An Inside Look at Hatfield’s Fall Festival

Ghost town, fiber arts, sauerkraut and more!
An Inside Look at Hatfield’s Fall Festival
by Kathie Gow

Outside of the Hatfield Farm Museum. (Photo credit: Kathie Gow)

If you’re looking for a traditional New England Fall Festival with bits of local history, antique cars, art and archaeology thrown in, then Hatfield’s Fall Festival on Sunday, Oct. 7 from 11am-3pm is the place. I’m biased, of course, because I’m curator of one of the two museums involved, but I’m also a frugal, busy soccer mom who works part-time, and this event meets my criteria: educational and fun for the kids, low-cost, easy to find, and has some intriguing things for me.

HANDS-ON & DEMOS

Monica and Pat from the Weavers Guild of Springfield lead youth in hands-on weaving demos. (Photo credit: Kathie Gow)

Our family has attended for the last four years, and my daughter (who’s now 10), still likes getting her face painted and turning the apple cider press, though she now leaves Balloon Man to the younger kids. She’s into knitting and other kinds of needlework, so she always checks out the fiber arts demos toward the back of the Farm Museum (housed in a converted tobacco barn). The Weavers Guild of Springfield comes and demonstrates every year and often gives out samples to the kids. (The samples are beautiful – sometimes it pays to have a kid in your group.). Other fiber arts demos include knitting with Elinor Bell, rug making with Avis Fusek, and hand quilting with Marsha Molloy. What’s nice is that you can get up close and ask them questions while they work.

LOCAL HISTORY

Speaking of questions, I encourage you and your family to ask questions about the items you see in the Farm Museum. With so much to look at, it makes all the difference. Ask to see the six-at-once mousetrap. Or the broom-making machine from when broom sales were big in Hatfield, MA. Or the Native American-styled dugout canoe made by a Northampton scholar. And don’t miss the recreated tobacco shop, where workers sorted the leaves.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

My son, who just started high school, now prefers to wander around and see what interests him. It might be a vintage Corvette or Indian motorcycle, an antique tractor, or a corn shelling machine (It might just be finding another teenager with a soccer ball and slipping behind the elementary school to play!).  Speaking of which, if your younger kids need a break, try the playground at the elementary school, just beyond the Farm Museum, and the school should be open for bathroom visits.

LOCAL FOOD

Around lunchtime, I’m sure my son’s interests will include a cheeseburger and fries, and I’ll probably ask him to bring me a plate, since I’ll be working in the Historical Museum down the road. What I love about the fries is that the Boy Scouts make them, using potatoes from Hatfield farmers, and the kids can watch them cutting and cooking the potatoes. Real food, tastes good, local.

Our family is into eating healthy and buying local produce whenever we can, so we always stock up at the Fall Festival and buy bags of Hatfield onions and potatoes and several large cabbages at the farmers market. I don’t know about this year’s crop, but last year’s cabbages were bigger than your head and mine put together! The cabbages will be particularly appropriate this year, because local farmer John Pease (grandson of Hatfield Polish immigrant Jan Waskiewicz) will be demonstrating making sauerkraut outside the Farm Museum. If you’re not already a fan of this Eastern European staple, look up some of the health benefits of fermented vegetables and you might become a convert.

HISTORICAL MUSEUM

After watching John’s demo, stroll back down the road to the library and head up to the second floor where you’ll find the Hatfield Historical Museum and an exhibit that shows what life was like for those Polish immigrants who arrived in Massachusetts in the early 1900s. One of those newcomers was Matt Klocko, who came to America on his own at age 14 (the same age as my wandering soccer player!), and arrived in Hatfield soon after. You can see a photo postcard of Matt with his father, just before he left home, never to return, and another as a 37-year-old groom, then a store owner and farmer, marrying the lovely 19-year-old Helen Kugler.

HATFIELD GHOST TOWN

But while you’re at the Historical Museum, don’t miss the new exhibit opening that day on Hatfield’s “Ghost Town.” This site, discovered by archaeologist and UMASS PhD student Randy Daum, is the only preserved 17th century English village site EVER discovered in Southern New England – and it’s right in our own Connecticut River Valley! Come see what artifacts and foundation elements he found of the 10-house village abandoned in 1704, more than 300 years ago. The photos and artifacts do more than prove the village existed – they tell stories of the people who lived there and hint at what life was like at the turn of the 17th century.

