The Common School in Amherst will host an Open House on Saturday, November 23rd from 10am-12noon.

10am – HISTORY/FURNITURE: A member of the Old Sturbridge Village curatorial staff will lead a tour of their exhibition, “The Furniture and Life of Nathan Lombard.”  Learn about Lombard’s furniture, see artifacts, and hear stories about his life and work.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  

10am-1pm – NATURE STUDIES: Discover the unique boreal forest ecology of Tamarack Hollow with Aimee Gelinas.  This forest, at 2,000-feet elevation, features interesting evergreen trees and plants, including balsam fir, red spruce, Christmas fern, and others.  In addition to discovering these unique boreal forest characteristics, you will get to see cellar holes from the 1800s!  This is a moderate, three-mile hike that is best for older students.  Please register in advance.  413-584-3009.  Savoy Hollow Road.  Windsor, MA.  $$

10am-2pm – HOLIDAY FARMERS’ MARKET: The Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market features holiday ingredients and gifts from local farmers and artisans.  Support local agriculture and craftspeople this holiday season!  Takes place at Monument Valley Middle School.  413-528-0041.  313 Monument Valley Road.  Great Barrington, MA.

10am-4pm – CULINARY ARTS/LOCAL HISTORY: Discover New Englanders of the past cooked their Thanksgiving meals at Historic Deerfield’s Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration!  Cooks will prepare traditional Thanksgiving dishes using hearth cooking methods and will discuss the history of harvest celebrations and the evolution of the Thanksgiving holiday in America.  Free with museum admission.  413-774-5581.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  $

10am-4pm – CRAFT FAIR: Snow Farm’s Seconds Sale is happening this weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Come to Snow Farm for this early holiday outing, where you can find beautiful works of art at great prices made by over 150 craftspeople.  This a great place to shop for beautiful handmade holiday items.  There will be pottery, glassware, furniture, scarves, bags, jewelry, and much more.  413-268-3101.  5 Clary Road.  Williamsburg, MA.

10am-4pm – MYO GIFT: Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back at least 2,000 years with origins in Jerusalem, spreading to the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC.  Originally, the craft of blowing glass was used for utilitarian purposes, like containers, table wear and window glass. It wasn’t until the late 60’s was glassblowing was raised to the level of art, lead by German artist, Hans Godo Frabel. This weekend families can try glassblowing hands-on at Snow Farm. Make your own glass ornament with the help of a master glass blower in the glass studio. Learn about the art of glass blowing and walk away with your very own holiday keepsake… a great tradition to do with your family year after year! This is part of Snow Farm’s Seconds Sale weekend where more than 150 craftspeople from across the country sell their seconds. 413-268-3101. 5 Clary Road. Williamsburg, MA ($)

10am-4pm – CRAFT FAIR: The Hartsbrook School’s Holiday Fair is today!  Come by for live music, demonstrations, performances, activities, and a marketplace full of handmade gifts.  Get unique holidays gifts at this event while spending time with family and friends.  413-584-3198.  193 Bay Road.  Hadley, MA.

10am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: The Berkshire Museum’s annual Festival of Trees kicks off today and runs until January 2.  This year’s theme is “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” and features trees that represent milestones from the past, the present, and the future.  This is a fun family-oriented holiday event that is ongoing through the holiday season, and is not to be missed!  More information available here.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.

10:30am – CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Illustrator Leslie Goldstein Hager will be at the Storrs Library to read and sign copies of her book My Fantastic Awesome Fun Day at School.  She will also discuss and demonstrate her illustration process.  Fans of the book and those who want to learn more about the process of creating children’s books will love this event, which is appropriate for all ages.  The library will provide refreshments.  Please register in advance.  413-565-4182.  693 Longmeadow Street.  Longmeadow, MA.

10:30am-11:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Take a closer look at one of our local watersheds at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s, “Watershed Investigators,” a special family program where kids can learn new ways to look at and understand the world around them using games, crafts, exploration, etc. Designed to best fit students in grades 2-5, but all ages are welcome.  413-863-3221.  2 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

10:30am-2:30pm – HOLIDAY CRAFT: Make a gingerbread house at Old Sturbridge Village’s Gingerbread House Workshop.  Spend time as a family and get into the holiday spirit at this fun workshop!  The cost also includes a hot lunch and admission to the Village.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  $$

11am-12noon – CHEMISTRY: Be a mad scientist at the Berkshire Museum! Along with the help of the museum’s very own crazy chemist, kids can learn how to do exciting and surprising (and safe!) experiments with regular household materials. Kitchen Kaboom! is totally kid-safe, but adults must accompany participating scientists. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

11am-12:30pm – LITERACY/STORYTIME: The Jones Library and MassHumanities present “Family Adventures in Reading,” a six-week storytelling program.  Storyteller Motoko Dworkin read stories and lead discussions on topics such as courage, fairness, and dreams.  For kids 6 and older and their parents.  Please call to sign up.  413-259-3091.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.

