Suggested Events for December 5th-11th, 2015

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families has been our family go-to place to know what’s going on in the community and find the fun… Most recently we had a chance to start listening to the radio show for children. We played the Hanukah show over and over and [they] BOTH loved it. As did I. Thank you so much!” – Liz Friedman (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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Service-Based Learning with Hilltown Families

Volunteering together as a family encourages quality time, increases communication, and provides opportunities for family members to be role models. In partnership with Hilltown Families, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts invites families to attend a Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, December 5, 9-11am, to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take action to help fight hunger. This month’s theme is “Holidays.” Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. 413-247-9738 x135. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA.Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden

Bulletin Board

Dec 5

Come see NY Times Bestselling & Newbery Honor author Grace Lin! Purchase the 4th and newest book in her award-winning Ling and Ting series and be served free* frozen yogurt by Sunnyside celebrity guests! A limited number of Grace’s other titles will also be available for purchase and autographing (come early). *A benefit for the Sunnyside Scholarship Fund (donations being accepted for yogurt), this is a unique opportunity to get a personalized, autographed book for the holidays! Saturday, December 5th from 10am to 12noon at GoBerry, 80 Main Street, Northampton, MA.

Open House: Dec 5

Collective Copies Holiday Open House on Saturday, December 5, 1-5 pm at 71 S. Pleasant St. in Amherst. The public is invited to the festivities! So much more than copies, Collective Copies truly has something for everyone–food, drink, readings, a book sale, and art. The Collective is featuring members of their unique local co-op community. Guests can sample their Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate and other co-op produced treats. Stephanie Kraft will be reading from Emancipated Women at 2pm and author David Bollier will read from his new book Patterns of Commoning at 3pm. Steve Strimer will speak on self-publishing. Kids of all ages can try their hand at scratch foam, a simple printmaking technique, with Nancy Haver (1-2). Levellers Press titles will be on sale. www.collectivecopies.com amherst@collectivecopies.com

Open House: Dec 5

Rumpus! — Saturday, Dec. 5th, 10am-2pm: The Center School’s Admissions Open House and Enchanted Indoor Forest. All are welcome to the Center School campus for the annual Rumpus Open House and Yggdrasil Enchanted Indoor Forest. All classrooms will be open and teachers will be leading creative, nature-based, arts activities. Come explore Yggdrasil–the mighty oak tree from Norse mythology which houses 9 magical realms: spirit animal cave, transfiguration, archery, forest photoscape, dragon academy and more. Sweet, warm and savory foods will be available for purchase. Meet teachers, parents and students and learn about what makes the Center School special. All activities are free and open to the public. For more info visit centerschool.net.

Dec 5

Winter Fair on Saturday, December 5 from 10am-3pm at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School, 1 Industrial Way, Easthampton. The Winter Fair at HCCPS is a fun and festive annual event which includes craft and gift-making for all ages, musical performances by the school chorus, a comprehensive selection of Scholastic books for sale and delicious homemade food. Come with your children and create gifts for family and friends, then stay for performances and some homemade treats! There is something for everyone at the Hilltown Winter Fair. For more information call the school at 413-529-7178 or check out their web site: www.hilltowncharter.org.

Dec 11-13

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration marks the return of the light with a family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. Join revelers in a seaside village as they celebrate the return of their fisher folk at the winter solstice. Nautical songs and a sailors’ jig add to the seasonal revelries. Friday and Saturday Dec. 11 and 12 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2pm. The Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. Tickets adults $12, seniors and children $10, (age four and under free). Families of four or five $40. Purchase tickets in advance at Jones Library in Amherst, Broadside Books in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield or at the door. More information and reservations at www.welcomeyule.org

Dec 11-13

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always new and always sweet, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Berkhard and Pablo Perez, of Carolina Ballet, as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Local favorite Meghan Mangsen returns as Clara. And introducing Cain Coleman, of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance, as The Prince. Performs December 11-13 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Tickets and info: www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Dec 12

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 12th at 4pm at Bowker Auditorium, UMass, in Amherst. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $8-$18. Information can be found at http://www.ACelticNutcracker.com

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

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Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closures | Libraries| Berkshire Family Fun

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

Ongoing Saturday Events

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Heart of Chanukah Episode with Guest DJ, Doni Zasloff Thomas. 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, December 5, 9am & 11am — SANTA/COMMUNITY MEAL
All of your child’s favorite wintry and Christmas-y characters (Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Santa’s elves, and the Grinch) will be together at a holiday breakfast at the Pulaski Club of Easthampton. Breakfast will be served buffet-style, and each child will receive a small gift from Santa. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-527-9847. 79 Maple Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 2)

Saturday, December 5, 9-11am — VOLUNTEERING/SOCIAL JUSTICE
Volunteering together as a family encourages quality time, increases communication, and provides opportunities for family members to be role models. In partnership with Hilltown Families, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts invites families to attend a Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, December 5, 9-11am, to help sort food, take part in educational activities, and learn how to take action to help fight hunger. This month’s theme is “Holidays.” Families may stay for all or some of the event. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. 413-247-9738 x135. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA.Sponsored by Hilltown Tree & Garden

