Al Fresco Theatre in the Berkshires

WTF Free Theatre Production
Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors

Enjoy Shakespeare with Williamstown Theatre Festival at Poker Flats Field in Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Families can check out the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer as their signature Free Theatre returns to Poker Flats Field  (45 Stetson Rd.) with William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Outdoor performances begin at 7pm on July 13th and continue through July 22nd.  This Free Theatre production takes place in an open air Farmers’ Market and families are invited to BYO picnic to enjoy an evening of al fresco theatre in the Berkshires.

In The Comedy of Errors, two sets of identical twin boys, the Antipholiand their servants the Dromios, are separated by a shipwreck and raised in different cities. Years later, Antipholus of Syracuse, his father Egeon, and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus. There, unbeknownst to him, his long-lost brother and Egeon’s long-lost son Antipholus of Ephesus now lives as one of the wealthiest merchants in town with his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. Mistaken identities abound in Johanna McKeon’s contemporary take on Shakespeare’s classic comedy.

For more further details and directions to Poker Flats Field, visit www.wtfestival.org/freetheatre.

Re-Wrap Afternoon: Making Gifts from Repurposed Materials in the Berkshires

Leslie Reed-Evans, Executive Director of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation in Williamstown, MA writes:

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation invites you to a unique and earth-friendly get-together on Saturday December 11th from 1:30 – 4:00 at Sheep Hill (671 Cold Spring Rd.) in Williamstown. Used wrapping paper, tissue, ribbon and boxes thrown away during the holidays in the USA amounts to an additional 25 million tons of trash. The “Re-Wrap afternoon” will highlight making creative wrappings, gift boxes and bags from found or repurposed materials that might otherwise be thrown away. Create beautiful origami boxes from old calendars, print wrapping paper and cards, decorate bags with sprays of nature’s findings, make seasonally scented sachets and use collage technique with nature-themed images to decorate gift boxes.

These family friendly projects will have a range of difficulty; some are appropriate for younger children with more difficult ones for teens and adults. The pre-holiday celebration will include popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate and a fire on the hearth. Get ready for the holidays while being kind to the earth! There is a $3 non-recycled materials charge.

ABOUT SHEEP HILL

Sheep Hill is the headquarters and a conservation property of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, a non-profit, member-supported land conservation trust which works to preserve the rural New England character of the area and sponsors nature education, local history and seasonal food events throughout the year. Sheep Hill is located on Route 7 in Williamstown, approximately one mile south of the rotary. Program support provided by the Williamstown Savings Bank. For more information visit www.wrlf.org or call 458-2494.

Family Day at The Clark Celebrates the Exhibit, Picasso Looks at Degas

Family Day at The Clark Celebrates the Exhibit, Picasso Looks at Degas
Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Free Family Day at the Clark on June 27th, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, celebrates the exhibition Picasso Looks at Degas with art activities, dance and theater performances, ice carving, and more; includes free admission to the museum.

A spectacular FREE day of family activities on Sunday, June 27, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, will celebrate the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s summer exhibition, Picasso Looks at Degas, which examines Picasso’s lifelong fascination with the life and work of Degas. The day will feature art activities and workshops, entertainment for all ages, local food vendors, and more. Admission to the Clark’s galleries and most activities is free on this festive day. Registration for workshops and other programs is not required.

Ongoing, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Explore the grounds and enjoy fun performances and activities:

  • Gather your courage and ride the mechanical Spanish bull
  • Cool off at the “Take a Bath” water sprinkler park
  • Delight in the moveable Degas and Picasso statues
  • Watch ice sculptor Craig O’Connell of Images in Ice create a frozen masterpiece
  • Create a mix of bath salts, decorate a mirror, and paste together a Cubist cube
  • Enhance your hair with wrapping, braiding, and colorful extensions
  • Capture your movements in a flipbook and watch yourself jump, dance, and run
  • Learn to sculpt in a sculpture project inspired by Degas and Picasso

Other time specific activities, check clarkart.edu for times

  • Be mesmerized by the impassioned performance and dazzling footwork of critically-acclaimed Spanish flamenco dancer Inés Arrubla of Inés Arrubla Flamenco Dance Theater. “Inés Arrubla, what a dancer!  She is so subtle, so assured…Inés brought decades of tradition, passion and skill to the stage…it was spectacular.”–The Berkshire Eagle
  • Pay homage to Degas’s dancers with a special performance by members of  the Albany Berkshire Ballet
  • Learn to emulate the masters in a mono-printmaking workshop with artist Andrew Davis
  • Join Picasso People for an amazing performance that sets Picasso’s masterpieces into motion and brings more than a dozen of the artist’s people to life. Novel costuming and masks enlivened by music, mime, and puppetry translates the energy behind Picasso’s work into an array of clever stories and reveals how his life experiences inspired his creativity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Calling All Cooks: Submit Your Best Bake to the Strawbarb and Rhuberry Celebration

Like This!

