Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Debut of Seasonal Cultural Itinerary

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: August Segment
Debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Monday, August 29, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about agricultural fairs, fall festivals, one room schoolhouses and apples featured in the debut of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA:

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA. (38 page PDF) for the fall season.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be September 26th, 2016!

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Learning Ahead: Sept & Oct Cultural Itinerary for Western MA

Learning Ahead:
Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts
Seasons: Sept & Oct

Who am I? Where am I? These are the fundamental questions proposed by the humanities. Inquiries related to local history, literature, and education, inspire us to think deeply about the places where we live and how our identity fits into the context of our community and the seasons.

Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a new bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.

Looking through a seasonal lens, our debut Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is for the months of September and October and includes:

  • Participation in local CULTURE: Agricultural Fairs and Fall Festivals
  • PLACEMAKING through annual events: Guided Tours and Plein Air Paint Outs
  • Gathering and preparing seasonal FOOD: Apples and Pumpkins
  • VALUE based engagement: Intergenerational, Skillsharing, and Community Meals
  • Marking the SEASON with annual events: Back-to-School and Halloween
  • Engage in local HABITAT: Nature Trails and Fall Foliage
  • INTEREST based learning: Domestic Arts, Pastry Arts, and Paranormal

Click here to download PDF (38 pages).


Mass Humanities This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Learning Experiences at Agricultural Fairs

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: July Segment
Agricultural Fairs Celebrate Local History. Preserve Local Culture

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Friday, July 31, 2015, this time looking at community-based education through the lens of local culture embedded in yearly agricultural fairs.  Sienna and Seth talk about ways agricultural fairs offer families opportunities to participate in a community integrated tradition while offering a myriad of learning experiences!

Discover information and ideas highlighted here in our post,
History, Culture & Community Can All Be Found at Western MA Agricultural Fairs


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be Thursday, August 20!

History, Culture & Community Can All Be Found at Western MA Agricultural Fairs

Agricultural Fairs Celebrate and Preserve Local Culture

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Agricultural fairs, primarily established by agricultural societies for the purpose of agriculture promotion, science and education, celebrate New England history and local culture in communities all over western Massachusetts throughout late summer and early fall.  These generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities afford families opportunities to participate in intergenerational community-based traditions while offering a myriad of entertainment and learning experiences through the lens of culture and food.  Read the rest of this entry »

Local Agricultural Fairs Showcase Rich Local Heritage

Multidisciplinary Learning Opportunities for Children

It’s almost agricultural fair time!

Much more than a midway and a ticket-per-ride miniature amusement park, Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs honor the generations-old traditions of agriculture, self-sufficiency, and resiliency in rural communities. A tradition for many generations, agricultural fairs showcase the unique skills and talents specific to rural life in western Massachusetts – and in doing so, fairs offer families the opportunity to not only celebrate local culture, but to actively participate in preserving it. The exhibition halls at agricultural fairs are always filled with locally grown fruits and vegetables, homemade and home-preserved canned goods, handmade quilts and clothing, and beautiful photographs, paintings, and crafts created by local artists. With many exhibition categories reserved specifically for youngsters, exhibition halls offer families the opportunity to share their own work, projects, and produce with others – and the opportunity to share the active role that they have in preserving local culture.

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Language Play: Fair Season Language Games

Fair Season Language Games

I’ve never lived in a place so rich with fairs! We’re lucky to be able to go to so many. For my family, it has become a New England summer/fall ritual that harkens back to a simpler time when people got together to play and eat with their neighbors. Enjoying life together in this way, creates a sense of community so naturally. It combines the cycle of the yearly harvest with pride in our achievements in art, craft, food, animal-raising and gardening. It gives us a solid sense of identity and camaraderie. The thrill of the rides, the lights against a dark sky, the people of all generations surrounding food stands, eating at picnic tables, strolling, and running in the delight of being alive. All in all, a country fair is a great human experience. It slows us down so we can experience who we are again.

