Suggested Events for September 5th-11th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families has been a lifesaver since our daughter was born. We check event listings weekly and are so impressed with the focus on healthy families and communities.” – Angela de Oliveira (Northampton, 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

Sept 3

The Center Dance Studio, an innovative dance studio in Amherst, is holding an Open House on Thursday, September 3rd from 4:15-6pm. Come by to see their new location on Main Street! Stop in to learn about their classes and philosophic approach where children spin stories from movement using classical and modern dance techniques. Sister duo Ashley and Caddy Carlisle combine their years of dance training with a special teaching approach that gets kids reading, writing and dancing; connecting, collaborating and creating. It’s a holistic approach to dance. For more information visit www.thecenterdance.com or email thecenterdanceschool@gmail.com. 321 Main Street. Amherst, MA. 413-687-7953.

Sept 5 & 6

Labor Day Family Campout! Have you ever wished that you could take your family camping? Come and spend an adventure-filled weekend camping with the Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) at Notchview in Windsor, Sept 5 & 6! Ideal for both experienced campers & first-timers. Families have a choice of activities to choose from, including hikes to a search for owls, star gazing with a local expert, and stories & songs by the campfire. TTOR will provide a campout dinner, s’mores around the fire on Saturday night, and breakfast Sunday morning. Bring your adventuresome spirit & camping essentials (list provided). Member: $30/adult, $20/child. Nonmember: $40/adult, $30/child. Pre-registration required by 9/1: 413-532-1631×10 or email westregion@ttor.org

Begins Sept 12

Acting Classes for Children! Starlight’s Youth Theatre invites 2nd-7th graders to sign up for Fall acting classes under the direction of the amazing Cyn Strycharz. Young actors will create scenes, work on stage movement and character development plus a performance including scenes from Dr Seuss’ stories and Phantom Tollbooth. Storybook Theater: 2nd-3rd grade 9am presentation on Nov 14th. Actor’s Tool Box: 4th-5th grade 10am, show on Nov 14th. Lights Up: 6th-7th grade 11:15am show Dec 6th. Classes start Saturday, September 12 and are held at Mapleridge Community Center (Route 116) near the Amherst/Sunderland town line. Questions? Email starlights.yt@gmail.com. Class size is limited. Reserve your spot www.starlights-youth-theatre.com

Sept 13

On Sunday, September 13, from 2 to 4 pm, the Northampton Community Music Center will host its annual Open House & Instrument Petting Zoo. Come see, hear and try out different musical instruments, meet our teachers, take free demo classes, and enjoy a performance by NCMC’s ukulele choir. NCMC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1986 with 50 professional faculty members serving more than 800 students annually. NCMC also hosts more than 75 performances and events each year. Programs include instruction in 25 different instruments, choruses, instrumental ensembles, vocal performance classes, recording studio classes, summer programs and special workshops. Financial aid available. For information, call 413-585-0001 or visit www.ncmc.net.

Sept 13

Parent of a 12-18 year old? Interested in learning a different way to communicate with your child/teen about difficult subjects? Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a non-judgmental conversation style that uses open-ended questions to foster parent/child connection and encourage youth to make difficult positive changes. John Brelsford, PhD, LMHC has over 40 years of experience in the human service field and is a member of MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers) Join NPC on Sunday, September 13th from 3-6pm at Northampton Survival Center, 265 Prospect Street in Northampton, MA. Light refreshments will be provided. Register at www.northamptonprevents.org or email pmcneil@northampton-k12.us for more info.

Sept 17

The 4th Annual Celebrate Amherst Block Party happens Thursday, September 17th from 5-9pm! Organized by the Amherst Business Improvement District with support from major sponsor, TD Bank, the block party is the largest single-day event in downtown Amherst. This free event brings over 6,000 people into downtown to eat, shop, and have fun! North Pleasant Street is blocked off and becomes a playground for street performers, dance performances, delicious food from downtown restaurants, and three stages that feature a DJ and live music performances by local favorites, such as children’s musician Mister G and more! For more details and information, visit www.amherstdowntown.com or contact the BID office at info@amherstdowntown.com.

Visit Days: Sep 18 & 26

Full Moon Girls: Enlivening and deepening girls’ connection to themselves, community and the natural world. At Full Moon Girls, girls gather together with women mentors to play, explore, challenge their edges, and learn new skills. This program nourishes the individual and cultivates an environment for growth, leadership, and resilience. Girls can build friction fires, learn wild edibles, engage in storytelling, gain wilderness skills, make trusting friendships, learn songs, and more! Fridays weekly in Conway, Oct 2-May 27, 9:30-3:30. Girls 9-15. $55-75/day. Saturdays monthly in Montague, Sept 26-Jun 4, 9:30-2:30. Girls 7-15. $45-75/day. Scholarships available! Contact us at FullMoonGirlsInfo@gmail.com or 413-367-6191.

Sep 27

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will once again be holding their 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event on Sunday, September 27th. You have the opportunity to support their community by riding as an individual or forming a team. Starting a team (4 or more) with your friends and family is an easy way to help feed our neighbors in need! With multiple courses to choose from—a 3.5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile loop—riders of all ages and levels can get involved. This year’s event will include a new location (Hatfield Lions Club Pavilion), new routes, and the biggest after-party yet with food, beverages, games and live music. To register, or to learn more about Will Bike 4 Food, visit their website at www.willbike4food.org.

Begins in Sept

Founded by two Pioneer Valley parents when they lived in Brooklyn, NY, Tinkergarten® has come to Western MA! Tinkergarten provides educational classes for kids ages 18 mos to 8 yrs in the healthiest classroom of all—the outdoors. The program aims to revive the most influential part of childhood — time to tinker in nature. The curriculum is designed to help kids become well-balanced people who can problem-solve, lead, and create. Angela Russo, talented Tinkergarten leader and local mom, is offering Fall classes and free trials in Amherst and Northampton. Learn more about the program and Angela’s classes at http://tkgtn.com/g0ce1. Want to give it a try? Use code hilltownfam15 to save 15% before 9/1. Have questions? Call 805-751-8465.

Begins in Sept

Sign up for Theater Improvisation with Heidi Haas! Improv increases spontaneity, creativity and self-confidence. Classes focus on tuning into one’s scene partners, creating bold characters and developing skits with each other. Classes are offered for 5th-8th graders on Wednesdays from 3-5pm and for K-4th graders on Thursdays from 3:30-5pm in Florence, MA. The first 10 week session begins in Sept. Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996 and is also a clinical social worker with a specialty in child/family concerns. Check out her website at www.heidihaasimprov.com To register call: Heidi Haas 584-5562 or email Heidi_Haas@comcast.net.

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their 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 their 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.

Audi- tions

Pioneer Valley Ballet is holding auditions for its annual production of The Nutcracker. This opulent ballet performs at The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA on December 11, 12, and 13, 2015. Roles include Gingerbread, Candy Canes, Trees, and Party Kids. Children 5 – 11 years old are invited to audition. No dance experience needed. Children must be 5 year old by September 12. Advance registration required. Registration and information at www.pioneervalleyballet.org.

