“[Last year] was the first year my three year old participated in the Valentine’s Day swap & we had a blast making and receiving our cards in the mail. This site truly enhances what western Massachusetts is all about community and our great state!” – Summer Mikaitis (Pittsfield, MA)
If 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.
Serving 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 throughsponsorship 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.
Hilltown Families Events
It’s that time of the year again for the Hilltown Families Annual Handmade Valentine Swap! For the past nine years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. JOIN US! It’s free to sign up and open to all families in western Massachusetts! Last year our community generated over 1,550 handmade valentines! Let’s do it again! Deadline to sign-up is Wed. Feb 1st!
Saturday, February 4, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing, and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, you can craft handmade Valentines with the Easthampton Parents Center. Then we’ll enjoy special guests, DandyLions Garden, a musical act for kids and inner children alike. We’ll round out the morning with DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon!” This is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open House:Jan 28
The Common School: Community, collaboration, creativity, social justice, inclusivity, environmental education – Come learn how these words are put into action at their winter Open House on Saturday, January 28, from 10am-12noon in Amherst. Play in their classrooms, meet their teachers, chat with current parents, and tour their beautiful campus situated amongst 140 acres of conservation land on Larch Hill in Amherst. Light refreshments provided. Questions? Contact Director of Admissions, Dana Kadish at email@example.com or visit www.commonschool.org.
Open House: Jan 29
Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool invites new parents to an Open House on Sunday, January 29th, from 2:30-4pm. Cloverdale is located in back of the First Congregational Church on 130 Pine Street in Florence and is a half-day preschool with the option of STEAM focused extended day hours. Come find out about their new expanded hours starting next fall while spending time playing with your children in their engaging learning environment. Meet the teachers and some parents who will answer your questions about their program. For more information, visit www.cloverdalepreschool.com or call 413-586-1106 after 12:30pm.
Open House: Jan 29
Sunday, January 29th: Open House from 2-3:30pm at Smith College Center for Early Childhood Education (Fort Hill). Visit welcoming classroom environments, chat with teachers, and find out more about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum. Providing engaging, intentional early experiences that support children in becoming lifelong learners, joyful investigators, and thoughtful citizens of the world. Fort Hill has dedicated visual arts and music teachers and studios, an emphasis on natural materials, and classroom experiences that nurture joy, curiosity, deep thinking, and imagination. Consider joining the Fort Hill family! Actively accepting applications for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers for 2017-2018. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Open House: Feb 4
The Campus School at Smith College. Prospective kindergarten through grade 6 students and their parents are invited to an open house on Saturday, February 4, from 9:30am-11:30 am at the school on Prospect Street. Tour the school. Meet teachers, staff, and parents. For more information, contact the admission office at 413-585-3270 or visit their website, www.smith.edu/sccs.
Open House: Feb 5
Sunday, Feb. 5th: The Center School Admissions Open House, 2pm-4pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire and Franklin counties. Prospective families are invited to explore the school on Sunday, Feb. 5th for a Birds-of-Prey themed Admissions Open House. Come early to enjoy a live Birds of Prey presentation with raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi from 1pm-2pm. Then, classrooms will be open and teachers will be offer bird-related activities for kids of all ages. Light refreshments will be available. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017. centerschool.net
Looking for something fun and creative for your kids during the February break? Check out Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp with Sarah Marcus and Felicia Sloin! This 1-week camp runs Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24 from 9am-3pm and will feature theater games, singing, drumming, movement, and fun times with creative friends for students ages 7-11. Valley Performance Playground’s February Vacation Camp takes place at the Northampton Karate Studio, 320 Riverside Drive, in Florence. Cost: $250. Registration Deadline Feb 1. For more information, email email@example.com or visit online at www.facebook.com/valleyperformanceplayground.
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 Eventsand 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOIN 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 email@example.com.
LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
January 28 – February 3, 2017
HFVS Character Episode
with Guest DJ, Lloyd H. Miller
of the Deedle Deedle Dees
Lloyd H. Miller, leader of the long-running band the Deedle Deedle Dees, hosts this musical exploration of the concept of “playing a character.” We all change how we present ourselves to the world in order to get different reactions, whether we’re putting on a costume for holiday, dressing up to act onstage, trying on different outfits and accessories to present a different persona to our peers, or trying out new modes of behavior (for example, attempting to be an extrovert when you’ve always felt like more of an introvert). Songs by Dean Jones, Rachel Loshak, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, SLV, Weezer, Yo La Tengo, the Deedle Deedle Dees, and other favorite artists of Lloyd’s provide a variety of interesting takes on the topic. — www.thedeedledeedledees.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am October 29th & 30th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Explore the joys of autumn with guest DJ Lucy Kalantari. With music spanning decades from the 1930s to the present she includes the voices of Ella Fitzgerald, Earth, Wind & Fire, The White Stripes, Joanie Leeds, Mister G, and many more. Everyone has something to say about autumn. — www.LucyKalantari.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am October 1st & 2nd, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Joanie Leeds and The Nightlights – “Falling”
Back to School Episode
with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds
Joanie Leeds of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights guest DJs our Back To School Episode. Joanie hand picked all of the school themed songs including a few from her CD, Bandwagon as well as from artists such as: Pop Ups, Dizzy Gillespie, Justin Roberts, Bari Koral, Recess Monkey, Lunch Money, Astrograss, Miss Nina, They Might Be Giants, The Verve Pipe, Chuck Berry, Trout Fishing in America and Rocknoceros. – www.joanieleeds.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am September 3rd & 4th, 2016 Original Broadcast: Aug 31, 2013 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
FEATURED VIDEO: Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights , “Back to School.”
World Languages Episode with
Guest DJ, Sarah Aroeste
This week on the HFVS, Sarah Aroeste, a children’s singer and songwriter in the rare and eclectic dialect of Spanish called Ladino, will take listeners around the globe to explore some contemporary kids music in lesser-known dialects. From Quechua to Yup’ik to Amharic and more, Aroeste hopes listeners will agree that good music is good music, no matter the language! — www.saraharoeste.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am August 6th & 7th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Wildlife Episode with Guest DJs, Casey & Kevin from The Whizpops
Kevin and Casey of The Whizpops have put together a fun educational show about wildlife and imagination seamlessly weaving songs about animals both real and make-believe. Join them on a musical journey through endangered species, mustaches, and even unicorns! — www.thewhizpops.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 30th & 31st, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Black Footed Ferret by The Whizpops!
Novelty Music Episode with Guest DJ, Jack Forman from Recess Monkey
Recess Monkey whisks listeners of the Hilltown Family Variety Show off on a trip to the Novelty Shop for a madcap hour of truly strange musical oddities! The band’s bassist frontman Jack Forman guides us through a collection of dust-covered rarities and instant classics, each guaranteed to out-weird the last! — www.recessmonkeytown.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 23rd & 24th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video:Recess Monkey’s “Sweaty Yeti” from Novelties
Family Funk and Half Pint Hip Hop specialist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo takes listeners on a journey through the weird and lovely sonic landscape of family music at its best! This show features the story “Weirdo Calhoun and the Odd Men Out,” fringe science explanations on the fantastic from bio physicist Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, and some very strange sponsors. Appropriate for ages 1 through 1 billion. — secretagent23skidoo.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 9th & 10th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Barenaked Ladies – “Pollywog In A Bog” (Extended Version)
History of Folk Music for Families Episode
with Guest DJ, Greg McIlvaine
This week on the HFVS, Greg McIlvaine, singer and guitar player with The Hollow Trees guest DJs this week with History of Folk Music for Families Episode. He plays fun and fascinating family songs ranging from the earliest recorded music up to the present. The songs reflect a short history of family music with an emphasis on the songs and artists that have influenced him the most. – thehollowtrees.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am July 2nd & 3rd, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: The Hollow Trees – I Can’t Dance (I’ve Got Ants in My Pants) :
Fun in the Sun Episode with Guest DJ, Jason Didner
Guest DJ Jason Didner invites you for an hour of “fun in the sun” themed music by today’s great children’s musicians and a few well renowned classic rock and reggae acts. You’ll get to know more about the “Jersey Shore Sound” that Jason and band are proud to call an influence. You’ll catch the beach party spirit that’s on full display from Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, an energy that also shows up in tracks by Brady Rymer and Yosi. You’ll enjoy the feel-good sounds of Jimmy Cliff, Suzi Shelton, Miss Nina and more. Whether you’re headed for the beach, the lake or the pool, this episode can be your summer soundtrack! — junglegymjam.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am June 25th & 26th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Princess Katie & Racer Steve “Sand in my Sandwich” [Tiny Cool]
This week on the HFVS, Kb Whirly takes us on a funky musical journey. From dancing like a rooster in the kitchen with Pete Seeger, to celebrating all the critters with Andrew and Polly, KbWhirly will take us on a cruise through folk, blues, funk, pop and hip hop tunes that are sure to get your toes tappin’! – www.kbwhirly.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am June 18th & 19th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Big Bang Boom – “Hippie Mom” [Because I said So!]