Saturday, December 5, 9am-1pm — STEM/TEENS
Learn about food through applied science and technology at Elms College‘s STEM Day. Choose from workshops in biotechnology, chemistry, computer programming, macromolecules, mathematical modeling, and physiology. Suitable for high school and college students. Includes lunch and campus tours. Pre-registration required. 413-594-2761. Center for Natural and Health Science, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 9:30am-6pm — HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
Williamstown‘s 32nd annual Holiday Walk will include seasonal fun for all ages! The Run with the Reindeer Fun Run begins at 9:30am, and the Reindog Parade gets going at 3pm. Throughout the day, adults and kids can make holiday crafts, taste samples in a chili and soup cook-off, decorate gingerbread cookies, and watch an ice carving demonstration. Spring Street will be a festive place to stroll with music, hot chocolate, and cookies at every turn, and those who are present at the end of the day will be treated to a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, followed by the lighting of the town’s holiday trees! 515-708-1413. Downtown Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am — FAMILY MOVIE
As part of its Family Film Series, the Amherst Cinema presents Akeelah and the Bee (PG, 2006), the inspiring story of an eleven-year-old girl from south Los Angeles who has a way with words. Despite her mother’s objections, but with the support of her tutor, principal, and neighbors, she pursues her dream of competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-12pm — MYO HOLIDAY GIFT
Handmade gifts come from the heart and allow children to share pieces of themselves with those they love. Children can make up to three nature-oriented gifts — including panpipes, leaf pendants, and gourd birdhouses — at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Recycled wrapping materials provided. Caregiver supervision and guidance expected. Registration required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-12pm — CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Do you know a Grace Lin fan? Meet the New York Times Bestselling Author and Newbery Honor Winner and purchase a signed copy of her new book, Ling and Ting: Together in All Weather!. Free frozen yogurt! Donations benefit Sunnyside Child Care‘s Scholarship Fund. Limited quantities of Lin’s other books also for sale. 413-727-3665. GoBerry, 80 Main Street, Northampton, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION/SALE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-2pm — CULTURAL STUDIES/NATURE STUDIES/ART
Explore Yggdrasil, the immense Norse tree of life whose branches extend to the nine worlds and the heavens, at Rumpus!, The Center School‘s Admissions Open House. Kids can roam the interactive indoor forest, make fairy houses, find their power animals, try archery, tour the labyrinth, and do art activities. Parents can talk with teachers and learn about the school’s programs. Refreshments for sale. 413-773-1700. 71 Montague City Road, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm — CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center hosts its 4th annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival on December 5th and 6th. Highlights include a tree and wreath raffle, fun activities for children, and live music. Those who decorate their own trees or wreaths each year can be inspired by the variety of materials and styles of decoration on display! Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Lions Club of Palmer toy drive. 413-284-0357. 2072 Main Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm — MYO GIFTS/CONCERT
At the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School‘s Winter Fair, kids can make gifts for the special people in their lives. The school’s chorus will perform. Also, Scholastic books and yummy, homemade treats will be for sale. 413-529-7178. 1 Industrial Parkway, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
Family recipes, or “receipts,” as they were called in earlier times, document culinary memories and play an important role in holiday celebrations. Learn some recipes from the past through demonstrations by Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooks and Dede Wilson, the founder of Bakepedia: The Baker’s Resource during Heritage Baking Day. Visitors can also see entries in the King Arthur Flour Heritage Recipe Baking Contest from 12pm-2pm. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — MUSEUM ADVENTURES/LOCAL HISTORY/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
A visit to Naumkeag provides a stylish image of life and design from a golden time. This National Historic Landmark managed by the Trustees of Reservations, is host to several landscapes designed by Fletcher Steele—the father of modern American landscape design. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag served as a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse of American history during this seasonal open house. House tours depart every hour between 10:30AM – 3:30PM and are 45 minutes in length. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and browse the Naumkeag holiday shop, too! 413-298-3239 x3016. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute Tuesday, December 1, through Sunday, December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-5pm — BOOKS/LITERACY
What goes into making a book? After the writing, there’s illustrating, printing, binding, and more. Learn about these processes and browse books both old and new at the Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair. This celebration of the book includes exhibitions, sales, demonstrations, book signings, lectures, and much more. Exhibitors are some of the best antiquarian booksellers and respected book artists, including engravers, book designers, bookbinders, paper makers, paper marblers, and fine letterpress publishers from Western Massachusetts and beyond. 413-588-8011. Smith College Student Center, 100 Elm Street (Route 9), Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10:30am — HOLIDAY/CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ARCHITECTURE
Gingerbread houses first appeared in Germany in the early 1800s, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own fairy tale abodes out of graham crackers, white icing, assorted candy, and a milk carton base at the Westhampton Public Library. Please bring a bag of candy for decorating and sharing; all other supplies provided. Sign up in advance. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am — FAMILY THEATER
Pirate stories feed children’s imaginations and help them learn good from bad. Watch one onstage when Nutshell Playhouse presents “Pirates!” a swashbuckling adventure featuring bold buccaneers, a mysterious map with a riddle, cursed treasure, a visit to an island that you can’t see, a pirate ghost, and a magical journey to the bottom of the sea. This seafaring tale features mime, music, masks, and puppets created by Clothespin Puppets. 413-637-1245. Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter School. 1 Commercial Street, Adams, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am — CREATIVE FREE PLAY/BOOKS
Is Teddy feeling less than tops? Is Paddington a bit pooky? Bring your sick stuffies to the Odyssey Bookshop, where local author Deanna F. Cook will share tips from her book Teddy Bear Doctor and show kids how to play doctor with their plush friends for hours. Kids will wear nurse’s caps and tend to their toys in a pop-clinic. Come in a lab coat or bring a stethoscope to win prizes. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am — LITERATURE/THEATER:
Come and step through the door of an old wardrobe where two imaginative children, Lucy and Edmund, will lead you on a magical adventure filled with fantasy and wonder. Based on the classical novel by C.S. Lewis, Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, ignites curiosity while providing insight about the emotional climate of childhood during World War II. Come experience the weaving of traditional English folklore, Greek mythology, and 20th century literature that has made The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe a favorite among audiences of all ages! The show is presented by the Hampsted Theatre Company. Spectrum Playhouse, 20 Franklin Street, Lee, MA.(< $ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-1pm — UPCYCLING/MYO GIFT/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
When your tea or coffee is gone, what do you do with the empty box or cup sleeve? Join Local Artisan Candace Bradbury-Carlin for “Coffee, Tea, and Bookmaking” at the Pelham Library, and learn how to make blank books from these cast-offs. Someone on your holiday list would certainly appreciate one! Space is limited so please sign up at the desk. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-4pm — YULETIDE
Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-7pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Celebrate the season with the “Lenox Holiday Stroll, sponsored by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. Do some shopping while entertained by caroling from the Cantilena Chamber Choir and students from Lenox High School, Berkshire Country Day School, Berkshire Christian School, and Berkshire Montessori School. Enjoy performances by Shakespeare & Co. and WAM (Women Action Media). Make memories in the “Fabulously Fun Photo Booth.” 413-637-3646. Downtown Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 12:30pm — LITERACY/BOOK SIGNING
Hervé Tullet’s Press Here is a simply stunning children’s book that invites readers to interact with each page from start to finish. Meet the author and get your favorite Tullet book signed during his visit to the Eric Carle Museum from his home in Paris. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm — FOOD SWAP/NON-COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY
A food swap is a recurring event where members of a community share homemade, homegrown, or foraged foods with each other. Food swaps act as barter markets or gift economies: direct exchanges are made by bartering one’s goods for another’s, and no money is involved. Experience this alternative marketplace with Valley Food Swap at The Bower Studio in Pelham. Bring your jams, baked goods, ferments, root veggies, vinegars, and other homemade or homegrown foods to swap with your neighbors. Perhaps you can swap for some holiday gifts! Please RSVP. 378 Daniel Shays Highway, Pelham, MA. (FREE, with items to swap)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm-2pm — LOCAL HISTORY/NATURE STUDIES/CULTURAL STUDIES
What tales can the Connecticut River and Turners Falls Power Canal tell? Join an interpreter at the Great Falls Discovery Center to find out. During the “River Rambles — Canalside Rail Trail Walk” you’ll leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks while listening to stories of industrialization, cultural and natural history, and resilience. Meet outside the main entrance. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm-4pm — ART/LITERACY
Explore illustrator Marc Rosenthal’s new book, Big Bot, Small Bot with the man himself at the Norman Rockwell Museum. This lift-the-flap book about a group of robots, teaches counting, opposites, shapes, and colors. Following the talk, kids can create their own lift-the-flap books. Rosenthal will also have a book-signing. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm-4pm — HOLIDAY/ARCHITECTURE/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
What candy would you use to make realistic foliage for a gingerbread house yard? What could you do with a Lifesaver? Watch as teams of four compete to build the best gingerbread house at Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity‘s Fourth Annual Gingerbread Build at Eastworks. See if you can guess who will win judges’ awards such as “Best Use of the Color Green,” “Most Resembling a Sea Creature,” and “Most Resembling a Famous Landmark.” Intergenerational fun! Raffle for local prizes drawn at 3:30. 413-586-5430. 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm-5pm — SUSTAINABILITY/BOOKS/ART
Enjoy food, drink, readings, a book sale, and art at Collective Copies‘ Holiday Open House. Taste Equal Exchange coffee and chocolate and other co-op produced treats. At 1pm, Steve Strimer of Levellers Press will talk about making books. Give scratch foam, a simple printmaking technique, a try from 1pm-2pm. All Levellers Press books 25% off. 413-256-6425. 71 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm — CHRISTMAS CRAFT/ARCHITECTURE
Gingerbread houses were first made in Germany in the early 19th century, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own structures out of edible items at the Mason Library. Ages 6 and up (with caregiver help as needed). All supplies included. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 2pm — US HISTORY/SOCIAL JUSTICE
Every school child learns a poem by Lydia Maria Child at Thanksgiving: “Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go….” But Child was more than a poet — she wrote extensively promoting rights for African-Americans, American Indians, and women. She and her husband lived in Northampton from 1838-1841, as they endeavored to farm sugar beets on the meadows. Patricia G. Holland, from Amherst College, collected and edited Child’s correspondence. She will speak about “Lydia Maria Child and Anti-Slavery Work in Northampton” at the Historic Northampton Museum. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 2pm-3:30pm — STEM/ART
Do you have (or know) a child who loves to tinker and create? Check out the ARPS-Jones Library Makerspace, where kids can try out robotics kits, 3D printing, littleBits circuitry components, die-cut shape makers, LEGOs, and an assortment of craft supplies. An adult facilitator will be present to help participants explore new materials, but the session is, by design, very open-ended, and everyone is welcome to pursue her/his own interests and ideas! Intended for ages 8-13. Pre-registration requested. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Launch Holyoke’s holiday season at this year’s festive, family-oriented, tree lighting event. The merry-go-round will be running, and Santa will arrive right in front, via the Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Polar Express train, to greet visitors. Other highlights include music, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice sculpting, and refreshments. The lighting of the city’s tree will take place at City Hall; all other events take place in and around City Hall and in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Hosted by the Holyoke Parks & Recreation department. 413-322-5620. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 4:30pm — TREE LIGHTING
Be a part of a new holiday tradition at the Whately Library when you join in its first annual tree lighting celebration. There will be hot chocolate, homemade baked goods, music, and a great community sing-along, led by the Damon Family Trio! 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 7pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Berkshire First Church of the Nazarene. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Dalton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/DANCE/CONCERT
Jazz great Duke Ellington recorded his version of The Nutcracker Suite in 1960. The “University Dancers with Jazz Ensemble I” will mark the 35th anniversary of the recording with a performance choreographed by dance alumni at the UMass Fine Arts Center. Also works by Thomas Vacanti, Erica Wilson-Perkins, and Leslie Frye-Maietta.
413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA ($)

