Suggested Events for December 15th – 21st, 2018

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

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Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, our program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, and engage in exciting games and group activities. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for info or visit www.centralrockgym.com.

Add Your Venue!

Hilltown Families is now partnering with local businesses and organizations throughout Western MA to help parents connect with the right venue for their kid’s birthday party. The Best Birthday Party Venue Directory will debut on January 1st, 2019. We would like to invite your venue to join our stellar team of spaces that are partnering with us to reach new customers and make birthdays throughout Western MA more fun for everyone! A 1-Year membership in the Best Birthday Party Venue Directory is $150. We have a special discount advertising package for folks who would like to take the promotion of their space to the next level, too! To add your venue, email Hilltown Families’ Director, Courtney Supple-Benoit, at csupple@hilltownfamilies.org to get set up quickly and easily!

Add your class

Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 15th – 21st, 2018

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

  Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

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Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming 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. Kick off the holidays with Mister G on this week’s HFVS. Broadcasting from his recording studio deep in the woods of Western MA, the Latin GRAMMY Award winner and previous contributing writer for Hilltown Families serves up a multicultural musical feast featuring holiday classics by Ray Charles, B.B. King, Johnny Cash along with tracks by fellow children’s musicians. It’s a fiesta for the ears! 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 select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Saturday, December 15, 9:30am-4pm
HISTORY/CULINARY ANTHROPOLOGY
Because ingredients like sugar, chocolate, citrus, and spices were so rare in colonial America, desserts were reserved for special occasions. Such luxuries, which had to be shipped across the Atlantic ocean, were exceedingly expensive and often used as a status symbol. Christmas, for example, was a popular time to indulge in these delicacies. Come learn all about the history of holiday treats and desserts at this Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration. Historic Deerfield. 80 Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA ($)

Saturday, December 15, 10am-12pm
PLAY DAY/ARCHITECTURE
Got a little one at home who just loves to build things? You’re in luck! This Saturday, Berkshire Museum is hosting a Pop Up Play Day, featuring giant blue Bilderhoos blocks and architectural building components. Let your imagination be your guide, collaborate with others, and create something amazing! Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Saturday, December 15, 10am-5pm
DANCE STUDIES/OPEN HOUSE
Have you always wanted to try salsa dancing? Now is your chance! Berkshire Salsa is having an Open House event, where you can come down and try out any class for free. This is a great opportunity to meet the instructors, check out the facility, and see what salsa is all about. Developing out of Cuban and other Caribbean folk dances, salsa dance grew rapidly in popularity in the United States after the 1950s, when Cuban and Latino communities began to establish themselves in New York City. During this period, the world famous Palladium Ballroom became a hub for Latin American music and dance. Legends such as Tito Puente were associated with the Palladium at this time. Come down to Berkshire Salsa and experience this fun and exciting dance for yourself. Berkshire Salsa. 307 North Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 15, 11am
CHILDREN’S MUSIC/CONCERT
Join David Grover for a special concert of award winning children’s music! Grover, longtime lead guitar for Arlo Guthrie, discovered that children’s music was his true musical calling after having children of his own. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a local children’s music legend. Berkshire Theatre Group. 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 15, 3-5pm
DANCE STUDIES/CELTIC DANCE
“The Nutcracker” ballet has been one of the most popular holiday dance traditions since the 1960s. It is also one of the most performed ballets. This Saturday, audiences will have the opportunity to see this immortal story adapted to Celtic dance! A Celtic Nutcracker tells the story of a young Irish girl, who is spirited away to Tir Na Nog, “the Land of the Young,” where she meets leprechauns and other magic creatures. Fans of Celtic dance will not want to miss this unique show. Academy of Music Theatre. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA ($)