Strawbarb Rhuberry Fest at Sheep Hill
Saturday, June 5th in Williamstown

Tis the season for rhubarb & strawberries. Whether you grow your own or purchase from your nearest farmers' market, the Stawbarb and Rhuberry celebration is a great way to get cooking with the kids to create a tasty dish with a local seasonal harvest. (Photo Credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation invites home bakers to submit rhubarb-inspired creations to its annual Strawbarb and Rhuberry celebration on Saturday June 5th from 3-5 PM at the WRLF’s Sheep Hill headquarters in Williamstown. Rhubarb Ginger muffins, Strawberry Rhubarb pie, Rhubarb Crumble are a few of the offerings that might be available. Enter your families favorite rhubarb/strawberry dish for a chance to win a Sheep Hill People’s Choice award. Visitors will be invited to ‘taste’ the splendiferous array of rhubarb creations and submit votes for first and second places. Prizes will be given to these two most popular dishes.

Prior to the “Tasting” there will be a demonstration in planting and growing Rhubarb in our region along with some history of this interesting plant by amateur gardener extraordinaire and local rhubarb enthusiast Margie March.

Rain or shine there will be nature-inspired crafts inside the farm house. Fair weather family activities include an outdoor scavenger hunt, self-guided nature hikes around the property, and checking out the nature cabin and the frog pond.

Rhubarb creations can be dropped off at Sheep Hill Friday afternoon June 4th between 3 and 5 PM, or between 1 and 2:30 PM on Saturday. For more information, call WRLF at 458-2494, or visit www.wrlf.org.

Sheep to Shawl Festival on May Day to Celebrate New England Heritage

Celebration of New England in the Spring

Sheep to Shawl Festival in Wlliamstown this weekend will focus on historic fleece & fiber. Demos of shearing with traditional tools, carding, pinning and weaving. Sheep herding with boarder collies. Old-time toys and games for the kids. And much more! (Photo Credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation (WRLF) will host its annual Sheep to Shawl Festival at its Sheep Hill headquarters in Williamstown Saturday, May 1st from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

The festival is a celebration of spring and our New England heritage, with time-honored crafts and artisans, farm animals, and a focus on the region’s historic fleece and fiber industry. For the 7th year, sheep return to Sheep Hill, and the legendary Fred DePaul will spin stories while shearing with traditional tools. Denise Leonard and Kristen Whittle will demonstrate sheep herding with border collies. These amazing dogs will delight visitors as they herd not only sheep but Indian Runner Ducks up the steep meadows of Sheep Hill. Area farms will bring llamas, alpacas and other livestock for viewing and petting, and local farm products for sale. Barnwright Shaun Garvey will demonstrate the traditional building techniques he used to restore the barns at Sheep Hill.

The Green Mountain Weavers & Spinners Guild will demonstrate carding, spinning, and weaving throughout the day. Fiber artists and other local artisans will show and sell their wares. Local artists will be painting En Plein Air and demonstrating their skills at capturing the Sheep Hill landscape.

Volunteers are busy installing a wood floor in the newly renovated Horse Barn in time to open the traditional Soup Kitchen. Children’s activities sponsored by the Williamstown House of Local History will include period costumes for children to try on, and old-time toys and games. There will be fiber-arts crafts and other activities for children and enthusiastic adults.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes at The Clark this Sunday

Free Family Day at The Clark in Williamstown, MA on April 25th, 2010

It’s a campus wide family adventure during the People and Spaces Family Day at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 from 12 to 4 pm. This free day will explore how people fit into different spaces, places, and settings. Try to keep your bearings in a maze, create detailed clothespin people, build a miniature museum, climb a wall, and visit the Giovanni Boldini in Impressionist Paris exhibition. Admission and activities are free.