11am-4pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: The Shelburne Falls Farmers’ Market is hosting its 3rd annual Autumn Market at the Buckland Shelburne Elementary School.  There will be produce, crafters, food, bake tables, and live music by Adela and Jude. 413-773-5666. Mechanic Street. Shelburne Falls, MA (MARKET)

11:30am – FAMILY CONCERT: Milkshake is a Grammy-nominated band that makes fun rock music for kids.  They are performing at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, so bring the whole family and have a great time at this exciting concert.  413-662-2111.  1040 MASS MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  $

1pm-4pm – TRAINS: Celebrate trains at this special locomotive-themed family day at the Norman Rockwell Museum, inspired by their exhibition, Wendell Minor’s America.  There will be artist and gallery talks, readings, hands-on art activities, music, and more.  Get excited for this event by checking out Hilltown Families’ post, “Railroads and Locomotives: Three Childrens Books About Trains.”  The event at the Norman Rockwell Museum is free with admission.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  $$

2pm – CHILDREN’S THEATER: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents “Mr. Seahorse and a House for Hermit Crab,” a Picture Book Theatre performance based on the book by Eric Carle.  Kids can see their favorite stories come to life at the fun and unique performances.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-658-1126.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  >$

2pm & 7pm – THEATER: Northampton High School Theater presents Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a play that turns Hamlet inside out and places minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  This performance draws from a classic Shakespeare play and is funny and enjoyable for all ages.  380 Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  $

2pm-3:30pm – PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY: WGBY Education presents a screening of the new American Experience film, JFK.  The film tells the story of John F. Kennedy’s life, presidency, and death, and is an excellent resource to those who want to know more about him and his legacy.  Following the film, there will be a panel with several local historians.  The film will be screened in Scibelli Hall Auditorium, on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

6pm – THEATER: Ja’Duke Productions presents Annie at Yankee Candle Theater.  People of all ages will love seeing this classic comic strip-turned-musical come to life at Yankee Candle Village.  Tickets and more information available here.  877-636-7707.  25 Greenfield Road.  South Deerfield, MA.  $$

7pm – STORYTELLING: Tellabration happens at Dickinson Memorial Library, a captivating storytelling event for adults & teens.  Be inspired and travel the world through the words and voices of master storytellers.  Featuring: Onawumi Jean Moss and Davis Bates.  Guests: Christine Fontaine, Pater Field and Ted Thornton. 413-498-2455. 115 Main St. Northfield, MA (FREE)

7:30pm – CONCERT/MUSIC STUDIES: The Mt. Holyoke College Jazz Ensembles’ annual winter concert, “Hot Jazz on a Cold Night,” is tonight.  The concert features music by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters, Alan Baylock, Gordon Goodwin, Van Morrison, and the Real Group.  This concert would be great for anyone who likes jazz music.  413-538-2306.  Lower Lake Road.  South Hadley, MA.

8pm – THEATER: The Bay Path College Performing Art Department presents a production of Into the Woods, a musical about a baker and his wife, who try to change lift a family curse by journeying into the woods.  Here they find Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and other fairytale characters.  This fun musical will entertain family members of all ages.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-565-1307.  588 Longmeadow Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  $

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

8pm – DANCE: Make date night extra special by seeing a performance by Parsons Dance at the UMass Fine Arts Center.  Parsons’ dance troupe will perform beautifully choreographed dance pieces that mix athleticism with joyous movement.  After the performance, there will be a Talk-Back with the company and UMass dance professor Paul Dennis, giving audience members a chance to learn more about the performers and their choreography.  Tickets and more information can be found here.  413-545-2511.  151 Presidents Drive.  Amherst, MA.  $$+

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Sunday, November 24th, 2013

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 6 years of archived shows.

10am-2pm – HOLIDAY FARMERS’ MARKET: The Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market features holiday ingredients and gifts from local farmers and artisans, and cooking classes for kids.  Support local agriculture and craftspeople this holiday season!  Takes place at Williams College Towne Field House.  413-528-0041.  Latham Street.  Williamstown, MA.

