Suggested Events for February 18th – 24th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids in the valley. All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!” – Niki Lankowski (Whately, MA)

“Hilltown Families is THE place to find out what to do with your kids in the valley. All year long I turn to Hilltown Families to find something fun to do, especially on weekends and school vacations. Thank you!” – Niki Lankowski (Whately, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

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

Summer Camp

advertise with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. On Wednesday, March 8th, 2017, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2017 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

Bulletin Board

Feb 19-26

As part of its Four Sundays in February Series, the Northampton Arts Council presents Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (2/19 @2pm), the nationally syndicated radio show for kids and their adults, live on stage featuring Grammy Award Winner Dan Zanes plus other special guests; KidsBestFest & YouthFilm (2/20-24 @1:30pm), a weeklong FREE kids film festival; and The Really Big Show (2/26 @2pm), the Pioneer Valley’s own variety show showcasing local talent. All events take place at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass. More info and tickets at hamparts.org.

Feb 20-24

February school vacation week activities at New England Air Museum! Monday, February 20th through Friday February 24th, in Windsor Locks, CT . Explore three giant exhibit hangars filled with over sixty historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, interactive Flight Science Demonstrations, computerized Flight Simulators, and Open Cockpit Experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators. The Virtual Flight Center is open to visitors ages 10 and older. For updated information and more special events, visit: www.neam.org.

Feb 21-24

Tuesday, February 21, to Friday, February 24, 8:45am-3:30pm: Kids ski and chill out during school vacation week at Notchview! In the morning, kids learn to ski or fine tune their skiing skills with knowledgeable ski instructors. After a full morning of cross-country skiing on the trails, everyone heads back to the lodge for lunch followed by an afternoon of choice activities including more outdoor exploration of the woods or indoor arts and crafts. Lunch included! Ages 7-12. There are still spots available! Members: $288; Nonmembers: $360. To register email acaluori@thetrustees.org or call 413-628-4485 x3.

Feb 25

Meet Curious George and others at the WGBY Love for Learning PBS Kids fan fair Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10am to 3pm at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. It’s like a comic book convention for PBS Kids (ages 2–8). Children are encouraged to dress up as a favorite character. Enjoy show-themed activity stations, tabletop fun from community partners, and live demos from children’s book authors and illustrators. Plus, meet live characters, including Curious George, Buddy from Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat, and others. The event is free (with suggested donation in support of public television). Event details and registration available at wgby.org/fanfair. Questions? Contact Marie Waechter at mwaechter@wgby.org.

Feb 26

Mister G February Fiesta! Presented by Sunnyside Child Care Center (one of the area’s longest running early childhood centers, offering quality care for children ages 18 months through five years). Come hear Latin Grammy winner Mister G perform songs in English and Spanish for kids from 1-100! Crafts, pizza, popcorn, and fun for all. Sunday, February 26, 10am-noon, at the Florence Civic Center, 140 Pine St., Florence. $8/per person or $25 for the family! www.sunnysidekids.org.

Open House: Mar 4

Sunnyside Child Care Center in Northampton is holding an Open House on Saturday, March 4, 9:30-11am. They are enrolling now for Fall 2017. Sunnyside provides play-based programs with an emergent curriculum for ages 18 months-5 years on 8 wooded acres between Northampton and Easthampton. Sunnyside values and promotes diversity, and offers flexible scheduling and a sliding scale tuition to make their high-quality childcare more accessible. Visit them at the open house, or call to schedule a tour. Sunnyside, 557 Easthampton Rd., Northampton. 413-727-3665. www.sunnysidekids.org.

Feb 20-24

February vacation at Amherst Archery! Picture spending all day at the archery range immersed in a wide variety of kid and teen-accessible archery activities! Besides Olympic-style target archery and plenty of archery games, kids will also engage in archery art projects, make their own arm guards from recycled materials, explore archery history, anatomy of archery, and even learn some fun physics through hands-on archery experiences. Each day will provide different surprises. All archery and art supplies provided. Families provide lunch and snacks. The now famous “ARTchery” project will be included! Programs taught by certified USA Archery coaches at the range in Florence. Enroll for the entire week or by the day. Ages 7 and up. www.amherstarchery.com.

Accepting applications for fall 2017. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 210 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

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

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

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

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

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 18th-24th, 2017

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Spanish Speaking Story Time and Playgroup in Northampton

Cuenta Cuentos y Amiguitos Nuevos

The Forbes Library will be hosting a free biweekly Spanish story time at 9:30am on Fridays beginning Jan. 13th followed by an informal Spanish speaking playgroup at 10:15am for families with preK children.

The Forbes Library writes:

Cuenta Cuentos con Paula García/Story Time with Paula Garcia

Vengan y disfruten de literatura infantil en español para niños de 1-4 años. A partir del 13 de enero nos reuniremos en Forbes Library cada dos semanas a las 9:30am.

Come and enjoy the Forbes library’s first Spanish story time with Paula Garcia where children ages 1 -4 can come and enjoy children’s literature in Spanish. Meeting time: Fridays at 9:30am biweekly beginning January 13th.

Amiguitos Nuevos/New Playmates

La Biblioteca Forbes está orgullosa de ofrecer “Amiguitos Nuevos”: Un grupo informal para que niños de 1 a 4 años jueguen y disfruten. Nuestro propósito es ofrecer un espacio alegre para que niños de habla hispana o abiertos a aprender español y sus familias, vengan a jugar, realizar proyectos o cantar en este idioma. Disfrutaremos de nuevas amistades y distintas culturas. A partir del 13 de enero, 2012, el grupo se reunirá dos viernes al mes a las 10:15 am. Este espacio tendrá lugar después de un cuenta cuentos que empezará a las 9:30 con Paula García.

Forbes Library is proud to host, “Amiguitos Nuevos” an informal Spanish speaking play group for toddlers ages 1-4. The purpose of this playgroup is to offer a friendly space for Spanish speaking children and their families to come and play, make art projects, and sing songs while celebrating culture and friendship. The group will meet biweekly on Fridays at 10:15 am beginning January 13, 2012. The playgroup will follow “Story Time with Paula Garcia” a Spanish story time which takes place at 9:30 am.

Suggested Events 04/23/11-04/29/11

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

Hoop trundling at the Historic Deerfield this past weekend during their Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade. Click on the image above to see more photos in this series. (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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you

BEST BETS

On Saturday, April 23rd, your family can celebrate Earth Day at multiple locations, including an Earth Day Fair in Pittsfield, Eco-Fair in Northampton, Sustainability Festival in  Amherst, and an Earth Day Festival in Easthampton.  All details listed under our Saturday events here.

On Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm – FARM ADVENTURE: Winterberry Farm’s Lambs’ Open House! Visit newborn baby lambs, as well as (maybe) some baby rabbits, ducklings, and/or goslings. There will definitely be chicks! Donations will be collected for Right Sharing of World Resources. 21 Teawaddle Hill Road. 413-548-3940. Leverett, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Mark your calendars for the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival! Three music stages 16 fabulous musical performances, including family concerts with The Nields, Mister G, Ben Rudnick and Friends, Sarah Pirtle and Lui Collins! - Great local food! - Kids-Made Craft Bazaar! - Solar powered stage! - Sustainable vendors! - May pole & Morris Dancers! - Kids under 12 free. All others only $5 per person!

Saturday, April 30th at 10am, 12Noon & 3pm- FAMILY TRAIN RIDES: Take a ride on a train from Pittsfield to Lenox and back on the historic Housatonic Railroad as part of Pittsfield’s 250th anniversary celebration. Pre-ticketing only- tickets can be found at City Hall, the Colonial Theater, or the Berkshire Atheneaum. 232 West Housatonic Street. 413-443-7201. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

In the Hilltowns on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12Noon – FAMILY DAY: Take the kids to Guyette Farm to build a blue bird house with the Franklin Land Trust. Call to register 413-625-9151 x108. Plainfield, MA ($)

Sunday, May 1st at 10:30am – MAY DAY FESTIVAL: Join the Great Barrington Rudolph Steiner School in celebrating May Day! There will be all sorts of celebratory activities including a puppet performance, dancing, games, and a BYO picnic! 35 West Plain Road. 413-528-4015. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

In the afternoon on Sunday, May 1st at 2pm – FAMILY THEATER: Ja’Duke presents the musical “Doctor Dolittle” at Greenfield High School. 1 Lenox Avenue. 413-863-0001. Greenfield, MA. ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

GREAT CLOTH DIAPER CHANGE: The Great Cloth Diaper Change Western Mass happens on Sat., April 23rd at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St.). This event promotes the joys of cloth diapering, celebrates Earth Day, connects families, & will set a WORLD RECORD! Bring your child & a cloth diaper and be a part of history! There will be extra cloth diapers on hand if needed. – Doors open at 11:30am and the change happens PROMPTLY at 12:30pm, synchronized with thousands of changes around the globe! – There will be prizes, snacks, speakers, music & local vendors. $1 Donation to Real Diaper Association. For more info email jmontagna10@gmail.com. Sponsors of the GCDC: Mother Herb Diaper Service, Cradle, Motherwear, Second Chances, Cup & Top Café, Warm Welcome Birth Services & Loveybums.