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm — PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/YULETIDE
Welcome the winter solstice with the warm harmonies of folk duo Lynn and Will Rowan, as Maude’s Closet Concerts celebrates the release of their new CD, Sing the Sun’s Return: Wassails and Carols for Yuletide. Sing along to everything from boisterous old feasting songs to moving new melodies about the dark season. Special guest Aidan Talbot. 413-634-6199. Ashfield Community Hall, 521 Main Street, Ashfield, MA. ($$)

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Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Hanukkah Begins

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.

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center hosts its 4th annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival on December 5th and 6th. Highlights include a tree and wreath raffle, fun activities for children, and live music. Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Lions Club of Palmer toy drive. 413-284-0357. 2072 Main Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/LOCAL HOLIDAY GIFTS
Do you get inspired by talking to artists and seeing their wares? Would you like to support local artists in any holiday shopping you plan to do? The Whately Library‘s Handmade Holiday Fair will feature local, handmade goods and offer opportunities to talk to artists about their creative process. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Learn Yiddish holiday songs, hear readings of holiday-themed children’s books, make a seasonal craft, and go on a scavenger hunt exploration at the Yiddish Book Center‘s annual Hanukkah celebration. This fun day of Hanukkah-themed activities has something for visitors of all ages and faiths. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — MUSEUM ADVENTURES/LOCAL HISTORY/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
A visit to Naumkeag provides a stylish image of life and design from a golden time. This National Historic Landmark managed by the Trustees of Reservations, is host to several landscapes designed by Fletcher Steele—the father of modern American landscape design. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag served as a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse of American history during this seasonal open house. House tours depart every hour between 10:30AM – 3:30PM and are 45 minutes in length. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and browse the Naumkeag holiday shop, too! 413-298-3239 x3016. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute Tuesday, December 1, through Sunday, December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Sunday, December 6. 10am-5pm — MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Every first Sunday of the month, The Clark Art Institute offers free admission! The Clark Art Institute, located in north Berkshire County, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. The Clark library, open to the public with more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10:30am-12:30pm — MYO GIFT/STEM
Let it snow! Enjoy open-ended, creative activities focusing on snow at “The Family Snowflake Workshop” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Learn about the science of snow and make snowflake-themed artwork and gifts. Ages 6 and up; up to two children per adult. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 11am-4pm — YULETIDE
Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-2pm — SANTA/MYO ORNAMENT
Visit Santa’s Workshop, presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum, and make your own holiday hat and ornament. Free with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas admission.
413-298-4100. 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 12:55pm — BALLET
Experience the Bolshoi Ballet in HD as the Amherst Cinema presents The Lady of the Camellias, John Neumeier’s tragic tour de force based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas and scored by Chopin. A young bourgeois, Armand Duval, falls madly in love with Marguerite Gautier, a gorgeous courtesan celebrated by the Parisian high society. Despite her infidelity, Armand will do all he can to win the beautiful woman’s heart and convince her to leave her indulgent life. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 1pm-3pm — HANUKKAH/FOOD/KLEZMER MUSIC
What’s your favorite Hanukkah treat? Perhaps you’ll find that and some new taste sensations at “A Taste of Hanukkah” at the River Valley Market. Enjoy live music by the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 1pm-3pm — NATURE STUDIES/OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Skip the shopping malls and head for the woods to find some serenity this hectic season. Instead of searching for deals, turn over a rock to see who might be sheltering underneath. Pause the holiday music and listen for bird calls. Naturalist Charley Eiseman will lead this walk and talk sponsored by the Kestrel Land Trust. RSVP by 5pm Friday, December 4, to learn the meeting location. Hot refreshments provided afterward. Rain/snow date: December 13. 413-549-1097. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 2pm-3:30pm — HOLIDAY TEA
Sip tea and nibble sweets in Belle Skinner’s Music Room at Wistariahurst Museum‘s Winter FestiviTea. Live music and festive holiday decor add to the merry atmosphere. Reservations required. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm — HOLIDAY TEA
Are you in the mood for a fancy afternoon celebration with friends or family? Perhaps an elegant Victorian Tea is in order! Visit Ventfort Hall for a special holiday tea of sandwiches, cakes, and cookies, all made from the Hall’s own recipes. A concert of contemporary and classical music by pianist Karen Tchougourian will round out the occasion. Reservations required. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
The Cantilena Chamber Choir presents “Christmas at Trinity,” with music of Bach and Anderegg and your favorite carols. This a cappella choir has received the prestigious Choral Arts New England’s Alfred Nash Patterson award twice. Featuring The Berkshire Children’s Chorus. 518-791-0185. Trinity Church, 88 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm — ART STUDIES/US HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Norman Rockwell painted Home for Christmas in 1967, capturing a quintessential small town at the holidays. Take a virtual stroll down Stockbridge’s Main Street in simpler times and learn details you may not known before in this Highlight Talk at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Reduced admission with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas button. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm-5:30pm — HANUKKAH/INTERGENERATIONALITY
The miracle of Hanukkah is that one vial of oil, enough for only one night, lit the menorah for eight. Start the Festival of Lights at the Springfield Jewish Community Center‘s First Light Community-wide Celebration. Play the eight games of Hanukkah, enjoy music and latkes, then go outside for the lighting of the largest menorah in Western Mass. 413-739-4715 x322. 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Village Church. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Cummington, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm & 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Amherst Choral Society will perform at a “Festival of Lessons and Carols,” the annual vespers concert at Johnson Chapel. Members of the Amherst College community will do readings interspersed with the songs. 413-542-2195. Amherst College, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 6pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
At Lenox Dale’s annual Christmas Tree lighting, hosted by the Lenox Dale Fire Company, Santa will arrive by fire engine and light the town’s tree, then greet children at the Elm Street fire station. Each child will receive a gift and refreshments will be available for everyone. Photos with Santa welcome. 413-637-5542. Veteran’s Memorial Park (Walker & Crystal Streets), Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, December 7th, 2015