10am-2pm – HIKING: Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for a hike along the Hoosac Range to the cliffs of Spruce Hill.  The hike offers beautiful views of the area, including Mt. Greylock.  It is a moderate, 4.5 mile hike on rocky terrain with significant elevation gain – this hike would be best for older teens and adults.  Directions and more information available here.  413-499-0596.  Route 2.  North Adams, MA.

10am-4pm – HANUKKAH: The Yiddish Book Center’s 2013 Hanukkah Celebration for all ages is today!  Staff from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will be on hand to do Hanukkah craft activities, and there will be a singing circle, guided tours, and scavenger hunts.  Celebrate Hanukkah and enjoy time with family and friends at this special holiday event.  413-256-4900.  1021 West Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – CRAFT FAIR: Snow Farm’s Seconds Sale is happening this weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Come to Snow Farm for this early holiday outing, where you can find beautiful works of art at great prices made by over 150 craftspeople.  This a great place to shop for beautiful handmade holiday items.  There will be pottery, glassware, furniture, scarves, bags, jewelry, and much more.  413-268-3101.  5 Clary Road.  Williamsburg, MA.

11am-2pm – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: It’s Family Fun Day at Heritage Academy!  Stop by for raffles, games, food, face painting, a book fair, and more.  413-567-1517.  594 Converse Street.  Longmeadow, MA.

1pm – LOCAL HISTORY: The Plainfield Historical Society and Dario Coletta, Plainfield landscape historian, are leading “Exploring Plainfield’s History Through Hidden Landmarks.”  Coletta will take you to little-known historical sites, including an animal pound, cemeteries, and a stone cave from the 19th century.  Older students interested in local history will have fun on this informative tour.  Meet behind Plainfield Congregational Church.  Church Lane.  Plainfield, MA.  SUGGESTED DONATION $

2pm – THEATER: Ja’Duke Productions presents Annie at Yankee Candle Theater.  People of all ages will love seeing this classic comic strip-turned-musical come to life at Yankee Candle Village.  Tickets and more information available here.  877-636-7707.  25 Greenfield Road.  South Deerfield, MA.  $$

2pm – THEATER: The Bay Path College Performing Art Department presents a production of Into the Woods, a musical about a baker and his wife, who try to change lift a family curse by journeying into the woods.  Here they find Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and other fairytale characters.  This fun musical will entertain family members of all ages.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-565-1307.  588 Longmeadow Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  $

2:15pm-3:15pm – PLAYGROUP: Join the Community Network for Children for “Let’s Get Moving” playgroup at the Greenfield YMCA.  Children in grade 3 and younger can come play in the gymnastics gym’s foam pit, on climbing structures, balance beams, and more.  Kids can improve their balance skills while having fun!  978-544-5157.  451 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

4pm – GOVERNMENT STUDIES: Donald L. Robinson, author of Town Meeting: Practicing Democracy in Rural New England, will be at the Stockbridge Library to discuss his book and review the history, pros, and cons of the town meeting form of local government.  He will also examine how democratic self-government functions in the modern context.  This event would be best for older students interested in government studies and U.S. history.  413-298-5501.  46 Main Street.  Stockbridge, MA.

4:30pm-6:30pm – JEWISH TRADITIONS/THANKSGIVING: Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, a once-in-79,000 years occurrence, with Beit Ahavah at their “Community Hanukkah Celebration & Latke Factory: Lights, Liberty, and Latkes” event!  This annual family and community event brings people together to celebrate Hanukkah and give thanks.  Please bring a warm winter clothing item to donate to the Survival Center.  413-587-3770.  130 Pine Street.  Florence, MA.

5pm – CHRISTMAS: Kick off the holiday season with Yankee Candle Village at their tree-lighting ceremony.  More information and other Yankee Candle holiday events are listed here.  877-636-7707.  25 Greenfield Road.  South Deerfield, MA.  

7pm – SUSTAINABILITY: The literary world — and the Hilltowns, too — are talking about an extraordinarily important book, Alan Weisman’s Countdown. The book is important because it is well-written, exhaustively (literally) researched, global and local. But, transcending all these virtues, it is important because of the hard questions it asks and the bright, brave ideas it unearths. The subject is no less than how humans can make peace with Mother Earth and make ourselves something the earth can afford. The questions and the answers challenge the orthodoxies of economics, foreign policy, agriculture and religion. Alan will be taking a break from his book tour to talk about all these issues, answer questions and sign copies of Countdown. Church Lane. West Cummington, MA.