Saturday, December 15, 3-7pm
THEATER/LITERARY STUDIES
Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol is a classic tale of the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday spirit. Since its publication in 1843, the immortal story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghosts has been adapted countless times. It has been made into several dozen films alone, including The Muppet Christmas Carol, a 3D animated film starring Jim Carrey, and a new version currently in production. A Christmas Carol has been adapted into every conceivable artistic medium and this simple story continues to resonate with audiences. For the 10th year, the Walking the Dog Theatre Company will be performing A Christmas Carol. Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 15, 4-6pm
PLACEMAKING/CAROLING
 There’s nothing quite like gathering together with fellow community members to sing festive holidays carols in the bracing cold! This Saturday, bring the gift of song and holiday cheer to all, as Trinity Church hosts their Outdoor Christmas Caroling event. Warm yourself up by singing your heart out this holiday season. Green and Main. Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 15, 6pm
COMEDY/THEATER
For several decades, Jean Shepherd delighted radio listeners and readers with humorous tales from his childhood in the midwest. Ultimately remembered as one of the preeminent humorists of 20th century America, Shepherd’s stories always blurred the line between fact and fiction. To this day, it’s unclear how much was embellished. In 1983, after a long career in print and radio, the film A Christmas Story was made, based on Shepherd’s stories. The film, narrated by Shepherd and featuring the author in a cameo role, was only mildly successful at the time but has since been chosen as the best holiday movie of all time by several critics. If you feel like you couldn’t possibly watch this movie one more time, it has been playing continuously for 24 hours on several cable channels since the late 90s, come check out A Christmas Story: The Musical! This show, which has been hugely successful on Broadway and elsewhere, sets this timeless tale of family, tradition, and a red BB gun to a rousing musical score. Frontier Regional High School. 113 North Main Street, South Deerfield, MA ($)

Saturday, December 15, 6-8:30pm
CULINARY STUDIES/BAKING
Krantz cake or Babka, as it is more commonly known, is a sweet yeasted cake made among the Ashkenazi Jews. According to world renowned Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi, babka is the most popular cake in West Jerusalem and perhaps all of Israel. When Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to the United States and began settling in New York City, babka immediate became extremely popular and remains so to this day. The word “babka” comes from the Slavic word for “grandmother” or “old woman,” because the cake can occasionally resemble the plaits of a skirt. This Saturday, come check out Beauty and the Yeast: Part 2 and learn how to make babka and other delicious treats! Congregation B’nai Israel of Northampton. 253 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 15, 7-8:30pm
THEATER/COMEDY
 For Neil Simon, growing up in New York City during the Great Depression, comedy was an escape for the difficulties of everyday life. Simon was particularly drawn to the early films of Charlie Chaplin and began writing comedy scripts for radio shows shortly after finishing high school. Simon’s 1965 play The Odd Couple, the story of a fastidious neurotic and his slovenly roommate, made him an overnight celebrity and one of the hottest names in American comedy. By the end of his long career, Simon had been nominated for more Oscar and Tony awards than any other writer in show business history. The Odd Couple has remained Simon’s greatest legacy and continues to inspire adaptations and derivations to this day. The Mohawk Trail Regional School theater group will be performing The Odd Couple this Saturday. Mohawk Trail Regional School. 26 Ashfield Road, Shelburne Falls, MA ($)

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Sunday, December 16th, 2018

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Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of 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 select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Sunday, December 16, 2pm
COMEDY/THEATER
For several decades, Jean Shepherd delighted radio listeners and readers with humorous tales from his childhood in the midwest. Ultimately remembered as one of the preeminent humorists of 20th century America, Shepherd’s stories always blurred the line between fact and fiction. To this day, it’s unclear how much was embellished. In 1983, after a long career in print and radio, the film A Christmas Story was made, based on Shepherd’s stories. The film, narrated by Shepherd and featuring the author in a cameo role, was only mildly successful at the time but has since been chosen as the best holiday movie of all time by several critics. If you feel like you couldn’t possibly watch this movie one more time, it has been playing continuously for 24 hours on several cable channels since the late 90s, come check out A Christmas Story: The Musical! This show, which has been hugely successful on Broadway and elsewhere, sets this timeless tale of family, tradition, and a red BB gun to a rousing musical score. Frontier Regional High School. 113 North Main Street, South Deerfield, MA ($)

Sunday, December 16, 2-4pm
ORNITHOLOGY/CITIZEN SCIENCE
For the last 118 years, bird lovers young and old have participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count! This event gathers vital data on bird populations and is a great way for young people to learn about the kinds of work that scientists do in the field. This program will begin with an introductory presentation on how to gather the data and then participants will have 24 hours to count as many birds as they can. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to contribute to real scientific research. Hitchcock Center for the Environment. 845 West Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 16, 3-4pm
ART STUDIES/LECTURE
The Romantic period in European art and literature was a time of radical change and dramatic social upheaval. Rapid technological advancements, the spread of industrialism, the French and American revolutions, and the rise of imperialism all had a tremendous impact on the artists of the time. J.M.W. Turner perhaps best exemplifies this period of transition and change in British painting. While his earlier works are consistent with the traditions of English landscape painting, with its placid view of nature and benign rural settings, Turner became fascinated by the wild, untamable, destructive power of the natural world and the fragility of humanity. In particular, many of Turner’s most distinctive works depict shipwrecks and fierce, tempestuous seas. His revolutionary use of oils allowed Turner to depict light and motion in a uniquely recognizable manner, and was extensively studied and imitated by the Impressionists. At first blush, Turner’s contemporary John Constable appears to have little in common with him. Much of Constable’s work is thematically linked to Turner’s early, immature period, featuring stately portraits, flocks of sheep, and grazing cattle. Modest in comparison to Turner’s eccentric and extreme personality, Constable once wrote in a letter: “My limited and abstracted art is to be found under every hedge, and in every lane, and therefore nobody thinks it worth picking up”. As it turned out, however, Constable’s work was also extremely influential for future artists. In his own way, Constable challenged artistic conventions of the day, especially as one of the first painters to work in nature. To mark the opening of the exhibit “Turner and Constable: the Inhabited Landscape,” curator Alexis Goodin will be discussing the similarities and differences between these two quintessential Romantic artists. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)

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Monday, December 17th, 2018

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Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, December 17, 3:30-4:15pm
LITERACY/EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Increasingly, educators and parents are finding that having children read out loud to dogs can greatly benefit literacy and attitudes toward reading. While reading to a dog in and of itself won’t teach a child to read, it can greatly increase a child’s enthusiasm for reading and provide a patient and attentive listener. The simple act of reading out loud is also a key element in building literacy. Read and Wag Reading Dogs are just waiting for someone to come give them a snuggle and read them a story! Mason Library Children’s Room. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

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Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

Tuesday, December 18, 10:30-11:30am
STEM/PLAYGROUP
It’s never too early to introduce children to basic STEM ideas, and when they are combined with singing and playing, it’s even better! Children up to the age of 5 and their caregivers are invited to attend a special Play and Learn Playgroup, this Tuesday. Mason Library Children’s Room. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, December 18, 7-9pm
DANCE STUDIES/PERFORMANCE
German romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffman wrote: “even in gay, easygoing, and carefree minds there may exist a presentiment of dark powers within ourselves which are bent upon our own destruction.” Hoffman, who wrote the libretto for the ballet “The Nutcracker,” was preoccupied with the ominous forces that lurk, barely hidden, beneath the veneer of everyday life. We can see the evidence of this in the fantastical vision of a nutcracker, which comes to life to battle a wicked rat king. Hoffman saw a secret, inner world in everything. Moscow Ballet will be performing The Nutcracker, featuring Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable musical score, this Tuesday. UMass Fine Arts Center. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA ($$)

