31 Community Highlights: Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails.

Back in the 1700s, were residents of Massachusetts doomed to suffer through hot, humid summers, or did they have ways to escape the heat? What could they do to keep their produce from wilting and rotting in the summer months? Visit Historic Deerfield‘s hourly Hot Weather, Cold Hearth presentations on Saturday, July 25 between 10am-4pm to learn how early New Englanders made the most of their summer months. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Silk Worms to Pottery Tour. Museums to Hiking Trails. Historical Societies to Bug Safaris… 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 highlights this week: This Saturday, July 25 from 10am-9pm, the South Hadley Falls Fest brings people together to enjoy music, art, and each other, and aims to promote cultural and community diversity through the arts. There will be live music throughout the day, and plenty of activities for families and children including ukelele lessons, make-your-own instruments, lawn games, origami, karaoke, and bracelet making! Food and beverage vendors will be on site, and artisans will be selling their wares as well. Rain or shine. 413-535-8861. South Hadley Falls, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)


Pottery-Based LearningCommunity CelebrationsZymologyLocal HistoryCommunity HikeEntomologyOrnithologyMuseum AdventuresOutdoor PerformancesPuppetryWeekday Highlights


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Pottery-Based Learning

Saturday, July 25. 10am-5pm — POTTERY TOUR
Have you held or eaten out of a handmade bowl? The different vessels from which we eat affect our experience of the food, and also connect us to the people who made them and the land from which the materials were harvested. Meet the artists who create some of the nation’s most beautiful and interesting pottery at this year’s Hilltown 6 pottery tour. Those who come out to experience the tour will be rewarded with tours of artists’ workshops, kilns, and showrooms, and can observe demonstrations of various pottery techniques, too. A dozen guest artists will join in this year’s tour, inviting you to explore corners of the Hilltowns you may never have known existed! Cell phone reception can be spotty along the tour, so be sure to print out your map and schedule before you leave home! Runs on Sunday, July 26th as well. Throughout the Hilltowns, MA. (FREE)

Community Celebrations

Friday, July 24. 4pm-10pm; Saturday, July 25. 8am-9pm; Sunday, July 26. 9am-6pm — YANKEE DOODLE DAYS
Yankee Doodle Days is a weekend-long community celebration for all ages, sponsored by the Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds. Saturday’s events include water games, a petting zoo, chainsaw carving, a quilt show, a tractor pull, juggling, birds of prey, tethered balloon rides, and –the main event–the Charlemont 250th anniversary parade (which begins at 10:30am)! Charlemont Fairgrounds, Charlemont, MA. (< $)

Friday, July 24; Saturday, July 25. 12pm-6pm; Sunday, July 26. 10am-3pm — SOUTHWICK DAYS
Southwick Days offers a weekend of family fun from Friday, July 24-Sunday, July 26. Saturday’s events include a BBQ competition, a fireman’s parade, rides, and games. 413-579-4585. Southwick Recreation Center, 64 Powder Mill Road, Southwick, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, July 25. 10am-9pm — SOUTH HADLEY FALLS FEST
The South Hadley Falls Fest brings people together to enjoy music, art, and each other, and aims to promote cultural and community diversity through the arts. There will be live music throughout the day, and plenty of activities for families and children including ukelele lessons, make-your-own instruments, lawn games, origami, karaoke, and bracelet making! Food and beverage vendors will be on site, and artisans will be selling their wares as well. Rain or shine. 413-535-8861. South Hadley Falls, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Zymology

Saturday, July 25, 1pm-3pm – FERMENTATION
Yogurt, kefir, and certain simple cheeses are great for adding probiotics into your family’s meals. Learn how to make these tasty dairy-based foods at The Haberdashery‘s “Fermenting Dairy” workshop. For those who are interested, there will be a follow up course later this summer on how to make other fermented foods (kombucha, wild-fermented soda). 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street, Easthampton, MA. ($$)

Local History

Saturday, July 25. 10am-4pm — SUMMER PRODUCE
Back in the 1700s, were residents of Massachusetts doomed to suffer through hot, humid summers, or did they have ways to escape the heat? What could they do to keep their produce from wilting and rotting in the summer months? Visit Historic Deerfield‘s hourly Hot Weather, Cold Hearth presentations to learn how early New Englanders made the most of their summer months. 413-775-7127. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, July 25. 11am-3pm — PIONEER HISTORY
Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her life in the midwest, but her family roots reach back to New England. Learn more about her ancestry, celebrate her life and writings, and gain a better appreciation of what life was like for 19th century pioneers at Storrowton Village Museum‘s “Little House” Family Day. Visitors can dip candles, use a washboard, visit the mercantile, and attend lessons at a one-room schoolhouse. There will also be a fashion show highlighting formal and everyday wear of 19th century New Englanders and pioneers. Those who wear period-appropriate costumes will be eligible to win a best costume prize! 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. ($)