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Monday, November 25th, 2013

10:15am-11am – LITERACY: You and your child can work together to develop pre-reading skills at the Mason Library’s “Every Child Ready to Read” workshop.  The workshop is for preschoolers and their parents/caregivers.  It focuses on the five early literacy practices – talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing along with activities.  This is a great chance to introduce your young child to the world of reading!  This is a five week session and you must enroll for all five meetings.  Registration is required.  413-528-2403 x4.  231 Main Street.  Great Barrington, MA.

4pm-6pm – MUSIC STUDIES: The Northampton Community Music Center and Stamell Strings are holding a showing of fine stringed instruments for children.  Parents and students can come see violins, violas, and cellos and kids can try smaller-sized instruments to see which ones are a good fit.  This free event is a great way for kids to get introduced to stringed instruments and get a feel for them.  If you’re interested in purchasing one, you will get 25% off.  413-585-0001.  139 South Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE)

6pm-7pm – HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS: Join the Wistariahurst Museum as they continue their fall lecture series, “Historical Culinary Incidents: An Exploration of Food and Culture in the Pioneer Valley.”  This week, Mike Kelly presents “In the Kitchen with Emily: the Dickinson Collection at Amherst College.”  Kelly will speak about the many poems and letters at Amherst College’s Archives and Special Collections, many of which include evidence of Dickinson’s time in the kitchen, making cake, doughnuts, and cookies.  Those who are fans of the poet or who are interested in historical food or archives would benefit from this lecture.  413-322-5660.  238 Cabot Street.  Holyoke, MA.  $

7pm – PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY/FILM: Our Nixon is a documentary about Richard Nixon, made exclusively using archival footage shot by three of Nixon’s aides on a Super 8 camera.  The film, shot by H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin was seized during Watergate and filed away and forgotten for nearly forty years.  Director Penny Lane and Producer Brian L. Frye took this footage and created this documentary, which paints a complex portrait of Nixon and the Watergate scandal.  Lane and Frye will be at Amherst Cinema for the screening and to answer questions.  Tickets and more information available here.  413-253-2547.  28 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  $

ONGOING FOR MONDAYS (Always double check events before heading out. To add your ongoing event/activity here, email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com)

  • 9-10am – PLAYGROUP: Collaborative’s Early Childhood Department hosts a drop-in playgroup for children birth-5 with their parents/caregivers through June at First Congregational Church of Hatfield. 413-586-4998 x102. 41 Main St. Hatfield, MA (FREE)
  • 9am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center has drop-in playgroup every Monday, including snacks, circle time, activities, and more. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. North Amherst, MA
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: CHP Family Network offers a “gym fun” playgroup at West Stockbridge Town Hall. 413-464-5095. 21 State Line Road. West Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, stories, snacks, and circle time. For pre-K children and their siblings. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, lower level. Northampton, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The South Hadley Family Center offers playgroups every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am at All Saints Episcopal Church. Stop by for open play, crafts, stories, music, and more. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Stop by Otis Town Hall for playgroup every Monday! 413-464-5095. 1 North Main Road. Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Play and Learn Group at the Williamstown Youth Center for kids walking-age up to age five. Includes puzzles, play dough, riding toys, balls, books, and more. 413-663-6593. 66 School Street. Williamstown, MA.
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 10am-12noon. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Storytime for babies 2 and under and their parents at the East Longmeadow Library. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – MOVEMENT: “Music for Little Ones” at the Pelham Library features a half hour of music and movement for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Stop by the Meekins Library on the first and third Monday of each month for playgroup. Storytime, games, and arts and crafts are featured. For kids 8 and under. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12:30pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman is returning to the Hilltowns for a weekly drop-in group for mothers of young children. The group offers a supportive environment for mothers to discuss motherhood and all aspects of raising young children. Takes place at the St. John’s Corner House Mission. 413-625-6948. 469 Main Street. Ashfield, MA.
  • 3:15pm-4:15pm – CHESS: Kids in grade 2 and up are invited to the Storrs Library for their weekly drop-in chess program. Come play with other kids and improve your chess skills! 413-565-4182. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm-7pm – CHESS: The Sunderland Public Library is holding chess club every Tuesday until the end of November. Come by and learn the art and science of chess, including sportsmanship, fair play, and how to learn from one another. This program is intended for children and their parents or caregivers, and will teach the whole family a great way to bond and spend time together. Ages 7 and up. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA.