I remember the drive home from the Cummington Fair one year with my grandson. It was the first fair where he was self-conscious, even though he had been there before as a baby. Even though it was late, he hated to leave. On the way home, he tried to console himself in the back seat: “We can come back tomorrow night.” We explained that the fair was a special, once a year event, BUT we could prolong our pleasure by talking about what we saw and did until we got home. And so a new set of language games were born for the trip home…

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Exhibiting at the Fair

Youth Participation at Agricultural Fairs
Learning about History, Agriculture, Science & More

With agricultural fair season kicking off during the next few weeks, now is the time to begin preparing entries. The Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Association offers a full list of the state’s fairs on its website, accompanied by links to fair websites where families can find lists of the exhibition categories offered at each event.

Agricultural fairs are an important tradition in New England, and all across the country. Such events showcase rural skills and traditions, and help to promote a strong connection between communities and their physical surroundings. In addition to the requisite amusement rides and midway games, fairs bring a celebration of an agrarian lifestyle, New England history, and local culture to communities all over the state throughout the summer and early fall. Each fair offers families opportunities participate in an important local tradition, and offers a myriad of learning experiences!

Of course, families can learn about vegetable farming, keeping livestock, creating beautiful quilts, identifying local wildlife, dairy production, and numerous other topics by viewing displays, watching demonstrations, and meeting local experts. However, a learning opportunity that is perhaps even more valuable for kids is becoming a fair exhibitor!

Each local fair offers community members an opportunity to enter items that showcase their talents and expertise in a wide range of categories. Community members of almost any age are invited to submit items, making the events an inter-generational opportunity to be a part of a historic New England tradition…

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Suggested Events for Sept 3rd-9th, 2011

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Labor Day marks the return to school for many. We asked our readers what subjects/topics they wish schools would teach their kids. Responses ranged from cursive writing to carpentry. Share what you would like to see schools teach (or not teach) your kids by click on the photo above. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. 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 support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising.  Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

On Saturday, Sept 3rd starting at 8am – AGRICULTURAL FAIRS: Take your pick from agricultural fairs happening throughout the region in Blandford, Northampton, and Spencer. ($)

On Sunday, Sept 4th from 10am-6pm in the Pioneer Valley – CULTURAL STUDIES: Spend a day in Armenia at St. Mark Armenian Church!  All day there will be food, cultural demonstrations, and a boutique of items imported from Armenia!  This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in and learn about the Armenian culture.  413-783-5793.  2427 Wilbraham Road.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

Also on Sunday, Sept 4th at 1pm in the Hilltowns – COMMUNITY BARBECUE: The 41st annual Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department Firefighters’ Barbecue is this afternoon!  The event takes place behind the Shaw Memorial Library- enjoy some delicious food and support an important part of the community!  312 Main Street.  Plainfield, MA.  ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

On Saturday, Sept 10th from 10:30am – 2pm in the Pioneer Valley – ANIMAL STUDIES: How do beaks help birds to snatch up worms for dinner or sip on drops of water?  Are they made out of bones or cartilage?  Why are they pointy?  Learn all of these things and more today at the Great Falls Discovery Center!  Kids can learn through crafts, games, stories, etc. all about bird beaks!  413-863-3221.  2 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

On Sunday, Sept 11th from 12noon-7pm – CULTURAL FESTIVAL: St. George Cathedral hosts a traditional Greek Glendi!  There will be all things Greek- music, dancing, food, games, family activities, art, and more!  413-737-1496.  Main, Plainfield, and Carew Streets.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

CIRCUS ARTS CLASSES: A new session of weekday kid’s circus classes will begin on September 12th at SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton. We will work on trapeze, fabric, juggling, tumbling, human pyramids, tight wire, rolla bolla, globe and more. Circus is a great way to increase self esteem, have fun, get in shape, improve focus and learn new skills. Classes for students new to circus will be held on Tuesdays (Ages 5-7, 4-5pm and ages 8+, 5-6pm). A teen class will be held on Thursdays (ages 12-15, 5-6pm). Continuing students are able to choose from classes on Thursdays (age 5-7, 4-5pm), Level 2 classes on Monday (ages 7-11, 3:30-4:30pm), or the Level 3 classes on Mondays & Wednesdays (ages 8+, 4:30-6pm). Registration is available online at www.showcircusstudio.com.