Monday, December 7, 8:15-9:15am — OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Start the week with a quick stroll around the Belchertown common with Hike It Baby Pioneer Valley, and possibly see fire trucks, chickens, and goats! Perfect for strollers and carriers alike. Little legs will have to be careful as we cross the street, so good listening ears will be super important. Total distance approximately one mile. Meet near the cannon by the war memorials. You can park behind the BUCC church or in the town parking lot at the end of the common. 301-906-4700. Belchertown Town Common, Park Street, Belchertown, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 2pm — HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight-day celebration which begins this year on Sunday, December 6th and ends Monday, December 14th. Join with other community members in a celebration of Hanukkah sponsored by West Springfield Park & Recreation. 413-263-3284. Elm Street Common, Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 5:30pm-6:30pm — COMPUTERS/STEM
Young children are drawn to electronics. Did you know they can learn to express themselves creatively on devices with ScratchJr, a coding app that allows them to program their own stories and games? This workshop, offered by Holyoke Codes, will show them how to solve problems and design projects, while expressing themselves creatively. For ages 5-7. 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 5:30pm-8:30pm — PARENTING
Learn how to be an effective advocate for your child at the IEP Clinic at Amherst Regional High School. Every child who receives special education because of a disability must have an Individualized Education Program. This workshop covers IEP development, including articulating a vision, writing measurable goals, and tracking progress. Includes a round-table discussion with volunteer Education Advocates. Feel free to bring your child’s IEP. 413-687-4255. Room 13, 21 Mattoon Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 6pm — STEM
What is light? How do we see color? What is a “light-emitting diode,” and how do we make one? Evelyn L. Hu, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at Harvard University, will answer these questions and any others you have at SciTech Cafe‘s “Better than Edison: Bringing Light to the World through LEDs.” Open to all but particularly suited to life-long learners and self-directed teens. Union Station Banquets, 125 Pleasant Street, #A, Northampton, MA (FREE-WILL DONATION)

Monday, December 7, 7pm — MUSIC/INTERGENERATIONALITY
Do you love to sing and/or play an instrument? Make a joyful noise during this holiday season with friends and neighbors of all ages at a “Community Sing” at the Westhampton Public Library. Both young and old benefit from socializing together. Feel free to bring at least 10 copies of a song to share. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7. 7:00pm — AUDITIONS/SHORT PLAY
Exit 7 Short Play Contest. Have you ever dreamed of starring in a play? Do you enjoy local theater and interacting with others who share this passion? With 16 plays in two categories (drama and comedy), and 47 roles to fill, now is your chance to be part of the action! Since there is no experience required, this is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring actors to learn the ropes and be a part of this exciting show! Auditions will be held at The Exit 7 Players Theater, 37 Chestnut Street, Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