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Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

4pm, 5pm, & 6pm – COMMUNITY MEAL/THANKSGIVING: Berkshire South Regional Community Center is holding a Community Thanks Supper.  Join together with friends, family, and community members to celebrate the Berkshires and all you are thankful for this season.  This event is free, but reservations are required.  413-528-2810 x10.  15 Crissey Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR TUESDAYS (Always double check events before heading out. To add your ongoing event/activity here, email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com)

  • 9am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center has drop-in playgroup every Monday, including snacks, circle time, activities, and more.  413-256-1145.  1200 North Pleasant Street.  North Amherst, MA
  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The CHP Family Center is holding a “Toddler Steps” playgroup for kids 18 months to three years.  Takes place at CHP Family Services Building every Tuesday and Thursday.  413-464-5095. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, stories, snacks, and circle time.  For pre-K children and their siblings.  413-582-2636.  297 Main Street, lower level.  Northampton, MA.  
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The South Hadley Family Center offers playgroups every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am at All Saints Episcopal Church.  Stop by for open play, crafts, stories, music, and more.  413-533-7096.  7 Woodbridge Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)
  • 9:30am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Belchertown Family Center is open every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-12noon for drop-in playgroup.  413-283-7594.  720 Franklin Street.  Belchertown, MA.
  • 9:30am-12noon – PARENT/CHILD GROUP: Gateway Family Center offers a parent-child school readiness group every Tuesday from until June.  413-667-2203.  9 Russell Road.  Huntington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Palmer Monson Family Network’s drop-in playgroup runs every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and is open to families with young children.  Creative play, snack time, and circle time.  413-283-6246.  4 Springfield Street.  Three Rivers, MA.  (FREE)
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Storytime for toddlers at the Berkshire Athenaeum.  413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Weekly playgroup at Sunderland Elementary School for kids 5 and under.  Every Tuesday and Friday.  Old Amherst Road.  Sunderland, MA.
  • 10am-11am – STORYTIME: Join the Greenfield Public Library for a weekly storytime!  This event includes stories, songs, fingerplays, and crafts for kids age five and under.  413-772-1544 x5.  402 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for pre-K kids with educational games and hands-on activities.  Takes place at Haskins Center.  413-663-6593.  210 State Street.  North Adams, MA.
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 10am-12noon.  413-527-5496.  43 Main Street.  Easthampton, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School announces the return of “Rhyme Time” to Matrushka Toys and Gifts.  Rhyme Time is a weekly, drop-in event for young children and their caregivers, and it features seasonal songs, nursery rhymes, and puppetry.  413-528-6911.  309 Main Street.  Great Barrington, MA.
  • 10:30am – MUSIC: Sing with your baby at the Jones Library!  Preschool-aged children and their parents can come to the library to learn songs and musical games.  This is a great chance to introduce your young children to music.  Runs every Tuesday until November 12.  413-259-3090.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School hosts Rhyme Time, a song and story circle for young children with a parent or caregiver, at Matrushka Toys and Gifts. All are welcome to this weekly drop-in event. Led by Waldorf parent-child teacher Trice Atchison, Rhyme Time engages babies and young children in seasonal songs, nursery rhymes and simple puppetry. 413-528-6911. 309 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
  • 11am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Every Tuesday is toddler storytime at the Lenox Library!  Come by for interactive board books, stories, songs, and fingerplays.  For kids 18 months to 3 years.  413-637-0197.  18 Main Street.  Lenox, MA.  (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Come by the Goodwin Memorial Library for “Lunatunes!” a dynamic storytime with songs, movement, stories, and original art.  For babies through age 5.  413-584-7451.  Route 47 & Route 9.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)
  • 11am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Every Tuesday is storytime for preschoolers and toddlers at the Lenox Library!  Come by for interactive board books, stories, songs, and fingerplays.  For kids 18 months to 5 years.  413-637-0197.  18 Main Street.  Lenox, MA.  (FREE)
  • 11am-12:30pm – STORYTIME: Weekly story time, snack and get-together for preK kids and their caregivers. Becket-Washington Library. 413-623-5483. 3367 Main Street. Becket, MA (FREE)
  • 3-5pm – TEENS: The Lilly Library hosts a weekly, drop in teen program for ages 12-17yo. Activities include games, crafts, book chat, movies, snacks. 413-587-1500. 19 Meadow Street. Florence, MA (FREE)
  • 3pm – LEGOS: Lego Club is every Tuesday at the Bushnell-Sage Library!  Come to the library and make new friends while creating Lego masterpieces.  413-229-7004.  48 Main Street.  Sheffield, MA.
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm – LEGOS: Lego Club meets at the Adams Library the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.  For kids 4-8.  Please call to sign up.  413-664-4821.  92 Park Street.  Adams, MA.  
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Come to Gabriel Abbott Memorial School Gym for a gym group for kids up to age 8.  The group is all about indoor active play, but also includes an art project, circle time, and a snack.  Siblings welcome.  413-663-6593.  56 N Country Road.  Florida, MA.
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: It’s Pajama Storytime at the Monson Free Library!  Wear your pajamas and enjoy stories and fun.  Happens the second Tuesday of each month.  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.
  • 7pm-8:15pm – BOOK CLUB: The Jones Library’s diversity book club meets the second Tuesday of each month, and focuses on fiction and non-fiction books that explore various aspects of human diversity, including race, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, appearance, educational and social background, and other topics.  This group is meant for adults, but mature, self-directed teens would benefit from the book club.  413-259-3090.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA. 