Sunday, July 26. 2pm-4pm — LOCAL INDUSTRY
The Charles Gillet Cigar Factory, built in 1892, is the last surviving building of its kind in the valley. It is one of two museums operated by the Southwick Historical Society, and provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about a manufacturing process that was important in our region in another era. The Southwick Historical Society also runs the Joseph Moore House, a structure that was built in 1751 by Joseph Moore, who lost his life in the Revolutionary War. Visit both of these museums at an open house this summer or fall, and savor the interesting artifacts and ephemera they hold while touring with a docent! 413-569-0275. 86 College Highway, Southwick, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, July 26. 2pm-4pm — HILLTOWN HISTORY
The Buckland Historical Society is hosting an open house so that visitors may explore the structures and artifacts in four interesting locations: a former schoolhouse, a furnished 1775 saltbox house, a 1779 English barn, and a shoemaker’s shop. 413-625-9763. 20 Upper Street and 129 Route 112, Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Community Hike

Saturday, July 25. 10:30am-7pm — APPALACHIAN TRAIL
The Appalachian Trail winds its way from Maine to Georgia, with a beautiful stretch through the westernmost part of our state. Come out to enjoy one of four different hikes along the AT (two are “adventurous”, one is moderate in difficulty, and the fourth is an easy, all-ages loop trail) on this third annual Appalachian Trail Hike and Community Picnic, hosted by the Great Barrington Appalachian Trail Community. At the end of your hike, join your fellow hikers for a potluck picnic dinner beside Benedict Pond. It’s fun to meet thru-hikers (those who start at one end of the trail and hike to the other end in one continuous trip!) here, and if you bring enough food to share, you’ll make lots of new friends with interesting stories! Swimming at the pond is an option, and there will be a big campfire for all to enjoy. Registration required. 413-528-8002. 69 Blue Hill Road, Monterey, MA. (FREE)

Entomology

Saturday, July 25. 11am-4pm — CATERPILLARS
Caterpillars possess an impressive array of adaptations that enhance their chances of survival, including warning coloration, inflatable horns, offensive odors, and squeaking noises! As part of its Weekend with Wildlife program, Project Native hosts Sam Jaffe and The Caterpillar Lab, enabling visitors to learn all about these small but fascinating creatures while viewing them at close range. 413-274-3433. 342 North Plain Road, Housatonic, MA. (DONATIONS)

Tuesday, July 28. 10:30am-12pm — BUG SAFARI
Basic naturalist skills are fun to develop and will serve a person for a lifetime! Learning to use a hand lens helps develop fine motor skills and increases one’s ability to observe, and subsequently, describe objects. Discovering how a field guide is organized and how it is used helps one establish a stronger understanding of systems of classification and allows for lots of practice with comparing and contrasting. Project Native‘s Bug & Butterfly Safaris invite children to develop and practice these skills as they traverse fields in search of eggs, caterpillars, and butterflies to relocate into the Butterfly House. All ages welcome; all children should be accompanied by an adult. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Rain cancels. 413-274-3433. 342 North Plain Road, Housatonic, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, July 26. 1pm-4pm — SILK WORMS
Entomologist Faith Deering presents her interactive silkworm exhibit, Spinning a Silken Story where visitors can view live silkworms, practice reeling a cocoon, and learn more about silk’s role in our local history. 413-584-6011. Historic Northampton, 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Ornithology

Sunday, July 26. 11am & 1pm — BIRDS OF PREY
Julie Anne Collier of Wingmaster will present a birds of prey program (including six different species of live birds) as part of Project Native‘s Weekend with Wildlife program. If you’re not already smitten with saw-whet owls, you will be the moment you set eyes on one! Topics will include food webs, adaptations, and modern threats to the birds’ wellbeing. 413-274-3433. 342 North Plain Road, Housatonic, MA. (DONATIONS)

Museum Adventures

Sunday, July 26. 11am-4pm — THE CLARK
The Clark Art Institute is hosting its popular Family Day! This year’s theme is Van Gogh and Nature, and includes activities for all ages such as terrarium making, drawing, group mural creation, a Provence-inspired market, and live jazz. Food vendors will also be on site. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, July 28. 10am — SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS
A new Dr. Seuss book?! It’s true! The Springfield Museums will celebrate the release of this book, What Pet Should I Get?, with a special event including an appearance by the Cat in the Hat himself. Given the pet theme, Dakin Humane Society will also be present to share information about pet adoption. 413-263-6800 x 459. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, July 28. 10am-12pm — NORMAN ROCKWELL
You and your children can practice self-expression and enjoy being outdoors when you participate in the Norman Rockwell Museum‘s Summer Sketch Club together. Participants should bring a sketchbook or drawing pad; other art supplies will be provided. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and water bottle recommended. Ages 7 and up. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA. (< $)

Outdoor Performances

Sunday, July 26. 5:30pm – 7:30pm — CHESTERWOOD
Music, family, friends, picnic food, a big lawn blanket…what’s not to love about summer’s outdoor concerts? Each Sunday through the remainder of July and August, Chesterwood will be hosting its annual contemporary American music festival series, Chesterfest! Come out and enjoy the beautiful grounds and fabulous tunes! 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. (Adults = $; 17 & under = FREE)

Sunday, July 26. 8pm — SHAKESPEARE
Romeo and Juliet is this year’s production for Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park, and it will be performed in the brand new pavilion at the First Street Common. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and settle in for a night of entertainment under the stars! Runs Thursdays-Sundays through August 2. 413-367-4253. 874 North Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, July 26. 8pm — DOUBLE EDGE THEATRE
Double Edge Theatre presents a preview of Once a Blue Moon, an indoor/outdoor traveling spectacle in which audience members will traverse hills, pastures, riverbanks, and gardens as they follow performers through a magical realism tale. Previews run through July 26; performances run July 29-August 23. Rain or shine. 413-628-0277. 948 Conway Road, Ashfield, MA. ($)

Sunday, July 26. DUSK — FAMILY FLICKS
You bring the blankets and chairs, Images Cinema provides the movie and concession stand! Now in its ninth year, the Family Flicks Under the Stars film series will run on Sunday evenings throughout July. This week’s film is Pretty in Pink (PG-13, 1986). Those wishing to participate in a yoga class beforehand are invited to arrive at 7pm and bring a mat. In case of rain, film will be shown at 8pm at Images Cinema and yoga will be cancelled. 413-458-1039. Morgan Lawn, Spring Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Puppetry

Tuesday, July 28. 10am — CARAVAN PUPPETS
Every 10a through the summer, Look Park features children’s shows in the beautiful Pines Theater (or the Garden House Tent in case of rain). Today, Caravan Puppets brings its “Timeless Tales” program to the park, featuring multicultural stories, diverse puppetry styles, beautiful staging, original music, and positive messages! 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (< $)

Wednesday, July 29. 11am — CACTUSHEAD PUPPETS
Cactushead Puppets performs a modern adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood as a part of the Springfield Museums‘ Summer Spectacular family concert series. The show will feature both hand puppets and shadow puppets. 413-263-6800 x 322. Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($)

Thursday, July 30. 11am – PUPPET PEOPLE
The Puppet People will perform The Firebird as a part of the Springfield Museums‘ Summer Spectacular family concert series. Their hand-crafted puppets, original scripts, and unique puppetry styles are sure to delight audiences! 413-263-6800 x 322. Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($)

Thursday, July 30. 6pm-7pm — CARAVAN PUPPETS
Caravan Puppets brings an entertaining puppet show for all ages to the Granby Free Public Library. Each puppet show they present is designed to help children feel like they can be a storytelling puppeteer, too! 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street, Granby, MA. (FREE)

Weekday Highlights

Monday, July 27. 10am/1pm/6:30pm; Tuesday, July 28. 10am & 1pm — THEATER/FAIRY TALES
Good theatre can transport us to other places and times, and helps us develop new understandings of ourselves and others. Introduce your children to these joys of theatre through one of the Majestic Children’s Theatre performances this summer. This week features Aesop’s (Oh So Slightly) Updated Fables, an entertaining mix of moral tales, presented in a silly, seemingly-improvised manner that kids adore. Reservations strongly recommended. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. (< $)

Tuesday, July 28. 10:30am – 11:30am — NATURE-BASED LEARNING
Children who come to understand and value nature often carry that perspective into adulthood. Give the children in your life a strong, early connection to the world around them through activities like Kidleidoscope Tuesdays at the Great Falls Discovery Center! Children ages 3-6 and their caregivers are invited to visit for a story, game, and craft related to the natural world. Today’s topic will be skunks. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, July 29. 10am — MUSIC PERFORMANCE
The South Hadley Family Center hosts its annual children’s concert series in Buttery Brook Park through the month of July. This week’s performance will be by Miss Leticia. Light concessions will be available for purchase, and there will be a raffle, too! In case of rain, the performance will be held in Town Hall. 413-533-7096. 123 Willimansett Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, July 29. 6pm-8pm — CREATIVE-FREE PLAY
Do you have fond childhood memories of playing with friends and siblings in a local stream, building structures from objects you found in the yard or on a hike, and participating in rich, imaginative play? Help your own children unplug and explore in a free-form, adventure play-based space at this pop-up adventure playground hosted by The Play Workshop. After a fun session of play, stick around for an 8:30pm outdoor presentation of The Goonies (PG, 1985), compliments of the Cinema Northampton collaboration. 413-588-2208. Maines Field, 570 Riverside Drive, Florence, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, July 30. 2:30pm – 3:30pm — MUSIC STUDIES
Explore America’s musical roots through a community celebration of blues artists at the Mason Library. Percussionist, educator, and author Craig Harris will lead Drum Away the Blues, an all-ages, multicultural, participatory celebration which pays homage to influential American musicians like Louis Armstrong, Pete Seeger, and Ray Charles. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Friday, July 31. 3pm-5pm — NATURE-BASED LEARNING
Explore a pond, try out an interpretive hike, and enjoy a bowl of locally made ice cream served with local fruits at the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation‘s annual summer celebration! There will be activities for all ages, and the new Dietze Interpretive Center will be open for visitors as well. Rain or shine. 413-458-2494. Sheep Hill, Route 7, Williamstown, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)


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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