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LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
September 5th-11th, 2015

SaturdaySunday
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Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Ongoing Saturday Events

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Funny Girls Episode with Kelly Donohue this weekend! Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. 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 over 8 years!

Saturday, September 5. 8am-9pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
Agricultural fairs provide an immense amount of entertainment for folks of all ages, and they are chock-full of learning opportunities as well! At the Blandford Fair, visitors can sit in on a demonstration focused on making pottery and another featuring Police K9 dogs. A number of animal shows–horse, poultry, rabbit, dairy cattle, and sheep–allow for an opportunity to compare and contrast physical and behavioral characteristics within and between species. And there is plenty to learn by simply striking up a conversation with the people you encounter, from folks who have been attending the fair since they were children, to entertainers, crafts people, and animal husbandry experts who love to share their knowledge with others! Learn more from these Hilltown Families posts about youth participation at agricultural fairs and their multidisciplinary learning opportunities! 413-848-2888. 10 North Street, Blandford, MA. (< $ admission; < $ parking; FREE for children under 6)

Saturday, September 5. 9am-1pm — HIKING
When you explore the outdoors with knowledgeable guides, you can learn a great deal about local ecosystems, flora, and fauna. Guided group hikes also provide great opportunities to meet other families who share your interest in the outdoors, and with whom you might be able to arrange family hiking outings in the future. This weekend, Wild & Scenic Westfield River representatives will share some of their favorite hikes along the river valley. Registration required. 413-623-2070. Chester-Blandford State Forest, Sanderson Brook Road, Chester, MA. (< $)

Saturday, September 5. 9am-9pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
There is something to be said for experiencing something new, and the Three County Fair offers a plethora of opportunities to do so during its run from September 4-7. On Saturday, you can meet baby animals, watch a kiddie tractor pull, be dazzled by motorcycle stunts, and appreciate the talents of the Axe Women of Maine. There will also be a special birthday celebration for Garfield, cartoon cat extraordinaire. New experiences like this invite language development (new vocabulary), cultural appreciation, historical perspective-taking, and the simple delight of discovery and surprise. 413-584-2237. Three County Fairgrounds, 41 Fair Street, Northampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 11)

Saturday, September 5. 10am — MOVIE
This week’s offering by Amherst Cinema‘s Family Film Series is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (PG, 2001), the first movie in this popular fantasy series. This adaptation has been recognized for many strengths, among them, its faithfulness to the book on which it is based. Here are lessons, activities and other resources teachers/parents can use to use Harry Potter as a learning tool. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Saturday, September 5. 10am-1pm — FOLK SCHOOL/FERMENTATION
True resiliency depends on having a wide breadth of knowledge – and lots of it. As such, community resiliency and sustainability depend not only on the knowledge and skills of individuals, but upon the knowledge and skills of a community as a whole. In the Hilltowns, Taproot Commons’ new folk school style workshops offer opportunities for community members to work towards accomplishing a goal of true community resiliency and interdependency. This Saturday, learn about traditional vegetable pickling with Sarah Stockwell-Arthen. Learn to preserve vegetables the way our great-grandmothers did, with “lactic acid fermentation,” (they called it “pickling”). It is easy, quick, uses no vinegar (just salt), and requires no energy input beyond your chopping skills. 11 Porter Hill Rd. Cummington, MA ($)

Saturday, September 5. 10:30am-12pm — LOCAL HISTORY
September is Turners Falls History Month! Learn all about this interesting town, whose history has been strongly influenced by its riverside location, on a tour of the Patch neighborhood with a DCR interpreter from the Great Falls Discovery Center. The Patch, which was settled in the early 20th century by Polish immigrants who came to work in the mills, is actually an island, sandwiched between a canal and the Connecticut River! In crossing the bridge to the Patch, one gets a sense of entering a special and unique place that has many stories to tell. 413-863-3221. Corner of Avenue A & 11th Street, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 5. 11am-12pm — THEATRE
“Down the rabbit hole…” It’s one of many cultural references whose origins stem from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Sharing time-honored stories like this with your children not only allows them opportunities for entertainment, it helps connect them to others through shared cultural references! Share the magic of talking flowers, a riddling doormouse, the comic duo of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and a rabbit who is running out of time with your family at the Berkshire Children’s Theater’s performance of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland JR at the Spectrum Playhouse. 413-394-5023. 20 Franklin Street, Lee, MA. (FREE; < $ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, September 5. 11:30am-1pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Chesterwood is hosting family-friendly art workshop! Program includes hands-on art and craft sessions with talented artists and a scavenger hunt to explore the property. 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($; FREE for children under 13)

Saturday, September 5. 11am & 1pm — THEATRE/FAIRY TALE
Paintbox Theatre presents the classic tale, Puss in Boots, at the Eric Carle Museum this weekend! Kids will get a kick out of the adventures a boy has as he follows a clever cat on the road from rags to riches. In the traditional telling of Puss in Boots, the cat achieves his goals though questionable morals (cheating, lying, etc). See how Paintbox Theatre puts a spin on this classic tale and get your kids thinking about acceptable values and behaviors. Theater can be both entertain and thought provoking! Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Saturday, September 5. 1pm-3pm — CULINARY ARTS
Thrilled with the bounty of produce your garden grew this summer, but not sure what to do with it all? Try canning! Learn how to can foods using the hot water bath method and the pressure method, and participate in a hands-on canning demo (plus safety lesson!) at the Haberdashery‘s Home Canning workshop. All participants will take home a jar of the item canned in class. 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street, Easthampton, MA. ($$)

Saturday, September 5. 2pm-3:30pm — SCULPTURE
Offer your child the opportunity to talk to an artist about his or her work and process, and you invite them into an intriguing world to which they may not otherwise have access. Artist Jon Brooks will be at Hancock Shaker Village to talk to visitors about his work, Mover and Shaker, a large-scale contemporary sculpture, which is currently on display in the historic village through November 1. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE for members and children 12 and under; $)

Saturday, September 5. 4pm-5pm — LOCAL HISTORY
Stockbridge, a hotbed of true and fantastic historical tales? Of course! Tour the town cemetery with a guide from the Stockbridge Library‘s Museum and Archives to hear stories about unusual businesses, political events, and other interesting bits of history on the Amazing but True: Strange and Surprising Stockbridge Stories walking tour. 413-298-5501. Cemetery gate, Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION: < $)

Saturday, September 5. 4pm-11am (overnight) — CAMPING & NATURE EXPLORATION
Whenever you take your family camping, you’re practically guaranteed to come home with a few good stories and great memories. Being away from your home and familiar objects (toys, tv, furniture) sets the stage for adventure, exploration, and discovery! Novice and experienced campers are invited to Notchview (a Trustees of Reservations property) this weekend for a Labor Day campout. Participants may choose from a variety of planned activities or strike out on their own to explore the great outdoors. Dinner, s’mores, and breakfast will be provided; other necessary supplies need to be brought from home. Registration is required, after which you will be provided with details on what to bring and where to meet. 413-229-8600. 2241 Berkshire Trail, Windsor, MA. ($$)

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Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Ongoing Sunday Events

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 over 8 years of archived shows.

