36 Community Highlights: RiverFest to Hackathon. Asparagus Festival to Fishing.

Celebrate a crop that is a big part of the Valley’s identity: asparagus! WGBY‘s annual Asparagus Festival invites everyone to the Hadley town common on Saturday, June 6 from 10am-5pm for live music, food and drink, a market of local produce and crafts, and an assortment of learning activities including games and cooking contests. There will also be a ticketed farm-to-table luncheon featuring unique asparagus dishes. Stop by the Hilltown Families tent to say hi! 800-781-9429. Route 9/Russell Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

RiverFest to Asparagus Festival. Fishing to Pickling. Hackathon to Heifers… These are just a few of the community-based learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week:  Shelburne Falls RiverFest is an annual celebration of the Deerfield River that takes place June 5-7, with many different activities for all ages. Kick off the weekend with tours of Deerfield No. 4 Station on June 5 (1pm-5pm) and a screening of The Fantastic Mr. Fox at Pothole Pictures (7pm). On June 6, the streets of Shelburne Falls will be filled with live music and the Frog and Flower Parade. There will also be a birds of prey demonstration by Tom Ricardi, displays by the Deerfield River Watershed Association, rides on Trolley #10, fly-casting, a chance to visit the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, shopping, a performance by Medicine Mammals, dancers, and more. On June 7, there will be hikes led by the Deerfield River Watershed Association. Learn about and celebrate the Deerfield River and all the wonderful things Shelburne Falls has to offer at this annual, free event!


Community FestivalsLocal HistoryGeologyBird StudiesNature StudiesFishingCulinary ArtsSTEMBook ArtsCultural StudiesCollaborative ConsumptionFashion HistoryLiteracyPreschool HighlightsCommunity MealParents’ Night Out


Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the Springfield Museums:


Community Festivals

Saturday, June 6. 10am – 4pm — RIVERFEST: Shelburne Falls RiverFest is an annual celebration of the Deerfield River that takes place June 5-7, with many different activities for all ages. Kick off the weekend with tours of Deerfield No. 4 Station on June 5 (1pm-5pm) and a screening of The Fantastic Mr. Fox at Pothole Pictures (7pm). On June 6, the streets of Shelburne Falls will be filled with live music and the Frog and Flower Parade. There will also be a birds of prey demonstration by Tom Ricardi, displays by the Deerfield River Watershed Association, rides on Trolley #10, fly-casting, a chance to visit the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, shopping, a performance by Medicine Mammals, dancers, and more. On June 7, there will be hikes led by the Deerfield River Watershed Association. Learn about and celebrate the Deerfield River and all the wonderful things Shelburne Falls has to offer at this annual, free event!

Saturday, June 6, 10am – STROLLING OF THE HEIFERS: The annual Strolling of the Heifers Weekend is here! The world-famous parade starts at 10am. Follow the parade to the Slow Living Expo, where you can eat local food, see/hear live entertainment, watch demonstrations, and much more! The goal of this annual event is to sustain family farms by connecting people with local food. Visitors will celebrate local food by participating in these events and learning about the importance of local food systems. 802-258-7070. Downtown Brattleboro. Brattleboro, VT. (FREE)

Saturday, June 6, 10am-12noon – BEE FEST: Greenfield’s 5th Annual Bee Fest takes place at the Second Congregational Church on June 6 as part of Bee Week Greenfield. There will be a honey bee tea party, a beekeeping workshop, a bee parade, facepainting, bee-related crafts, talks by UMass researchers, and more. Bee Fest is a fun opportunity for the whole family to learn about bees! 16 Court Square. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, June 6. 10 am – 5 pm — ASPARAGUS FESTIVAL: Celebrate a crop that is a big part of the Valley’s identity: asparagus! WGBY‘s annual Asparagus Festival invites everyone to the Hadley town common for live music, food and drink, a market of local produce and crafts, and an assortment of activities including games and cooking contests. There will also be a ticketed farm-to-table luncheon featuring unique asparagus dishes. Stop by the Hilltown Families tent to say hi! 800-781-9429. Route 9/Russell Street, Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Saturday, June 6 – CEMETERY TOURS: Cemetery tours are a unique and exciting way to learn about local history – you can get a peek into the past by learning the names of prominent local families, seeing the gravestones of significant figures in history, and learning about the accomplishments of past residents. There are two cemetery tours happening in the Berkshires on June 6, one at 2:30pm at Hill Side Cemetery in North Adams (Brown Street) with local historian Paul W. Marino, and the other at 4pm at Stockbridge Cemetery (Main Street). The Hill Side Cemetery tour is a free, short tour that children are encouraged to attend – it’s a good opportunity for kids to learn important bits of local history while in a historically-rich setting. The Stockbridge Cemetery Tour focuses on Stockbridge “crusaders” of the past and would be interesting to all students who want to learn more about past residents of the town, and there is a small donation requested (>$). Both tours would be a great time for anyone looking to further engage with the Berkshires’ rich history!