Enhanced PublicitySPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

POST-IRENE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Mary Vilbon, Executive Director of SFABA writes: “The Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (SFABA) has been meeting with West County business owners over the past several days to coordinate volunteers, help identify specific needs, and connect businesses with local, state, and federal resources. If your business has a particular question, specific need, or if you or someone you know would like to volunteer please call the SFABA at 625-2526 or email info@shelburnefalls.com. We will make every effort to assist you within our capacity.”

Bread Euphoria Cafe & Bakery in Haydenville, MA

Free cookies at Bread Euphoria for kids: Sept 6-9!

FREE COOKIES: Bread Euphoria in Haydenville is having a back-to-school special event: Sept. 6-9, every child who comes to Bread Euphoria will receive a free cookie. Stop in after school for a tasty treat for the kids while picking up dinner for the family (and delicious pastries for the next morning!) 413-268-7757. 206 Main St. Haydenville, MA www.breadeuphoria.com

Suzi Kingsley Day writes,Ashfield Needles and Threads is working in collaboration with Share the Warmth to host a Free Clothing Exchange–a community hand-me-around to facilitate Recycling, Reusing, Sharing and Happiness! Scheduled for Saturday, September 17th from 9am–2pm in St. John’s Corner House on Main St. in Ashfield. Drop off clean clothes and shoes in excellent condition—all seasons and sizes– in the foyer of St. John’s Church on the corner of Main and South St. between the afternoon of Sunday September 11th and the night of Friday September 16th. Folks can come pick out some clothes whether they brought any to share or not. Bring family and friends and reusable shopping bags. Leftover items will be redistributed through Share the Warmth and the Salvation Army.”

COMMUNITY SERVICE: If you love books, love reading, and love the library, then the Greenfield Public Library is looking for you!  The library’s Homebound Delivery Program is looking for volunteers to help deliver library materials to homebound patrons so that they too can enjoy the numerous resources that the library has to offer!  Volunteers are paired individually with homebound patrons (effort is made to make a good match!) – this is an opportunity to create a relationship with a community member, as well as provide a much needed service.  For more information or to sign up for the program, contact Jane Buchanan at 413-772-1544 x 110.

HUNGER ACTION MONTH: September is Hunger Action Month, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is working hard to rally communities and continue to fight against hunger.  The food bank provides resources for how families can get involved on their website (for example, a “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar) and also holds the Fork it Over for Food campaign, a program that encourages restaurant patrons to donate money to the food bank after their meals.  The food bank also organizes Will Bike 4 Food, another fundraising event.  Volunteers are needed to help with this event in particular, especially to drive the bike route and check on cyclists  (provide water, replacement gear, etc.), help set up/take down the event, and to provide healthcare (nurses and EMT’s).  For more information on how to volunteer for the event or how to get your family involved in the fight against hunger and food insecurity, visit www.foodbankwma.org.

SOAP BOX DERBY: The Montague Soap Box Derby is coming up!  The race takes place on September 17th, and there are age brackets for kids ages 8-12, 13-19, and 20+.  Carts must be homemade, contain at least three wheels, and have no motors or any other means of propulsion.  The race takes place on the hill at Unity Park, with older ‘kids’ (adults) beginning at the top and younger kids starting further down.  For information about how to enter the derby (or just to find out where the best place to be a spectator may be!) visit the derby’s website at www.montaguesoapboxraces.com.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Back-to-School

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Sept 3rd-9th, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Farmers’ Markets | Weekly eNewsletter