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

  • 9:30am-11am – STORYTIME & MUSIC: Families with young children are invited to the Spear Memorial Library every Monday for a “Tales & Tunes” program with Katie Tolles, sponsored by the Community Network for Children. 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Road, Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC: Parent-child playgroup at the Pelham Library offers a story, snack, music, and fingerplays. “Music for Little Ones,” with Wendy Plummer, follows at 10:30am. Ages birth-5 years. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Children ages 3-5 and their caregivers can join the Play N Learn playgroup each Monday morning, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Advance registration required. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – KNITTING: The Sunderland Public Library has a knitting group that runs every Monday. The group is open to knitters of all levels and ages. Great intergenerational activity to do with young homeschoolers. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – LITERACY: Young children can have fun with books and reading at Wee Read at the Worthington Library every Monday. 413-238-5565. 1 Huntington Road. Worthington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for ages walking to 5 years every Monday at the Williamstown Youth Center. 413-458-5925. 66 School Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12pm – PLAYGROUP: Young children and their caregivers are invited to Gym Fun, a playgroup that incorporates lots of movement. This group meets on Mondays and is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. Town Hall, 21 State Line Rd., West Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Forbes Library for a fun storytime every Monday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Storrs Library offers a drop-in playgroup for kids ages 3 and under every Monday morning, ongoing. Come hear a story, sing songs, and enjoy free play. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30 am – STORYTIME: The Indian Orchard Library invites 3-5 year olds for stories, songs, movement, a craft, and playtime. Runs through Oct. 26, Adult must accompany children, siblings welcome. Registration required if you bring more than three children. 413-263-6846. 44 Oak Street, Indian Orchard, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Young kids can come to tummy time at the Forbes Library every Monday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:00am – 4:00pm – STEM: The Berkshire Museum’s Spark!Lab is open for drop in play. In Spark!Lab, everyone is an inventor! Spark!Lab is a hands-on, creative laboratory that engages children and families in the process of innovation: try the variety of activities, from creating a wheeled vehicle to experimenting with percussion to assembling safe electrical circuits. Visitors of all ages can work together to combine skills and ideas to create inventions with real-world applications. 413-443-7171. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)
  • 1pm-2:30pm – PARENTING SUPPORT: Are you helping raise your grandchildren, nieces & nephews, or other family members? Join others who are doing so at a parenting support group every third Monday of the month at the Williamsburg Senior Center. Childcare available if you call in advance. 413-563-1981. 141 Main Street, Haydenville, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:00pm-5pm – ART: Do you know a teen who loves to draw? The Hubbard Library offers “Sketchy Ato,” a drop-in session in which all genres are welcome – manga, comics, western, or anything else. Artists can share their work (if they want) with fellow art maniacs! For middle & high schoolers. Every two weeks. 413-583-3408. 24 Center St., Ludlow, MA.. (FREE)
  • 5:30-6:30pm – GYM GROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a Gym Group at the Haskins Center for ages walking to 8 years old. 413-664-4821. 210 State St., North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:00pm-6:00pm – COMMUNITY MEAL: Gathering around a table and sharing a meal is a foundation of community building. Greet your neighbors and make new friends over a delicious meal prepared by some of the finest chefs in the Berkshires at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Donations are gratefully accepted, as are non-perishable food items for local food banks. Please contribute if you can. Runs through December 21. (No Suppers on 11/23 or 12/28) No reservations required. 15 Crissey Rd., Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – KNITTING: All skill levels can attend a knitting group at the Westhampton Public Library every Monday evening. Come learn and share tips and tricks with knitters of all ages and levels. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-7pm – STORYTIME: Kids can unwind at the end of the day at the Montague Center Library‘s ongoing weekly evening storytime. Kids are welcome to come to the storytime in their pajamas. 413-367-2852. 17 Center Street. Montague, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – MUSIC: The ukulele is a small stringed instrument, similar to a guitar, that originated in 19th Century Hawaii. The ukulele has enjoyed a revival in recent years that can be attributed to its accessibility, affordability and popularity. Julieann Stepanek wants to inspire budding ukulele players by teaching four monthly classes at Storrs Library. Once a month, through December 28th. Come to one session or all four! Registration required. 413-565-4181. Storrs Library, 693 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-8pm — BOOK CLUB: The Emily Williston Memorial Library invites you to Monday Night Book Club, which meets the fourth Monday of each month (except in May). For adults and/or young adults who are mature readers. 413-527-1031. Emily Williston Memorial Library, 9 Park St., Easthampton, MA (FREE)
  • 7pm – POETRY: Forbes Library holds a poetry discussion group every Monday in the Coolidge Museum. Come discuss the works of famous poets with community members of all backgrounds – lifelong poets and those who are new to reading poetry. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm – COMMUNITY SING: Join friends and neighbors at the Westhampton Public Library for a monthly get together of people who love to play music and sing! Bring your instrument(s) and copies of songs you would like to share with the group. Meets the first Monday of the month. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 3:30pm-4:30pm — LEGOS/ARCHITECTURE/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
Grab a handful of the colorful blocks and see what you can build at the Meekins Library LEGO Club! This month’s theme is “Winter Wonderland.” For school-aged children. Young children must have caregiver supervision. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 5:30pm-8pm — KWANZAA CELEBRATION
In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga created a new cultural holiday, Kwanzaa, based on traditional African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Organized around seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), Kwanzaa aims to preserve, continually revitalize, and promote African American culture. The Malcolm X Cultural Center at UMass invites everyone to its annual community Kwanzaa Celebration to engage in celebration and reflection. 413-545-3042. UMass Student Union Ballroom, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm — CULINARY ARTS
As Charles M. Schultz said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” What would the holidays (or life, in general, for that matter) be without the sweet stuff? Join Local Chef and Cookbook Author Bill Collins for a program on cooking with chocolate at the Pelham Library. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm — VOLUNTEERING/SERVICE LEARNING/TEENS
Did you know that volunteering your time makes you feel as though you have more of it? Volunteering also builds empathy and strengthens social bonds. Help your neighbors in need put food on the table during the holiday season and beyond by sorting donations at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. This orientation will show you how. For ages 16 and up. Registration required. 413-247-9738. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm-7pm — HOLIDAY/CULINARY ARTS/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
The first recorded instance of gingerbread shaped like human figures is from the 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I of England had likenesses of some of her esteemed guests made from biscuits. Whom will your gingerbread cookie look like? Come to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate pre-made gingerbread figures. Advance sign-up requested. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm-7pm — DOULA
The term “doula” comes from ancient Greece and means “a woman who serves.” A doula is a trained professional who assists a woman through pregnancy and childbirth. Studies show that labors attended by doulas are shorter and have fewer complications. Learn about the role of a doula from certified-doula Anne Wagner at the East Longmeadow Public Library. No registration required. 413-525-5400, ext. 1511. 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8. 7:00pm — AUDITIONS/SHORT PLAY
Exit 7 Short Play Contest. Have you ever dreamed of starring in a play? Do you enjoy local theater and interacting with others who share this passion? With 16 plays in two categories (drama and comedy), and 47 roles to fill, now is your chance to be part of the action! Since there is no experience required, this is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring actors to learn the ropes and be a part of this exciting show! Auditions will be held at The Exit 7 Players Theater, 37 Chestnut Street, Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 7-9pm — RIVER ECOLOGY/LITERARY ART: What do you want for your river? Do you kayak, canoe, fish or swim. Are you ready to share a story, a feeling, an aspiration? Come and see how art and your words will make change for your river at the The Power of Water The Power of Words event. The Connecticut River Watershed Council and Art for Water are gathering your comments on paper for a monumental, community-created art installation to make an impact on State and Federal government decisions. Come and add your voice! 413-772-2020 x206 Jones Library 43 Amity St, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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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)
  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Every Tuesday, Community Health Programs of Berkshire County hosts Toddler Steps, a playgroup for children ages 18 months- 3 years with their caregivers. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, 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)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Frontier Regional CFCE is offering a playgroup for kids ages 5 and under every Tuesday and Friday at Sunderland Elementary School through June 10, 2016. Follows Sunderland school schedule. 413-665-8928. 1 Swampfield Drive. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – SCHOOL READINESS: There will be a school readiness program every Tuesday at the Hilltown Family Center. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Young children and their caregivers are invited to participate in the Explore & Play playgroup, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County, which meets Tuesday mornings. 413-644-0104. 1 North Main Road, Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – PARENT GROUP: Nursing Families group every Tuesday at the Haskins Center. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – STEAM: Preschool-age children can learn about science, technology, engineering, art, and math at the Dalton Free Public Library every Tuesday! There will be a story, a lesson, and a STEAM project. 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street. Dalton, 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-11:30am – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: It Takes a Village Mother’s Circle runs every Tuesday at St. John’s Corner House. Come talk about motherhood with others in a supportive and caring environment. Expectant mothers welcome, and infants can attend, and there is childcare for older children. Follows the Mohawk Trail school schedule. 413-650-3640. 469 Main Street. Ashfield, 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; $)
  • 10:15am-11:45am – CRAFTING: What better way to prepare for a cozy New England winter than to complete those knitting projects? Knitting alongside others also builds community and increases skills. The Storrs Library in Longmeadow offers a Novel Knitters drop-in program for adults where you can bring your own projects and supplies or participate in ongoing community projects. All levels of expertise are welcome. 413- 565-4182. Storrs Library, 693 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 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 – STORYTIME: Storytime and music for ages 1-3 every Tuesday at the North Adams Public Library. 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street. North Adams, 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 – 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)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Toddlers aged 12-36 months and their caregivers are welcome at the bilingual toddler storytime at the Forest Park Library. stories, songs, fingerplays, and playtime. Registration required if you bring more than three children. Runs through December 8. Registration required/limited space. Adult must be present. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Ave., Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires, Inc. holds a playgroup every Tuesday at the Adams Youth Center. 413-664-4821. 20 East Street Adams, 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)
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – PLAYGROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a playgroup at Adams Youth Center for infants to 5 year olds. 413-664-4821. 20 East St., Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12pm – PLAYGROUP: Facilitator MaryBeth leads Baby Steps, a playgroup that meets Tuesdays. This playgroup is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-1pm – SUPPORT GROUP: Grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – “grandfamilies” – can attend a support group every second and fourth Tuesday in Turners Falls. Come to the group to learn about resources, meet other grandfamilies, share experiences, and seek support. Run by United Arc. 413-563-1981. 294 Avenue A. Turners Falls, 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)
  • 1pm-2pm – BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT: Are you or your partner facing breastfeeding challenges? Is nursing not what you thought it would be? Stop in to MaryBeth’s breastfeeding support group, which meets Tuesday afternoons, for advice, techniques, and emotional support. Babies and children welcome, of course! This group is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, 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 – KNITTING: On the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, the Stockbridge Library hosts a Sit & Knit group. All levels of knitters and crocheters can come spend time knitting with others. 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 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)
  • 4:30pm – AFTERSCHOOL & 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. The popular Northampton education-based store A to Z hosts Yo-Yo School three times a week inside their store, and their teachers are true masters. Open to all ages, although older elementary children often have the motor skills and coordination needed for it to be a bit easier to learn. Read more about Yo-Yo school on Hilltown Families. Call 413-586-1611. 57 King St., Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:15pm-6:45pm – SUPPORT GROUP: Grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – “grandfamilies” – can attend a support group every first Tuesday (5:15pm-6:45pm) and third Wednesday (12:30pm-2pm) in Greenfield. Come to the group to learn about resources, meet other grandfamilies, share experiences, and seek support. Run by United Arc. 413-563-1981. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, 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)
  • 6pm-7pm – WRITING: The Sunderland Public Library hosts a Teen and Tween Writing Club the last Tuesday of each month. Students can come practice writing from prompts and doing activities and exercises – this is a great way to make friends and improve writing skills! Please sign up in advance. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Is the health of our Earth on your mind? Gather with others who are contemplating the same topic at the Environmental Awareness Discussion Group, which meets on the last Tuesday of the month at the Dickinson Memorial Library. Members of the group use both non-fiction and fiction books and films as launching off points for meaningful conversations about the environment. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street, Northfield, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 10am-5pm — NON-COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY SHOPPING/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Shop the “Meekins Market” for everyone on your list and support the Meekins Library and sustainability in the process. This “indoor tag sale” has something for everyone, at reasonable prices (most items are between 25 cents and 10 dollars). Find gently used stuffed animals, toys and games, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, holiday items, and of course books. Kids can shop for parents, teachers, and friends without breaking the (piggy) bank! Open during library hours through December 19. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (SALE)