DAWN-DUSK – SCULPTURE & LOCAL AGRICULTURE: Art in the Orchard is a unique sculpture trail (featuring the works of 28 local artists) that winds through the crops and fields at Park Hill Orchard. The trail will be open through October 31, 2015 each day of the week excepting Mondays and holidays. Once apples are ripe, you can pick your own while you’re there! Wear appropriate shoes. 413-303-0335. 82 Park Hill Road, Easthampton, MA. (< $; SUGGESTED DONATION)

Sunday, September 6. 8am-9pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
Agricultural fairs provide an immense amount of entertainment for folks of all ages, and they are chock-full of learning opportunities as well! At the Blandford Fair, visitors can sit in on a demonstration focused on wood carving and another featuring pottery decoration techniques. A number of animal shows–horse, poultry, rabbit, beef cattle, oxen, and sheep–allow for an opportunity to compare and contrast physical and behavioral characteristics within and between species. And there is plenty to learn by simply striking up a conversation with the people you encounter, from folks who have been attending the fair since they were children, to entertainers, crafts people, and animal husbandry experts who love to share their knowledge with others! Learn more from these Hilltown Families posts about youth participation at agricultural fairs and their multidisciplinary learning opportunities! 413-848-2888. 10 North Street, Blandford, MA. (< $ admission; < $ parking; FREE for children under 6)

Sunday, September 6. 10am-9:30pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
There is something to be said for experiencing something new, and the Three County Fair offers a plethora of opportunities to do so during its run from September 4-7. On Sunday, you can explore the midway, view a variety of agricultural exhibits, cheer on the participants of the apple pie eating contest, and witness a demolition derby. There will also be a special performance by Ella the Elephant and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, both of child storybook fame. New experiences like this invite language development (new vocabulary), cultural appreciation, historical perspective-taking, and the simple delight of discovery and surprise. 413-584-2237. Three County Fairgrounds, 41 Fair Street, Northampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 11)

Sunday, September 6. 10am-12pm — LOCAL & NATURAL HISTORY
The Canal-side Rail Trail winds past countless sights of local interest. Walk along the wide, paved trail (great for strollers!) with a DCR Park Interpreter from the Great Falls Discovery Center to learn about the area’s industrial, cultural, and natural history through interesting anecdotes, facts, and your own observations. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 6. 10:30am-6pm – PHYSICS/YO-YO
Not many toys can boast over 2,500 years of use worldwide, but the yo-yo has enjoyed consistent use in hundreds of cultures for nearly three millenia. Seemingly moved by magic, the yo-yo is little more than a well-designed tool to demonstrate basic principles of physics. Consisting essentially of a spool and a string, yo-yos (when in the hands of a skilled operator) can spin, jump, hang, and bump in patterns that are so graceful and speedy that they seem almost impossible. This weekend is the Northeast Regional Yo-Yo Contest, held at Union Station in Downtown Northampton. See yo-yo champions strut their stuff, and get your kids thinking about physics (and maybe even interested in the art of yo-yoing!). Union Station. Northampton, MA – Read more about the physics of the yo-yo and local resources in our post, Yo-Yo School Can Unlock Secrets of Physics!

Sunday, September 6. 12pm-4pm – COMMUNITY MEAL
The 45th Annual Plainfield Firefighter’s Barbecue is today!  For 45 consecutive years, the Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department has held a chicken barbecue to support the fire and EMS departments.  Coinciding with the barbecue will be the Shaw Memorial Library book sale, ArtsFeast (local arts and crafts), the 38th Annual Plainfield Road Race, a silent auction, a tag sale, and a bake sale.  This event is very popular, so please purchase tickets in advance.  Event takes place behind the Shaw Memorial Library.  Tickets available at Public Safety Complex on North Central Street or from any firefighter or EMT.  Main Street.  Plainfield, MA.  $

Sunday, September 6. 1pm & 3pm — THEATRE
Paintbox Theatre presents the classic tale, Puss in Boots, at the Eric Carle Museum this weekend! Kids will get a kick out of the adventures a boy has as he follows a clever cat on the road from rags to riches. In the traditional telling of Puss in Boots, the cat achieves his goals though questionable morals (cheating, lying, etc). See how Paintbox Theatre puts a spin on this classic tale and get your kids thinking about acceptable values and behaviors. Theater can be both entertain and thought provoking! Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Sunday, September 6. 1pm-3pm — ART EXPLORATION
The Skinner family, known for its manufacturing of fine silk and satin fabrics, was a prominent family in Holyoke in the late 1800s. The estate they called home, Wistariahurst, is now a museum dedicated to celebrating Holyoke’s history and elevating the public’s appreciation of history and culture. On Family Fun Day Sunday, visitors will be invited to participate in a creative project inspired by the property’s architecture, gardens, and stories. Each project includes observation and discovery. Registration required. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA. ($)

Sunday, September 6. 1pm-3pm — CULINARY ARTS
What do you get when you take fresh food and allow bacteria to feed on its sugars and starches? Fabulous, tasty, fermented food like sauerkraut and kimchi, which are chock full of fermentation by-products like enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics. These by-products can have positive health effects for those who consume them, and the fermentation process also helps preserve the food. Win-win! Learn how to make your own fermented foods at the Haberdashery‘s Fermenting Vegetables workshop. All participants will take home a jar of the item created in class. Those interested in learning more about fermenting can also check out the Cultured Dairy and Probiotic Beverages classes that the Haberdashery is offering later this fall. 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street, Easthampton, MA. ($$)

Sunday, September 6. 2pm – LOCAL HISTORY
The W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site is offering guided walking tours every Saturday and Sunday through October 4 at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite and in downtown Great Barrington. Learn about Du Bois’ life and time in Great Barrington on this engaging tour. 413-717-6259. 612 South Egremont Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 6. 2pm. — FILM STUDIES
Have you ever tasted a blintz, a fresh cut of corned beef, or an invigorating garlic dill pickle, straight from a renown delicatessen? The American culinary experience is full of tasty influences such as these from Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Romania, which were brought by newcomers who immigrated to the United States around the turn of the 20th century. How have these businesses stayed afloat in challenging economic times, and over generations as priorities and cultural influences shift? How has America been influenced by traditional delicatessens, and how has America, in turn, influenced these institutions and the people who run them? Explore Jewish history through the lens of food in Erik Greenberg’s film, Deli Man (PG-13, 2015) at the Yiddish Book Center. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA. (< $)