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Aug 27th-Sep 2nd, 2011

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

"The Biggest and Best Little Fair in the Country" starts this Thursday afternoon and happens through the weekend, August 25th-28th! - UPDATE: Cummington Fair gates close Saturday evening at 6PM and will be CLOSED SUNDAY. Exhibitors can pick up their entries on Monday anytime between 9-11am or 5-7pm. - (Bird Brains 4-H @ the Fair. Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. 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 support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and enhanced publicity.  Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Starting today and going through the weekend, August 25th-28th  – CUMMINGTON FAIR: The 143rd Annual Cummington Fair happens at the Cummington Fairgrounds. With one of the most comprehensive agricultural presentations in the state, the fair is billed as “The Biggest And Best Little Fair in the Country”. This family friendly, four-day agricultural fair is packed with exhibits, family activities, delicious food, classic cars and live music. Truck, horse and oxen pulls headline the fair along with a demolition derby, and the Western Mass Logging Championship. And the fun doesn’t stop there-families can also enjoy midway, games, roving entertainers, live music, petting zoo, 4-H presentations, skid steer rodeo, square dancing and community dinners. Find a full schedule of events at www.cummingtonfair.com. 413-634-5091. Fairground Rd. Cummington, MA ($) [UPDATE: Cummington Fair gates close this evening at 6pm and will be closed on Sunday. Exhibitors can pick up their entries on Monday anytime between 9-11am or 5-7pm.]

On Saturday, August 27th from 12noon – 5pm – HARVEST CELEBRATION: Visit Red Fire Farm for their annual amazing Tomato Festival! The event begins with the Tomato 5K at 10:30, followed by live music, workshops, food from guest chefs, kids activities, vendors, and tomato tasting all afternoon! Local music, local artists, local food! 413-467-7645. 7 Carver Street. Granby, MA. (<$)

Later in the day on Saturday, August 27th at 5pm – BIRDS: Interested in learning more about the beaks, wings, feet, and nests of your feathered friends? You can at the DAR State Forest! The program, called All About Birds, will teach kids fun facts about bird life. 413-268-7098. 78 Cape Street. Goshen, MA. (FREE) (CANCELED DUE TO HURRICANE IRENE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

On Saturday, Sept 3rd from 9:30am-5pm – HISTORY: Family Fun Days at Old Sturbridge Village take place this weekend!  The village is buzzing with fun activities and learning opportunities for families, and there will be fireworks tonight!  800-SEE-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

Beginning next Sunday, Sept 4th from 10am-5pm – CORN MAZE: Visit Warner Farm’s corn maze- the one and only original!  There are tons of activities at the farm besides the maze, too!  413-665-8331. 23 South Main Street.  Sunderland, MA.  ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

CIRCUS ARTS CLASSES: A new session of weekday kid’s circus classes will begin on September 12th at SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton. We will work on trapeze, fabric, juggling, tumbling, human pyramids, tight wire, rolla bolla, globe and more. Circus is a great way to increase self esteem, have fun, get in shape, improve focus and learn new skills. Classes for students new to circus will be held on Tuesdays (Ages 5-7, 4-5pm and ages 8+, 5-6pm). A teen class will be held on Thursdays (ages 12-15, 5-6pm). Continuing students are able to choose from classes on Thursdays (age 5-7, 4-5pm), Level 2 classes on Monday (ages 7-11, 3:30-4:30pm), or the Level 3 classes on Mondays & Wednesdays (ages 8+, 4:30-6pm). Registration is available online at www.showcircusstudio.com.

Enhanced PublicitySPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

PreK SOCCER PLAYDATE: Interested in a morning pickup soccer playdate for your preK kids during the weekday? Angela Mulkerin is organizing an informal soccer playdate in the Florence/Northampton area for kids up through 4yo and their parent/caregiver.  Once a week (beginning the week of Sept 5th) parents and their kids can come together to kick around the soccer ball, working on cooperation skills and “playing nice.” Anyone who is interested can email Angela at angelamulkerin@gmail.com.

Amanda Saklad writes, “I would like to start a clothing swap – any interest? or is there one already going somewhere? I have size 5 boys and size 8-10 girls clothes to offer, and I am needing size 12-14 boys and size 12-14 girls. any suggestions? I don’t (and can’t) buy new school wardrobes for the kiddos.” Leave comments HERE.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: It Takes a Village is offering a volunteer training!  The organization works to help support families during their first three months with a newborn baby– It Takes a Village supports a community approach to raising children.  Volunteers are placed with families and make home visits once a week to help with household tasks like dishes and meals, spend time with older children, etc.  There will be two training sessions, both of which will have free childcare.  For more information, visit itavillage.com or call 413-634-5431.

HOME BUYING: Are you hoping to soon be a first-time home buyer?  Are you overwhelmed or confused by all there is to know about all the steps there are to take before a house is actually yours to call home?  The Hilltown CDC is hosting a series of free workshops for those interested in buying their first home- the workshops are intended to ease confusion and to help answer questions and boost home-buying confidence!  There will be speakers including a realtor, lender, home inspector, attorney, and an insurance agent- all of whom can offer a wealth of information!  The workshops will take place from 6-8:30 on September 13th, 14th, 20th, and 21st at the Cummington Community House.  To register, call 413-296-4536.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Guest DJ, Nick Deysher

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Nick Deysher guest DJs the Hilltown Family Variety Show this weekend, spinning tunes by The Flannery Brothers, Livingston Taylor, The Jimmies, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Recess Monkey, Ivan Ulz, and many others, including music by his own band, In the Nick of Time.

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Aug 27th-Sep 2nd, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Farmers’ Markets | Weekly eNewsletter

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Aug 20th-26th, 2011

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Stone Fruits at Florence Farmers' Market

It's time for peaches in Western MA! Picking peaches with the kids is a great family activity. Lisa Smith-Hamilton recommends Quonquont Farm in Whately, and Heather Richardson recommends Cold Spring Orchards in Belchertown. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. 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 support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and enhanced publicity. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

On Saturday, August 20th starting at 8am – AGRICULTURAL FAIRS: Take your pick from agricultural fairs happening throughout the region in Westfield, Hardwick and Heath; plus a Chilifest in Belchertown starting at 12noon. ($)

Later in the day on Saturday, August 20th from 6-7:30pm – ASTRONOMY STUDIES: Educator Rachel Roberts presents Space-Tacular, a program for kids 7 and up about the science and mythology of stars! The program takes place at the Northfield Mountain Environmental Center and includes hands-on art and science activities. Registration required. 800-859-2960. 99 Millers Falls Road. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

On Sunday, August 21st from 4:30-6:30pm – HARVEST SUPPER: Enjoy a delicious dinner of healthy local food at the annual Harvest Supper in downtown Greenfield! Along with excellent food there will also be live music from local acts and some fun activities to keep kids entertained! The dinner takes place near the town common. Court Square. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

On Saturday, August 27th from 12noon – 5pm – HARVEST CELEBRATION: Visit Red Fire Farm for their annual amazing Tomato Festival! The event begins with the Tomato 5K at 10:30, followed by live music, workshops, food from guest chefs, kids activities, vendors, and tomato tasting all afternoon! Local music, local artists, local food! 413-467-7645. 7 Carver Street. Granby, MA. (<$)

Later in the day on Saturday, August 27th at 5pm – BIRDS: Interested in learning more about the beaks, wings, feet, and nests of your feathered friends? You can next weekend at the DAR State Forest! The program, called All About Birds, will teach kids fun facts about bird life. 413-268-7098. 78 Cape Street. Goshen, MA. (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

CUMMINGTON FAIR: The 143rd Annual Cummington Fair happens August 25th-28th at the Cummington Fairgrounds. With one of the most comprehensive agricultural presentations in the state, the fair is billed as “The Biggest And Best Little Fair in the Country”. This family friendly, four-day agricultural fair is packed with exhibits, family activities, delicious food, classic cars and live music. Truck, horse and oxen pulls headline the fair along with a demolition derby, and the Western Mass Logging Championship. And the fun doesn’t stop there-families can also enjoy midway, games, roving entertainers, live music, petting zoo, 4-H presentations, skid steer rodeo, square dancing and community dinners. Find a full schedule of events at www.cummingtonfair.com.