Wednesday, December 9, 3:30pm — CAROLING
Join “The Jolly Jinglers,” for some fun holiday songs at the Westhampton Public Library. This delightful group of children is led by Heather Paul. 413-527-5386. Community Room, 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 6pm-8pm — CHRISTMAS/HISTORY
What was Christmas like before electricity? Find out during “Yuletide by Lantern Light” at historic Storrowton Village. Guests can tour the buildings and watch live 19th-century demonstrations of fireplace cooking in the Gilbert Farmstead and blacksmithing in the stone Blacksmith Shop, all by the light of lanterns and candles. The Village will be adorned with festive décor by several area garden clubs, florists, and designers who have donated their time, expertise, and materials to create a winter wonderland. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, December 9, 5:30pm — CONCERT/CULTURAL STUDIES/HANUKKAH
Enjoy festive world music as the Mount Holyoke College Klezmer Band performs its annual Klezmer Tants, directed by Andrianne Greenbaum. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-538-2000. The Warbeke Room, Pratt Music Hall, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 6:30pm — MUSIC STUDIES
The Northampton Community Music Center invites you to its 13th annual Holiday Choral Festival, featuring performances by Rock Voices, Luna, the Northamptones, High Definition, the Ku’umba Women’s Choir, the Hartsbrook Choir, and the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School Chorus. Proceeds benefit the NCMC’s scholarship fund. 413-585-0001. Helen Hills Chapel, 123 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Wednesday, December 9, 7pm — HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR
Holiday light displays add a festive touch to many neighborhoods and businesses at this time of year. Take a tour of Forest Park’s “Bright Nights” holiday light display on a bus tour hosted by the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department. Interested residents of West Springfield should contact the Park & Rec Department to reserve a free bus voucher before December 8th. All children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Municipal Office Building, 26 Central Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9. 7:00pm — HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days. This festive holiday show has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater, 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

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

  • 8am-10am – COMMUNITY BREAKFAST: Whether you are seeking a nutritious meal to start your day, hoping to make new connections in the community–or both!–everyone is welcome to attend a community breakfast each Wednesday, hosted by Craig’s Doors, in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. 413-437-0776. Willie Eaton Social Hall, Unitarian Meetinghouse, 121 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Young kids can play, learn, and discover at a weekly program every Wednesday at Kittredge Elementary School. 413-655-0146. Maple Street. Hinsdale, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Cummington Family Center is holding a playgroup every Wednesday and Friday through May 2016. Young kids can come play and make friends. Takes place in old Berkshire Trail Elementary School. 2 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: You and your young children are welcome to join other kids and caregivers each Wednesday at the Lenox Community Center’s weekly playgroup, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 65 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Children ages 3-5 years old and their caregivers can join Kim each Wednesday for Play N Learn, a playgroup sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Advance registration required. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 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 – COMMUNITY: The Westhampton Public Library‘s weekly Coffee and Chat runs every Wednesday at 10am. Come together with community members to share stories, news, and to stay connected. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 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-11am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup every Wednesday at the Lanesborough Town Hall’s Community Room. For ages walking to 5 years. Run by The Family Center. 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, 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)
  • 10:00am-11:00am – PLAYGROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc.is offering a toddler playgroup at Haskins Center for ages 1 to 2.5 years. 413-664-4821. 210 State St., North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: There will be a playgroup every Wednesday and Friday at the Hilltown Family Center. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12pm – STORYTIME: Enjoy a morning of stories at the New Marlborough Library’s weekly storytime, held each Wednesday. This storytime series is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 1 Mill River-Great Barrington Road, New Marlborough, 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 – STORYTIME: There is a storytime for preschool-age kids every Wednesday at the Monson Free Library! Come for stories and fun. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Storytime and crafts for ages 3-6 every Wednesday at the North Adams Public Library. 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street. North Adams, 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; $)
  • 11:00am-11:30am – STORYTIME Toddlers and their caregivers can come to the Forbes Library for Toddler Time, which includes stories, bubbles and songs with friends every Wednesday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 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)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm – GYM GROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a Gym Group at Haskins Center for ages walking to 5 years old. 413-664-4821. 210 State St., North Adams, 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)
  • 12:30pm-2pm – SUPPORT GROUP: Grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – “grandfamilies” – can attend a support group every first Tuesday (5:15pm-6:45pm) and third Wednesday (12:30pm-2pm) in Greenfield. Come to the group to learn about resources, meet other grandfamilies, share experiences, and seek support. Run by United Arc. 413-563-1981. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, 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.
  • 4pm-5pm – STORY/CRAFT: Join the Cushman Library during the school year for thematic picture book/craft activities, snacks and opportunity to meet other parents while the kids get crafty together. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm – WRITING/STORYTELLING: Adults and older students are invited to the Forbes Library‘s reading series, “The Modern Real and Surreal: Writers and Artists on Our Age,” which meets on the first Wednesday of each month. This series invites the community to examine the relationships among story, art, empathy, and insight in our modern age. 413-587-1014. Coolidge Museum, 20 West Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-7:30pm – KNITTING: Knitting provides an excellent base for intergenerational skill sharing every Wednesday through Dec 23 at the Cushman LIbrary. Bring your current project or one you’ve been meaning to start! All levels of knitters are welcome at this Wednesday knitting circle. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 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)
  • 6pm-8pm — CRAFTING: Sheep & Shawl yarn and fiber arts shop in South Deerfield offers Knit/Crochet/Spin Circles every Wednesday night. 413-397-3680. 265 Greenfield Rd., South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm – FILM STUDIES: New Asia Cinema and Arab Cinema Panorama screen a film as part of their “Fantastic Animals” series every Wednesday at the Flavin Theater School of Management at UMass. Each film deals with the connections between humans and animals around the world. See the Fine Arts Center website for a full schedule and list of films. Runs through December 9, 2015. 413-577-2486. Amherst, 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 experienced 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, December 10th, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 12:15pm-1:15pm — ART STUDIES
In the 17th and 18th centuries, first scientists, then royalty and members of the elite, kept their most treasured collections in “Cabinets of Curiosity.” During the Victorian era, the practice spread to the middle class, and “curio cabinets” became popular. In this month’s Museums a la Carte lecture, Heather Haskell, Director of the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, will discuss the current display of such “mini museums” at the GWVS Art Museum. 413-263-6488. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, December 10, 4pm-5:30pm – STORYTELLING/ART
Jan Brett’s The Mitten, is a Ukrainian folktale about a boy’s lost mitten and the woodland animals that take shelter in it. Enjoy this classic book, and two other versions of the same tale, then color and fill your own mitten, at the Meekins Library. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 4:30pm — ART/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
What will you learn with your own personal guide at the Williams College Museum of Art? Walk through the galleries with a Williams student and discuss highlights of the collection during “Student Guides in the Galleries.” 413-597-2429. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Suite 2, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 5pm-8pm — PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
Enjoy a bit of festive, holiday magic at Springfield Museums‘ Culture & Cocktails: Merry & Bright celebration! Explore the whimsical gingerbread exhibition, enjoy holiday music, take in a planetarium show, gaze at the lights of the Quadrangle Green, design an edible holiday treat, and connect with others in your community at this special event. Ages 21 and up. Reservations strongly recommended. 413-314-6479. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (< $ for members; $ for non-members)

Thursday, December 10, 6:30pm — HANUKKAH/INTERGENERATIONAL
The Deerfield Arts Bank invites the community to bring their menorahs and candles for an evening of lighting candles together on the 5th night of Hanukkah (they’ll have lots of extra menorahs too). All are invited to this interfaith gathering. Rabbi Ben Weiner, a Deerfield resident, will officiate and explain Hanukkah traditions and history. There will be singing and playing dreidel. 413-665-0123. 413-768-8917. Deerfield Arts Bank 3 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 10. 7:30pm — HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days. This festive holiday show has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater, 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Thursday, December 10, 7:30pm — CONCERT/MUSIC STUDIES
The holiday season offers many great opportunities to explore music from different cultural traditions. Experience a Celtic Christmas performance by Cherish the Ladies, an ensemble that creates beautiful music using flute, tin whistle, guitar, accordion, fiddle, piano, and vocals. The program will include classic carols and step dancing. 413-545-2511. UMass Fine Arts Center, 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA. ($-$$)

Thursday, December 10, 7:30pm — PERFORMING ARTS/ PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
A beautifully written story about human connection, Stop Kiss was chosen as part of a new series of intimate, minimalist shows directed by Smith College students. Director Jennifer Sturley describes the show as taking on numerous social issues such as sexual identity, hate crimes, acceptance, and discrimination. At the heart of its message, this play is truly about the vulnerability, intimacy, and a blossoming relationship between two people. Audience members will have the opportunity to see young theater artists showcase their talents in this moving performance about the transformative power of love. The production is being presented by the Smith College Department of Theater. Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts at Smith College, 122 Green Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 8pm — MUSIC STUDIES/ORCHESTRA
Ng Tian Hui conducts the Mount Holyoke College Symphony Orchestra as it presents “Razzle Dazzle.” Hear the masterful work of the winners of the college’s Concerto Competition — Whitney Gao ’16 (piano) and Yiwen Li ’17 (flute) — juxtaposed with Nyman’s post minimalist music for dance. 413-538-2000. 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

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

  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Children ages 18 months through 3 years and their caregivers may participate in the Toddler Steps playgroup which meets on Thursdays, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-10:30am – STORYTIME: On Thursdays, young children and their caregivers can enjoy building early literacy skills at Richmond Reads, a weekly group sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. Richmond Library, 1831 State Road, Richmond, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup/storytime every Thursday at Goshen Town Hall. Main Street. Goshen, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – STORYTIME: Storytime every Thursday at the Dalton Free Public Library. There will be stories, snacks, and a craft. 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street. Dalton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a support group for parents with infants every Thursday Hilltown Family Center. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, 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.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP Add some playtime, socializing, and song to your morning at Sing N Play each Thursday. Open to young children and their caregivers, and sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. Bushnell-Sage Library, 48 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)
  • 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: No child is too young to benefit from having a story read to him or her! Listening to a read-aloud story allows children to encounter new sounds and vocabulary, teaches them how to use a book, and introduces ideas about how stories are created. Share the joy of reading with your child at the Lenox Library‘s storytime every Thursday morning. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12:30pm – PLAY GROUP: Children birth – 5 years old are welcome to attend a neighborhood playgroup at Sixteen Acres Library. Enjoy stories, fingerplays, a craft and playtime. Adult must accompany and consistently supervise children, siblings welcome. 413-263-6858. 1187 Parker Street, Springfield MA. (FREE)
  • 10:45am-11:45am – PARENTING SKILLS/SUPPORT: Would you like to meet other parents in the area and share your parenting triumphs and challenges? Would you enjoy learning sound parenting advice from a trusted source? Check out Sips & Tips, a parenting group that meets on Thursdays, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Childcare is provided. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:45am-12pm – NUTRITION & CULINARY ARTS: Children ages 2.5-5 years and their caregivers are invited to Kids’ Kitchen, a fun cooking group that meets on Thursdays. Children who participate in meal preparation often show greater tolerance for a variety of foods and healthier eating habits than children who do not. The focus will be on learning basic food prep techniques and making healthy choices for everyday meals. Sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104 x 1159. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12pm – PARENTING SUPPORT: Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and all others providing care for a child age 0-9 months are invited to Welcome Baby, a support group that meets on Thursdays, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Learn how to address the needs of infants and yourself, and address feeding concerns and other topics. Childcare is provided. 413-644-0104 x 1159. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 3pm & 5pm – INTERGENERATIONAL SKILL SHARING: Dottie’s Coffee Lounge hosts two knitting groups most Thursdays. The 3pm group is open to all levels, and is led by Kay, who spins her own wool. The 5pm group, led by Caitlin, focuses on teaching and practicing the fundamentals of knitting, but all levels and projects are welcome. 413-443-1792. 444 North Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-1:30pm – JOB SKILLS: Do you need help finding a job? Do you need assistance in creating or revising a resume and/or with interview skills? The Amherst Survival Center provides support during weekly sessions. And you can also join for lunch between 12pm and 1pm! You can ride the #33 bus right to the door. The Amherst Survival Center, 138 Sunderland Rd., North Amherst, 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)
  • 1:00pm-3:00pm – PLAYGROUP: Too old for tummy time? Too young for toddler time? Drop into this fun social time for babies at Forbes Library! 413-587-1011. Community Room, Forbes Library, 20 West Street. Northampton, 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)
  • 3pm-5pm – STEAM: Kids can attend a STEAM program at the Greenfield Public Library on the third Thursday of each month. A guest presenter will cover either science, technology, engineering, art, or math using a book. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, 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)
  • 4:30pm – AFTERSCHOOL & 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. The popular Northampton education-based store A to Z hosts Yo-Yo School three times a week inside their store, and their teachers are true masters. Open to all ages, although older elementary children often have the motor skills and coordination needed for it to be a bit easier to learn. Read more about Yo-Yo school on Hilltown Families. Call 413-586-1611. 57 King St., Northampton, 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)
  • 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 – GAME CLUB: Get together to play an assortment of games including board games, standard card games, trading card games, role-playing games, and miniatures games at the Westhampton Public Library each Thursday. Open to all but focused on ages 13 and up. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm-7pm – LEGOS: The Family Resource Center is offering a LEGO group for ages 4-12 the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. 413-664-4821. North Adams Library, 4th Floor. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (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 – GAMES: There will be a family game night the third Thursday of each month at Montague Common Hall. Spend quality time playing games with family and friends. 34 Main Street. Montague, MA. (FREE/DONATION)
  • 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)
  • 6:30pm-8:00pm – PARENTING: Parents of transgender, gender nonconforming, or questioning children are invited to participate in a new support group that meets on the first Thursday of every month (excepting Labor Day). 413-695-7686. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-8:30pm – TRIVIA: Display your trivia knowledge the first Thursday of each month at the Jones Library‘s trivia night! There will be two rounds of 15 questions and you can either come with a team or form one at the library (teams must be smaller than 5). There will also be prizes and refreshments. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (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)
  • Time TBD — COMMUNITY BUILDING
    Are you a Montague resident who would like to connect with your neighbors to discuss creative ideas? Are you a thinker, feeler, maker or do-er? The Montague Common Hall is accepting proposals for a future monthly program, called Think Tank Thursdays, during which 1 or 2 local experts talk about their passion. If you are an expert, or an amateur expert in some fascinating, strange, or esoteric field, and want to tell people all about it and answer questions in a friendly, informal setting, get in touch! Contact: hannahMCH@doktorwise.com. 34 Main St., Montague, MA (FREE)

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Friday, December 11th, 2015

Friday, December 11, 3pm-6pm — HANDS-ON NATURE STUDIES
Help our feathered friends survive the winter by making bird feeders at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Which ones like sunflower seeds? Which prefer thistle seed? And who likes those little round millet seeds? All good questions to ask while you create. Part of “It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls” — a town-wide RiverCulture event. All ages welcome. 413-863-3221. Great Hall, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 3pm-10pm — HOLIDAY/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Turners Falls RiverCulture presents “It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls.” Participate in family activities, including crafts, live music, and performances, while enjoying dining specials and eclectic shopping. Adults and kids alike are invited to write wishes for themselves or others and place them in the Magic Mailbox, to be collected by Santa when he arrives at Spinner Park at 6:30pm. 413-835-1390. Various locations, Turners Falls, MA.

Friday, December 11, 4pm-6pm — ART EXPLORATION
Who says a painting has to be square or rectangular? In this month’s Free Second Friday at the Smith College Museum of Art, adults and kids alike can “Paint Outside the Box” using Frank Stella’s Damascus Gate (Variation III) as inspiration. Non-rectangular canvases and colorful paints will be provided. A guided gallery conversation follows at 6pm. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Friday, December 11, 5pm-8pm — CONSERVATION/OPEN HOUSE
Celebrate the season and learn about the important work of the Kestrel Land Trust at their Holiday Open House. Kestrel’s mission is to “conserve and care for forests, farms, and riverways in the Pioneer Valley, while nurturing an enduring love of the land.” It has conserved more than 19,000 acres of wildlands, woodlands, farmland, and riverlands. Refreshments provided. 413-549-1097. 284 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 6pm-8pm — STORYTELLING/MUSIC
Friday night is Pajama Night at the Lenox Library! Children are invited to wear their PJs and visit the library for a fun evening of storytelling followed by a holiday music concert by David Grover. Refreshments will be served. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 7pm — HOCKEY/STAR WARS
Bring the family to see the Springfield Falcons, wearing special Star Wars commemorative jerseys, play the Binghamton Senators on West Springfield Park and Recreation night. Order tickets by 3pm December 10. 413-263-3284. 45 Falcons Way, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 11, 7:30pm — PERFORMANCE/YULE
Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration
marks the return of the light with a family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. Join revelers in a seaside village as they celebrate the return of their fisher folk at the winter solstice. Nautical songs and a sailors’ jig add to the seasonal revelries. The Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 11, 7:30pm — PERFORMING ARTS/PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
When a Caucasian man is accidentally cast in the role of an Asian man in a play, an elaborate and expensive attempt to save face results in Yellow Face, a semi-autobiographical exploration of race and the interactions between media and politics. This play was chosen as part of a new series of intimate, minimalist shows directed by Smith College students. Director Megumi Lee describes the story as a smart and funny look into the idea of public “face” while highlighting the struggles of being an Asian American. Come experience this powerfully unapologetic look into cultural identity in America. The production is being presented by the Smith College Department of Theater. Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts at Smith College, 122 Green Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 7:30pm — PERFORMING ARTS/BALLET
Pioneer Valley Ballet
presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always new and always sweet, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Berkhard and Pablo Perez, of Carolina Ballet, as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Local favorite Meghan Mangsen returns as Clara. And introducing Cain Coleman, of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance, as The Prince. Performs December 11-13 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Tickets and info: www.pioneervalleyballet.org

Friday, December 11. 8:00pm — HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days. This festive holiday show has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater, 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 11. 8:00pm — COLLEGE THEATER/EXPERIMENTAL
Performance Project. As part of their Performance Studio work, Five College students invite you to experience an evening of dance and theater, as they present their original works for the first time. This show will feature a variety of artistic pieces in various mediums, exploring topics such as body shaming, addiction, identity, and relationships. Parts of the performance will be experimented with, explained, and put into practice on stage, allowing audience members to witness the experimental process and the weaving of new ideas. Performances are presented by The Amherst College School of Theater and Dance and will be held in The Holden Theater (Webster Hall), 200 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE W/RESERVATION)

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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 ($$)

  • TBA – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup/storytime every Friday at Anne T. Dunphy School. 1 Petticoat Hill Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 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)
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Young kids can play, learn, and discover at a weekly program every Friday at the Becket Washington School. 413-655-0146. 12 Maple Street. Becket, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Cummington Family Center is holding a playgroup every Wednesday and Friday through May 2016. Young kids can come play and make friends. Takes place in old Berkshire Trail Elementary School. 2 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Frontier Regional CFCE is offering a playgroup for kids ages 5 and under every Tuesday and Friday at Sunderland Elementary School through June 10, 2016. Follows Sunderland school schedule. 413-665-8928. 1 Swampfield Drive. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: There will be a weekly playgroup every Friday at Whole Children for children ages 5 and under. 413-585-8010. 41 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires, Inc. holds a playgroup every Friday at the playground on Narragansett Avenue. 413-664-4821. Narragansett Avenue. Lanesborough, 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-11am – PRENATAL SUPPORT: Exercise and emotional support are both important components of a healthy pregnancy. Get some of both at a walk and talk group that allows pregnant women to gather, support each other, and learn together. Each session begins with a walk and ends with a sit-down talk about topics such as nutrition, health, and infant care. This group is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Childcare is provided. 413-644-0104 x 1159. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am — BABY & ME/PLAYGROUP Pittsfield CFCE hosts an interactive Baby & Me Playgroup for parents with babies ages 1 and under each Friday. Explore and connect with others, and learn from guest speakers. Pre-registration required. 413-441-0974. 480 West Street. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in time at the Haskins Center every Friday. Come play and make friends every week. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, 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 – PLAYGROUP: There will be a playgroup every Wednesday and Friday at the Hilltown Family Center. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, 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)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for preschool-age Hilltown children at the Chesterfield Community Center with free play, toys, songs, stories, crafts, and a free book. 413-296-9201. Chesterfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12pm – PLAYGROUP: Incorporate much-needed physical activity into your child’s day by participating in Skip & Dip, a high-energy playgroup sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. This group, which meets on Fridays, starts with an hour of playtime in the gym with assorted toys and equipment, followed by an hour of swimming in the pool. 413-644-0104. Berkshire South Regional Community Center, 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup/storytime every Wednesday at Edwards Library. 30 East Street. Southampton, 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 N Play group 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)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: The East Forest Park Library offers infants (birth) – 3 year olds for stories, songs, a craft, and playtime. Runs Oct. 16 – Nov. 20. Adult must accompany children, siblings welcome. No registration required. 413-263-6836. 122 Island Pond Rd., Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12pm – STORYTIME: Preschool Story Time on the first Friday of every month through the end of June at the Cushman Library. Stories, coloring, crafts, songs, activities, snacks, and more. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:00am – STORYTIME: The Sunderland Public Library’s Head of Youth Services, Kelly Daniels Baker, invites children ages 3-5 and their families to a preschool storytime. Includes stories, songs, finger plays, and crafts. Sunderland Public Library, 20 School St., Sunderland, 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. ($)
  • 11:00-12:50pm – ICE SKATING: Want to teach a child how to ice skate but find it difficult to navigate the ice when it is so crowded? The Mullins Center on the UMass Amherst Campus offers a “just for families” skate (no college students) every Friday throughout the school year. You can borrow ice skates or bring your own. Skate rental is free with paid admission. Parents and caregivers skate free when accompanying children. Call to confirm: 413-545-2791, Mullins Center. 200 Commonwealth Ave., University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Amherst, MA (<$)
  • 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)
  • 1:00pm-3:00pm — CRAFTING: Sheep & Shawl yarn and fiber arts shop in South Deerfield, MA offers Knit/Crochet/Spin Circles every Friday afternoon. 413-397-3680. 265 Greenfield Rd., South Deerfield, 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)
  • 4-8pm — ART/ART STUDIES: Experience hands-on art-making for all ages as part of Free Second Fridays at the Smith College Museum of Art. Come with Open Eyes and join a guided gallery conversation exploring a different art object each month. Light refreshments. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace, Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5pm-8pm – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: The first Friday of each month, First Friday Greenfield takes place downtown. Stores and restaurants will be open late, and there will be music, activities, art shows, and more. Support local businesses and explore everything Greenfield has to offer at this fun monthly event. Downtown. Greenfield, MA.
  • 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 – TALENT SHOW: The first Friday of every month, the Valley Talent Showcase takes place at Gateway City Arts. Come watch local bands, musicians, dancers, and more perform on stage, or sign up to participate and gain experience performing onstage for an audience. This is a great chance to see some talented local groups perform or to get your name out there. 413-650-2670. 92-114 Race Street. Holyoke, 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 phenomena. 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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