Sunday, June 7, 11am-3pm – COLONIAL HISTORY Discover Westfield’s history at a spring open house at the Dewey House! Tour the 280-year-old home, see colonial crafters demonstrate their skills, learn about the use of herbs in the 1700s, see a Civil War encampment, and more. 87 South Maple Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, June 7, 1pm – CEMETERY TOUR: The Plainfield Historical Society is holding a series of talks and walks, “Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills: Exploring the Plainfield Landscape,” on June 7, July 12, August 16, and October 10. Join the Historical Society on June 7 for a talk about and tour of Old Country Road to Allis Cemetery. The talk is at 1pm and the tour begins at 2pm. Great for older students interested in local history! Meet behind Shaw Memorial Library. 413-634-2250. 312 Main Street. Plainfield, MA.

Sunday, June 7, 2pm – CARRIAGE ERA: Discover the “Ins and Outs of the Carriage Era” with the Stockbridge Library on a tour of the Carriage Museum at Orleton Farm. Visitors can learn about the carriage era and etiquette of the time period, view photographs of coaches in action, and see many historic carriages. Call for reservations – space is limited. 413-298-5501. 31 Prospect Hill Road. Stockbridge, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION $)

Geology

Saturday, June 6, 9:30am-2:30pm – GUIDED HIKE: The Pioneer Valley Institute will lead a geology walk on Catamount Hill on June 6. Ed Gregory and Muriel Russell will lead the walk, which takes participants to unique geologic sites, like rock bridges, foundations, cliff ledges, the Devil’s Oven Cave, and others. Older students interested in local history and geology would enjoy this walk. 413-775-1671. Colrain, MA. (FREE)

Bird Studies

Saturday, June 6, 4:15am-9am – GUIDED BIRDING: Birds have many unique calls and songs that they use for specific occasions – birds can usually be heard chirping and singing all day long this time of year! Join Mass Audubon and bird song expert Dawn Kroodsma to listen to the bird world awake at a special Dawn Chorus event at Graves Farm Wildlife Sanctuary (Adams Road, Williamsburg, MA) on June 6 from 4:15am-9am. Wake up early and head to the Sanctuary to listen to birds sing their wake-up songs – listen to how their songs change as the sun rises. Do more birds join in? Do some stop? Sounds will also be recorded for future listening and study. All who are interested in birds will enjoy hearing the birds start their day. Meeting location may change, so email dekroodsma@yahoo.com to RSVP to this free event. Adams Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, June 7, 7am-10am – HABITAT: Join The Trustees of Reservations and naturalist John Greene for a morning of birding at Bear Swamp. Search this unique habitat for interesting bird species. Best for self-directed students interested in birds. 413-532-1631 x10. Hawley Road. Ashfield, MA. (>$)

Nature Studies

Saturday, June 6, 10am-12:30pm – ECOLOGY: Renowned ecologist Tom Wessels will lead a workshop on upland and wetland successional patterns at Bug Hill Farm as part of their on-farm workshop series. Older, self-directed students interested in ecology and nature studies will enjoy this workshop. Please register in advance. 413-628-3980. 502 Bug Hill Road. Ashfield, MA. ($$$)

Saturday, June 6, 10am-4pm – FAMILY DAY: Mass Audubon is hosting their Family Fun Day at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary on June 6. This is an opportunity for families to come together at a Mass Audubon sanctuary to learn about animals and nature. There will be live animal demonstrations, music, talks, guided walks, crafts, displays, food, and more. A fun nature-oriented day for the whole family! 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Fishing

Saturday, June 6, 10am-2pm – FAMILY FISH DAY: Families are invited to the Great Falls Discovery Center for the 10th Annual Family Fish Day! There will be fly-fishing demonstrations, fly-tying lessons, fish printing, aquatic insect studies, raffles, and more. This event is a great way to get outdoors with the whole family! Fishing equipment will be provided. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA.