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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

5pm – TREE LIGHTING: Kick off the holidays at the North Adams Tree Lighting Ceremony and Hometown Holidays!  There will be live music by the Drury Band, a visit from Santa, and other holiday fun.  Bring the whole family and enjoy this beautiful display of lights.  Main Street.  North Adams, MA.

5pm-8pm – HANUKKAH: The Springfield Jewish Community Center is holding a First Light Community Hanukkah Celebration tonight.  Come by for games, singing, refreshments, a family-turkey menorah project, and the lighting of the largest menorah in Western Mass!  413-739-4715.  1160 Dickinson Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAYS (Always double check events before heading out. To add your ongoing event/activity here, email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com)

  • 9am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Palmer Monson Family Network’s infant/toddler group runs every Wednesday.  Kids age 2 and under can explore age-appropriate toys and the playroom, and enjoy a snack and circle time.  Please no children or siblings over age 2.  413-283-6246.  4 Springfield Street.  Three Rivers, MA.  (FREE)
  • 9am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center has drop-in playgroup every Monday, including snacks, circle time, activities, and more.  413-256-1145.  1200 North Pleasant Street.  North Amherst, MA
  • 9am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Kids from birth to age five and their caregivers can come to the First Congregational Church of Hatfield for playgroup, including snacks, stories, and songs.  413-586-4998 x102.  41 Main Street.  Hatfield, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Stop by the Cummington Family Center for playgroup for kids 5 and under!  There will be stories, arts and crafts, songs, and playtime.  Takes place at Community House.  Main Street.  Cummington, MA.
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: There will be a loosely structured playgroup at the Clapp Memorial Library every Wednesday for kids from birth to age five.  413-323-0417.  19 South Main Street.  Belchertown, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: There will be playgroup every Wednesday at the Lenox Community Center.  413-464-5095.  65 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, stories, snacks, and circle time.  For pre-K children and their siblings.  413-582-2636.  297 Main Street, lower level.  Northampton, MA.  
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The South Hadley Family Center offers playgroups every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am at All Saints Episcopal Church.  Stop by for open play, crafts, stories, music, and more.  413-533-7096.  7 Woodbridge Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)
  • 9:30am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Belchertown Family Center is open every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30am-12noon for drop-in playgroup.  413-283-7594.  720 Franklin Street.  Belchertown, MA.
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Weekly storytime at the Holyoke Public Library.  413-322-5640.  335 Maple Street.  Holyoke, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Come by the Westhampton Library for playgroup the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.  Features games, arts and crafts, and storytime.  For kids 8 and under.  1 North Road.  Westhampton, MA.
  • 10:30am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Stop by the Edwards Library on the first and third Wednesday of each month for playgroup.  Storytime, games, and arts and crafts are featured.  For kids 8 and under.  30 East Street.  Southampton, MA
  • 10am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Weekly storytime at the New Marlborough Library.  413-464-5095.  1 Mill River-Great Barrington Road.  New Marlborough, MA.  (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Weekly playgroup at Erving Elementary School for kids 5 and under.  Sponsored by Community Network for Children.  978-544-5157.  Northfield Road.  Erving, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Weekly playgroup at Wendell Free Library for kids 5 and under.  Sponsored by Community Network for Children.  978-544-5157.  7 Wendell Depot Road.  Wendell, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Weekly Tales and Tunes playgroup at the Leverett Library for kids 5 and under.  Sponsored by Community Network for Children.  978-544-5157.  75 Montague Road.  Leverett, MA.
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup at the Gateway Family Center every Wednesday and Friday.  413-667-2203.  9 Russell Road.  Huntington, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: It’s storytime at the Monson Free Library for kids ages 2-5!  Come by for stories, snacks, crafts, and fun.  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Come to the Mason Square Branch Library for storytime, songs, and crafts.  For ages 3-8.  413-263-6853.  765 State Street.  Springfield, MA.
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Weekly story hour at the Tilton Library.  413-665-4683.  75 North Main Street.  South Deerfield, MA.
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Join the Dickinson Memorial Library for storytime every Wednesday.  There will be movement, stories, music, crafts, and a snack.  413-498-2455.  115 Main Street.  Northfield, MA.
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Preschoolers and their caregivers can come to storytime at the Dickinson Memorial Library every Wednesday for stories, music, movement, and crafts. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA.
  • 1pm-4pm – HIKING: Explore Mt. Greylock’s exciting and hidden features and learn all about the mountain in the process.  413-499-4262.  30 Rockwell Road.  Lanesborough, MA.
  • 3pm – CHESS: Chess Club is every Wednesday at the Bushnell-Sage Library!  Come to the library and make new friends while improving your chess skills.  413-229-7004.  48 Main Street.  Sheffield, MA.
  • 4pm-5pm –  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)
  • 4pm – CHESS: Kids from kindergarten to 8th grade can drop by the East Longmeadow Public Library for chess!  This weekly program is open to kids of all skill levels, from beginner to chess pro.  Come make new friends and improve your chess skills.  413-525-5400 x4.  60 Center Square.  East Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime for kids ages 3-6 at the East Longmeadow Library.  413-525-5400 x1506.  60 Center Square.  East Longmeadow, MA.
  • 7:30pm-10:30pm – DANCE: Beginners and people of all skill levels can come dance the night away at Downtown Amherst Contra! This is a great way to have fun and meet new people in a low-pressure environment. Beginners can show up at 7 for a learning session. Best for older students and adults. Every Wednesday except the second Wednesday of each month. 99 Main Street. Amherst, MA. $

