27 Community Highlights: Aggie Fairs to Guided Tours. Plein Air Painting to Community Meals.

Many children are inclined to collect stones and shells based on their texture, color, beauty, or interesting features. What makes up these rocks, minerals, and shells, and what can we learn about our planet through these natural objects? Attend the Gaylord Memorial Library‘s “Mother Earth” program to learn all about earth science on Saturday, August 15th at 11am! Geared for children ages 2-5. Registration required. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Aggie Fairs to Guided Tours. Immigration to Climatology. Plein Air Painting to Community Meals… 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: Aggie Fair season is upon us! Don’t let these weekend events pass you by without exploring one with your family! The Middlefield Fair, which runs August 14-16, features a 4-H club petting zoo, 4×4 truck pulls, a fiddle contest, a roast pork lunch, and horse pulls on the second day. Learn more about agricultural fairs at Hilltown Families’ posts about youth aggie fair participation and the fairs’ multidisciplinary learning opportunities. 413-623-6027. 7 Bell Road, Middlefield, MA. (< $)


Agricultural FairsWestern MA CultureEarth ScienceLocal HistoryImmigrationClimatologyVisual ArtPaintingLiteracyTeen PartyEntomologyPuppet ShowCommunity ServiceShakespeareOutdoor TheaterCommunity MealWalking GroupsParent SupportWeekday SpotlightDance Studies



Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by the 25th Annual Music Benefit, Transperformance 25:


Agricultural Fairs/Local Culture

Friday, August 14. 4pm; Saturday, August 15. 8am-8pm; Sunday, August 16. 8am-6pm — Middlefield Fair: Aggie Fair season is upon us! Don’t let these weekend events pass you by without exploring one with your family! The Middlefield Fair, which runs August 14-16, features a 4-H club petting zoo, 4×4 truck pulls, a fiddle contest, a roast pork lunch, and horse pulls on the second day. Learn more about agricultural fairs at Hilltown Families’ posts about youth aggie fair participation and the fairs’ multidisciplinary learning opportunities. 413-623-6027. 7 Bell Road, Middlefield, MA. (< $)

Saturday, August 15. 9am-5pm — Berkshire 4-H:The four H’s in 4-H stand for head (managing & thinking), heart (relating & caring), hands (giving & working), and health (being & living). 4-H members strive to develop these values and skills, with the mission of making a positive impact in their local communities and the world at large. The 75th annual Berkshire 4-H Youth Fair will feature traditional agricultural fair fun for the whole family, including livestock, hall exhibits, games, entertainment, and food. The hall exhibits include many projects created by local youth, from fine art, to baking, to sewing, to science! Be sure to take time to appreciate these impressive creations during your visit. 413-448-8285. Berkshire County 4-H Fairgrounds, Utility Drive, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, August 21. 5pm-11pm — Health Fair:  The Heath Fair is a lovely small town fair that runs August 21-23, and includes all of the components of a classic aggie fair! Friday’s schedule includes an antique tractor parade, a ham and bean supper, a tractor pull, bingo, music by talented local bands Kalliope Jones and Bright Lines, a square dance, and fireworks! Rain or shine (shelter provided). Heath Fairgrounds, Colrain Stage Road, Heath, MA. ($; FREE for children 9 and under)

Friday, August 21. 5pm-10pm — Westfield Fair: Agricultural fairs have a strong history in Western Massachusetts. Don’t let aggie fair season pass you by without attending one! The Westfield Fair, in which many generations of Westfield residents have participated over the years, runs August 21-23. Friday’s events include truck pulls, live music, rides, and games. Learn more from these Hilltown Families posts about youth participation at agricultural fairs and their multidisciplinary learning opportunities! 413-222-4067. 137 Russellville Road, Westfield, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 12

Earth Science

Saturday, August 15. 11am — Mother Earth: Many children are inclined to collect stones and shells based on their texture, color, beauty, or interesting features. What makes up these rocks, minerals, and shells, and what can we learn about our planet through these natural objects? Attend the Gaylord Memorial Library‘s “Mother Earth” program to learn all about earth science! Geared for children ages 2-5. Registration required. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Local History

Saturday, August 15. 10am-4pm — William Cullen Bryant Homestead Guide Tours: What does it mean to live mindfully on the land? Mindfulness is popping up everywhere these days, but William Cullen Bryant, a celebrated 19 century poet and conservationist, integrated mindful practices and themes at his homestead long before the movement became popularized. The Trustees of Reservations will lead a guided tour of the beautiful Rivulet Trail on the Bryant property (10am), and guided tours of the house will run from noon through 4pm. Self-guided tours of the barn can be done throughout the day. 413-532-1163 x 10. 207 Bryant Road, Cummington, MA. ($; FREE for children 12 and under)