LIBRARY BOOK SALE

Well, the abandoned village exhibit would be my first stop at the Festival (if I wasn’t already there) since I’m interested in archaeology and local history, but my next two stops would be the Friends of the Library book sale in the parking lot outside (since I’m a library book sale junkie – you can get such good deals), followed by the unveiling of the “Art of Farming” mural on the south side of the Farm Museum at 1:30. If you’ve ever driven through Hatfield before, you might have noticed these barn-sized, eye- popping murals celebrating farming. A joint project of the Smith Academy Art Dept. and Hatfield’s Agricultural Advisory Commission, this 6th year of the project traces the history of farming in Hatfield from Native American settlement to the present. It’s been on display at the back of the Mass. State House at the BigE, where my daughter and I saw it last week – it’s big and it’s beautiful!

Hope to see you Sunday. Stop by and say hi!

Fall Festival Details:
Sunday, Oct. 7, 11 am to 3 pm
Billings Way, Hatfield (corner of 39 Main St.)
If you’d like to participate in the antique & classic auto show, call Pat at 413-247-6193 to see if there’s still room. For photos from past years, more info or a question on the Festival, click here: www.hatfieldhistory.weebly.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathie Gow is curator of the Hatfield Historical Museum and writes the blog “Bird by Bird” hatfieldhistory.weebly.com/blog.html for the Hatfield Historical Society website. For her business producing audio memoirs, she also writes a periodic blog about the value of saving your family’s stories. Kathie lives in Hatfield with her husband and two children.

Celebrating Sustainability and Local Food at the 7th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival

7th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival
Sunday, September 23rd

Have you ever made your own cornmeal, or dyed your own fabric using wildflowers?  Families can do all of these things and more at the North Amherst Harvest Festival on Sun, Sept 23rd from 12noon-5pm at the North Amherst Community Farm at 1089 N. Pleasant Street in North Amherst. This is a free rain or shine event (>$ parking). (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

When was the last time that you enjoyed a bike-power-blended smoothie?  Have you ever made your own cornmeal, or dyed your own fabric using wildflowers?  Families can do all of these things and more at the North Amherst Harvest Festival!

The harvest festival takes place on Sunday, September 23rd from 12noon-5pm at the North Amherst Community Farm (NACF), a farm run as a grassroots project to provide affordable, locally and sustainably grown food to the community.  The festival will include seasonal activities like hayrides and cider pressing, along with live music, local food, face painting, games, and other family activities.

A range of fun children’s activities will be offered throughout the day, including pumpkin bowling, face painting, operating a cider press and making your own smoothie using a kid-sized blender bike! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In addition, the festival offers a plethora of hands-on opportunities!  Kids can participate in pumpkin bowling, cider pressing, using fresh local apples and a manual press to extract delicious juice.  Hayrides offer an opportunity to tour the farm fields – families can see the fields and animals, and learn about the farm’s biodiversity soil-rejuvenating practices.  There will also be hand-crank food mills on hand for families to try out making their own homemade cornmeal – kids can hand-pluck dried kernels from the cob and use their own muscle power to grind the kernels into meal… and after all of that hard work, they can enjoy a smoothie blended using bike power!

Each activity is sure to be fun and exciting for kids of nearly any age, and each offers a unique learning opportunity.  By participating in food processing, kids can become more aware of how food products are created and the amount of effort that is necessary to produce them.  In touring the farm, they can become familiarized with farm machinery, farm practices, and farm animals, and can begin to develop a deeper connection to their food.  Bring learning full circle by enjoying a local dinner together after the festival!  For more information, visit www.nacfonline.org.

This year, NACF is collaborating with Amherst Community Connections (ACC) and Craig’s Doors, two local non-profits offering services to those in the community who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. Hwei-Ling Greeney of ACC will oversee the food production for the Festival utilizing volunteers recruited from NACF, ACC, Craig’s Doors and The Amherst Survival Center. In return, a portion of NACF’s Festival proceeds will be shared between these agencies. The organizational missions of these groups all share a common concern for the issue of local food security.

New Orleans Meets New England at the Ashfield Fall Festival

Ashfield Fall Festival!

Crawfish Pasta and Pulled Pork Po-Boys will be sold by Elmer's at the Ashfield Fall Festival. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Wait—Last Sunday in the middle of the 183 people coming in for breakfast, someone said to me, “Do you have those little individually wrapped butters?” And I said, “yes, we do.” And that’s all I remember about the conversation. I don’t remember who it was who asked, but if you are reading this now, did you get what you wanted? Did I just walk away? Did I complete the transaction? Are you a satisfied customer? Can I help you now?

 

(Those are the things you think about in the middle of the night.)

I just dropped a huge sunflower seed into the keyboard of this computer and I can’t get it out. We’ll see what happens next.

You know what this weekend is — it’s Fall Festival at Elmer’s! (Well, it’s not just at Elmer’s, but here’s what is happening during Fall Festival in Ashfield at Elmer’s):

I remember that someone told me, “You know, you can’t do chili or hamburgers for Fall Festival because people are already doing those.” So I tried to think of something that no one in Ashfield would be doing and I thought of crawfish pasta! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

For breakfast Saturday and Sunday we’ll be serving pancakes and breakfast burritos from 7am to 10:30am (only pancakes and burritos—we figure that covers a number of desired food groups). At 11:00 we’ll start serving Crawfish Pasta and Pulled Pork Po-Boys made by Shayne Walker Brunet—the daughter of Skippy and Wanda Walker, who made them for our Bluegrass Festival! (If you missed them there, Skippy and Wanda are the people who have the Cochon-de-Lait booth at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Their “Cochon-de-Lait” (pulled pork) is the sandwich Esquire Magazine listed as one of the top sandwiches in America. And we got it right here!) We will not run out! We have a butt-load of pork-butts for this!

 

We actually got the recipe for the Crawfish Pasta from Skippy and Wanda, as well, the first year we did Fall Festival. I remember that someone told me, “You know, you can’t do chili or hamburgers for Fall Festival because people are already doing those.”

So I tried to think of something that no one in Ashfield would be doing and I thought of crawfish pasta! I called Wanda, because she made the best crawfish pasta anywhere around, and she gave me the recipe and here we are to this day. And now her daughter’s coming to make Cochon-de-Lait po-boys for us!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”  nanparati@aol.com

Suggested Events 10/02/10-10/08/10

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Milkweed pods can be gathered this time of year with the kids to be dried and hand crafted into shadow box ornaments to give to the grandparents for the holidays. Click on the image to find out how. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest an 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.

BEST BETS

On Saturday, October 2nd from 10am-5pm –HARVEST FESTIVAL: Berkshire Botanical Garden 2010 Harvest Festival. Live music, crafts, food, rides, silent auction, plant sale, animals, tag sale, and fall fun activities for kids. www.berkshirebotanical.org Stockbridge, MA (>$)

On Saturday, October 2nd from 4-8pm – BARN PARTY: In support of “Grow Food Northampton” there will be live music with Lui Collins, dancing, cider pressing, speeches, delicious local food, dessert potluck, kid activities and more at the Elk’s Lodge. www.growfoodnorthampton.com Florence, MA (DONATION)

On Sunday, October 3rd from 10am-4pm – COMMUNITY FESTIVAL: 49th Annual Festival of the Hills. 10K road race, arts and crafts exhibits, live music, activities for kids, a parade, log-splitting and skillet-tossing contests, and food and wares from local vendors. All proceeds from the Festival go to support scholarships for local high school students. www.festivalofthehills.com 369-4392 Conway, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

On Columbus Day weekend from 10am-5pm – FALL FESTIVAL: Ashfield Fall Festival takes place on Main Street (rain or shine) on Saturday & Sunday. A fabulous family event. Arts & Craft exhibits, local food, live music and dance, many kid activities, book & tag sales, seasonal foods. A showcase of Ashfield artisans and businesses. No dogs. www.ashfieldfallfestival.org Ashfield, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

BULLETIN BOARD

PRIVATE MUSIC LESSONS: Scott Halligan of Ashfield is currently offering in-home private music lessons for students of all ages in the Hilltowns. Lessons are available by the half-hour or hour in piano, guitar, string instruments, and brass instruments. Discounts are available for group lessons and households wishing to host lessons for multiple students. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned player, Scott can help you reach your goals in music! For rates, schedule, and other information please write to scotth@doubleedgetheatre.org.  Scott holds a MM from the New England Conservatory of Music, and is Director of Instrumental Music at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA.