OPEN HOUSE: The Ashfield Community Preschool invites you to their Open House on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12noon. Come and meet their dedicated teachers who create a warm, loving environment for your children. Located in the heart of the hilltowns of Western MA, near the center of Ashfield, the preschool is a child centered, creative and loving environment surrounded by a large playground and enchanted woodland trails. The preschool is accepting applications for their summer and fall programs at this time. Full and half days available. For more information call 628-3248 or stop by on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12Noon at 103 Baptist Corner Road, Ashfield, MA. acpres@verizon.net

Alison Krauss

Deadline to enter to win: May 6th

KID-GEAR SALE: On May 7th from 8am-12noon, the South Hadley Family Center will host their 4th annual Mom-to-Mom Sale, an event where moms (and families) get the opportunity to sell clothes, toys, books, etc. that their children have outgrown. Table rental is $15, and proceeds will go directly to the Family Center. If you have items to get rid of but don’t want to participate in the sale, you can drop them off at the Family Center and they will be sold to raise money for the center. For more information, please contact shfcckids@yahoo.com.

POSTPARTUM SUPPORT: On Saturday, April 30th from 12noon-1:30pm, there will be a initial meeting of the Berkshire County Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition. The meeting is an opportunity for care providers in Berkshire County to discuss how to best create a support network for mothers that utilizes all of the resources available in the area. Contributing organizations include Berkshire Children and Families, MotherWoman, Gathered Resources of Women, and more! The meeting will take place at the Redfield House at 48 Elizabeth Street in Pittsfield. To RSVP, contact liz@motherwoman.org.

HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION: South Berkshire Household Hazardous Waste Collaborative has scheduled their spring collection events. The first paint and oil collection is Saturday, April 30th from 9-11:39am at the Great Barrington Recycling Center, and there will be six more to follow. Families must register in order to drop off your hazardous waste. To do so, contact Avie Maloney at 413-445-4556. For more information, visit www.cetonline.org.

Lucindia Williams

Deadline to enter to win: May 6th

TUESDAY MARKET: Northampton’s beloved Tuesday market will be awakening from its winter slumber on May 3rd! However, before then the market, alone with Grow Food Northampton, needs to raise $4,000 in order to ensure that the food stamp (SNAP benefits) program offered at the market last summer can remain. The program not only allows the market to accept food stamps but offers double benefits- shoppers can use $10 of benefits for $20 of local food. To make a (tax deductible) donation of any amount, checks can be made out to Grow Food Northampton (include “FoodStampsx2 Program” in memo line) and mailed to PO Box 849, Northampton, MA 01061.

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 04/16/11-04/22/11

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

“Hilltown Families gives us lots of info about all the different happenings each week that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. This has been an invaluable resource for us to get to cool events and to make connections with other local families. Thank you!” - Stacy Calabretta of Goshen, MA (Photo credit: Angie Gregory)

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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you

BEST BETS

On Saturday, April 16th from 1-3pm – GEOLOGY: Families are invited to take a walk at the Chesterfield Gorge , along the Westfield River, with professor Richard Little.  Learn about the geology of the gorge and enjoy the outdoors!  Rain date is 4/17.  Meet for the walk in the Trustees of Reservations parking lot in Chesterfield. West Chesterfield, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, April 17th from 11am-4pm – EARTH FESTIVAL: Visit the Springfield Science Museum for the Earth Week Festival!  Tons of special activities, including demonstrations on how to cast a fishing rod provided by the DFW Angler Education Program.  There will also be giveaways and a bluegrass performance.  21 Edwards Street.  800-625-7738.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Mark you calendars for the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds, right in the heart of the Hilltowns!

Saturday, April 23rd at 3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Explore Natural Glow, the Berkshire Museum’s hands-on program where kids can learn about naturally florescent minerals, lichens, and scorpions. Sponsored by the Northern Berkshire Mineral Club. 39 South Street. 413-443-7171. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm – FARM ADVENTURE: Winterberry Farm’s Lambs’ Open House. Visit newborn baby lambs, as well as (maybe) some baby rabbits, ducklings, and/or goslings. There will definitely be chicks! Donations will be collected for Right Sharing of World Resources. 21 Teawaddle Hill Road. 413-548-3940. Leverett, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

BULLETIN BOARD

MEDITATION FOR KIDS: Meditation Course for Children ages 8-12, Sun., May 8. Kids are invited to spend the day at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne attending a 1-day course. Day will start at 9am & include sessions in the meditation hall interspersed with games & activities, ending at 4:30pm. All courses at VMC are offered on a donation basis. To register/watch a video about children’s & teens’ courses: www.Dhara.Dhamma.org

POST C-SECTION WORKSHOP: Post C-Birth Healing 5-Week Workshop at Cradle in Northampton begins on Mon., May 2nd from 6-8pm. This group is for women-post partum, to have a formalized space to process and heal from issues related to C birth experiences. Come share your story. Cost for full workshop: $70. To register, contact Sabrina Herman at Sabrinaherman.awake@gmail.com.

PUPPET FESTIVAL: The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton presents their 3rd annual Puppet Festival, April 18-21, 2011. The theater comes alive with story during school vacation week as puppets and marionettes take the stage all week (ages 4 and older). April 18th: The Woman Who Outshone the Sun, performed by Behind-the-Mask Puppets. April 19th: Jack and the Beanstalk performed by Spring Valley Puppet Theater. April 20th: Sleeping Beauty, performed by National Marionette Theatre. April 21st: Pinocchio, performed by the National Marionette Theatre. All shows begin at 10am and are 50 minutes long. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Academy Box Office, Tuesday-Friday from 3-6pm or by calling 584-9032 x105 or online at www.academyofmusictheatre.com.

BENEFIT CONCERT: Don’t miss Tracy Grammer & Jim Henry and The Nields, live in Shelburne Falls for The Academy at Charlemont‘s annual benefit concert! Sunday, April 17, 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall. Also featuring the debut of the astonishing student band Flapjack Overkill. Visit www.charlemont.org, or call the school at 413-339-4912. All proceeds will benefit The Academy’s scholarship fund.

Alison Krauss

Arianna Alexsandra writes: “Now that Spring is growing, so is the Ashfield Community Garden. If you are an Ashfield Resident and looking for some open, sunny land, inquire about available spaces… Throughout the year we also offer canning workshops and other “anyone can do this” community activities.”

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Despite drought conditions last summer and early ice this winter, trout hatcheries in Massachusetts have produced enough trout to stock the state’s waters.  Trout will be released throughout the beginning of April.  For more information on trout stocking and a list of weekly activities, visit here or call the valley DFW office at 413-323-7632.  Along with trout, the state’s waters will also be stocked with salmon this month.  The salmon release process is more involved than that of trout and requires that fish be transferred by hand in buckets from trucks to waterways.  For a list of dates and locations of salmon releases to volunteer at, click here or call 508-389-6331.Lucindia Williams

EARTH DAY: Celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd) with Transition Northampton by helping to create an Oil Memorial- a large structure made up of empty oil drums and covered in materials and products that oil is used to produce (glue, plastic bottles, shopping bags, candles, CDs, rope, lipstick, etc.).  Families are encouraged to help out with creating the memorial– it is a great way to teach kids about what resources are used to create the products that they use on a daily basis.   The Oil Memorial will be displayed at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Saturday, April 23rd, and families can bring items to contribute on that day.  For more information, contact Bethany at webster.bethany08@gmail.com or Jamie at jpottern@gmail.com.

EARTH DAY: Northampton Public Schools are working together to create the world’s largest ball made from single-use shopping bags for Earth Day.  The ball, which will be rolled through Northampton to Pulaski Park on April 23rd, is being created by students at all four elementary schools in Northampton, along with the high school’s Environmental Club.  Students are working together to collect bags from their families, neighbors, and friends.  The number of bags collected is being recorded and will be reported once the ball has been made.  The goal of the project is to highlight the excessive amount of bags that shoppers use and to show how many non-biodegradable items could be saved if local shops went bag free.

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: April’s Critter of the Month, designated by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, is the New England Cottontail– Massachusetts’ only native rabbit!  The New England Cottontail is currently a candidate to be designated as endangered, as it requires large spaces of thick underbrush in order to survive and only 5% of the state’s forested areas fit this description.  The DFW is currently counting cottontail populations throughout the state, and if you are aware of cottontail populations near you, please alert the DFW by visiting here.

SCREEN FREE WEEK: Celebrate Screen Free Week from April 18th-24th.  Advocated for by the Department of Public Health, Screen Free Week means exactly what its name implies- no screens for you or your kiddos for a whole week! (Except when you need to check Hilltown Families to find fun family events.)  Children who spend excessive amounts of time in front of screens (television, computer, hand held game device, etc.) have higher rater of obesity, poor school performance, and attention problems- not to mention the fact that they take part in far less creative play. Find out more at www.screenfreeweek.org.

SATURDAY SPRING FARMERS’ MARKETS:

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 is a rebroadcast of David Weinstone from Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals.

Listen Now
Listen to Podcast Now

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!

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 | Listen Here

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

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.