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Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving & Hanukkah!

Thanksgiving Support for Families in Need

Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn — Playlist/VideoPodcast

Heart of Chanukah Episode with Guest DJ, Doni Zasloff Thomas (Mama Doni) — Playlist/VideoPodcast

2pm – COMMUNITY DINNER: The Amherst Senior Center will serve its 39th Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the Bangs Community Center . This meal is primarily for folks 55 and older who are alone or unable to prepare their own meal. For those who are shut in, home deliveries can be arranged for early afternoon. In order to undertake this project, the Senior Center depends on donations and volunteers. If you wish to attend the Thanksgiving Day Dinner, or know someone who would, or if you can help, call Nancy Pagano at 413-259-3114. Amherst, MA

5-11pm – BRIGHT NIGHTS: Forest Park is lit up for the Holidays!  Springfield’s annual Bright Nights display features intricate, sparkly scenes throughout the park – there are elaborate displays, as well as decorative lights everywhere.  Celebrate the holidays with a drive through the park to enjoy the festive displays!  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

6pm – CONCERT: Celebrate Thanksgiving at a special performance by Arlo Guthrie at the Guthrie Center!  The concert is a practice gig for Arlo and Guthrie Family’s 46th annual Carnegie Hall performance.  If you don’t have Thanksgiving plans and would like to hear some live music, see here for more information.  Tickets will go fast, so get yours ASAP!  413-528-1955.  2 Van Deusenville Road.  Housatonic, MA.

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Friday, November 29th, 2013

10am-12noon – SANTA: Welcome Santa to town at the Hotel Northampton!  See Santa arrive at the hotel on a firetruck and stay for activities, refreshments, and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  413-584-3100.  36 King Street.  Northampton, MA.

10am-4pm – CULINARY ARTS/LOCAL HISTORY: Discover how New Englanders of the past cooked their Thanksgiving meals at Historic Deerfield’s Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration!  Cooks will prepare traditional Thanksgiving dishes using hearth cooking methods and will discuss the history of harvest celebrations and the evolution of the Thanksgiving holiday in America.  Free with museum admission.  413-774-5581.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  $

10am-4pm – CULTURAL STUDIES: Narragansett descendant Jennifer Lee will be at Historic Deerfield to discuss Native history and culture, and to demonstrate traditional bark basket making.  This is an opportunity to learn more about local and regional Native cultures.  Free with museum admission.  413-774-5581.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  $

10am-4pm – CRAFT FAIR: Snow Farm’s Seconds Sale is happening this weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Come to Snow Farm for this early holiday outing, where you can find beautiful works of art at great prices made by over 150 craftspeople.  This a great place to shop for beautiful handmade holiday items.  There will be pottery, glassware, furniture, scarves, bags, jewelry, and much more.  413-268-3101.  5 Clary Road.  Williamsburg, MA.