SUSTAINABILITY WORKSHOPS FOR FAMILIES: North Amherst Community Farm presents “Building Sustainability Together: Skill for Kids and Families.” This series of workshops will offer hands-on activities for kids 5yo and older, accompanied by a caregiver. Workshops in the series include; Worm Bin Composting (Wed., 8/17, 10am-12noon); Seed Saving: Plant the Future (Sat., 8/20, 2-4pm); and Harvest the Sun (Wed., 8/24, 10am-12noon). All classes are $10 for each child/adult pair, and $3 for additional children, and will be held in Amherst at the North Amherst Community Farm (rain or shine), home of Simple Gifts CSA (1089 North Pleasant St.). Pre-registration is required by calling 413-624-6223, or email programs@nacfonline.org. For more info about this series, visit www.nacfonline.org.

Bright Eyes

Enter to win a pair of tickets to see Bright Eyes plus Titus Andronicus at Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA (previously scheduled for Mountain Park) on Sunday, August 28th! Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, Aug. 24th. Click on banner to find out how you can enter for a chance to win.

PreK SOCCER PLAYDATE: Interested in a morning pickup soccer playdate for your preK kids during the weekday? Angela Mulkerin is organizing an informal soccer playdate in the Florence/Northampton area for kids up through 4yo and their parent/caregiver. Once a week (beginning the week of Sept 5th) parents and their kids can come together to kick around the soccer ball, working on cooperation skills and “playing nice.” Anyone who is interested can email Angela at angelamulkerin@gmail.com.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL: The Springfield Parent Academy and Springfield Public Schools are hosting a back-to-school celebration… and they’ll be giving away 3,000 free backpacks filled with school supplies! This is a great opportunity to get your kids excited about going back to school and to ensure that your student will have all of the tools they need. The celebration will take place from 10am-2pm on Saturday, August 27th at Blunt Park in Springfield. Along with free backpacks, there will also be a barbecue and activities for kids.

PAYING FOR COLLEGE: Do you have kids who are going to be applying to (or thinking about applying to) college soon? Are you unsure about how to pay for college, or even how to apply for financial aid? Forbes Library in Northampton is hosting a workshop on filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form and strategies for affording college as tax-efficiently as possible and with the least amount of out-of-pocket expense. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, August 31st at 7pm. For more information or to register, call the library at 413-587-1011.

LOCAL FOOD: On Tuesday, August 23rd and Wednesday, August 24th, nearly 50 Pioneer Valley restaurants will highlight dishes featuring locally grown products as part of CISA’s 2011 Local Hero Restaurant Days Celebration. Enjoy delicious foods at local eateries and celebrate the relationship that CISA has encouraged between restaurants and local farms. Though all of the participating establishments use local produce regularly, some will have special menu items for the event. Participating businesses include Taylor’s Tavern, Bistro les Gras, Cup and Top Cafe, Karma, The Lone Wolf, The Night Kitchen, Soup, Paul and Elizabeth’s, and Great Wall Restaurant. Bon appétit!

SENIOR FARM SHARE: Good food for grandparents! Do you know a low-income senior who could benefit from a farm share? CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) is continuing its Senior FarmShare program, thanks to enormous community support. Senior FarmShare partners with 12 local farmers and 17 distribution sites, including senior centers and Councils on Aging, throughout Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden County. For more information, call 413-665-7100.

Enhanced PublicitySPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Guest DJ, Key Wilde & Mr Clarke

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Key Wilde & Mr Clarke guest DJ the Hilltown Family Variety Show this weekend, spinning tunes by Syd Barrett, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Okee Dokee Brothers, Roger Miller, J. J. Cale and many others – along with music off of their CD, Rise & Shine.