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Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, December 19, 4-5:15pm
NATURE STUDIES/WALK
The Housatonic Flats Reserve covers 26 acres of wetlands, floodplain forest, as well as a half mile portion of the trail along the Housatonic River, which is ideal for viewing birds, fish, and animals. Spend a peaceful evening with a casual sunset stroll in the Flats, followed by hot cider. Housatonic Flats Reserve. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, December 19, 6-8pm
BOOK CLUB/LITERARY STUDIES
As she set out to write her 1815 novel Emma, Jane Austen wrote: “I am going to make a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Sure enough, Austen’s titular character is smug, stubborn, and conceited. She insists on meddling in everyone else’s business and refuses to accept that she might have it wrong. Lost in her imagination and fancies, Emma causes a great deal of trouble for those around her. Despite it all, however, audiences have loved the character of Emma since the novel’s publication. A contemporary reviewer wrote: “I have been reading Emma, which is excellent; there is no story whatever, and the heroine is not better than other people; but the characters are all true to life and the style so piquant, that it does not require the adventitious aids of mystery and adventure.” Her numerous flaws and the fact that she is “not better than other people” is one of the reasons that the character of Emma is so endearing. It’s hard not to relate to her on some level, as much as we wouldn’t like to admit it. Like all of Austen’s novels, there is a subtle but powerful feminist undercurrent in Emma, perhaps even more so than her other works. While many of Austen’s other heroines can only achieve power and authority through marriage, Emma is born into it, making her much more independent. Indeed, for most of the novel, Emma has no interest in romance at all. The enduring popularity of Emma is evidenced in the great number of modern adaptations it has inspired, perhaps most notably, the 1995 American film Clueless. This Wednesday, come discuss Emma at the Jane Austen Book Discussion group. Greenfield Public Library. 402 Main Street, Greenfield, MA (FREE)

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Thursday, December 20th, 2018

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Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, December 20, 4-6pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS/LITERARY STUDIES
Calling all Harry Potter fans! If you have a little Harry Potter fanatic at home, you’re in luck. The Jones Library will be hosting a special Holidays at Hogwarts event, with Harry Potter themed arts and crafts and warm apple cider. Jones Library. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 20, 7-9:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/SING ALONG
Honoring the memory of Woody Guthrie, the Guthrie Center was created by Arlo Guthrie to be a place for interfaith services and spiritual exchange. With this emphasis on building and developing community, the Guthrie Center hosts a Weekly Hootenanny, every Thursday evening. Bring an instrument, your voice, or just come to listen! The Guthrie Center. 2 Van Deusenville Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

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Friday, December 21st, 2018

advertise with Hilltown Families

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, December 21, 10:15-11am
STORYTIME/EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Reading aloud to children has a wide variety of benefits, even beyond building literacy. It can be an important ritual that can help children during times of stress, develop curiosity, build a positive association with books and reading, and can create a larger sense of the world. This Baby and Me Storytime features finger puppets, rhyming, and stories for children up to 18 months. Mason Library Children’s Room. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 21, 2-4:15pm
FILM STUDIES/SCREENING
Despite becoming one of the most quintessential holiday films, It’s a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra told the Wall Street Journal in 1984 that he never really thought of it as a Christmas film. In Capra’s own words, the purpose of the film was to promote “the individual’s belief in himself” and “combat a modern trend toward atheism.” Ironically, the film was also the subject of a memo from the FBI warning that it may be a piece of communist propaganda, as it discredits bankers. Nevertheless, as with all works of art, It’s a Wonderful Life has taken on its own meaning. Widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, despite negative critical reception, viewing the film has become an American Christmas tradition. Come see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen, this holiday season! Amherst Cinema. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA ($)

Friday, December 21, 5:30-8:30pm
SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
The word “yule” is originally derived from Old Norse, in which the word was used as a synonym for “feast” and as part of an alternative name for the god Odin. The word came to refer to the Germanic and northern European celebration of the Winter Solstice and when the region was Christianized during the Middle Ages, elements of the old rituals were incorporated in the holiday of Christmas, most notably yule singing, the yule log, and the Christmas ham. For communities all over the world, the shortest day of the year is met with great celebrations of light, food, and merriment. This solstice, come celebrate at Arcadia, with a bonfire, live music, and an illuminated path! Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA (FREE)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Hadley, Plainfield, Shelburne, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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