  • Fairy houses and gnome homes will dot the Clark’s expansive campus waiting to be discovered. The tiny dwellings, made from natural materials, will be created by members of the community during the April 17 to 25 school vacation week. Maps of the houses will be handed out at the welcome desk; take a walking tour and visit one or visit them all.
  • Take a wooden clothespin, add fabric, hair, and Boldini-inspired accessories (including top hats and pearls) to create your very own miniature person. Need a museum for your tiny person to visit? Create one complete with mini clay sculptures you will make and scaled down images of Boldini paintings. Supplies will be provided.
  • Want to test your orienteering skills? Challenging maze activities (complete with headlamps) will be led by the Williams Outing Club. Or maybe you want to explore space by climbing an inflatable wall (weather dependant).
  • Acrobats from Nimble Arts, a circus arts center from Brattleboro, VT, will present an amazing performance focusing on moving through space.
  • Other activities include family gallery talks in the Giovanni Boldini in Impressionist Paris exhibition.

A visit to the Clark is a rewarding family experience year-round with 140 acres of scenic meadows and trails providing ample opportunities for families to hike, run and play, spot the many birds inhabiting the area, and try geo-caching. The Clark’s grounds are open to the public free of charge. Free admission to the galleries is always offered to children 18 and under and students with valid ID.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Awarded Clean Energy Choice Grant For Solar Collection

Clean Energy Choice Grants Awarded to Green Leading Communities

Local commercial resources are available to support solar energy development in Western Mass . Recently the governor visited the Greenfield Solar Store in Greenfield, MA. He was briefed by owner Mark Skinder on how he's making solar energy a reality in the Greenfield community. Click image to read more. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D – Pittsfield) announces Clean Energy Choice Grants awarded to the Towns of  Williamsburg and Williamstown by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. The grants, totaling $70,076, help fund solar projects which further the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.

“Recently state policymakers set dramatic renewable energy goals for the Commonwealth,” said Downing. “I am pleased these two communities chose to participate in programs such as this to generate clean energy on-site, save money and help preserve Massachusetts’ environmental assets.”

WILLIAMSBURG

The Trust is awarding the Town of Williamsburg, located in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, with a Clean Energy Choice grant of $21,775.13 for the installation of a 2.97 kW roof-mounted PV system at the Anne T. Dunphy School. This system will reduce the Town’s energy costs and will help educate residents about the power of clean energy technologies. The installation will also include a Data Acquisition System that will allow viewing of real-time data on any computer on the school’s local area network.

WILLAMSTOWN

Further, the Trust is providing the Town of Williamstown with a Clean Energy Choice grant of $49,011.49 to help fund the installation of a 16.38 kW photovoltaic array and Data Acquisition System on the Williamstown Department of Public Works salt storage facility. This system will reduce the Town’s energy costs and will help educate residents about the power of clean energy technologies.

Program funding comes as a result of efforts by Massachusetts citizens to purchase clean energy through their electric utility bills, which generated matching funds from the Trust for use toward clean energy projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Library Awarded 3 Gold Stars for Public Service!

Meekins Library in Williamsburg, MA Awarded 3 Gold Stars!

Meekins Library in Worthington, MAWatch for the gold stars in the windows as you pass the Meekins Library in Williamsburg. This week the Meekins Library was awarded three gold stars from the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service 2009. One of 258 public libraries recognized nationally, the Meekins Library and other winners excelled in four service measures: circulation, visits, program attendance and public internet terminal use.

John Ramsay, Director of the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System, states, “The Western Massachusetts Regional Library System is proud to have 3 of its member libraries counted among the 13 Massachusetts public libraries that achieved designations from the Library Journal as “starred libraries” which measures their levels of service delivery in relation to peer libraries nationally. In Massachusetts, only 3.5% public libraries received stars. Nationally, only 258 libraries (2.8% of all the 9,214 public libraries) were awarded stars, a select group indeed.

“The Meekins Library, in Williamsburg (about 2,500 population), has undergone an amazing transformation over the past few years. Its wonderful expansion project relieved cramped quarters and now provides an open and attractive setting for people to use and enjoy the facility. The library’s foresight to join the C/W MARS automated network has provided access to books and other library materials far beyond what the library could possibly have in its own collection. The computers have drawn new users and opens up a whole world of information. And the creative programs the library staffs have offered have benefited library users of all ages. The Library Journal 3 Star Award is well deserved, and the Town of Williamsburg should be proud that its support of the library and its budgetary needs delivers a great return on investment for all the people of the town.”

Library Director, Lisa Wenner, credits the library staff’s hard work and customer service ethic; the new library addition, which includes a public meeting room and renovation of the library’s historic building; the presence of public internet terminals and wi-fi; as well as the library’s convenient location in the middle of Williamsburg with the high score given to the library.