Sunday, June 7, 9am-1pm – FISHING DERBY: Berkshire South Regional Community Center’s 21st Annual Community Fishing Derby takes place June 7 at Lake Mansfield. Kids ages 16 and under can bring their own fishing gear and participate in the derby. Prizes will be awarded for different age groups and categories. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Culinary Arts

Saturday, June 6, 10am-4pm –PICKLING: Kids can join Whole Foods Market in the Valley Cooks Tent at the Asparagus Festival for a Kids Pickling School. Learn how to pickle and make a delicious asparagus dish on the Hadley Town Common. 413-586-9932. Hadley, MA.

STEM

Saturday, June 6, 8:30am-8pm; Sunday, June 7, 8:30am-3:30pm – CIVIC HACKATHON: Hack for Western Massis a civic hackathon where community members and technology experts can connect to find solutions to local challenges using technology. The Hackathon has tons of workshops and activities for both youth and adults, including two engaging workshops offered by Holyoke Codes. On June 6 from 10am-12noon, Holyoke Codes is offering a Scratch Gaming Workshop for ages 7 and up. In this workshop, participants can learn to create their own basic “chase” or “treasure hunt” video games. This is a cool opportunity for those who are interested in STEM, gaming, and coding! The second workshop being offered by Holyoke Codes takes place on June 7 from 10am-12noon, and is a Minecraft Workshop. Kids can learn how to play this popular open-ended game, which helps teach coding and other STEM concepts. Both workshops give kids a chance to get involved with coding in a friendly, supportive environment and encourages kids to get creative with computers. Workshops take place in the UMass Center in Springfield (1500 Main Street, Springfield, MA).

Book Arts

Saturday, June 6, 10am-4pm – BOOK FESTIVAL: The annual Children’s Book Festival is on June 6 at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. This year’s theme is Bees, Butterflies, and Other Bugs, inspired by the museum’s new exhibition, The Art of Eric Carle: Bees, Butterflies, and Other Bugs. The day features fun activities like dance and bugs workshops, book signings, storytimes, art projects, a presentation by Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, face painting, films, and more. Visit the Carle and enjoy this fun-filled day! Free with museum admission. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, June 6, 3pm – BINDING: Children’s book author/illustrator Anna Alter will be at the Odyssey Bookshop to teach how books are made! There will be drawing demos and kids’ activities, and kids can bring their stuffed animals to celebrate Alter’s new book, Sprout Street Neighbors: Five Stories. Kids will love learning about books at this fun event! Email rsvp@odysseybks.com to RSVP. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Cultural Studies

Saturday, June 6, 10:30am-11:30am – CONSERVATION/CHINA: Professor Chris Coggins will present, “God Mountains and Fengshui Forests: Folk Conservation Systems and Ecological Sustainability in China,” at the Berkshire Museum. He will discuss his research on village sacred landscapes in China at this talk. Self-directed older students interested in conservation, sustainability, and cultural studies would enjoy this talk. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Collaborative Consumption

Saturday, June 6, 9am-1pm – CLOTHING SWAP: Ashfield Needles and Threads is hosting a free clothing exchange at the Congregational Church. Come by the Church and find great used items, like clothing, shoes, bedding, towels, and more. Clothing swaps are a sustainable way to find new-to-you items. Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)

Fashion History

Saturday, June 6, 7pm; Sunday, June 7, 7pm; Monday, June 8, 1:30pm & 7pm – IRIS APFEL: The Berkshire Museum is screening Iris (2014; rated PG-13) on this weekend. The film is about New York fashion icon Iris Apfel, and older students interested in fashion will enjoy the film and seeing Iris’ quirky fashion on screen. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Sunday, June 7, 1:30pm – BUTTONS: Anne Sroka will present, “A Window Into the Past: A Button Collector’s Scrapbook,” at the Keep Homestead Museum. Sroka will talk about the Museum’s button collection and button memorabilia scrapbook. She will discuss the history of button collecting and what it can teach about history, people, places, and activities. Best for students interested in history and collections. 413-267-4137. 35 Ely Road. Monson, MA.