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Aug 20th-26th, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Farmers’ Markets | Weekly eNewsletter

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Suggested Events 08/09/08-08/15/08

CELEBRATING LOCAL AGRICULTURE

Locally Grown Sunflowers - (c) Sienna Wildfield

Locally Grown Sunflowers - (c) Sienna Wildfield

Some of the great things about living in Western Massachusetts are all the rich agricultural fairs and festivals that take place nearly every weekend towards the end of the summer and into the fall. In August we celebrate local blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn and event pesto with their very own festivals here in Western Mass. And the local hometown agricultural fairs happen too, including the Littleville Fair, Middlefield Fair, Heath Fair and the Cummington Fair.

This weekend the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) will be having their 34th Annual Summer Conference at UMass in Amherst and will be hosting an Old-Time Country Fair on Saturday afternoon, along with wonderful workshops all weekend long for both adults and children. Children can learn how to make butter, how to raise small farm animals, play Victorian games, do yoga, race turtles, and so much more. And while the kids are enjoying a plethora of activities, parents can participate in workshops about native fruits, American Chestnuts, how to prepare raw foods, the trends of local food, peak oil, how to start a school composting program, and a gazillion other fantastic workshops (225+) offered Friday through Sunday this weekend. For more information go to www.nofa.org. And if you’re looking to carpool, visit our friends over at www.RideBuzz.org.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page.

Suggest an Event | Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes
Farmer’s Market | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)

Events Happening in the Hilltowns
The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:
(>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

Saturday – 08/09

Middlefield Agricultural Fair happens all weekend at 7 Bell Road in Middlefield, MA.

7am – 9am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) Are you prepared to rock?! Join Bill & Ella on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child every Saturday on The River 93.9FM (101.5FM in Brattleboro), or 103.3 FM WXOJ-LP to hear two hours of quality family-friendly music. [All ages] (Free) LINK

9am-10am – FAMILY RADIO & STORYTELLING – (Air Waves) Join our Hilltown Family! Spend a little time with The Hilltown Family Variety Show every Saturday on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM to hear a full hour of commercial-free, quality family-friendly music and storytelling. [Families] (Free) LINK

9am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES – (Buckland) Red Gate Educational Farm will be offering Pond Exploration for the Family. [All Ages] (>$) MORE INFO

9am-1pm – ADULT ART WORKSHOP – (Amherst) The Eric Carle Museum will be offering a tissue paper workshop, exploring techniques and how they can be adapted for home or the classroom. [Adults] ($$$) LINK

10am – FAMILY CONCERT – (Florence) Aric and his Recess Rock Music Show will be at Cup & Top to benefit the Northampton Parents Center. [All Ages] (Free) MORE INFO

10:30am – FAMILY THEATER – (Northampton) Paintbox Theater presents Aladdin at Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Green Street, on the Smith College Campus. 587-3933 [All Ages] ($) MORE INFO

11am, 1pm & 3pm – RIVER ADVENTURES – (Northfield) The Northfield Mountain’s Riverboat offers a 12-mile cruise of the Connecticut River Fridays through Sundays. (800) 859-2960 [All Ages] ($) MORE INFO

1pm – MARIONETTE SHOW – (Amherst) The Tanglewood Marionettes present “The Fairy Circus” at the Eric Carle Museum. [All Ages] (Free with museum admission) LINK

5pm-8pm – ART WALK – (Easthampton) Art Walk. Locations all over Easthampton host free visual, music and performance art events in an energetic sampling of local, regional and national talent. Just look for large, yellow Art Walk banners outside each participating venue. Free Shuttle. [All Ages] (Free) LINK

6:30pm-9pm – COMMUNITY GATHERING- (Williamstown) Bring your own picnic blanket and supper to Sheep Hill; WRLF will provide beverages & dessert. Listen to Lui Collins’ songs and poems, make a candlefloat for the pond and watch the Perseids meteor shower! Hosted by the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation at Sheep Hill, 671 Cold Spring Road. [All Ages] (Free)

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