Sunday, August 16, 1pm-3pm — History of Local Landscape: Local landscapes tell stories, but we often need a bit of training to know how to read them! Join one of the Plainfield Historical Society‘s “Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills” field trips to gain skills needed to accurately interpret different landscapes, and to hear the stories our local landscapes are sharing. This week’s adventure focuses on the mills of Mill River. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. 413-634-2250. Meet behind the Shaw Memorial Library, 304/312 Main Street, Plainfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, August 20. 7pm; Friday, August 21. 7pm — Immigration: The lives of immigrants who arrived and settled in Pittsfield from 1840-1940 are showcased in rich detail in I Am Pittsfield: The Immigrant Century, a play being performed at Melville’s Arrowhead Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings through August 29th. This realistic interpretation, based on written and oral histories, contains themes of ethnic hostility, poverty, and prejudice, and as such is appropriate for mature teens and adults. Reservations strongly recommended. 413-442-1973. The Red Barn Theater, Melville’s Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Climatology

Saturday, August 15. 10am-12pm —Forest Future in a Changing Climate: Climate change often makes people think of melting ice caps and suffering polar bears, but the effects of climate change reach all parts of our Earth, including the lovely Berkshires. Find out more about how our rapidly changing climate is affecting the land near Trustees of the Reservations property, Bartholomew’s Cobble, on a walk led by ecologist Julie Richburg. Registration requested. 413-532-1631 x 10. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. ($)

Visual Art

Saturday, August 15. 9am-12pm — Painting Techniques: Artist Sylvia Foster will lead participants in a watercolor painting class that focuses on different techniques for representing trees and mountains. Sponsored by the Otis Cultural Council. Registration required.772-785-6547. Otis Town Hall, Otis, MA. (< $)

Saturday, August 15. 11am — Plein Air Painting: Plein air painting is the process of painting outdoors in natural settings. Two experienced plein air painters will share their creative process with visitors at the Clark Art Institute, as they paint and narrate their thought processes alongside Schow Pond. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. ($; FREE for children 18 and under)

Literacy

Saturday, August 15. 11am — Best Book Brunch: Have your children encountered a book this summer that really stuck with them? Everyone is invited to the Whately Library to share their favorite book of the summer at the Best Book Brunch. This is a great opportunity for kids to practice their communication and presentation skills (although the “presentations” will be very friendly and informal)! Kids should bring their completed reading logs to be entered for a grand prize drawing. A light brunch will be served following the book share. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, August 15. 1:30pm — Pizza Party for Teens: Teens who participated in the summer reading program are invited to a pizza party to celebrate their reading accomplishments. The Emily Williston Memorial Library will provide pizza and games for all. Reservations requested. 413-527-1031. 9 Park Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Entomology

Saturday, August 15. 11am — Bugaboo Revue: Insects can get a bad rap for their biting, stinging, and garden-eating behaviors. However, we absolutely depend on insects for our health and wellbeing, and it is important to help children understand this side of the insect story! Talking Hands Theatre presents Bugaboo Revue, an interactive puppet show created to teach audiences about why we should value insects. This performance is recommended for children ages 2-8 and takes place at the Eric Carle Museum. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst MA (>$)

Service-Based Learning

Saturday, August 15. 1pm — Removing & Learning about Invasive Plant Species: Water chestnut is an invasive plant that is choking up local waterways and wreaking havoc on native plants and animals. Join folks from the Connecticut River Watershed Council to get out and remove these plants! There are many plants to pull out, but they come out easily. Many hands make light work! Anyone interested in this type of work is invited to contact the Council for additional dates and locations throughout the summer. Registration requested. 413-584-4176. Fitzgerald Lake, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Shakespeare

Saturday, August 15. 5pm-8:30pm; Sunday, August 16. 12pm-1:30pm —Much Ado About Nothing: Look Park invites everyone to join them for a rousing performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Arrive at 5pm with a blanket to find a seat and mingle with the comedy’s characters. The performance starts at 6pm. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (< $ per car for parking)

Saturday, August 15. 7pm; Sunday, August 16. 7pm — Romeo and Juliet: The Hampshire Shakespeare Company‘s talented young company (comprised of local youth ages 13-18) performs Romeo and Juliet at the Renaissance Center’s lovely outdoor performance space August 14-16. The box office will open at 6pm, and audience members are asked to arrive early to purchase tickets and find seats before 7pm. Chairs are provided and folks are welcome to bring blankets to sit on if they prefer. In the event of rain, performance will be moved indoors. 413-534-3789. 650 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. ($)

Community Meal

Sunday, August 16. 5:30pm — 15th Annual Iron Bridge Dinner: Celebrate the connections between Buckland and Shelburne, and make some enlightening connections of your own, with fellow diners at the 15th Annual Iron Bridge Dinner. A one-of-a-kind feast, prepared by local restaurants and caterers, will provide you with opportunities to enjoy a leisurely supper and conversation with folks in your community. The setting will be as fabulous as the company–dining on the Iron Bridge at sunset! Rain or shine. Advance ticket purchase required. Funds raised will support the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association and the Mohawk Athletic Association. 413-625-2526. Iron Bridge, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, August 18. 4:30pm-6:30pm — 4th Annual Chicken Barbeque: Break bread with your friends and neighbors at the Amherst South Congregational Church‘s 4th Annual Chicken Barbeque, followed by great music by the Amherst Community Band! Meals may be ordered in advance and picked up at the church, and everyone is invited to bring their food over to the South Amherst Common for a picnic and concert. 413-253-2977. 1066 South East Street, Amherst, MA. ($)

Walking Groups

Monday, August 17. 8:15am-9:15am —Walk Around Belchertown: Hike It Baby hikes are designed to allow parents and caregivers opportunities to exercise together in stroller- and other child carrier-friendly ways. Older children are welcome to walk along with the adults, too. Come out for some mood-lifting exercise and social support! This walk around downtown Belchertown will be about 1 mile long. Parking is available behind the BUUC church or in the town lot at the end of the common. 301-906-4700. Canon by the War Memorials, Belchertown Common, Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Monday, August 17. 10am — Walk Around Noel Field: Have a baby? Whether your day is off to a fabulous start or you’re encountering some challenges, some fresh air and exercise will do you both a world of good! Meet other parents of babies, walk with your stroller along a level track, and refuel with water and snacks at this morning walking program sponsored by Child Care of the Berkshires. Attendees will receive a free pedometer to track their daily steps, too! 413-664-4821 x 10. Walking track near Noel Field, North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Weekday Sp0tlight

Monday, August 17. 7pm — Monday/Theater: Mary Poppins is full of magical moments you will remember from when you first saw the story on screen or stage. Share the story and songs of everyone’s favorite nanny with the children in your life at the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s production of Mary Poppins. This tenth annual production of the show will include over 100 talented Berkshire County natives in fabulously choreographed song and dance numbers! Runs August 13 – August 23. 413-997-4444. Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($-$$)

Tuesday, August 18. 1pm — Tuesday/Storytelling: One of the most powerful ways to learn about another person, place, or time, is through carefully crafted stories. The Storycrafters, Jeri Burns and Barry Marshall, share stories from around the world with their audiences, honoring different cultures through words, traditional instruments, and dances. This program, hosted by the Berkshire Athenaeum, is suggested for children ages 5 and up with an adult. 413-499-9480 x 5. 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, August 19. 6pm – 7pm — Wednesday/School Readiness: Get your almost-kindergartner excited about the school year ahead with a fun ice cream social at the Haskins Center playground sponsored by Child Care of the Berkshires. Rising kindergartners and their caregivers are invited to attend to make ice cream sundaes and meet new friends. A head count helps estimate supplies, so please call if you plan to attend. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street, North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, August 20. 2pm-8pm — Thursday/Celebration: Celebrate Springfield with your neighbors at the Springfield City Library‘s Mason Square Branch community picnic and festival! There will be a book sale, chalk drawing, stories, games, face painting, and a bike rodeo, followed by a picnic (with veggies from the library’s own garden!) and live music. 413-263-6828. 765 State Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, August 21. 11am & 2pm — Friday/Theater: Talking flowers, a riddling doormouse, the comic duo of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and a rabbit who is running out of time accompany Alice in the Berkshire Children’s Theater’s performance of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Dance

Friday, August 21. 2:30pm-7pm — Jacob’s Pillow: Jacob’s Pillow is hosting a number of dance-related activities for children and their families as a part of the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays program. At 2:30, kids can try out an open hip-hop class, at 4pm there will be a swing dance class, and the evening’s finale is a swing dance performance on the outdoor stage. What an amazing opportunity to both watch and learn dance techniques from some of the world’s finest dancers! 413-243-9919. 358 George Carter Road, Becket, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) Derek Σωκράτης Finch]


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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