Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!
Featured community highlight this week: First conceived at a potluck dinner 1974, the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair has grown into a weekend-long celebration of all things sheep-related. This weekend, join local farmers and crafters at the Cummington Fairgrounds to experience demonstrations (shearing, rug hooking, fiber dyeing, and cooking, to name a few), participate in workshops (including Angora rabbit care, felting, yarn spinning, and intarsia knitting), watch sheep and sheep dog shows, and visit with over 60 vendors of woolcraft-related products. Kids will love learning to spin yarn, dyeing wool with Kool-Aid, and creating felted fairies and treasure bags in workshops designed especially for them! Where else might you be able to watch a speed knitting contest and taste unique lamb-based dishes created by students in the Smith Vocational School’s Culinary Arts program? Come immerse yourself in local sheep farming and woolcraft culture, and discover why this festival has been going strong for forty years. Saturday, May 23 & Sunday, May 24, 9am-4pm. Cummington Fairgrounds. Cummington, MA (>$)
Hikes & Walks ♦ Animal Studies ♦ History ♦ Sheep & Wool ♦ Literacy ♦ Food Celebrations ♦ Museum Adventures ♦ STEM ♦ Service-Based Learning ♦ Picnics ♦ Community Meal
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Saturday, May 23, 9am-12noon – HIKING: Join the Naturalists’ Club for a hike at High Ledges in Shelburne. Older students and adults can attend this moderate, two-mile hike that features lovely views and a chance to spot some spring wildflowers. Call Dave and Suzy Gallup to sign up. Meet at Table and Vine parking lot in West Springfield. 413-525-4697. Route 5. West Springfield, MA.
Sunday, May 24, 11am-12noon – HIKING: Spring is a beautiful time of year in the Berkshires, and there are some great family-oriented, free outdoor activities being offered there this upcoming week! The Berkshire Natural Resources Council will be hosting a family hike at Housatonic Flats. The hike will be easy along a mowed path, and all ages can attend – so can the family dog! Route 7. Great Barrington, MA
Sunday, May 24, 10am-12noon – WILDFLOWER WALK: The Broad Brook Coalition is offering a wildflower walk with Janet Bissell at Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. Search for spring ephemerals and learn the natural history and folklore of these plants. Participants can also learn about invasive species and how they impact biodiversity. Cooke Avenue. Northampton, MA.
Saturday, May 23, 10am-1pm – TURTLES: World Turtle Day is on May 23, and the holiday is meant to bring attention to turtles and tortoises all around the world. You can celebrate World Turtle Day locally, with Mass Audubon at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (Main Street, Hampden, MA) on May 23 from 10am-1pm. All ages can attend this free event and celebrate with fun activities like turtle games and crafts, and with educational programming like meeting a live turtle, learning about Massachusetts’ ten native turtle species, and visiting a vernal pool. This event is a great opportunity for all ages to learn about the importance of conservation and protecting Massachusetts’ native turtle species. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. Main Street. Hampden, MA. (FREE)
WORLD WAR II: The Hatfield Historical Society will have a new exhibition open on May 24, titled, “Surviving World War II: V-Mail, Snapshots, and Cigars Help Ease the Hardships and Heartache.” Come to the museum/library (39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA) for a program to honor veterans, and then check out the new exhibit, which teaches about the roles of servicemen and women during World War II, and what helped them make it through the war. The exhibit focuses on the history of the war, but also the emotional toll of being away from home and at war for a long period of time. Older students interested in history can learn about the war and what life was like for soldiers at the time.
Sunday, May 24, 2pm – SOCIAL JUSTICE: Learn about Sojourner Truth’s legacy and the role she played as both an abolitionist and women’s rights activist at the 13th Annual Sojourner Truth Celebration at the Sojourner Truth statue. This annual celebration features addresses by two local high school students, who are recipients of the Sojourner Truth Scholarship for Social Justice, a performance by vocalist Gloria DeLayne Matlock, and a walking tour at 12noon at the statue. Students interested in local history and social justice would enjoy this opportunity to learn about Sojourner Truth, celebrate her legacy, and learn about contemporary social justice issues. Park Street & Pine Street, Florence, MA
Saturday, May 23 & Sunday, May 24, 9am-4pm – MASSACHUSETTS SHEEP & WOOLCRAFT FAIR: First conceived at a potluck dinner 1974, the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair has grown into a weekend-long celebration of all things sheep-related. Join local farmers and crafters at the Cummington Fairgrounds to experience demonstrations (shearing, rug hooking, fiber dyeing, and cooking, to name a few), participate in workshops (including Angora rabbit care, felting, yarn spinning, and intarsia knitting), watch sheep and sheep dog shows, and visit with over 60 vendors of woolcraft-related products. Kids will love learning to spin yarn, dyeing wool with Kool-Aid, and creating felted fairies and treasure bags in workshops designed especially for them! Where else might you be able to watch a speed knitting contest and taste unique lamb-based dishes created by students in the Smith Vocational School’s Culinary Arts program? Come immerse yourself in local sheep farming and woolcraft culture, and discover why this festival has been going strong for forty years. Cummington Fairgrounds. Cummington, MA (>$)
Saturday, May 23, Sunday, May 24 & Monday, May 25, 9:30am-5pm – WOOL DAYS: Learn about sheep shearing and the many uses for wool at Old Sturbridge Village’s Wool Days during Memorial Day Weekend. Families can see a herding demonstration, watch the sheep get their annual shearing, and watch costumed historians go through the process of preparing wool to be used as a textile. You can even dye your own yarn, knit or crochet scarves for deployed soldiers, meet animals, and learn about wool from llamas and alpacas. This fun event can teach kids and adults of all ages about each stage of wool production. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)
Saturday, May 23, 10:30am – STORYTIME/GARDENING: Families with young children can attend a special story hour at the Belding Memorial Library. “Flower Fun: Rainbow Garden Workshop” features a story about flowers and then kids can help plant a rainbow garden. 413-628-4414. 344 Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, May 23, 11am-4pm – STORYWALK: The Lenox Library‘s annual StoryWalk takes place May 23 around town. This year’s book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin. Participants will receive a map instructing them to begin at Roche Reading Park, then to proceed to 15 Lenox businesses, then end up in the library’s Children’s Room. There will be a free book for each child, and readings of the story at 11:30am and 2:30pm. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, May 23, 10am-3pm – RHUBARB: The Lenox Rhubarb Festival takes place May 23 at the library reading park! Come celebrate all things rhubarb at this fun festival. There will be delicious rhubarb foods, activities, and more. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA.