You Are What You Eat Episode with Guest DJ, Eric Herman
Family music artist Eric Herman serves up a smorgasbord of fun food songs. From chocolate-covered brussels sprouts to a thousand tiny doughnuts, Eric will musically explore the idea that you are what you eat. – www.erichermanmusic.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am June 11th & 12th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Latin American Episode with Guest DJ, Sandra Velasquez
Moona Luna’s Sandra Velasquez takes you on a Latin American bus adventure. Based on her own travels by bus through Latin America, she provides you with a soundtrack for a journey that is as rich and diverse as the changing landscape. – www.moonalunamusic.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am May 28th & 29th, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Silly Words Can Make Serious Music Episode with Guest DJs, The Dream Jam Band
Join Guest DJs The Dream Jam Band as they travel through the ages from Shape Note Singing to Scat to Doo Wop, Country, Rock and Roll, Folk and even Throat singing. Discover how silly words can make serious music! – www.dreamjamband.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am May 21st & 22nd, 2016 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured video: Have a Party When You Get the Blues
Guest DJ Jason Didner, a children’s musician, leader of the Jungle Gym Jam, spins a collection of holiday music that he and his family enjoy. You’ll hear performances by independent children’s musicians and a few household names too. You’ll hear timeless holiday classics and some original numbers written by some of these performers to get you in the spirit. Songs will celebrate winter fun, Christmas, Hanukkah and the joy of an occasional “snow day” off. — www.junglegymjam.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am December 26th & 27th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Hullabaloo – Frosty the Snowman [Holiday Hullabaloo]
Sugar Free AllStars – Funky Christmas [Single]
Groovy David – The Great Dreidel Tournament
Rob Thomas – A New York Christmas [Single]
Milkshake – Christmas in Baltimore [Single]
Andrew & Polly Featuring Mista Cookie Jar – L.A. Christmas [Other Days]
Danny Weinkauf – Wonderful Christmas Day [Single]
Dan Zanes – Angels We Have Heard On High [Christmas in Concord]
Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam – Summertime Santa [Single]
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town [Single]
Justin Roberts – Snow Day [Jungle Gym]
Judy Pancoast – The House on Christmas Street [Single]
Little Rockers Band – Hanukkah Is Here [Yule Be Cool]
The Pretenders – 2000 Miles [Learning to Crawl]
Josh and the Jamtones – This Lil’ Lite of Mine [Amen!! Holiday Singles Collection]
Sound of Mexican Music Made in the USA Episode with Guest DJ, Sonia De Los Santos
Join Sonia De Los Santos (from Dan Zanes and Friends) as she presents this episode on “The Sound of Mexican Music Made in the USA”. She’ll play some of her favorite songs from a variety of Mexican genres like: Son Jarocho, Norteño, Mariachi, Son Guerrerense, Banda, Huapango and Corrido. Learn about Mexican Traditional instruments and get to know who’s making Mexican music in the USA! — www.soniadelossantos.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am December 19th & 20th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: Sonia De Los Santos sings and plays jarana at La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem, NYC on July 11th 2015. Elena Moon Park on violin and vocals and Martin Vejarano on percussion.
Join Sugarcrash Kids as they guest DJ on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. The songs range from dance party to camping trip, and the Sugarcrash Kids crew talks about the importance of being yourself and embracing who you are. — www.sugarcrashkids.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am December 12th & 13th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: Sugarcrash Kids – “I Got the Hiccups”
– Sugarcrash Kids – “I Got the Hiccups” (Play All Day and Sleep All Night)
– Linda Perry and Sara Gilbert – “Starship” (Deer Sounds)
– Josh and the Jamtones – “I Love U” (Bear Hunt!)
– Andrew & Polly – “Grapes” (Odds & Ends)
– The Pop-Ups – “Robot Dance” (Appetite for Construction)
– The Singing Lizard – “The Singing Lizard Beat” (Make Believe)
– The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Through the Woods” (Through the Woods”)
– Sugarcrash Kids – “These Are My Friends” (Play All Day and Sleep All Night)
– The Pop-Ups – “Costume Party” (Appetite for Construction)
– Big Block Singsong – “Princess” (Greatest Hits)
– The Singing Lizard – “Pirates” (Make Believe)
– Sugarcrash Kids – “Different” (Rad Songs)
– Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – “Lines and Dots” (A Potluck)
– Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – “Noise” (Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti)
– Big Block Singsong – “Big Foot” (Greatest Hits)
– Imagination Movers – “Be Yourself” (Back in Blue)
– Slugs & Bugs – “I Wanna Help” (Under Where?)