Birdie Bunny Photography

Warm welcome to Hilltown Families newest sponsor, Birdie Bunny Photography. Serving families in Western MA, photographer Erin Newman-Long specializes in Fine Art Photography of Newborn, Baby, Child, Maternity and Family. http://www.birdiebunnyphotography.com

Jenn Drumm of Williamsburg, MA writes: Please join us at the 1st Annual Williamsburg Arts & Crafts Fall Festival on Sunday, October 24th from 10am – 4pm at the Williamsburg Grange. Williamsburg will be a hub of activity with a fundraiser for the Meekins Library and other events scheduled, including Hot Air Balloon tethering rides from 3-4:30pm. If you’re a local artist/craftsperson looking for a new opportunity, give us a call. Tables are only $20. If interested, please contact: Jenn Drumm Schmitt @ 268-0131 jenndrumm3@gmail.com or Lori Burns @ 268-0074 villagehillroad@msn.com Hope to see you there!

Mark Wamsley, Program & Outreach Coordinator for the Highland Communities Initiative of the The Trustees of Reservations writes: The Highland Communities Initiative is looking for someone with woodworking skills to help us build a display rack for our literature/pamphlets to hang at Notchview in time for cross-country ski season. We have a simple design and most of the required lumber on hand, we just need someone with a little bit of time and know-how to build it. Of course we’ll cover the cost of materials. We can pay for the help too, but the amount we have is most certainly less than a professional carpenter would charge. As a supplement, we’re happy to discuss a barter arrangement for additional lumber, etc. Also, since we are a non-profit, any donation of services would be a tax deduction. Thanks to anyone who might be willing to chip in and help us out! 268-8219 mwamsley@ttor.org

Dina Raymond of Goshen, MA writes: Part time helper for a lovely elderly woman, my Mom. Seeking a reliable, responsible and kind companion to help my Mom two days a week with shopping, cleaning, and other errands in and around Northampton. Hours are Monday’s & Friday’s from 11:20 am- approx. 2:30/3:00 pm. Please have a car with a clean driving record. References are great and you need not have prior experience with elders to apply. A sense of humor and good listening skills is a bonus! Please reply to dinalew@crocker.com

Deadline to enter to win: October 6th.

JOIN 4-H BIRD BRAINS! YOUR LOCAL POULTRY 4-H CLUB: A great opportunity to develop a greater knowledge base about chickens and other poultry, to develop youth leadership and teamwork, to provide community service, to experience hands-on learning and to have fun! Our next meeting is Monday, October 4th at 6 PM, at Burgy Bullets (12 Laurel Rd. Haydenville). Please call Nicole 413.727.8239 with any questions.

SKI & SNOWBOARD: Chesterfield Downhill Ski & Snowboard Club is looking for interested participants! Are you interested? Day of the week and cost for the program still underway. More details will be available in November, program will begin in January 2011. If you want to be kept in the loop, please express your interest to coordinator, Joan Griswold at joan@bybhealth.com or 268-7985. Open to all.

PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: Parents Together Support Groups are happening in both Northampton and Amherst, a FREE alternative support group for parents who learn best in non-traditional ways and have kids 5yo or under. Come play games, learn parenting skills, create art, go on field trips/picnics and discuss ways to keep your family happy and healthy. Transportation, childcare, games, prizes, food and coffee will be provided. Groups meet at the Amherst Family Center (Tuesdays from 9:30-11am) and the Northampton Parent Child Development Center (Time TBD). To learn more about this program and register, call Kris Larson at 834-3344 or email krislarson@unitedarc.org

SPONSORSHIP & 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week on the HFVS is our fundraising episode.  We’re helping to raise $6,000 for WXOJ 103.3FM (Valley Free Radio.).  We’re playing great music while taking a few breaks to ask for your support. – A new podcast will be posted on Saturday, featuring new music by The Okee Dokee Brothers, Fannery Brothers, The Bazilions, Capar Babypants, and story time with a new tale off of Bill Harley’s new CD.