Thursday, May 21-Sunday, May 24 – KIELBASA: Ask anyone who lived in Chicopee, MA from the 1970s to the 1990s about the World Kielbasa Festival, chances are their story will start with a smile. At its peak in the 80s, 65,000 people would flock to the rear parking lot of the Fairfield Mall (currently the Chicopee Marketplace) to take part in a four day celebration of Kielbasa, Polka music, and all things Chicopee. The K-Fest was a source of pride for Chicopee residents, and a genuine Chicopee tradition. The 2015 Chicopee Kielbasa Festival is happening at Szot Park. Chicopee, MA
Saturday, May 23, 10am-4pm – HISTORIC DEERFIELD Discover the history of cooking in America at Historic Deerfield’s Open Hearth Cooking series. Museum visitors can learn about cooking from scratch and explore old cookbooks. Drop in anytime. Takes place in the Visitor Center in Hall Tavern Kitchen. 413-774-5581. Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)
Saturday, May 23, 10am-5pm – CHESTERWOOD: Chesterwood, the country home, studios, and gardens of public sculptor Daniel Chester French, opens for the season on May 23. Come explore the grounds and see a special exhibition, “Boston Sculptors Gallery at Chesterwood 2015,” which features sculptures by contemporary sculptors. Chesterwood is a great place to learn about history and art in the Berkshires. 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road. Stockbridge, MA. ($$)
Saturday, May 23, 10am-5pm – BERKSHIRE MUSEUM: The Berkshire Museum’s newest exhibition, Immortal Present: Art and East Asia will be on view from May 23 through September 7. The exhibit illuminates the rich and diverse legacy of East Asian art and includes scroll paintings, sculptures, screens, prints, netsuke, and other fine and decorative art objects. There will also be works by more than 20 contemporary artists with ties to Asia. This is a great opportunity to see art from China, Japan, Korea, and other places. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)
Saturday, May 23, 10am-5pm – SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS: The Springfield Museums’ new exhibition opens at the Science Museum on May 23. “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!” is all about Curious George. The book series and TV show come to life in this exhibit, which helps teach STEM topics through hands-on activities and play. The exhibit will be up through September 6. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)
Saturday, May 23, 11am & 1pm – ERIC CARLE MUSEUM: The Berkshire Theatre Group presents Atlantis, Lost! And Other Legends of the Strange Waves at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts. Atlantis, Lost! is a collection of stories about historical wonders and the waters of the world. This assortment of wet and wonderful tales includes the lost civilization of Atlantis, the life of a pirate, the origin of surfing and the Loch Ness monster. 413-658-1126. 125 W Bay Road. Amherst, MA (>$)
Saturday, May 23, 10:30am-12noon – STEAM: Full STEAM Ahead at the Berkshire Athenaeum! Infants to early elementary-aged students can attend this fun playgroup that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
Saturday, May 23, 3:30pm – DIY KIDS: Kinetic Sand Workshop at Berkshire Co-Op Market. What is kinetic sand? It acts like wet sand you would play with at the beach but is mess free! In this workshop, learn how to make this sand from scratch. You’ll have fun making all the sand castles you want without leaving a sandy residue on your hands or toys. Sign up: 413.528.9697 x1 Berkshire Co-Op Market. 42 Bridge Street. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Saturday, May 23, 1pm-3pm – INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES: Come to the Dinosaur Footprints and get your hands dirty while learning about invasive species! The Garlic Mustard Grab is a great outdoor community service activity for all ages. Garlic mustard is an invasive species that threatens butterflies, jack-in-the-pulpit, native oak seedlings, and more. You can help prevent these negative impacts by helping the Trustees of Reservations in removing garlic mustard from the Dinosaur Footprints. Call to register. 413-532-1631 x21. Route 5. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
Thursday, May 28, 4pm-6:30pm – NORTHAMPTON PARENTS CENTER: Join the Northampton Parents Center for their End of Year Picnic at Look Park! This picnic is a potluck for NPC families and community members – bring a dish to share and enjoy spending time with friends. 413-582-2636. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA.
Friday, May 29, 4pm-7pm – EASTHAMPTON FAMILY CENTER: Celebrate Spring with the Easthampton Family Center at their annual picnic at Nonotuck Park. There will be a bounce house, games, crafts, music, a StoryWalk, and more – fun for the whole family! Please bring a food item to share. There will be hot dogs, hamburgers, and refreshments provided by EFC. 413-527-5496. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
Thursday, May 28, 5pm-7pm – BAKED POTATO DINNER: TRIAD of Williamsburg is hosting a Baked Potato Dinner Fundraiser on May 28 at the Williamsburg Congregational Church. Proceeds go towards TRIAD, the health and safety fair, and other activities that benefit seniors. Tickets available at the pharmacy and at Tilly’s. 4 North Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (>$)
Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Buckland, Colrain, Cummington, Deerfield, Hadley, Longmeadow, Montgomery, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Sunderland, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.