7:30am-7:30am – SEWING: Help sew bags for ten different Bagshare locations at the Village Church and Hilltown Sewing Center!  This is a 24-hour event ending on Sunday morning (the 17th).  The event is broken into six four-hour shifts, each lead by an experienced sewer.  Main Street. Cummington, MA.  (FREE)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at Middle Branch  Westfield River. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. Meet atGateway Regional HS. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331 Huntington, MA (FREE)

8am-3:30pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: Head to Hadley for the UMass Livestock Classic!  There will be petting zoos, arts and crafts, hay rides, Joshua the Camel, and raffles, as well as a chance to watch UMass students compete with their livestock.  111 North Maple Street.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

9am – WALK FOR PEACE: Take part in the Cave Hill Classic with your family.  Participants can do either a five mile run or a two mile walk.  The walk is a great walk to get out with the family while supporting the Leverett Peace Pagoda.  Cave Hill Road.  Leverett, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

10am – MOVIE: Images Cinema will screen the animated shorts nominated for Oscars this year.  There are six movies contained in the hour and a quarter run time, and the collection is not rated.  50 Spring Street.  413-458-1039. Williamstown, MA.  ($)

10-11:30am – PARENTING WORKSHOP: Nonotuck Community School presents a workshop lead by Sarah Getoff, MEd LMHC, entitled, “Assertiveness at All Ages: How to Teach Children Skills to Protect them for a Lifetime.”  221 Riverside Drive.  413-586-5996.  Florence, MA.  ($)

10-11:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Explore vernal pools at Laughing Brook with your family.  Naturalist Kevin Kopchynski will lead kids in observing pools and looking for invertebrates, egg masses, amphibians, and reptiles.  Pre-registration required.  739 Main Street.  413-584-3009.  Hampden, MA.  (>$)

10am-12noon – NATURE STUDIES: Explore vernal pools at Bartholomew’s Cobble.  Learn to identify egg masses, fingernail clams, fairy shrimp, wood frogs, and salamanders.  Be prepared to get wet and muddy, and please pre-register.  413-229-8600.  Sheffield, MA.  (>$)

10am-12noon – EGG HUNT: The Basketball Hall of Fame hosts the Easter Egg Extravaganza!  Over 500 eggs will be hidden inside the Hall of Fame- come and find them. 1000 West Columbus Avenue.  413-781-6500.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12Noon – PARENTING SOCIAL: Color Play is a monthly social and craft for families parenting children of color, supporting parents by addressing the cultural imbalances on their children’s community, encouraging self-acceptance and identity awareness. Providing parents with the opportunity to have open dialogue around the many concerns of parenting children of color, it will include a story hour, healthy snack and seasonal craft; as well as, fun interactive parent-child connecting in a diverse setting. Northampton, MA (FREE)

10am-1pm – VOLUNTEER: Help clean up the gardens at the Great Falls Discovery Center for Massachusetts’ Park Serve Day.  All ages welcome.  2 Avenue A.  413-863-3221.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

10am-2pm – TEEN VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY:  Join Grow Food Northampton for the first work day at the Northampton Community Farm.  The fields need to be cleared of rocks for spring plowing, so bring gloves, a spade, and a large bucket if you have any (or all) of those things!  Ages 12 and older. Corner of Spring and Meadow Streets.  Northampton, MA.  (VOLUNTEER)

10am-2pm – EGG HUNT: Shaker Farms Country Club’s annual Easter egg hunt.  Along with the egg hunt, there will be a raffle, games, and a visit from the Easter bunny (delivered by helicopter!).  866 Shaker Road.  413-568-4087.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – HISTORY: Visit Historic Deerfield for a Patriots Day celebration.  Learn about the history behind the holiday and “the shot heard ‘round the world.’  There will be a Revolutionary Muster and Parade, as well as other activities to keep families occupied all day.  84 Old Main Street.  413-774-5581.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – HEALTHY KIDS: The Pittsfield YMCA hosts Healthy Kids Day- there will be zumba, gymnastics, a scavenger hunt, face painting, and more!  292 North Street.  413-499-7650.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – SHEEP SHEARING: Head to Hancock Shaker Village for sheep shearing demonstrations!  1843 West Housatonic Street.  413-443-0188.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-5pm – ART FESTIVAL: The Paint and Pixel Festival will take place at the Northampton Center for the Arts.  Meet creators of comics, graphic novels, picture books, and webcomics!  17 New South Street.  413-584-7327.  Northampton, MA.  (>$)

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 04/09/11-04/15/11

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

While most of Western MA is blessed with four amazing seasons, the Hilltowns are blessed with a fifth: Mud Season! (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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

BEST BETS

Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash

On Sunday, Apr 10th, come celebrate five years with Hilltown Families as we enter our sixth! A birthday benefit happens at Bread Euphoria from 4-7pm in Haydenville - a community building event with live music, pizza, cake, cash bar, door prizes, and MC Seth Gregory - all while $upporting the work of Hilltown Families! (Poster design by Tina Cornell)

On Saturday, April 9th from 12noon-4pm – FAMILY PARTY: Go, Kids Art. Go! BIG family party to raise money for children’s arts education. There will be music, dance, face painting, games, and a raffle and bake sale. The party will take place at the Barnes Gallery. 13 Montague Road. 413-548-9070. Leverett, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

In the afternoon on Saturday, April 9th at 4pm – MUSICAL PETTING ZOO: Smith College host their spring orchestra and a musical petting zoo at Sweeney Concert Hall on campus. Petting zoo is at 4pm. Concert at 7pm. The musical part of the program for the Musical Petting Zoo family concert will be nearly the same as the evening’s program but conductor Jonathan Hirsh will interweave a narrative about each instrument, what it is, how it sounds, and how it combines and blends with the other instruments in a composition. Kids will be invited to get up close to touch and listen to the sounds of the various instruments and to talk to the Smith orchestra students. 413-585-2787 Northampton, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Dinner, dessert & a family concert: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria! A community party to celebrate Hilltown Families 5 year anniversary. Family concert with Mister G. Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Face painting. Cash bar. Door prizes. Art. T-shirts. Community building! Suggested donation: $10-$25 per person. 206 Main St. (Route 9). Just over/before the Northampton line. Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

On Saturday, April 16th from 1-3pm – GEOLOGY: Families are invited to take a walk at the Chesterfield Gorge , along the Westfield River, with professor Richard Little. Learn about the geology of the gorge and enjoy the outdoors! Rain date is 4/17. Meet for the walk in the Trustees of Reservations parking lot in Chesterfield. West Chesterfield, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, April 17th from 11am-4pm – EARTH FESTIVAL: Visit the Springfield Science Museum for the Earth Week Festival! Tons of special activities, including demonstrations on how to cast a fishing rod provided by the DFW Angler Education Program. There will also be giveaways and a bluegrass performance. 21 Edwards Street. 800-625-7738. Springfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

BULLETIN BOARD

BENEFIT CONCERT: Don’t miss Tracy Grammer & Jim Henry and The Nields, live in Shelburne Falls for The Academy at Charlemont‘s annual benefit concert! Sunday, April 17, 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall. Also featuring the debut of the astonishing student band Flapjack Overkill. Visit www.charlemont.org, or call the school at 413-339-4912. All proceeds will benefit The Academy’s scholarship fund.

PUPPET FESTIVAL: The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton presents their 3rd annual Puppet Festival, April 18-21, 2011. The theater comes alive with story during school vacation week as puppets and marionettes take the stage all week (ages 4 and older). April 18th: The Woman Who Outshone the Sun, performed by Behind-the-Mask Puppets. April 19th: Jack and the Beanstalk performed by Spring Valley Puppet Theater. April 20th: Sleeping Beauty, performed by National Marionette Theatre. April 21st: Pinocchio, performed by the National Marionette Theatre. All shows begin at 10am and are 50 minutes long. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Academy Box Office, Tuesday-Friday from 3-6pm or by calling 584-9032 x105 or online at www.academyofmusictheatre.com.

POST C-SECTION WORKSHOP: Post C-Birth Healing 5-Week Workshop at Cradle in Northampton begins on Mon., May 2nd from 6-8pm. This group is for women-post partum, to have a formalized space to process and heal from issues related to C birth experiences. Come share your story. Cost for full workshop: $70. To register, contact Sabrina Herman at Sabrinaherman.awake@gmail.com.

HILLTOWN JOURNEY CAMP: A beloved summer day camp for girls and boys 6-13yo at a beautiful permaculture farm with barn, woods and streams, directed by Sarah Pirtle. Location: Taproot Commons-Warner Farm, near the Cummington Fairgrounds. Dates: M-F, July 25-29. Cost: $245. — About Journey Camp: “A most awesome experience for all three of our kids that captivated the age range of my five through eleven year olds. They came home with new friends and new ways of caring for each other.” The day includes building stick-houses in the woods, creative dramatics, active games, and a close community. For more info. & to reg., email marsha.journey@gmail.com or call 413-539-7857. $50 deposit to PO Box 60226, Florence, MA 01062. www.sarahpirtle.com

Greg Wickles, owner of Clean Air Lawn Care, writes: When you think of summer, does the sound of lawn mowers come to mind? It doesn’t have to be that way. Clean Air Lawn Care is the Valley’s leading full-service sustainable lawn care company. When you sign up for lawn maintenance with Clean Air Lawn Care, you are signing up for the cleanest and healthiest lawn service available. We use clean electric and biodiesel powered equipment that is run on renewable energy. Our equipment is charged during the day by solar panels mounted on our trucks. Because we are electric, our equipment is noticeably quiet. This aspect is great for neighbors, working environments, napping children, and enjoying your day. We are clean, quiet, organic and competitive. 413-210-0811

BIKE DRIVE: Give your old bike a new life! The first area bike drive is coming, and it is an opportunity for you to donate your unwanted bikes to a cause that really wants them: Bikes Not Bombs. Bikes Not Bombs plans on sending 8 containers full of used bikes from around Massachusetts to bike distribution projects in developing countries. All usable bikes 16″ or larger are accepted. A suggested donation of $10 will help defray shipping costs. This drive is being organized by Willa Sippel and her Dad Tom Sippel (413-634-0101). April 9th from 10am to 2pm at JFK Middle School in Northampton, MA.