Sunday, September 6. 7:30pm — FILM STUDIES/TECHNOLOGY/ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Can people form personal connections with machines? Steve Jobs thought so, and built an empire on devices that welcomed people to engage with them in deeper ways. Alex Gibney’s biopic, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, screening at the Berkshire Museum, invites audiences in to learn more about this influential figure. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (< $)

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Monday, September 7th, 2015

Monday, September 7. 8am-6pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
Agricultural fairs provide an immense amount of entertainment for folks of all ages, and they are chock-full of learning opportunities as well! At the Blandford Fair, visitors can watch a number of animal shows– poultry, rabbit, goat, and cattle–which allow for an opportunity to compare and contrast physical and behavioral characteristics within and between species. There is also plenty to learn by simply striking up a conversation with the people you encounter, from folks who have been attending the fair since they were children, to entertainers, crafts people, and animal husbandry experts who love to share their knowledge with others! The final day of the fair also includes a kiddie pedal tractor pull, a clown magic show, an antique car show, and a demolition derby. Learn more from these Hilltown Families posts about youth participation at agricultural fairs and their multidisciplinary learning opportunities! 413-848-2888. 10 North Street, Blandford, MA. (< $ admission; < $ parking; FREE for children under 6)

Monday, September 7. 8:30am-11:30am — CANOEING & NATURAL HISTORY
The Housatonic River and its banks are home to many plant and animal species, but many of these areas are in need of protection and restoration. Learn about the river’s past, present, and future as you explore the meandering Housatonic via canoe with a knowledgeable guide. Bald eagles may soar overhead, and a variety of landscapes will be visible, too. Paddles, PFDs, and boats will be provided. Meets at Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property. Registration required. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. ($$)

Monday, September 7. 10am-5pm – LOCAL CULTURE/CORN MAZE
Get lost in a corn maze, a classic New England tradition! There are a few in Western MA you can check out with your family, including Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm (23 South Main Street.  Sunderland, MA),  Hicks Family Farm Corn Maze ( 1299  Route 2. Charlemont, MA), Meadow View Farm Corn Maze (120 College Highway. Southwick, MA), and Rolling Acres Farm Corn Maze (53 Pleasant Street. Southampton, MA ). Many of these mazes offer a fun and challenging outdoor adventure (of the best kind!) for families of all ages, along with other activities and farm fresh produce and perennials.

Monday, September 7. 10am-6:30pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
There is something to be said for experiencing something new, and the Three County Fair offers a plethora of opportunities to do so during its run from September 4-7. On Monday, you can enjoy a clown performance, meet baby animals, watch youth poultry, sheep, and cattle shows, and see a drag race. There will also be a special performance, “Read Read Read”, with “Jack” and “Annie” from the popular children’s book series, Magic Tree House (recommended for children ages 7 and up). New experiences like this invite language development (new vocabulary), cultural appreciation, historical perspective-taking, and the simple delight of discovery and surprise. 413-584-2237. Three County Fairgrounds, 41 Fair Street, Northampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 11)

Monday, September 7. 1pm-4pm — CANOEING
Canoers with some experience are invited to take a leisurely paddle along the Mill River with staff from the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Participants may see the river’s resident beavers and a number of bird species, too! Wear sunscreen, a hat, and water shoes if you have them. Registration required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($)

Monday, September 7. 1:30pm — FILM STUDIES/TECHNOLOGY/ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Can people form personal connections with machines? Steve Jobs thought so, and built an empire on devices that welcomed people to engage with them in deeper ways. Alex Gibney’s biopic, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, screening at the Berkshire Museum, invites audiences in to learn more about this influential figure. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (< $)

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Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Tuesday, September 8. 8:30am-4pm — HISTORY & GARDENING
Some of the earliest African American religious and cultural traditions were captured in and echoed through folk gardens in early America’s deep south. Photographer Vaughn Sills spent 20 years photographing these gardens in an effort to share their beauty and significance with a larger audience lest the tradition, which shows rapid decline, disappear entirely without documentation. Thirty photographs will be included in this exhibit, Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens at the Botanic Garden of Smith College. 413-585-2740. Lyman Plant House, 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Tuesday, September 8. 10:30am – 11:30am — NATIVE FAUNA
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 butterflies. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, September 8. 11:30am-1pm — SCULPTURE
Are you looking for ways to help your kids connect with art, or to learn more about the artistic process? Chesterwood‘s family-friendly art programs provide strategies (in the form of fun activities like scavenger hunts) to help children connect with art. As part of their Tour and Talk program, visitors can tour the current outdoor sculpture exhibit with two of the featured sculptors, Niho Kozuru and Leslie Wilcox, and converse with the artists about their process, materials, inspirations, and more! 413-298-3579 x 2034. 4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($)