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.
  • HFVS Podcast

    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!


    WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Farmers’ Markets | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday – 10/2

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    8:30am-12:30pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: On the town green. Ashfield, MA (MARKET)

    All Day – TAG SALE: Community wide tag sale. Deerfield, MA (SALE)

    All Day – BIG E: New England’s Premier Exposition. www.TheBigE.com West Springfield, MA ($)

    8am-3pm – CONSIGNMENT SALE: 8th Annual All 4 Kids Fall/Winter Sale at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church (128 Main St.). Easthampton, MA (SALE)

    9:30am-4:30pm – FOOD HISTORY: What’s cooking? Open hearth cooking at the Historic Deerfield. Open hearth cooks will prepare select dishes that are on display as part of the exhibition Dinner is Served!: Dining and the Decorative Arts. Come see “what’s cooking” and learn how these dishes were prepared in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The history workshop: Pots, Pans and Porridge: Children in the Colonial Kitchen, will be offered too starting at 12Noon. 775-7127 www.historic-deerfield.org Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    9:30am-5pm – FOOD HISTORY: Apple Days at Old Sturbridge Village. See their animal-powered Cider Mill in operation and try your hand at a man- (or woman- or child-) powered version. Learn about heirloom varieties of apples, taste a few (included with admission), take a walk in a Village orchard led by a horticulture expert, see (and smell!) cooking with apples, have a taste of mulled cider, and learn about storing and preserving the fruit that was such a big part of early New England life. 800-733-1830 www.osv.org Sturbridge, MA ($)

    10am-12Noon – PARENTING WORKSHOP: Happiest Baby on the Block with Melanie Serman. Learn techniques to soothe your baby. CHP Family Services Building (442 Stockbrige Rd.). 644-0104 www.communityhealthprograms.org Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

    10am-3pm – CULTURAL CELEBRATION: The New England Peace Pagoda (100 Cave Hill Rd.) will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with drumming, ceremony, Buddhist traditions and interfaith prayers. Cambodian Traditional Blessing and Flower Dance. Songs, speech, and a social dance led by the Wampanoag Singers and Dancers. A hearty lunch will be served at 1:30pm. 367-2202 www.newenglandpeacepagoda.com Leverett, MA

    10am-5pm –HARVEST FESTIVAL: Berkshire Botanical Garden 2010 Harvest Festival. Live music, crafts, food, rides, silent auction, plant sale, animals, tag sale, and fall fun activities for kids. www.berkshirebotanical.org Stockbridge, MA (>$)

    10am-TBA – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: Middlefield Heritage Days. Wagon rides, cider, food, art show, variety show, and much more. Town Center. 623-0017 Middlefield, MA

    10am-5pm – GARLIC & ART FESTIVAL: North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival (Forster’s Farm, 60 Chestnut Hill Rd.). (978) 544-9023 http://www.garlicandarts.org Orange, MA (>$)

    10:30am-4:30pm – HISTORIC TRADE: The Deerfield Museum’s Made-by-Hand-Trades of the Past will feature Hat Making & Redware Potting. See historic trades demonstrations of hat making with Bill Wigham, and redware potting with Rick Hamelin. 775-7127 www.historic-deerfield.org Deerfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    11am-2pm – FAMILY PICNIC: Fall potluck for LGBT families at Look Park (picnic table 67K). Sponsored by LGBT Parents in Pioneer Valley. Bring food to share, and toys/clothes for a swap. Crafts for kids. (Rain date: 10/3, 10/9) Florence, MA (ENTRANCE FEE)

    11am, 1:15 & 3pm – FOLIAGE CRUISE: Quinnetukut II Riverboat cruises. Join Captain Steve Larivee and first mate Sarah Doyle for this 12 mile cruise along the scenic Connecticut River. Cruises depart from Barton Cove. Make a reservations: (800) 859-2960 Northfield, MA ($)

    11am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Opening celebration at MASS MoCA in their Kidspace for Color Forms 1: Pink & Blue Projects by Portia Munson. Explore the colors pink and blue in Portia Munson’s installation of found objects, photographs, and print. Refreshments, art-making activities, meet the artist. 413.MoCA.111 www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (FREE)