Erin MckeownRECYCLING OPPORTUNITY: Earth Day is April 22 but it’s never too early to start changing habits and doing something to help the environment. On Saturday, April 9, the Little Red Schoolhouse in Williamstown will host an early Earth Day recycling event where the community is asked to bring cans and bottles with five-cent deposits for recycling as well as gently used children’s clothing and toys and household items (no appliances, please) for an upcoming tag sale to benefit the nonprofit preschool, featuring Earth-friendly crafts for Children. The recycling event runs from 9 a.m. to noon. The school is located at Route 7, Williamstown. For more information go online to lrsh.org.

SCREEN-FREE WEEK: April 18 – 24. Screen-Free Week. An annual celebration where children, families, schools and communities turn off screens and turn on life. “We recommend families participate in Screen-Free Week by turning off their TVs, computers and other screens … In addition to the health benefits, many people find that choosing to cut back their screen time offers an opportunity to replace it with family activities such as taking walks, playing games and spending time outside, and this can be rewarding and satisfying.” For more information, visit www.commercialfreechildhood.org

PARENTING UNPLUGGED: The Communities That Care Coalition is recruiting families with teenage children to participate in Parenting Unplugged Week, May 1-7. What would happen if you and your teens decided to turn off the screens at home for a week? No TV, no video games, no Facebook, no YouTube, no online chat, no tweeting, no texting at the dinner table? Want to find out? Volunteer to “unplug” at home for a week. At the end of the week, family members will be asked to share their experiences, and 2-3 families will be profiled. All participating families will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate for a family dinner out at a local restaurant of their choice. For more information, and to apply online go to www.parentapplication.info

Stop by and see the show, currently in Haydenville in the Andrew Quient Corridor Gallery at Bread Euphoria through April, 2011.

WRITING CONTEST: Odyssey Book Shop in South Hadley is holding their 18th annual Children’s Writing Contest! The contest, for kids in grades 1-5, runs through May 3rd and asks children to write their stories based on the prompt, “On a walk one day, you come across an enchanted creature.  Who is this creature?  What adventures might you have together?”  Winners will be awarded prizes at a ceremony on May 15th, and first place winners will be asked to read their stories aloud.  (There will be one first place prize for each grade)  For more information, visit www.odysseybks.com.

SCIENCE QUEST: UMass Amherst hosts Science Quest this Saturday, Apr 10th at 9:30am, an opportunity for 10th and 11th grade students to visit the UMass campus, see presentations by professors, and take part in hands-on science activities.  Though the focus of the say is on science, students will also hear what being a science major is like from a panel of students studying science at the university and learn what UMass admissions looks for in applicants from an admissions representative.  Students must preregister in order to pick the lab tour and demonstrations that they want to attend.  For more information call Michael Westort at 413-577-0164.

SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Guest DJ, David Weinstone!

Hilltown Family Variety Show This week David Weinstone from Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals Guest DJ’s the HFVS . Tune in on Saturday, April 9th from 9-10am and/or Sunday, April 10th from 7-8am. First person to send us an email with the name of their favorite song from David’s show will win a free copy of his new CD, All I Want.

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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 04/02/11-04/08/11

    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

    Pansies and Rainboots

    Violets and rain boots sit outside the Ashfield Hardware Store waiting for hopefuls to take them home... but we're not out of the winter woods yet! Will April Fools' Day bring school kids another snow day? Only tomorrow will tell! (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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, April 2nd at 1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock presents The Expandable Brass Band at Flywheel Arts Collective. Kids are encourage to join the band at 12noon, an hour before the show, for free opportunity to learn songs with the band. Old Town Hall. 43 Main St. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

    In the evening on Saturday, April 2nd at 7:30pm – COMMUNITY CONCERT: Pittsfield Drum and Percussion Expo at Berkshire Community College. The event will showcase the talents of over fifteen musicians from the Berkshires, and will take place in the Koussevitzky Arts Center. 1350 West St. Pittsfield, MA. (>$)

    On Sunday, April 3rd at 1pm – FAMILY THEATER: “It’s Good to Be an Ant” in the auditorium at the Eric Carle Museum.  This fun, interactive show takes the audience through a day in the life of an ant colony.  125 West Bay Rd.  423-658-1100. Amherst, MA.  (>$)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, April 9th from 10am-12Noon – CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL: Families with kids ages 6yo and younger will enjoy a morning of activities and games at the Jackson Street School during the Northampton’s Week of the Young Child Children’s Festival. Celebrate children, families. providers, teachers and child care advocates. Let the little ones climb aboard a fire truck, school bus and playground and visit with clowns and jugglers. 413-587-1471 Jackson St. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    On Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Dinner, dessert & a family concert: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A community party to celebrate Hilltown Families 5 year anniversary. Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Face painting. Cash bar. Suggested donation: $10-$25 per person. 206 Main St. (Route 9). Just over/before the Northampton line. Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    FILM FESTIVAL: Out! For Reel LGBT Film Series & Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival co-present two inspiring films about family, identity, and acceptance on Sat., April 2nd at 8:15pm: Off and Running: With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers, Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique, loving, mulit-racial household. Avery explores race, identity, and family when she decides to contact her African-American birth mother. (74 min); Second Guessing Grandma: A charming story of a twenty-something Jewish gay man who finally comes out to his beloved grandmother against his mother’s desire to protect her from the truth. (9 min). Both films will be screened in Wright Hall at Smith College in Northampton. (>$) www.OutForReel.org

    HILLTOWN JOURNEY CAMP: A beloved summer day camp for girls and boys 6-13yo at a beautiful permaculture farm with barn, woods and streams, directed by Sarah Pirtle. Location: Taproot Commons-Warner Farm, near the Cummington Fairgrounds. Dates: M-F, July 25-29. Cost: $245. — About Journey Camp: “A most awesome experience for all three of our kids that captivated the age range of my five through eleven year olds. They came home with new friends and new ways of caring for each other.” The day includes building stick-houses in the woods, creative dramatics, active games, and a close community. For more info. & to reg., email marsha.journey@gmail.com or call 413-539-7857. $50 deposit to PO Box 60226, Florence, MA 01062. www.sarahpirtle.com

    Greg Wickles, owner of Clean Air Lawn Care, writes: When you think of summer, does the sound of lawn mowers come to mind? It doesn’t have to be that way. Clean Air Lawn Care is the Valley’s leading full-service sustainable lawn care company. When you sign up for lawn maintenance with Clean Air Lawn Care, you are signing up for the cleanest and healthiest lawn service available. We use clean electric and biodiesel powered equipment that is run on renewable energy. Our equipment is charged during the day by solar panels mounted on our trucks. Because we are electric, our equipment is noticeably quiet. This aspect is great for neighbors, working environments, napping children, and enjoying your day. We are clean, quiet, organic and competitive. 413-210-0811

    BIKE DRIVE: Give your old bike a new life!  The first area bike drive is coming, and it is an opportunity for you to donate your unwanted bikes to a cause that really wants them: Bikes Not Bombs. Bikes Not Bombs plans on sending 8 containers full of used mikes from around Massachusetts to bike distribution projects in developing countries.  All usable bikes 16″ or larger are accepted.  A suggested donation of 10 will help defray shipping costs. This drive is being organized by Willa Sippel and her Dad Tom Sippel  (413-634-0101).  April 9th from 10am to 2pm at JFK Middle School in Northampton, MA.

    FESTIVAL: Mark your calendars for the Hilltown Spring Festival– a celebration of the hilltown community!  This year’s festival will take place on May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds from 10am-6pm.  There will be many exciting things to see and do, including 18 musical performances on three stages, a maypole dance, fun kids activities all day long, as well as exhibits of products and delicious food from local vendors!  Celebrate the end of winter hibernation and the beginning of spring amongst your hilltown neighbors.  Admission to the festival is $5 for anyone over the age of 12.

    WORKSHOP: Are you an educator?  Teachers, home-school parents (and non-homeschool parents!), youth group leaders, etc. are invited to attend a workshop on the basics of solar energy at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield on Tuesday, April 12th from 4-7pm.  Participants will get an overview of the Clean Energy for a Clean Environment (CECE) program and will learn how to facilitate teaching it and how to some of the run hands-on learning experiences that go with the program.  Participants will also receive a free mini solar-education kit and CECE educator guides.  The workshop is free but pre-registration is required.  Contact Cynthia Grippaldi at cynthiag@cetonline.org to RSVP.

    SAFETY HOTLINE: Gateway Regional School District, as part of their ongoing safety campaign, has an established school safety hotline.  Monitored by Roy Phillips, the hotline is a voicemail box where callers can report harassment, bullying, drug and alcohol concerns, vandalism, and other school safety issues.  The phone number for the hotline is 413-685-1050.  All messages left will be reported either to the school principal or a community agency, and callers’ names and information will be kept confidential.  For more information, contact the school district at 413-685-1000.

    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 we will be featuring songs from our growing community playlist – songs submitted by parents from all over Western MA! – 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!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 03/26/11-04/01/11

    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

    New opportunity to support local farms in the Hilltowns while feeding your family locally grown food: The Williamsburg Farmers' Market is coming to Williamsburg every Thursday afternoon starting in May, on the Meekins river side lawn! (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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, March 26th from 10am-4pmMELTDOWN: 3rd Annual Family Music Meltdown and Book Bash happens at JFK Middle School. Now in its third year, the Meltdown has become a tradition for families in the Valley and beyond, featuring music on three stages, readings from nationally-known children’s book authors, crafts, bouncing, local food, and much more! 100 Bridge St. Florence, MA (FREE)

    In the evening on Saturday, March 26th at 5pm – KIDS’ DANCE PARTY: Join Radio Free Earth and Maureen Shea of Grasshoppa for music and dance at the Cummington Community House. For all ages! 33 Main St. Cummington, MA (>$)

    On Sunday, March 27th from 10am-4pm – MINERAL/GEM SHOW: The Connecticut Valley Mineral Club host the Western Mass Mineral, Jewelry and Fossil Show at the Holiday Inn, Ingleside.  Young geologists and their families can explore mineral arts from around the world, see examples of fossils and crystals. 245 Whiting Farms Rd. Holyoke, MA (KIDS FREE, ADULTS >$)

    Midweek on Wednesday, March 30th at 6:30pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Hilltown Families presents … Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families, aN interactive and fun presentation for adults with author Susan Tordella at Cup & Top Cafe. Learn how cleaning toilets, washing dishes and raking leaves empower families. 1 North Main St. Florence, MA (FREE)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, April 2nd at 1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock presents The Expandable Brass Band at Flywheel Arts Collective. Kids are encourage to join the band at 12noon, an hour before the show, for free opportunity to learn songs with the band. Old Town Hall. 43 Main St. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

    On Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Dinner, dessert & a family concert: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to celebrate Hilltown Families 5 year anniversary. Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Suggested donation: $10 per person and up. Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival, Sat. March 26 at Memorial Hall, Shelburne Falls. Rehearsal/theatre games for ages 5-11 at 2pm who want to be in performance at 3 followed by Lui Collins. Evening for general public at 7pm: Sandglass Theater, Piti Theatre, cellist Wayne Smith, Carrie Ferguson, Court Dorsey plus doorprizes! www.ptco.org/syrup

    PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: ArtSpark, the annual auction and benefit for the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School, will take place on March 26th, from 7-11pm at Look Park’s Garden House in Florence, MA. This year’s theme is the 1980s, so dig out those leg warmers, dust off those Ray-Bans, start growing that mullet and get ready for some fun! Music and dancing, abundant and one-of-a-kind auction items at all price points, delicious food from Bread Euphoria, a great time for a great cause. Tickets are $15 each or $25 for a pair, available in advance at State Street Fruit Store in Northampton, Cooper’s Corner in Florence, Bread Euphoria in Haydenville, The Creamery in Cummington or at the door. For more information, please visit www.hilltowncharter.org or call 413.268.3421.

    QUILT SHOW: Families are invited to Hands All Around Quilt Show this weekend at the Mullins Center in Amherst. March 26th & 27th, 10am-4pm. Over 500 quilts from Pioneer Valley & New England quilters will be on display, including two exhibits – “Alzheimer’s Illustrated: From Heartbreak To Hope,” a special quilt exhibit that explores the impact of Alzheimer’s on patients and their caregivers, and “From Lobstah to Green Monstah: What’s Best About New England,” a special exhibit of quilts from New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. The show will feature a special kids corner where kids can work on their own fabric project. Hands Across The Valley Guilt Guild in Amherst sponsors the show, and proceeds are donated to local charitable and arts organizations.

    FILM FESTIVAL: Out! For Reel LGBT Film Series & Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival co-present two inspiring films about family, identity, and acceptance on Sat., April 2nd at 8:15pm: Off and Running: With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers, Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique, loving, mulit-racial household. Avery explores race, identity, and family when she decides to contact her African-American birth mother. (74 min); Second Guessing Grandma: A charming story of a twenty-something Jewish gay man who finally comes out to his beloved grandmother against his mother’s desire to protect her from the truth. (9 min). Both films will be screened in Wright Hall at Smith College in Northampton. (>$) www.OutForReel.org

    MUSIC CLASS: New 8-Week Music Class Series with Mister G in Northampton beginning April 4th/5th: Mister G’s Community Chorus for kids 6-10: Imagine the Young at Heart Chorus for kids! Join the coolest chorus for kids singing Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Patsy Cline and Mister G’s originals. The chorus will be joining Mister G on the main stage of the WRSI Meltdown. Mister G’s Jamboree for kids 1-5: Sing, dance…you’ll even learn Spanish in the Jamboree! Mister G developed an innovative approach to early childhood music immersion while teaching at the Smith College Campus School. Just back from touring in Mexico and Guatemala, Mister G has taken the Jamboree all over the world. For class times, locations and registration visit: mistergsongs.com

    Laura Porter of Williamsburg, MA writes: I’m excited to let you know about a new community development for Williamsburg, a weekly farmers market starting in May, which will run every Thursday afternoon from 2:30-7pm on the Meekins Library lawn until the end of October. Lend your support and learn more about the new Burgy farmers’ market at our Community Fundraising Supper on Tuesday, April 5th 6-8 pm at the Haydenville Congregational Church. Suggested donation: $10-25 per person You can purchase your tickets through me, or buy them at Meekins Library or Haydenville Congregational Church.

    SCREENINGS: Parents living in the Gateway Regional School District are offered free developmental and kindergarten screenings.  The developmental screening is for children 3-4yo who will not be entering kindergarten in 2011.  The screening is conducted to identify concerns about a child’s development- the areas examined include cognitive ability, social and emotional skills, language, and motor skills.  Kindergarten screenings are for children starting school in 2011, and are conducted to check speech skills, learning style, and recognition of letter names and sounds.  Developmental screenings will take place April 4th, and kindergarten screenings will be held on April 14th, both from 8-11am.  To schedule an appointment, contact the school district at 685-1000.

    TALENT SHOW: Auditions for the Pittsfield Youth Commission’s second annual talent show will be held on 3/26 from 1-3pm at the Lichtenstein Center, and 3/29 from 2:30-3:15pm at the Pittsfield High School library. The show will take place at 7:30pm on April 15th at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.  The talent show was established by both the youth commission and the group Youth Alive as a way to suit the need for more cultural and creative outlets for area youth.  Along with the talent show will be the presentation of the S.A.Y. It Proud Awards, which recognize young people involved in “positive activities and making healthy choices.”   For more information, call 499-9348.

    SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    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 we’re raising money for Valley Free Radio, home of HFVS.  We have many great premiums we’re giving away with any donation of $25 or more.  Tune in to see what you can get with your pledge, and call between 9-10am! 413-585-1033. 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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 03/19/11-03/25/11

    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

    There's a fundraising breakfast on Saturday at UMass for the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, a fabulous animal care center that has many animal programs, including a barn cat adoption program for cats not suited for households. Details below. (Barn cat in Cummington, MA. 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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    Saturday, March 19th from9:30-11am – LEGOS: The Lenox Library hosts their fouth annual Lego Build-a-thon! Participants must bring their own Legos- the goal of the build-a-thon is for participants to build an original structure from scratch that is capable of operating a fishing line. Prizes will be given to all participants! Ages 5-14. 18 Main Street. 637-0197 Lenox, MA. (FREE)

    Carrying on through the afternoon on Saturday, March 19th from 9am-3pm – MAPLE FEST: 26th Annual Chester Hill Maple Fest. Enjoy breakfast (including pancakes with Chester Hill maple syrup!) from 9-12, a craft fair, visits with baby animals, a raffle, and live music from the Pioneer Valley Fiddlers. 335 Skyline Trail. 667-8725. Chester, MA. (FREE entrance)

    Sunday, March 20th at 12Noon – PARADE: The 60th Anniversary St. Patrick’s Day Parade leaves the K-Mart Plaza at noon. Bring the family to this iconic St. Patty’s celebration. http://www.holyokestpatricksparade.com Holyoke, MA (FREE)

    Sunday afternoon, March 20th from 3-5pm – FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Wednesday, March 30th at 6:30pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Hilltown Families presents … Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families, aN interactive and fun presentation for adults with author Susan Tordella at Cup & Top Cafe. Learn how cleaning toilets, washing dishes and raking leaves empower families. 1 North Main St. Florence, MA (FREE)

    Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to bring the community together while supporting Hilltown Families with a birthday party!  Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Save the date now.  More details to come! Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    MEET THE DOULAS DAY! Sunday, March 20, 2-4 PM at Cradle, Third Floor, Thornes Marketplace, Northampton. Drop in any time to meet birth and postpartum doulas and other professionals in a relaxed atmosphere. Free refreshments, free raffle, and free 15-minute massages for pregnant mamas! Learn more at www.greenriverdoulas.org.

    MUSIC CLASS: New 8-Week Music Class Series with Mister G in Northampton beginning April 4th/5th: Mister G’s Community Chorus for kids 6-10: Imagine the Young at Heart Chorus for kids! Join the coolest chorus for kids singing Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Patsy Cline and Mister G’s originals. The chorus will be joining Mister G on the main stage of the WRSI Meltdown. Mister G’s Jamboree for kids 1-5: Sing, dance…you’ll even learn Spanish in the Jamboree! Mister G developed an innovative approach to early childhood music immersion while teaching at the Smith College Campus School. Just back from touring in Mexico and Guatemala, Mister G has taken the Jamboree all over the world. For class times, locations and registration visit: mistergsongs.com

    SLEEP WORKSHOP: Monday, March 21, 2011 at 630pmFREE Helping Your Child Sleep Workshop led by local social worker and child sleep consultant, Jen Zajac, MSW, LICSW, in the Northampton Forbes Library Community Room. Jen Zajac has over 11 years of experience working with children and families in the Pioneer Valley. She will provide a brief discussion regarding the basics of infant and toddler sleep patterns. Suggestions regarding how to keep children well rested including a basic overview of naps and night sleep will be provided. Simple strategies regarding how to respond to middle of the night awakenings will be discussed. The remaining time will be open for individual questions. Registration is required at www.HelpingYourChildSleep.com

    PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Save the date for ArtSpark, Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School’s annual party & auction at Look Park’s Garden House in Florence on Saturday March 26th at 7 p.m. The event features music & dancing, food by Bread Euphoria & a cash bar. A good time for a good cause, with auction items at all price points, from a carton of fresh eggs to a weekend getaway & one-of-a-kind furniture & crafts. This year’s theme is the 1980s, so dig out those legwarmers, dust off your Ray-Bans, start growing that mullet & get ready for some fun. Tickets available in advance at the school or local businesses including Bread Euphoria, State Street Fruit Store, Cooper’s Corner & The Creamery. More info, call 268.3421.

    PANCAKE BREAKFAST: Saturday, March 19th from 9am-12noon: Berkshire Trail Elementary School’s first annual pancake breakfast!  The event is a fundraiser for the school, and proceeds will go towards purchasing show shoes for the schools P.E. class and outdoor exploration during the winter months in science classes.  Most of the food will be donated by local vendors, and GLUTEN FREE pancakes will be available!  2 Main Street.  634-5327.  Cummington, MA.  (SCHOOL FUNDRAISER)

    SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: SPRING EQUINOX EPISODE

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

    HFVS Guest DJ, Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMBand, has put together a lovely spring equinox show for this weekend, featuring music by Justin Roberts, XTC, Cat Stevens, Bob Marley, along with several of her own songs.  Featured story on this weeks broadcast, The Corner by Arnold Lobel, and The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss.

    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!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 03/12/11-03/18/11

    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

    Suggest an Event

    It's sheep shearing season! Winterberry Farm in Leverett will host their 23rd Annual Sheep Shearing Day this Saturday in Leverett, MA. Take the kids and be a part of this New England tradition. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    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. 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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 03/05/11-03/11/11

    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

    Winters can be nearly a month longer in the Hilltowns compared to our neighbors down in the Valley - but that doesn’t stop hilltown kids from breaking out their tricycles and scooters before the spring thaw arrives! (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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, March 5th at 10am – FAMILY CONCERT: The Nields will perform a family concert at The First Churches of Northampton, part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Northampton, MA ($)

    Then in the evening on Saturday, March 5th from 6:30-10pm – FAMILY POLKA NIGHT:  Cafe Sun’s 2nd annual Sweetheart Family Polka Night at the Sunderland Elementary School (Swampfiled Dr.) with legendary polka band, The Eddie Forman Orchestra. Desserts served. 768-9857 www.cafesun.org Sunderland, MA ($, FUNDRAISER)

    On Sunday, March 6th from 10am-5pm – MAPLE FESTIVAL: Head to the Hardwick Winery to take part in their first annual Maple Festival.  Enjoy hayrides, sap boiling demos, ox rides, horse logging demos, a lumberjack contest, petting zoo, and a fire pit to keep warm.  Live jazz from 11-2, and breakfast (for a small fee) from 10-2.  3305 Greenwich Road.  www.hardwickwinery.com.  967-7763.  Ware, MA.  (FREE)

    Also on Sunday, March 6th at 12pm- MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Free family day at the Clark!  Explore the museum, attend a family-friendly gallery talk, and then take part in castle building, fantasy creature creation, and macrame bracelet weaving- all inspired by the work of Albrecht Durer.  225 South Street.  www.clarkart.edu.  458-2303.  Williamstown, MA.  ($)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Saturday, March 12th at 7:30pm – MOMS’ NIGHT OUT WITH THE NIELDS: Hootenanny has been a smashing success and is now a Valley institution for mothers and young children. Many mothers have said “I want a Hootenanny for grownups!” That’s exactly what we’re doing. Join Katryna and Nerissa for an evening of singing, great food, pampering and fun. “Mom’s Night Out with The Nields!” A benefit for MotherWoman. Saturday, March 12, 7:30-10:30pm Eastworks in Easthampton. Cash bar and great door prizes. Motherwoman will honor parent educator, Maria Curtin-McKenna that evening. Please submit a story, with photo, about how Maria has made a difference in your life. Beat the Winter blues. Come sing-along with The Nields! Tickets $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Limited free tickets available for low income moms. www.MotherWoman.org

    Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to bring the community together while supporting Hilltown Families with a birthday party!  Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Save the date now.  More details to come! Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    ART WORKSHOP: Purim Art Workshops for Parent and Child at Art Always. Make beautiful baskets using a variety of collage materials, and festive masks! Ages 5+. $25 for parent/child pair; $10 for any additional family member. Sunday, 3/13, 1-3pm (you must pre-register by Thurs, 3/10). Arts & Industry Building, 221 Pine St. Florence, MA. www.art-always.com 584-3050

    FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR HILLTOWN HOMEBUYERS: Buying a House? Financial assistance is available now! Hilltown CDC, on behalf of the towns of Chesterfield and Cummington, has grants up to $4,500 for down payment and closing costs as well as deferred payment loans up to $35,000 as a mortgage subsidy. Home purchase must be in Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Peru, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg or Worthington. Eligibility requirements must be met including household income level, completion of certified first time homebuyer workshop and first time homebuyer status. Contact Bea at 296-4536, ext 115 or click here for more information about this and other homebuyer activities.

    DONATIONS SOUGHT: For the creation and maintenance of an organic flower and vegetable garden at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School.  The garden will include five raised vegetable beds, a climbing bean tunnel, and a flower garden.  It will be a valuable educational resource and will provide food for students and teachers.  Donations of supplies (or discounts on supplies) and/or funds are being sought.  Specific supplies necessary are topsoil, wood, plants, and/or fencing materials.  On April 30th there will be a workday to being building the garden, and all are welcome to attend.  For more information, contact Emily Crehan at 625-2377 or emilycrehan@yahoo.com.

    BABY SIGN LANGUAGE: Free Baby Sign Language Class for parents and their babies on Saturday, March 5th at the Cummington Family Center from 10:00 to noon.  The Cummington Family Center is located in the Cummington Community House at 33 Main St in Cummington.  The class will be taught by Sujata Rege Konowitz, baby sign language instructor.  This new technique of communicating with your baby helps decrease frustration for babies and allows parents and babies to enjoy early interaction.  For more information contact Lee at the Worthington Health Center, 238-5511 x155.   This class is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development with support from the Cummington Family Center. (FREE)

    PARENT EDUCATION WORKSHOP SERIES: Three free workshops will be offered at the Bridge Street School in Northampton, MA on Fridays from 9:30-11am: Kids Don’t Come With Instructions (March 11th); Siblings, Will They Ever Leave Each Other Alone? (March 25th); and Who’s in Charge? – Surviving Everyday Routines (April 8th). All workshops are for parents of kids 2-5yo and are led by preschool consultant, Erika Frank. Free childcare available. Pre-reg at 587-1471 or email bblack@northampton-k12.us at least 24 hours in advance. Presented by the Northampton Parents Center and the Northampton Public Schools/Community Partnerships for Children and funded by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

    SCREENINGS: The Family Resource Center in North Adams offers FREE Ages and Stages Screenings. Infants and young children have so many developmental changes and milestones in the early years, it’s helpful to know where your child is developmentally and how to best support their growth. Ages and Stages is a well respected screening tool that will guide families in understanding their child’s development. The FRC staff will spend an hour with you and your child to go through this screening tool. Please contact their office for more information or an appointment at mzepka@ccberkshire.org or 664-4821

    CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE: Need Help Paying for Child Care? The Family Resource Center staff can put families on the Massachusetts Early Education and Care centralized wait list for child care subsidy. The process is very simple and only takes about 10 minutes for you to provide the basic family information needed. Call 664-4821 for more information.

    SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

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

    John Boydston of Daddy A-Go-Go Guest DJs the HFVS this week playing music by The Time Outs, The Candy Band, NRBQ, Ziggy Marley, Yosi and the Super Dads and many others!

    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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, March 5th, 2011

    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.