Tuesday, September 8. 6pm — SERVICE-BASED LEARNING
Would you and your children like to make a big difference in the lives of your community members through simple, fun, engaging volunteer work? Attend a volunteer orientation at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to learn all you need to know to get involved with helping feed folks in need and to be eligible for future volunteer opportunities. The orientation will include a tour of The Food Bank’s facility and detailed information about all of the roles volunteers play in ensuring the organization’s successful operation. Registration required. 413-247-9738. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA. (VOLUNTEERING)
ONGOING FOR TUESDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 8:45am-10:15am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Network for Children hosts a playgroup for newborns through preschool-aged children with their caregivers at the Swift River School every Tuesday through June 30, 2016. It may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 978-544-5157. 201 Wendell Road, New Salem, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12:30pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Help improve the Trustees of Reservations trails at Notchview with the property’s Trail Team. A variety of opportunities are available, from light work to heavy maintenance and construction. Runs second and fourth Tuesdays through October 2015. 413-532-1631 x 19. Route 9, Windsor, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for young kids ages birth-preK at the Dickinson Memorial Library with Deb Wood features fun toys and more! Every Tuesday. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – STORYTIME: Join the Greenfield Public Library for a weekly storytime year-round! This event includes stories, songs, fingerplays, and crafts for kids age five and under. 413-772-1544 x5. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30pm – PLAYGROUP: The Westhampton Public Library will have a baby and toddler play time every Tuesday at 11am. They also offer a playgroup for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month which begins at 10am. Kids can come play with toys, do a craft, read a book, and make new friends at this fun playgroup, year-round. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – LITERACY: Kids ages 2-5 can attend a literacy group at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield. Come with a parent or caregiver and practice reading skills! Runs every Tuesday. 413-568-5242. 28 West Silver Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-5pm – WOODWORKING:The Shakers are known for their beautiful and simple handcrafted utilitarian objects. Visit the Hancock Shaker Village any Tuesday to watch master woodworkers create oval boxes using traditional tools and techniques. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE for members and children 12 and under; $)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Preschoolers can attend a fun storytime at the Chicopee Public Library the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Come for songs, finger plays, movement, stories, activities, and crafts. 413-594-1800 x107. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11am – MUSIC: The Hubbard Library is offering a music program for preschoolers every Tuesday. Come for singing, clapping, and dancing. 413-583-5646. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)
  • 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. Runs every Tuesday through October 6. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STEM & LITERACY PLAYGROUP: The Mason Library invites children ages 0-5 with their caregivers to its Brain Builders Play & Learn Playgroup every Tuesday. Activities will include reading, singing, playing, circle time, and engaging table-time activities that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) themes! 413-528-1720. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Westhampton Public Library is holding a baby and toddler playtime every Tuesday. Come to the library and meet other kids and parents. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 12:30pm-2pm – TECHOLOGY SUPPORT: The Storrs Library’s Tech Tuesday ongoing, drop-in sessions allow folks to receive coaching in various skills with which they’ve been needing support. Learn how to use your new computer, send email, operate an e-reader, and more. Bring your phone, e-reader, or other relevant device. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 1:30pm-6:30pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Northampton’s Tuesday Market runs through the fall. Tuesday Market features delicious local fruits, vegetables, bread, syrup, fish, honey, and much more! Come each Tuesday for food, community, and entertainment. Takes place between Thornes Market and the parking garage. Downtown. Northampton, MA.
  • 2pm – FILM: Amherst Cinema offers weekly matinees every Tuesday, especially for people with babies! This is a great chance to get out and see a movie without having to worry about finding a sitter. Check their website to see what’s playing each week. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. >$
  • 3pm-5pm – GAMES: Kids can play Magic the Gathering every Tuesday at Comics N’ More. A great chance for kids to make new friends with similar interests and learn how to play this fun card game! 413-529-0800. 31 Union Street. Easthampton, MA.
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm – LEGOS: The Family Resource Center is offering a LEGO group for ages 4-8 the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. 413-664-4821. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm – LEGOS: The Meekins Library has a new LEGO club which meets in the Hawks Hayden Room every Tuesday. Designed with kids ages 5-11 in mind, but everyone is welcome! 413-268-7488. 2 Williams Street, Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-8pm – FILM STUDIES: The Red Gate Farm Film Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month to watch and discuss films in the farm’s program building. A homemade dinner is served, with an optional small donation to cover food costs. All ages welcome, but parents should know that PG and PG-13 movies are shown. Anyone in 3rd grade or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and participants under 17 must have a signed parental/guardian consent form in order to attend. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road, Ashfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm – LITERACY/GAMES: Meet up with other community members at the Monson Library each Tuesday for a game of Scrabble! 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm – PARENTING & CLIMATE CHANGE: Mothers Out Front is a group of “mothers and others” who are concerned about climate change and passionate about creating a cleaner energy future for future generations. Learn more about the group’s work and meet other parents with whom to share your stories, hopes, and fears at their monthly climate support gatherings, held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP via the MOF site. Sunderland, MA (Tuesdays) and Florence, MA (Thursdays). (FREE)

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Wednesday, September 9. 10:30am-11am – STEM
The Berkshire Museum is offering a Parent/Child STEM Session the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Come explore science, technology, engineering, and math through books, hands-on activities, and play. Registration is required. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-7171 x21. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, September 9. 6pm-7:30pm — NATIVE FAUNA
From afar, a beaver dam looks like a big pile of sticks, but a closer examination reveals careful construction and cool inner architecture! Through the creation of dams, beavers have had profound effects on plant, animal, and microbial communities across the country. Learn more about our country’s largest rodent at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, a Mass Audubon property. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and a hat, and bring binoculars if you have them. Suitable for children 3-12 years old. 413-637-0320. 472 W Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. (< $)

Wednesday, September 9. 6:30pm-8:30pm — PARENTING
Does your child struggle with worries and anxiety? It can be hard to watch our children face psychological challenges, especially when we are not sure how we can help. Lynn Lyons, author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents, specializes in anxiety disorders and is dedicated to “breaking the generational cycle of worry in families.” She brings her “How to Handle Worry at Home and School” presentation to Northampton High School, an event which is open to all, thanks to the Northampton High PTO. 413-587-1344. NHS Auditorium, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, September 9. 6:30pm-8:30pm — FILM STUDIES/LGBTQ STUDIES/AGRICULTURE
When you think of a farmer, who do you picture? A man or a woman? What details underlie this farmer’s life story and experience? Is s/he straight or gay? The Queer Farmer Film Project asks us to confront the question: How do gender and sexuality intersect with our nation’s food system? The Project’s new documentary film, Out Here, (NR, 2015, and directed by Jonah Mossberg, a Smith grad) looks at the experiences of queer farmers across the U.S. in an effort to delve deeper into this relatively unexamined topic. The Mason Library is screening the film. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, September 9. 7pm-9pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP
There will be a MotherWoman support group the second Wednesday of each month in the Owl and Raven Community Space. The group is for mothers and partners who have experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Please email lexi.walters@gmail.com for more information. 413-387-0703. 2 Conz Street, Unit 42. Northampton, MA.