Monday, June 8, 6:30pm – 1800s FASHIONS: Kandie Carle will present “Fashion in Fiction: Jane Austen” at the Storrs Library on June 8. Carle will be in costume and will discuss early 1800s fashions for men and women, like those in Pride and Prejudice. She will also share excerpts from Jane Austen’s letters and passages from her novels that highlight the use of clothing to define character and class and develop plot points. Older students interested in history, literature, or fashion would enjoy this talk. Please register in advance. 413-565-4181 x1620. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Literacy

Monday, June 8, 2:15pm – SUMMER READING: Get ready for summer reading at the Summer Reading Club Kick-Off at Springfield City Hall! Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield School Superintendent Daniel J. Warwick are challenging all city kids and teens to do the summer reading challenge, which begins on June 22 and runs through August 29. Get excited for summer reading at this fun event! 36 Court Street. Springfield, MA.

Preschool Highlights

Tuesday, June 9, 10:30am-11:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Children ages 3-6 and their parents are invited to the Great Falls Discovery Center’s Kidleidoscope event! Kidleidoscope focuses on teaching young children about the natural world using the theme “we share our home.” Activities include stories, interactive games, and crafts. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, June 10, TBA – MUSIC STUDIES: The Easthampton Family Center is offering a Mini Music Series with Maggie Shar on June 10, 17, and 24. Call for more info. 336-407-9074. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA.

Friday, June 12, 11am – UKULELE: Join the Sunderland Public Library for ukulele fun with Julie Stepanek. There will be music, movement, and ukuleles at this program. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Friday, June 12, 4pm-6pm – SPLASH PARK: Celebrate the opening of Greenfield’s new splash pad in Hillside Park at the Hillside Block Party! There will be DJ music, games, a bounce house, facepainting, kickball, a plant swap, and more. This is a fun chance to spend time with neighbors and community members. 413-772-1553. Grove Street. Greenfield, MA.

Community Meal

Saturday, June 6, 8:30am-11am – PANCAKE BREAKFAST: Come to the 24th Annual Puffer’s Pond Pancake Breakfast! There will be delicious pancakes made from local ingredients and real maple syrup, along with raffles, clothing available for purchase, and live music by the Juggler Meadow String Band. Proceeds go toward maintaining and preserving Puffer’s Pond. This community meal is a fun opportunity to raise money for the Pond, spend time with family and friends, and meet new people – all while enjoying delicious homemade pancakes! 95 Montague Road. North Amherst, MA. ($)

Parents’ Night Out

Saturday, June 6, 7pm – THEATER: Celebrate New Century Theatre’s 25th anniversary and life in western Massachusetts at a performance of “Life in the 413.” The evening includes several original tales by local authors presented in old-time radio play format. Best for older students interested in theater. Tickets available in advance. Takes place in Theatre 14 in Smith College’s Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts. 413-587-3933. Green Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)

Sunday, June 7, 7:30pm – CONCERT: Village Harmony Alumni Ensemble will perform a concert at the West Cummington Congregational Church on June 7. Young adult Village Harmony alumni will perform songs from South Africa, Bulgaria, Corsica, American Shape-Note songs, and Renaissance pieces. There will be a potluck supper in the Parish House at 5:30pm. 413-268-3828. 27 West Main Street. Cummington, MA. ($)

Tuesday, June 9, 6:30pm – LAWN CONCERT: Musical Moments at Amelia’s Garden, the Amelia Park Ice Arena summer concert series, continues with a performance by the Pioneer Valley Fiddlers. This concert is fun for the whole family – bring lawn chairs, pack a picnic dinner, and enjoy the sunset while listening to great music. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, June 10. 6:30pm — FOLK MUSIC: Enjoy an evening of folk music at one of the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum‘s Wednesday Folk Traditions concerts. This week features string quartet Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, whose music reflects a range of American folk music influences and inspiration. 413-584-4699. 130 River Drive, Hadley, MA. ($)

Thursday, June 11, 6pm-8pm – LAWN CONCERT: Coop Concerts Summer Concert Series takes place weekly at Greenfield Energy Park. This week’s show features Russell Kaback, Charlie Conant, and Roland LaPierre. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic dinner with family and friends while listening to exciting live music. 50 Miles Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, June 12, 5:30pm – PARTY/FUNDRAISER: Support Family Outreach of Amherst at their annual fundraiser, Light Up the Night, on June 12 in a lovely private garden setting. There will be cocktails, food, dancing, auctions, and more. Attend this fun night to raise money for FOA, which supports struggling families in the community. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 413-549-5548. Amherst, MA. ($$$)

[Photo credit (cc) Eric Heath]


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.

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