    9:30-11:30am – FARM ADVENTURES: Family Farm Days at Red Gate Farm. Explore Maple Sugaring with the kids.  For ages 2-8yo with adult. Snowshoes are available. Call to register. http://www.redgatefarm.org Buckland, MA (>$)

    9:30am-4pm – MAPLE DAYS: Visit Old Sturbridge Village for Maple Days, an opportunity to learn about how maple syrup was produced in the 19th century!  Learn about tree tapping, sap boiling, and cooking with maple syrup, and see the process from start to finish.  40 Stallion Hill Road.  http://www.osv.org.  800-SEE-1830.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

    10am-9pm- GIANT SANDBOX: Didn’t get to go south to enjoy a sandy beach for school vacation? Visit the Eastfield Mall for a healthy dose of sand! A giant sandbox has been built in the mall’s food court, containing more than enough sand for you to get your fix of summer. 1655 Boston Road. www.eastfieldmall.com. 543-8000. Springfield, MA (FREE)

    10am – FAMILY CONCERT: The Nields will perform a family concert at The First Churches of Northampton, part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Northampton, MA ($)

    10am-12Noon – BABY SIGN LANGUAGE: Baby sign language classes offered at the Cummington Family Center.  The class will be taught by Sujata Rege Konowitz, baby sign language instructor.  This new technique of communicating with your baby helps decrease frustration for babies and allows parents and babies to enjoy early interaction. 33 Main St. 238-5511 x155 Cummington, MA (FREE)

    10am-2pm – POTTERY SALE: 32nd Annual Pottery and More Seconds Sale sponsored by the Artspace Community Center.  Proceeds from the sale go to support community art and music programs as well as the Strings for Kids program in the Greenfield Public Schools.  1 Lenox Street. www.franklyarts.com.  772-6811. Greenfield, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

    10am – FAMILY MOVIE: Visit Images in Williamstown and get ready for spring and baseball season by watching the movie “Everyone’s Hero.”  Kids who wear their baseball/softball uniform or a jersey (jacket, cap, etc.) from their favorite team will get a surprise treat. 50 Spring Street.  www.imagescinema.org.  458-1039. Williamstown, MA.  ($)

    10am-4pm – SPRING BULB SHOW: The Botanic Garden of Smith College will have their annual Spring Bulb Show. 16 College Ln. 585-2740 Northampton, MA (>$)

    10am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with Springfield Museums.  Activities throughout the day include a Dr. Seuss cake contest, an art activity, a photo booth, and scavenger hunts within the museum galleries.  21 Edwards Street.  www.springfieldmuseums.org.  800-625-7738.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

    10am-10pm – WOMEN’S RETREAT: Gathered Resources of Women (GROW) hosts their monthly Red Tent Temple of the Berkshires retreat.  Women 13 and up are invited to attend and take part in drumming, chanting, reiki, massage, singing, story telling, reading, napping, etc.  175 Wendell Avenue.  www.gatheredwomen.org.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

    10:30am – MUSIC SERIES: Music series at the Jones Library. For kids of all ages.  43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    11am-12Noon – STORY TIME: Stories from Natures Garden at the Lee Library (100 Main St.). Join Anne Gannon, horticulturist with The Trustees of Reservations, for a program of stories and activities sharing the wonders of nature in all seasons. Open to ages 2-7 with caregivers (older siblings welcome). To sign-up or for more information email rborsody@cwmars.org or call the Lee Library at 243-0385 Lee, MA (FREE)

    11am-3pm – SUMMER CAMP FAIR: Head to Wildwood Elementary in Amherst for the second annual summer camp fair!  Sponsored by Amherst’s LSSE, the fair offers information about many of the numerous summer programs available in the valley, and there will be a special performance by Ed the Wizard from 12-3!  71 Strong Street.  http://www.lsse.org.  259-3065.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE!)

    11:30am – PUPPET SHOW: Rumpelstiltskin with The Robbins-Zust marionetts at The Marketplace Cafe.  53 North St. 358-4777 Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

    12:30-2pm – ART CLASS: Artist Numa Navarro teaches collage and acrylic techniques.  Participants will create paintings of butterflies, using author/illustrator Eric Carle’s books for inspiration.  Ages 7-11, pre-registration required.  44 Oak Street. www.springfieldlibrary.org.  263-6846.  Indian Orchard, MA.  (FREE)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    1-3pm – PRESCHOOL EXPO: Visit First Church for the Franklin County Preschool Expo to learn about childcare, playgroups, preschool and more in the Franklin County area.  43 Silver Street.  774-3449.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

    1-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Find out what it’s like to be a museum curator.  Explore the galleries and try your hand at designing and labeling a mock min-exhibition.  Don’t forget to vote for the exhibition you’d like to see next.  Williams College Museum of Art. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive. www.wcma.org.  597-2429.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

    1-6pm – ANIMAL TRACKING: Visit the Leverett Library for an afternoon of learning about animal tracks and signs.  Great for ages 8+, the program will take place both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting).  75 Montague Road.  www.leverettlibrary.org.  548-9220.  Leverett, MA.  (FREE)

    2pm and 7:30pm – FAMILY THEATER: Amherst Regional High School presents the musical “City of Angels.”  Good seats go fast, so get tickets while you still can!  21 Mattoon Street.  http://www.arhsparentcenter.org.  362-1701.  Amherst, MA.  ($$)
    2-3:30pm – BOOK GROUP: Family Adventures in Reading (FAIR) begins at Central Branch Library.  The program is a series of book discussion get-togethers following family book reading.  Each book and discussion follows a different theme.  220 State Street.  www.springfieldlibrary.org.  263-6828. Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

    3:30-5pm – CHESS CLUB: For kids ages 7 & older is Chess Club at the Jones Library with Andy Morris-Friedman. www.joneslibrary.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    6:30-10pm – FAMILY POLKA NIGHT: Celebrate V Day at the Cafe Sun’s 2nd annual Sweetheart Family Polka Night at the Sunderland Elementary School (Swampfiled Dr.) with legendary polka band, The Eddie Forman Orchestra. Desserts served. 768-9857 www.cafesun.org Sunderland, MA ($, FUNDRAISER)

    7pm – JUGGLING COMEDIANS: The Flying Karamazov Brothers will perform at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle St.). 528-0100 http://www.mahaiwe.org Great Barrington, MA ($$)

    8pm – FAMILY THEATER: UMass students perform the US premier (and first English adaptation) of Night on the Galactic Railroad, a popular children’s story from Japan.  374 Whitmore Building.  545-0415.  Amherst, MA.  ($)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 02/26/11-03/04/11

    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

    Western MA Sugar Shacks are opening up this weekend serving breakfast and fresh maple syrup! Click on the photo for a list of Sugar Shacks in Western MA. Give them a call to see if they've serving up sweet goodness this weekend! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield - Sap drips from a tapped maple tree in the hilltowns.)

    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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    In the early afternoon on Saturday, February 26th at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: The Deedle Deedle Dees will be a Flywheel in the old Town Hall, with a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song. Presented by Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock. Doors open at 1pm. Easthampton, MA ($)

    Later in evening on Saturday, February 26th from 5-8pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Participate in Red Gate Farm’s Fire and Ice celebration. Go sledding under the lights and warm up by the fire afterward. Dinner and cocoa provided- fun for all ages! 4 Norman Road. 625-9503. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (>$)

    After brunch at one of the local sugar shacks on Sunday, February 27th, from 2-4pm – SINGALONG: A community singalong happens at the Jones Library in the Amherst Room, lead by Rise Up Singing songbook creators, Peter Blood & Annie Patterson. All are welcome. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Friday, March 4th at 7pm- FAMILY THEATER: See “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” at The Academy of Music. Knuffle Bunny is the story of a simple family trip to the laundromat and the things that go unexpectedly horribly wrong. The show is full of adventure, songs, and, of course, gigantic dancing laundry. 274 Main Street. 584-9032. www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Northampton, MA. ($)

    Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to bring the community together while supporting Hilltown Families with a birthday party!  Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Save the date now.  More details to come! Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

    SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES FAIR: Looking for that perfect summer program for your 4- to 19-year-old? Come to the 8th annual Pioneer Valley Summer Opportunities Fair at The Williston Northampton School on Sunday, Feb. 27, 12-3pm. There will be over 35 local, national, and international programs for elementary, middle & high school students. Programs include language, service, academic, sports, leisure, or cultural specialties. Ask programs questions, hear about scholarships/financial aid, and collect brochures. There will be 3 workshops: Choosing the best program for your child ages 4-10, Maximizing summer experiences for college admission, and How to find and land a great summer job or internship. ncronan@williston.com. 40 Park St., Easthampton (FREE)

    LIBRARY CLOSURE: The Forbes Library Children’s Department in Northampton will be closed from Saturday, February 26 – Monday, March 7 while new carpet is installed.

    DONATIONS WANTED: Two hilltown farm families recently lost their barns. The Howe’s barn roof collapsed under the snow load killing a heifer, and the Joyner’s barn and hay was lost to a fire. Donations to assist our neighbors can be sent to The West Cummington Church, P.O. Box 148, Cummington, MA 01026

    Deadline to enter to win: March 2nd

    VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts invites you to attend a Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, February 26th. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with The Food Bank, might want to volunteer in the future, or just wants to learn more about The Food Bank can attend. Orientation sessions will introduce you to the work of The Food Bank and the variety of volunteer opportunities we have available. A form is available on The Food Bank’s website where those interested can RSVP. Orientation sessions are held regularly on the second Tuesday and fourth Saturday of every month. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA. 247-9738. www.foodbankwma.org.