Wednesday, September 9. 7:30pm — GOVERNMENT & LAW
A chance to converse with a member of the Supreme Court is not to be missed! Attend this public forum with Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, to hear her talk about her personal and professional lives, the challenges she has faced, as well as her notable triumphs. Justice Sotomayor’s story is one of grit and perseverance, qualities that listeners may be inspired to espouse in their own lives as they pursue their unique goals.This event is co-sponsored by The Odyssey Bookshop. 413-534-7307. Mass Mutual Center, 1277 Main Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 10am – STORYTIME: Parents and their preschoolers can come to the Westhampton Public Library for coffee and storytime every Wednesday. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Stop by the Westhampton Public Library on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month for playgroup. Storytime, games, and arts and crafts are featured. For kids 8 and under. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA.
  • 10am-10:45am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Holyoke Public Library every Monday and Wednesday at 10am for stories with Nathan! 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – 11:30am – MUSIC AND LITERACY: Young children and their caregivers can visit the Wendell Free Library on Wednesdays through June 30, 2016 for Tunes and Tales with Sylvia Wetherby, organized by the Community Network for Children. This group may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 978-544-3559. 7 Wendell Depot Road, Wendell, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Network for Children hosts a playgroup for newborns through preschool-aged children with their caregivers at the Erving Elementary school every Wednesday through June 30, 2016. It may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 413-423-3326. 28 Northfield Road, Erving, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Meekins Library librarian, Rochelle Wildfong, will host a story time in the children’s department every Wednesday, all year round. Fingerplays, songs, picture books, and circle games for pre-schoolers and their caregivers. After story hour, take the kids sledding behind the school, then head down to Bread Euphoria for a warm something to eat & drink! A delightful way to spend a Wednesday morning in the Hilltowns with your preK kids! 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)
  • 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.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Storytime for ages 3-8 at the Mason Square Branch Library. Come every Wednesday for stories, songs, and crafts. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11am – STEM: The Berkshire Museum is offering a Parent/Child STEM Session the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Come explore science, technology, engineering, and math through books, hands-on activities, and play. Registration is required. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-7171 x21. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12pm – STORYTIME: The Community Network for Children offers a story hour every Wednesday at the Leverett Library. Children ages 5 and under can come for music, movement, books, and hands-on activities. Runs through June 30, 2016. May not run on holidays or in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 978-544-5157. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am & 2pm – FIBER ARTS:The Shakers are known for their beautiful and simple fiber crafts. Visit the Hancock Shaker Village any Wednesday to watch flax-processing and felted bead-making demonstrations by talented artisans who use traditional tools and techniques. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE for members and children 12 and under; $)
  • 11am-12pm – STORYTIME: Preschool storyhour every Wednesday at the Dickinson Memorial Library with Ruthanne Paulson includes stories, music, movement, crafts, and a snack. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 12pm-1:30pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: Every Wednesday there will be a support group for pregnant and postpartum mothers of children ages 0-5 at Square One’s Family Square, facilitated by MotherWoman. This group is a great place to talk about motherhood in a safe and confidential space. Childcare provided. 413-858-3122. 1095 Main Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 12pm – GARDENING: Visit the River Valley Market on Wednesdays through September 30, 2015 for “Picnic Presentations”, an outdoor talk series focusing on home and yard improvement. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 1pm-2:30pm – MOTHER SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group every Wednesday at Midwifery Care of Holyoke. Expectant mothers and moms of babies under age 1 can come discuss all aspects of motherhood. 413-534-2700. 230 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 1pm-2:30pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: Parents, caregivers, and grandparents are invited to attend a Parents Supporting Parents Support Group every Wednesday at the Salasin Center. 413-775-0010. 474 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 1:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Preschool-aged kids can attend Kidleidoscope every Wednesday at Natural Bridge State Park. This weekly program features forest-themed educational activities. 413-663-6392. McCauley Road. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 3pm-5:30pm – MAKER SPACE: Every Wednesday, Amherst Media hosts a drop-in group for makers of all ages and experience levels. Whether you’re working on computer programming, tech projects, knitting, other projects, or are just curious, stop by and check it out! 413-259-3300. 246 College Street. Amherst, MA.
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime for kids ages 3-6 at the East Longmeadow Library. Runs every Wednesday evening. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm-9pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group the fourth Wednesday of each month in Conference Room D at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. This is a bereavement group for infant and pregnancy loss. Please contact emptyarmsbereavement@gmail.com for more information. 413-387-0703. 30 Locust Street. Northampton, MA.
  • 7pm-9pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group the second Wednesday of each month in the Owl and Raven Community Space. The group is for mothers and partners who have experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Please email lexi.walters@gmail.com for more information. 413-387-0703. 2 Conz Street, Unit 42. Northampton, MA.
  • 7pm-9pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: The Creacion Latin Big Band has open practice sessions every first and third Wednesdays. Enjoy salsa, cha cha, mambo, and more, and enjoy food and drink from the beer garden, too. Audience members are invited to dance to their hearts’ content! 413-650-2670. Gateway City Arts, 92-114 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 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 teens and adults. Every Wednesday except the second Wednesday of each month. 99 Main Street. Amherst, MA. $

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Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Thursday, September 10. 12:30pm — ART HISTORY
While we all know we should eat a healthy breakfast, sometimes we just have time to grab a piece of toast and run out the door! If you were a part of high society in the 1700s, your breakfast experience would have been an incredibly different undertaking! This week’s “Looking at Lunchtime” gallery talk at the Clark Art Institute focuses on breakfast rituals, with a special focus on breakfast sets (which include expected items like tea cups and cutlery, as well as extraordinary items like chocolate beakers!). 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. ($; FREE for members, children 18 and under, and students).

Thursday, September 10. 3pm-8:30pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR & PARADE
A visit to a county fair can be a lot of fun, and it is also a way to show your support of the important work of organized agricultural societies. The Franklin County Agricultural Society provides education and opportunities for all members of the community, works in partnership with the community on its projects, and continually maintains and improves their land and programs for all to enjoy. The Franklin County Fair kicks off on Thursday with classic aggie fair features like pig races and a midway, and the “Bushels of Fun” parade begins at 5pm. 413-774-4282. Franklin County Fairgrounds, 89 Wisdom Way, Greenfield, MA. ($; FREE for children 8 and under)

Thursday, September 10. 3:30pm-5pm – CHESS
Every second and fourth Thursday, kids are invited to the Mason Library for chess. There will be no instruction provided, so this event is best for kids who already have an understanding of the game. This is a great place to come play with peers, make new friends, and improve your chess skills in a relaxed and supportive environment. — Research shows that, when played from a young age, chess can be beneficial to a child’s learning and development. The game requires the use of high-order thinking skills, such as weighing actions and consequences, and helps players practice decision making. The Susan Polgar Foundation offers a page of information on this topic. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, September 10. 4:30pm-6:30pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT & MUSIC HISTORY
The bagpipes have an unmistakable sound, and music created on and for bagpipes carries with it many stories from long ago. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a bagpipe performance at Project Native‘s Bagpipes at Sundown event. In addition to listening to beautiful music, audience members will be treated to a detailed history of the instrument and the historical context and significance of a variety of bagpipe tunes. 413-274-3433. 342 North Plain Road, Housatonic, MA. (< $)

Thursday, September 10. 5pm-8pm — OUTDOOR CONCERT
Beautiful scenery, a sunset view, and a fabulous jazz, ragtime and swing concert await you at Naumkeag at Night. Bring your blanket and a picnic dinner to this Trustees of Reservations property and soak in the summery sights and sounds! 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE for members, $ for nonmembers)

Thursday, September 10. 6pm —PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
Celebrate the Berkshire-based businesses and organizations that have helped make the region the lovely and successful area it is today at the Celebrate the Berkshires dinner and awards ceremony. 413-499-1600. Organized by 1Berkshire, a countywide organization devoted to supporting the region’s economic development. The Stationery Factory, 63 Flansburg Avenue, Dalton, MA. ($$$)

Thursday, September 10. 6:30pm-7:30pm — BOTANY & CULINARY ARTS
Are you interested in learning to forage in local environments? Foraging can introduce interesting flavors as well as micro- and macronutrients into your diet. Under the guidance of a trained adult, children can learn how to use their sense of sight, smell, and touch to identify edible plant species, too. Brittany Nickerson, founder of Thyme Herbal and local herbalist/ edible plant enthusiast, will lead a wild food walk focused on “Herbs for Vibrant Immunity.” Participants may register by visiting the Northampton/Amherst Herbal Meetup Group‘s website. 413-549-1415. Sawmill Farm, 140 Meadow Street, Florence, MA. (< $)