Wenner goes on to say that, “In these challenging times public libraries stand out as vital public spaces where all people can go to get information. Whether it’s job searching using the library’s computers, children’s programming or free public interest programming in the evening, public libraries like the Meekins see more patrons and are busier than ever. We plan to continue to work hard to provide quality service to the Williamsburg community.”

Christopher Loring, Williamsburg Board of Library Trustees remarks, “This is fantastic. I always knew we were a star library…now the state, now the country knows that Williamsburg has a star library with stars for staff.”

For more information and the full text article in the November 15th Library Journal.

Western Mass Families & Neighbors Gather for World Wide Grassroots Demonstration

350.org International Climate Action Day in Western Mass

This past Saturday, families and neighbors from all over Western Massachusetts gathered to take action in a world wide grassroots demonstration on climate change. Several of these events in Western Mass were posted here.

On this day, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history. At over 5200 events around the world, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis. Over 15,000 photos have been submitted so far!  See them all on Flickr.  Discover more about 350.org here.

Many images of actions taking place right here in our home state of Massachusetts where submitted. As I looked through the photos I was so happy to see many familiar faces in several of the images.  The commitment of our local families, especially on such a terribly rainy day we had this past Saturday, is fantastic! I put together this collage of wonderful images of local Western Massachusetts families and neighbors taking action and being part of a global message to address climate change:

350.org International Climate Action Day in Western Massachusetts

Images pictured from left to right, top to bottom are labeled below.  Click on the label and it will take you to the image on the 350.org Flickr site and will include any descriptions of their events submitted with the photo.

  1. Montague, MA – Montague Neighbors
  2. Lenox, MA – Evergreen Environmental Club
  3. Monterey, MA
  4. Greenfield, MA – Climate Carnival at Greenfield HS. (photo credit: Daniel A. Brown)
  5. Old Deerfield, MA – Sarah Pirtle Concert
  6. Deerfield, MA – Eaglebrook School
  7. Northfield, MA – (photo credit: Maribeth Dawkins)
  8. Ashfield, MA
  9. South Hadley, MA – Mosier Science Buddies Program
  10. Northampton, MA – Laural Park
  11. Amherst, MA – Amherst College (photo credit: Jessica Mestre)
  12. Northampton, MA – N’hampton Climate Action (photo credit: David Solfiell)
  13. Sunderland, MA – Sunderland Kindergarten (photo credit: Susan Breines)
  14. Amherst, MA – Amherst 350 Committee
  15. Williamstown, MA – Williamstown Elementary School (photo credit: Cheryl Sacks)
  16. Cummington, MA – 350 Neighbors (photo credit: Richard Shephard)
  17. Great Barrington, MA – (photo credit: Jamie Goldenberg)
  18. Cummington, MA – 350 Neighbors (photo credit: Richard Shephard)

Step it Up 2007 in Western Mass

Step it Up 2007 in Western Mass

Step it Up is the largest day of citizen action focusing on global warming in our nation’s history. A truly infectious grassroots movement, organized through word of mouth, email outreach and the online community. It was a nationwide campaign comprised of over 1300 actions held on April 14, 2007 as part of a National Day of Climate Action. Many local Western Mass communities participated in the campaign, including Amherst, Cummington, Easthampton, Greenfield, Heath, Northampton, Pittsfield, and Williamstown .

We gathered a lot of information on resources at the Northampton rally …

Read the rest of this entry »

Students & Shakespeare in Western Mass

Shakespeare & Co.’s Spring Residency Programs Begins Western MA

Shakespeare & Company’s popular Massachusetts spring Elementary and Middle School Residency programs for grades four through seven begin performances this week beginning with Pine Cobble School’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 5:30 pm, April 12th at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. See complete schedule below.

Other schools involved in the Residency program include:

  • Lenox Middle School
  • Monument Valley Middle School (previously Searles Middle School)
  • Richmond School
  • Upper Middle Cape High School
  • Williamstown Elementary School
  • For more information on the Company’s Residency program and other Education Programs please contact Youth Programs Director Jenna Ware at (413) 637-1199 ext. 172 or education@shakespeare.org.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reindog Parade

(c) Hilltown Families

Hilltown families feeling adventurous this weekend headed out to Williamstown, home of the Clarke Museum. Images Cinema hosted a special movie screening of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Olive, the Other Reindeer.

Following the screenings, Spring Street was closed off for the towns annual Reindog Parade, an interesting tradition of the folks from Williamstown. The street was lined with luminaries, balloons were passed out to children, and the local public access television station was poised with their cameras to film the parade. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: