6 Winter Festivals in Western MA

Northampton Ice Arts Festival

This annual festival has brought temporary ice sculptures to the streets of  Northampton since 2010. Offered as a part of the Northampton Center for the Arts’  February installment of Arts Night Out, the Ice Arts Festival offers the chance to  explore the art of ice carving. Artists work away while passersby can check out the different techniques and tools of the trade. Spectators can watch the participants throughout the day and then enjoy the glistening sculptures at night Visit nohoarts.org to find out this year’s date, time and  sculpture locations.

Easthampton WinterFest

Since 2013, Easthampton has been bringing together wintry celebrations that explore local history and the local landscape such as ice harvesting on Nashawannuck Pond, nature walks with community partners, wildlife talks and demonstrations, and other festivities such as dance parties, horse-drawn wagon rides and more!  To learn about the latest program information for this year, check out:  www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.

Holyoke Canal District Winter Festival

Holyoke’s Canal District Winter Festival offers a weekend of activities to bring to life the city’s historic Canal District neighborhood.  Visitors can explore this interesting part of the city where the canals are evidence of Holyoke’s once thriving industry. Usually in collaboration with Gateway City Arts, past activities have included a Luminaria Parade, dog show, artisan market, musical performances and the annual firefighters vs. police officers rivalry hockey game! www.gatewaycityarts.com.

Amherst WinterFest

Amherst WinterFest takes place at the Cherry Hill Golf Course, bringing much  excitement to the otherwise quiet, wintry landscape. WinterFest offers fun in many  forms. Sledding and cross-country skiing are annual favorites, while a cardboard sled  race combines creativity, engineering, and daring for an exciting competition. Families can also use the event as an opportunity to learn how to engage with their natural surroundings during wintertime – for instance, bird watching walks teach participants how to watch for winter birds common to the hills and forests of western  Massachusetts. For more information find WinterFest Amherst on Facebook.

Pittsfield 10 X 10 Upstreet Arts Festival

Ten days of community-based cultural events that showcase music, theater, art, local food, play and creativity and celebrate the rich arts and culture found in the communities of the Berkshires. Past events have included a fireworks display, a kid-run farmers’ market, and performances in collaboration with the Berkshire Museum. www.discoverpittsfield.com/10×10

North Adams WinterFest

Rounding out the winter festival season is North Adams’ WinterFest celebration. Including special events in the city’s downtown area, WinterFest offers families a chance to celebrate the coming end of the last of the wintriest months. A full  schedule of events is forthcoming; highlights will definitely include ice sculpting, horse-drawn wagon rides, a chowder competition, and a community bonfire with hot chocolate for all. explorenorthadams.com.

[Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield]


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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