ONGOING FOR THURSDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 9am-12pm – VOLUNTEERING: Help monitor and care for the trails at Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property. Runs Thursdays through November 26, 2015. Contact conservation ranger Rene Wendell for more details. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup every Thursday in Goshen Town Hall. There will be storytime, crafts, projects, and more. 42 Main Street. Goshen, MA.
  • 10:30am-11:15am – STORYTIME: Storytime for toddlers (ages 2-5) every Thursday at the Ramsdell Library. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Join the Emily Williston Memorial Library for storytime every Thursday! There will be snacks, stories, and crafts. 413-529-1605. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – MUSIC: The Jones Library will offer a preschool storytime every Thursday. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Hatfield Public Library holds a storytime for kids 5 and under every Thursday! Come to the library for stories and fun. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 12:15pm – FINE ARTS: Visit the Springfield Museums‘ Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts for their popular Thursday Museums a la Carte lectures, featuring presentations on a variety of fine art-related topics! Visitors are welcome to bring a lunch; coffee and cookies will be provided. Intended for older students and adults. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (< $)
  • 12:30pm-2:30pm – MOTHER SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group every third Thursday at Scantic Valley YMCA. Mothers of babies 12 months and under can come talk about motherhood at this monthly program. 413-583-3527. 45 Post Office Park. Wilbraham, MA. (FREE)
  • 1:30pm-2:30pm – STORYTIME/BILINGUAL: Little ones can come to the Brightwood Library every Thursday for a bilingual story club (English and Spanish). Come sing, dance, play, hear stories in English and Spanish, and meet new friends. 413-263-6805. 359 Plainfield Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 2pm-4pm – KNITTING: Knitting provides an excellent base for intergenerational skill sharing every Thursday. Bring your current project or one you’ve been meaning to start! All levels of knitters are welcome at this Thursday knitting circle, hosted at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge. 413-443-1792. 444 North Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 2:30pm-4:30pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: The Hatfield Public Library holds a weekly Crafting Club for ages 5 and up every Thursday! Come to the library and get creative at this fun program. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30pm-4:45pm – MINECRAFT: Tweens and teens can attend Minecraft Club at the Indian Orchard Branch Library every Thursday. Come make new friends and trade Minecraft tips and tricks! 413-263-6846. 44 Oak Street. Indian Orchard, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30pm-5pm – CHESS: Every second and fourth Thursday, kids are invited to the Mason Library for chess. There will be no instruction provided, so this event is best for kids who already have an understanding of the game. This is a great place to come play with peers, make new friends, and improve your chess skills in a relaxed and supportive environment. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm-5pm – STORYTIME: The Hubbard Library is offering a storytime for students ages 5-8. Every Thursday. 413-583-5646. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm-8pm – GAMES/LEGOS: Families can have fun every Thursday at Gaylord Memorial Library‘s game and LEGO night! Stop by for board games, puzzles, LEGOs, and more. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 4:30-6pm – COMMUNITY MEAL/MOVIE: The Amherst Survival Center serves a free community meal every Thursday and screens a film for the community to enjoy together. Bring your family and come enjoy an evening with your community while learning about the work of the ASC! 413-549-3968. 138 Sunderland Road. North Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 5pm-6:30pm – LEGO: Kids ages 6 and up can have fun and get creative with LEGOs at the Mason Square Branch Library‘s LEGO Club every Thursday. Call to sign up. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 5pm-8pm – OUTDOOR CONCERT: Stunning scenery, sunsets, and great music await you at the Naumkeag at Night concert series which runs Thursdays through September 17, 2015. Sponsored by the Trustees of Reservations. Bring a picnic dinner and a blanket! 413-339-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($)
  • 5:30pm – SKILLSHARE/CRAFT GROUP: The Haberdashery holds a Chat ‘n Do every Thursday at 5:30pm. Bring a project you are working on and chat with others, hash out ideas, ask advice, offer tips, and more. This is a good opportunity for intergenerational skill sharing! 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm – PARENTING & CLIMATE CHANGE: Mothers Out Front is a group of “mothers and others” who are concerned about climate change and passionate about creating a cleaner energy future for future generations. Learn more about the group’s work and meet other parents with whom to share your stories, hopes, and fears at their monthly climate support gatherings, held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP via the MOF site. Sunderland, MA (Tuesdays) and Florence, MA (Thursdays). (FREE)
  • 6pm-8pm – KNITTING: Spruce up your knitting skills and spend time with community members of all ages at the Dickinson Memorial Library‘s knitting group every Thursday evening. All skill levels are welcome. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – TRIVIA: Is your mind brimming with all sorts of facts and figures? On the first Thursday of every month, the Jones Library will host a trivia night where you can put this knowledge to a fun use! Individuals may form teams ahead of time or meet up with others at the event and create teams on the spot (no more than 5 members per team). Prizes and refreshments will be shared. Intended for older students and adults. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (< $; SUGGESTED DONATION)
  • 7pm-7:30pm – STORYTIME: The Hubbard Library will have a “Tuck Me In” storytime for ages 3-7 the first Thursday of each month. Kids can come to the library in pajamas and enjoy this bedtime-themed storytime. Registration is required. 413-583-5646. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, September 11th, 2015

Friday, September 11. 9am-5pm — STEM/CODING
Want to learn CSS or HTML? Ready to turn your app idea into a real app? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to make 3D drawings using SketchUp or itching to learn about LEGO EV3 Robotics? Look no further than the NERD (New England Regional Developers) Summit, a 3-day learning camp focused on helping people build coding, web design, and related skills, and to welcome everyone into this interesting industry. Many sessions are intended for older students and adults; several sessions are good fits for younger children who have an adult accompanying them. Pre-register online for the sessions that interest you! 413-387-4540. UMass Hotel & Conference Center, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, September 11. 10am-8pm — ART FESTIVAL
Many children have used sidewalk chalk to create drawings, make hopscotch boards, or write notes and signs. When fine artists take to the sidewalks with their own ideas, the materials and setting are still very relatable for–and interesting to– kids, even if the products are quite different. The artists of this year’s Northampton Chalk Art Festival invite everyone to observe as they create new masterpieces on the sidewalks downtown. Watching these artists at work provides opportunities to learn about different techniques, perspective, proportion, and expressing ideas through art. Drawings will be created from 10am-4pm, awards for the top three creations will be announced at 5pm, and from 5pm-7pm, families may participate in a free draw to decorate the Retrofaire site between Thornes and the parking garage. The city’s monthly gallery walk runs from 5pm-8pm for those who would like to explore additional works of art, including the opening of twixt & tween, an exhibit of works that explore identity through the lens of popular culture. All events are organized by the Northampton Center for the Arts. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, September 11. 11am-10pm — AGRICULTURAL FAIR
A visit to a county fair can be a lot of fun, and it is also a way to show your support of the important work of organized agricultural societies. The Franklin County Agricultural Society provides education and opportunities for all members of the community, works in partnership with the community on its projects, and continually maintains and improves their land and programs for all to enjoy. The Franklin County Fair‘s Friday offerings include bingo, live music, a birds of prey demonstration, harness racing, frisbee dogs, and a midway with 20 rides. 413-774-4282. Franklin County Fairgrounds, 89 Wisdom Way, Greenfield, MA. ($; FREE for children 8 and under)