10am-5pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION/MUSEUM ADVENTURES: The Springfield Museums’ annual event to welcome the holiday season is here!  “Holiday Wonderland and Lighting of the Quadrangle” begins at 10am, with special exhibitions, performances, and hands-on art activities.  Then, at 5pm, the Museums and the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden light up to welcome Santa Claus to town.  There will be live music and carols, hot chocolate, and horse-drawn wagon rides.  The Lighting of the Quadrangle (5pm-7pm) is free and open to the public, while the Holiday Wonderland (10am-5pm) is free with museum admission.  1-800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  $$

10:30am-12:20pm – ICE SKATING: The UMass Mullins Center offers a Home School Skate for homeschooled students in the area.  Come enjoy this fun activity while hanging out with other homeschooled kids.  Skates included with cost.  413-545-3001.  200 Commonwealth Avenue.  Amherst, MA.  >$

10:30am-12:30pm – ICE SKATINGSmead Skating Arena is open for public skating.  Get the kids moving and skate off that pumpkin pie & extra serving of stuffing! Skates included with cost. 413-781-2599.  1780 Roosevelt Ave. Springfield, MA ($)

11am – HOLIDAY PARADE: The Spirit of Springfield’s annual Tower Square Parade of the Big Balloons is today!  This exciting parade takes place the day after Thanksgiving every year and features many large inflatable balloons.  The parade serves as an exciting way to welcome Santa Claus to town for the holiday season, and usually attracts up to 70,000 spectators!  Main Street.  Springfield, MA.

12noon-5:30pm – ADOPT A FELINE: Bringing a cat into your family is a lifelong commitment.  If you’ve been thinking about having a cat join your family for some time, Black Friday is a great day to do so! The Dakin Humane Society Adoption Centers in both Franklin and Hampden Counties are hosting their annual Black Friday Felines!  If you’ve been thinking about welcoming a new member to your family, Dakin invites you to skip the mall and come by on Black Friday to adopt an adult cat (6mo+) for only $5 (normally $95).  Not only will your kids have a new family member to care for starting this holiday season, but you will be giving these animals a new lease on life (plus, they’re so cut climbing up your Christmas tree!). 413-781-4000 x13. 171 Union Street, Springfield, MA -and- 163 Montague Road, Leverett, MA (>$)

1pm-4pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Are you interested in learning about animal tracking?  Join Earthwork Programs for an animal tracking workshop.  You can learn to identify tracks and sign, discover local wildlife, learn about animal behavior and local ecology, and explore your understanding and appreciation for the natural world.  This workshop would be best for older students/teens.  More information can be found here and registration is required.  413-340-1161.  LOCATION TBA. $$$

2pm & 3pm – CHILDREN’S THEATER: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art presents “Mr. Seahorse and a House for Hermit Crab,” a Picture Book Theatre performance based on the book by Eric Carle.  Kids can see their favorite stories come to life at the fun and unique performances.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-658-1126.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  >$

2-4pm – ICE SKATINGCollins/Moylan Arena is open for public skating. Bring the in-laws from out of town and enjoy time together on the ice! Skates included with cost. 413-772-6891.  41 Barr Avenue. Greenfield, MA ($)

3-5pm – ICE SKATING: Fitzpatrick Skating Arena is open for public skating. Forget about shopping… get your kids on the ice and work those bodies, rather than your credit card at the malls! 413-532-2929. 575 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA ($)

4pm – HOLIDAY WALK: The annual Moonlight Magic will be kicking off the holiday season in the village of Shelburne Falls! Stroll the Village with your family and enjoy local shopping and holiday fun! At 5:15pm, the annual Parade of Lights will cross over the Iron Bridge spanning across the Deerfield River from Buckland to Shelburne. Over 1,000 luminary candles will line both sides of the streets throughout the village as Santa, the Grinch, the Snow Princess, Sparky the Fire Dog and many more make their way through town. Local vocalists and instrumental groups will perform at designated sites and roaming along the streets. At Memorial Hall Theater, families can watch cartoons on the big screen. Families can ride the brightly lit and beautifully restored trolley after dark to the Trolley Museum and back where they will find The Art Garden’s Bizarre Bazaar. A great post Thanksgiving holiday tradition! 413-625-2526. Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)

5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun!  Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display.  More information and a schedule available here.  Runs until the New Year.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  $$

6:15pm – FAMILY MOVIE: The Mason Library is screening Monsters University (2013; rated G), about Mike and Sulley, the best friend duo from Monsters Inc.  The movie tells of their college years and all their adventures.  Popcorn and drinks will be provided.  413-528-2403.  231 Main Street.  Great Barrington, MA.

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