– Recess Monkey – “Hand Me Downs” (Hot Air)
– Sugarcrash Kids – “Are You Ready to Fly?” (Rad Songs)
Home and Away Episode with Guest DJs, Andrew & Polly
Andrew & Polly spin their favorite songs about being home and away. They’ll play some of their childhood favorites, some quirky holiday songs, and a grab-bag of tunes about traveling and the different places they’ve lived. — www.andrewandpolly.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am November 28th & 29th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: Los Angeles children’s musicians, Andrew & Polly and Mista Cookie Jar, team up on this LA-tastic holiday jam.
VFR Fundraising Episode with Guest DJ, Steve Weeks
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am November 14th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
Featured Video: What do you get when you put musician Steve Weeks and director Dave Franklyn in a room filled with cardboard, paint, tape, glue, scissors and string? Watch the new video for Steve’s song “Change of Heart” and find out! — www.steveweeksmusic.com
Song Off Episode with Guest DJs, Adam and Kristin Marshall
Adam and Kristin Marshall from The Bazillions enjoyed guest hosting the Hilltown Family Variety Show by challenging each other to a song off. Each of them chose their favorites from categories like best educational song, best remake, best bedtime song and many more. They both shared little musical information tidbits about some categories along the way with a lot of laughs! Tune in to see who wins. — www.thebazillions.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am November 7th & 8th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
FEATURED VIDEO: “Water Cycle” by The Bazillions. ‘Round and ’round it goes! Let these animated watercolors teach you all about the precipitation, accumulation, evaporation, and condensation that makes water — our planet’s most precious resource — go!
Monster Dance Party Episode with Guest DJ, Shanti Wintergate & Greg Attonito
Are you ready for a Monster Dance Party with guest DJ’s Shanti Wintergate & Greg Attonito from Play Date? This silly & spooky episode of Hilltown Family Variety Show features a collection of monster-iffic tunes to get your monster toes tapping and creepy claws clapping. Tune in, turn it up and get silly with the Monster Dance Party we know you’re dying to have this weekend! – www.iloveplaydate.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am October 31st & November 1st 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
FEATURED VIDEO: Play Date “Dance Like A Monster” (Official Music Video) feat. The Ghouligans!
Anti-Bullying Episode with Guest DJ, Danny Lapidus
On this episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, Hot Peas ‘n Butter front man and founder, Danny Lapidus tackles the difficult topic of “Bullying” through songs that promote friendship, peace, and Anti-Bullying messages. — www.hotpeasnbutter.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am Ocotber 10th & 11th 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
FEATURED VIDEO: Free To Be You and Me – “William Wants A Doll”
Autumn means harvest time in the northeastern United States. But what are people harvesting in other parts of the country, and around the world? Join guest DJ Story Laurie for some lively songs (including two that were written by elementary school kids!); a crazy tale about a girl sailing around the world on a cabbage; and we’ll even check in with some folks in the Philippines, Finland and Korea about what they’re harvesting right now. — www.storylaurie.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am October 3rd & 4th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
FEATURED VIDEO: Story Laurie & Friends – Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch
Good Arts & Good Eats Episode
with Guest DJs, Stephanie Richards & Brian Arbuckle of Sunshine Collective
Stephanie Richards & Brian Arbuckle of Sunshine Collective are guest DJs on the Hilltown Family Variety Show, and it’s all about Good Arts & Good Eats! This husband-and-wife-team of music makers tumble through toe-tapping vintage jazz, modern artful pop, and retro novelties, while tying together two of life’s best treats. Listen in for a taste of the good stuff! — www.sunshinecollective.com
Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am September19th & 20th, 2015 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA
FEATURED VIDEO: Sunshine Collective’s “Love Makes Life So Sweet”
Established in 2005, Hilltown Families has been supporting community-based education through community engagement for over a decade! With your support we can continue to connect community members of all ages with learning and value-based opportunities throughout the four counties of western Massachusetts! Make a tax-deductible donation to Hilltown Families today! - Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Welcome to Hilltown Families, an online grassroots communication network for families living throughout the four counties of Western Massachusetts. Hilltown Families believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community-based education and engagement. We work to accomplish this by highlighting the embedded learning that is found everywhere in our communities, making the information accessible to families, and giving parents/educators access to opportunities that support their children’s interests and education while encouraging community engagement.
Hilltown Families was founded in 2005 by Sienna Wildfield and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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"Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth." - Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, MA)
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