Friday, September 11, 4pm-8pm —ART EXPLORATION
Kids love codes! Talking in codes, writing in codes, trying to decode messages…there’s mystery in it, yet it requires a lot of higher order thinking, too. Hieroglyphics appeal to kids in much the same way. At Hieroglyphic Selfie, this month’s family art event at the Smith College Museum of Art, participants of all ages are invited to tour the gallery, view art inspired by Ancient Egypt, then create their own artwork using symbols and patterns. Light refreshments will be served. 413-585-2760. 30 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, September 11. 5:30pm-6:30pm — MOUNTAIN BIKING
Enjoy nature, exercise, and, perhaps, a touch of adrenaline on a mountain bike ride along the new trails at the Trustees of Reservations‘ Mount Warner property. Riders of all abilities will find paths on which to take an evening ride while getting to know other mountain bikers. 413-532-1631 x 10. Mount Warner Road, Hadley, MA. (FREE for members; < $ nonmembers)

Friday, September 11. 6pm — STORY & CRAFT
Ease out of the school week and into the weekend with a soothing evening of stories and a craft. Children and their families are invited to the Hatfield Library (in their pajamas, if they wish!) to listen to a bedtime story and make a firefly craft. Registration is requested. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, September 11. 7pm-9pm — CONCERT
Each month, the Great Falls Discovery Center hosts a Friday evening coffeehouse featuring local musicians, refreshments, and an opportunities to mix and mingle with others in your community. This month’s performer is Jim Scott. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Friday, September 11. 7:30pm — RADIO THEATRE
Let a theatrical experience give you and your children the opportunity to understand a bygone era in a way you just can’t get from a book. Set in a 1940s-era general store in rural Massachusetts, Country Store: A Radio Play for the Stage celebrates the simple pleasures of life in a post-Depression, pre-war, small town America. Local actors and singers bring this radio play to life with radio jingles, popular songs of the era, and a strikingly spare stage. Presented by the 1794 Meetinghouse, a group of people dedicated to performing arts and to celebrating culture in north central Massachusetts. 413-335-3489. 26 South Main Street, New Salem, MA. ($; FREE for children 12 and under)

ONGOING FOR FRIDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

9:30am-3:30pm – GIRLS’ EMPOWERMENT: Full Moon Girls: Nature mentoring. Fridays, October 2, 2015 – May 27, 2016. Ages 9-15. A spot is open for you! FullMoonGirlsInfo@gmail.com. 413-367-6191. Greenhill Center for Outdoor Activities. Conway, MA ($$)

  • 9am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Network for Children hosts a playgroup for newborns through preschool-aged children with their caregivers at the Shutesbury Elementary School every Friday through June 30, 2016. It may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 413-259-1212. 23 West Pelham Road, Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am – WRITING: The Edwards Public Library‘s Writing Group meets every Friday. Older students with a passion for writing of any style can attend this supportive intergenerational group. 413-527-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am & 2pm – GEOLOGY: Learn about the fascinating geology of Natural Bridge State Park at their Marvelous Marble Tour every Friday at 10am & 2pm. Join a park interpreter for an easy walk around the park exploring its geologic history and the remains of the 19th- and 20th-century marble quarry that once operated on the grounds. All ages will enjoy exploring the park and learning some interesting local geology. 413-663-6392. McCauley Road. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a free baby group for babies and caretakers at the Williamstown Youth Center the first Friday of every month. 413-663-6593. School Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – MOTHER SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group every Friday at the Community Action Family Center. Expectant mothers and moms of infants can attend this group to discuss adjustment to motherhood. Childcare provided; babies in arms welcome. 413-387-0703. 220 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – MOTHER SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group every Friday at the MotherWoman Office. Expectant mothers and moms of infants through preschoolers can attend this group to discuss all aspects of motherhood. Childcare provided for ages 4 and under. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Every Friday is Bounce and Rhyme Storytime at the Monson Free Library! Kids 2 ½ and younger can come enjoy stories, songs, and rhymes. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – MOVEMENT: The Chicopee Public Library holds a weekly Music and Movement program for kids ages 5 and under every Friday. Come have fun moving, singing, and dancing. 413-594-1800. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Families can attend the “Family Frolic Storytime” every Friday at Gaylord Memorial Library! Enjoy stories, musical plays, and crafts. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – MUSIC & PLAYGROUP: Children ages 2-5 with their caregivers are invited to the Mason Library‘s Sing-A-Song Playgroup every Friday. Please register in advance for one 4-week session. New sessions begin each month. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME/ART/MUSIC Toddlers ages 2-5 with their caregivers are invited to the Ramsdell Library every Friday for the “Time for Tots” group. This hour of fun will include stories, songs, art, and movement. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street, Housatonic, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-11:30am – MUSEUM-BASED PLAY: Visit the Berkshire Museum for WeeMuse Adventures, a weekly program every Friday that will feature songs, stories, scavenger hunts, playtime, and more. Intended audience is children 18 months – 3 years with a caregiver; siblings welcome. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($)
  • 11:30am-1:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and their babies, ages 0-15 months, can come to “Welcome Baby” every Friday at the Storrs Library. This program, run by Pathways for Parents, is all about the importance of reading, music, and interactive play. Call to sign up. 413-565-4182. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm – MINECRAFT: The Storrs Library has a Minecraft Club for kids in grades 3 and up every Friday. Call to sign up. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-8pm – GAMES: Game night happens at A2Z Science and Learning Store. Stop by on a Friday night to meet up with others and try out new games. Suitable for older children and teens. Ongoing. 413-586-1611. 57 King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm-8:30pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Parents/caregivers can drop off kids ages 3-12 at Berkshire South Regional Community Center while you enjoy date night every Friday! Kids will enjoy swimming, activities, pizza, and stories. Cost includes pizza dinner. Reservations required at least 48 hours in advance. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. ($)
  • 7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Have you ever learned about an eclipse, comet, meteor shower, or other celestial event after it happened? Don’t miss out on another one! The “Stars over Springfield” observatory series invites the public to learn about and enjoy the night sky with the help of the Springfield Science Museum‘s large rooftop telescope on the first Friday of every month. There will be a short talk on an astronomy-related topic, followed by opportunities to view celestial objects of interest. These programs are best suited for families with children ages 8 and up, although younger children are also welcome. In case of clouds or rain, a planetarium show will replace the outdoor viewing. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-263-6800 x 318. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (< $)
  • 8pm-9pm – ASTRONOMY: Autumn nights offer wonderful skywatching, and with the help of Williams College students and their Zeiss Skymaster planetarium projector, folks can really be treated to a wonderfully informative and awe-inspiring tour of the night sky and astronomical phenomen. This planetarium program will be held most Friday evenings through December 4, 2015. Reservations are recommended. 413-597-2188. Hopkins Observatory, 829 Main Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Goshen, Heath, Holyoke, Leyden, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Warwick, Williamsburg and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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