    12Noon-3pm – COMMUNITY MEAL: Montague Farm Zen House presents the weekly Montague Farm Cafe -a free, weekly family oriented meal and gathering, with healthy food, art activities, live music, and games. 367-5275 Montague, MA (FREE)

    And many more … Read the rest of this entry »

    All the Best New England Traditions Celebrated at the Ashfield Fall Festival

    The 39th Annual Ashfield Fall Festival Takes Place Columbus Day Weekend

    Soup Kitchen at 2008 Ashfield Fall Festival

    During the Ashfield Fall Festival the Congregational Church cooks up hearty soups, hosts a craft sale and tag sale. All are welcomed. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Exhibitors of fiber and textile arts, woodwork, blown glass, pottery, jewelry, kid’s clothing and more will display and sell their wares in several venues along Main Street. Food vendors will serve locally-grown or prepared foods— from the iconic fried dough with maple cream and apple pie with a slice cheddar, to kielbasa grinders and chowder.

    Saturday morning kicks off with the Agricultural Commission’s second annual Tallest Sunflower and Heaviest Pumpkin “challenge cup” competition. At noon Saturday, teams formed on-the-spot for the annual “Pumpkingames” will compete in a variety of games such as pumpkin bowling and the pumpkin relay race.

    If you’re more of a spectator than a competitor, bring your stuffed baked potato and hot pumpkin donut over to the festival stage and listen to great music from local performers such as Radio Free Earth, Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads, and Lui Collins. Several teams of Morris Dancers will also be on hand to keep you in the fall festival spirit.

    Families will enjoy the low-cost activities for children, including face-painting, a bounce house, the “fidget ladder”, sand art, pumpkin painting, and an arcade of games created and run on the Town Common by local youth. Tag sales will be held both days, and bargain hunters and booklovers alike will enjoy several book sales.

    The 2009 musical entertainment line up:

    On Saturday, Oct. 10

    • 10 a.m., Banish Misfortune, this “session” band plays traditional Irish and Scottish tunes.
    • 11 a.m., Radio Free Earth, an eclectic, rootsy band plays “crossover” music mining the world’s songbook.
    • 1:15 p.m., Zoe Darrow and the Fiddleheads. A jigging phenomenon who performs traditional Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle tunes.
    • 2:30 p.m., Bluegrass showcase with James Delnero and Lost Mountain.
    • 3:30 p.m., Morris dancers. Valley groups Juggler Meadow Morris men, the
      Rapscallions and Wake Robin are joined by dancers from around New England.

    Sunday, Oct. 11

    Cummington Family Center - Ashfield Fall Festival

    Fun for the whole family at the Ashfield Fall Festival! The Cummington Family Center offers information for parents with young kids. The Ashfield Community Preschool host games for all kids to play. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    • 10:45 a.m., Bluegrass and roots music showcase with The Academy Freightshakers.
    • Noon, Lui Collins, an internationally recognized recording artist who is the director of Hilltown Music Together and Kids’ Jam.
    • 1:15 p.m., The Hilltones present classic and country rock, blues and oldies.
    • 2:30 p.m., West County Jazz, an ensemble that plays classics from the modern jazz repertoire, with a little bossa nova.
    • 3:45 p.m., A Celtic showcase with Manfred Gabriel and special guests.

    The Ashfield Fall Festival (www.ashfieldfallfestival.org) is a volunteer-run event that raises funds for local community organizations and for the Ashfield Citizens’ Scholarship Fund. The event takes place on both public and private property, indoors and outdoors, and generally attracts a large crowd. For the safety and comfort of all, we ask that you please leave your dogs at home.

    Photos from 2008 Ashfield Fall Festival.

    V-log: Conway Festival of the Hills

    V-log: Conway Festival of the Hills
    by Tom Adams (Hilltown Families Contributing Writer)

    Join the Adams’ on another family trip … this time to the Conway Festival of the Hills … 10 minutes of quintessential Hilltown Family fun: maple cotton candy, bunnies, dunking booths, a parade and a helicopter ride (well sorta). Perfect thing to do on a beautiful October Sunday afternoon! If you weren’t able to make it, after watching this video you’ll feel like you were right there! Enjoy.

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