    THE KITCHEN GARDENER: A free clinic at the Worthington Library on Saturday, February 26th at 4pm will explore low cost strategies for season extension, increasing yield, increasing plant vigor, mitigating pests, disease and predation, reducing water usage, the practical possibilities of a four season harvest in our climate, on site fertility programs and more. You can increase yields, flavor and nutrition without spending a lot of money. Bring your ideas and experiences to share and bring an open mind. This program is part of the Worthington Library’s Omnivore’s Dilemma Program and is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

    Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

    COOKBOOK SWAP/BOOK DISCUSSION: On Wednesday, March 2nd, Hilltown Sustainability will host a cookbook exchange and discussion of the book, The Vegetarian Myth. The meeting will be at the Village Congregational Church in Cummington at 7:30. The Vegetarian Myth was written by Lierre Keith, a former vegan of 20 years, and addresses food, justice, and sustainability. Come to share your thoughts and insights, and trade for some new cookbooks, too! For more information, contact Leni Fried at 634-5591.

    Lynne Guyette, Easthampton Family Center Coordinator writes: The Easthampton Family Center will hold its first parent meeting this year on Friday, March 4, 2011. The meeting will take place at the family center during its egular playgroup time from 10:30am to 12:00pm. All family center members are invited to attend this meeting. There will be extra supervision and activities for the children while the meeting takes place. I hope to see you all there on the 4th of March. This is your opportunity to be heard and to help support the growth of the Easthampton Family Center.

    Deadline to enter to win: March 9th

    OPEN CALL FOR ARTWORK: Artists from Berkshire County (and beyond!) are invited to submit artwork (both 2- and 3-D) for the upcoming group exhibit, “Forty Shades of Green: Celebrating Ireland and Irish Culture.” The show will appear at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield from March 12th-April 9th. Work of any type is welcomed, and submissions should be fully prepared for display. For more information, visit www.culturalpittsfield.com or call 499-9348.

    SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    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 Josh Wachtel of Radio Free Earth Guest DJs the Hilltown Famiy Variety Show, spinning tunes by Harry Nilsson, The Holy Modal Rounders, The Blazers, The Mills Brothers, The Gardenias, Michelle Shocked, Merle Travis, Radio Free Earth, and many others! 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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, February 26th, 2011

    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.

    SUGAR SHACK FUNDRAISER: Visit Steve’s Sugar Shack for opening day. The sugar shack will be donating a portion of their profits on Saturday to the Pioneer Valley Humane Society, so bring your appetite and order as many pancakes as you want- it’s for a good cause! Steve’s will be open Saturdays and Sundays for breakfast through April 10th. 34 North Road. 527-0294. Westhampton, MA.

    8am-3pm – WINTER FESTIVAL: Annual Winter Festival happens in downtown North Adams. This family fun event includes hay rides, ice sculpting, carnival games, refreshments, crafts, music, ice skating and more. 664-6180 www.northadams-ma.gov North Adams, MA (FREE, >$)

    9am-5pm – BOTANICAL STUDIES: 2011 Amherst Orchid Society Show at Smith Vocational High School. Visit to see tons and tons of orchids of all kinds of varieties! Plants will be judged- see if you can predict the winners. Northampton, MA. (>$)

    10am-1pm – OUTDOOR FESTIVAL: Five College Outdoor Festival happens at Hampshire College to celebrate outdoor sports and adventures. Demos with Zoar Outdoor, pancake brunch, adventure race, climbing competitions. 559.5536 www.hampshire.edu Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-1pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Animal tracking and winter wanderings with Earthwork Programs at the Bullitt Reservation. A fun family outing, go tracking with Frank on the Pebble Trail and enjoy the outdoors with snow games. Register in advance: 628-4485 Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    10am-9pm- GIANT SANDBOX: Didn’t get to go south to enjoy a sandy beach for school vacation? Visit the Eastfield Mall for a healthy dose of sand! A giant sandbox has been built in the mall’s food court, containing more than enough sand for you to get your fix of summer. 1655 Boston Road. www.eastfieldmall.com. 543-8000. Springfield, MA (FREE)

    10:30am – MUSIC SERIES: Music series at the Jones Library. For kids of all ages. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    11-11:45pm – KIDS YOGA: Karma hosts a children’s yoga class for kids ages 6-10yo. Stretches, poses and yoga/theater games. Pre-register. 727-8143 http://www.bekarma.com Northampton, MA ($)

    11am-1pm: INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURES: A historic and cultural adventure of Pakistan, inspired by Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, will take place at the Town Hall. Kids ages 9-12 can learn to write their name using Urdu letters, leaf through text books used by children in these mountainous schools, dress-up in their traditional clothing, enjoy Nan and tea, partake in a Pakistani craft, and listen to traditional music. 259-1213 www.mnspear.org Shutesbury, MA.

    11am – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime at the Northfield Public Library. Enjoy what’s left of school vacation by lounging in comfy clothes and listening to stories. 115 Main Street. 498-2455. www.northfieldpubliclibrary.org. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

    12Noon – YOUTHFILM: The Northampton Arts Council will host a YouthFilm Fest at the Academy of Music, featuring films directed, crafted, written and starred by local children and teens. Films screened early in the afternoon are suitable for young kids. Films screened later in the day are more appropriate for older kids. To see the schedule of films visit www.northamptonartscouncil.org Northampton, MA. (KIDS FREE, ADULTS >$)

    1pm – MOVIE SCREENING: Despicable Me (PG) will be screened at the Whately Public Library (202 Chestnut Plain Rd.). 665-2170 www.whately.org/library Whately, MA (FREE)

    1pm – CUPCAKES: Decorate cupcakes with Dona at Huntington Public Library. All supplies will be provided, and children ages 9 and up are invited to attend. Please pre-register. 7 East Main Street. 667-3506. www.thehuntingtonpubliclibrary.com. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

    1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: The Deedle Deedle Dees will be a Flywheel in the old Town Hall, with a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song. Presented by Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock. Doors open at 1pm. Easthampton, MA ($)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    1-3pm – OPEN HOUSE: Visit Sheep Hill for the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation’s winter open house. Enjoy simple crafts, mulled cider, and a roaring fire, as well as outdoor activities like showshoeing and sledding! 671 Cold Spring Road. 458-2494. www.wrlf.org. Williamstown, MA. (>$)

    1-4pm – ANIMALS STUDIES: Fox Fun for Families Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). Observation of mounts, skulls, books and outdoor tracking. For ages 7yo+ Indoors and outdoors. (800) 859-2960 Northfield, MA (FREE)

    2:30pm – THEATER: The Piti Theatre Company presents the nature fable Elmer and the Elder Tree at the Orange Town Hall. The show is interactive, and includes music and dance. 6 Prospect Street. 978-544-1100. www.townororange.org. Orange, MA. (>$)

    3:30 PM – FAMILY THEATER: Visit the Williston Northampton School for their annual February vacation children’s performances. This year’s show is Story Theater: Journeys of Transformation from Around the World and Beyond, and is based on a collection of folk stories. 18 Payson Avenue. 529-3434. www.williston.com. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

    4pm – SPORTS ADVENTURES: The Mt. Holyoke Lyons hockey team takes on their rival team, the Smith Pioneers, at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. This is one of the biggest games for the two teams- come cheer them on and see some great women’s hockey! 575 Maple Street. 532-2929. sophia.smith.edu. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

    5pm – HISTORICAL THEATER: The Norman Rockwell Museum presents, “Ain’t I A Woman: The Story of Sojourner Truth.” Actress Debra Zull performs a one-woman show that chronicles Truth’s life as an abolitionist, evangelist, and civil and women’s rights leader. Great for older students! 9 Route 183. 298-4100. www.nrm.org. Stockbridge, MA. ($)

    5-8pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Participate in Red Gate Farm’s Fire and Ice celebration. Go sledding under the lights and warm up by the fire afterward. Dinner and cocoa provided- fun for all ages! 4 Norman Road. 625-9503. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (>$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Citizen Scientists Wanted this Weekend for the Great Backyard Bird Count

    Western MA Families Can Participate as Citizen Scientists During the 14th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend

    “Whether people notice birds in backyards, parks, or wilderness areas, we ask that they share their counts at http://www.birdcount.org,” said Judy Braus, Audubon’s senior vice president of Education and Centers. “It’s fun and rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels.” (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count began today Friday, February 18th, and extends through the holiday weekend until February 21st. Parents and kids of all ages and skill levels are needed to count birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other places they may be traveling to during school vacation. Simply tally birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go to www.birdcount.org and enter the highest number of each species seen at any one time.

    Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, the count provides an instantaneous snapshot of birdlife across the continent for all to see. Anyone can watch as the tallies come in at http://www.birdcount.org. Organizers hope to receive more than 100,000 checklists during the event, with tallies of more than 600 birds species in all.

    Last year’s participants reported more than 1.8 million American Robins, as well as rarities such as the first Red-billed Tropicbird in the count’s history. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    “When thousands of people all tell us what they’re seeing, we can detect changes in birds’ numbers and locations from year to year,” said Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

    Data from the Great Backyard Bird Count can provide an early signal of changes in bird populations. Past counts showed a drop in reports of American Crows after outbreaks of West Nile virus in 2003, a finding consistent with studies showing crow populations declined by 50–75% in some states. Maps from the count have also captured the paths of migrating Sandhill Cranes and recorded the dramatic spread Eurasian Collared-Doves. Introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s, the species was reported in just 8 states during the 1999 GBBC. A decade later, it was reported in 39 states and Canadian provinces.

    For more information, including bird-ID tips, instructions, and past results, visit  www.birdcount.org.

    Suggested Events 02/19/11-02/25/11

    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

    February school vacation week adds a splash of color to winter in Western MA! The Hilltown Families list of events & activities will chase away the winter grey with fun family events & activities all week long! (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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, February 19th from 2-7pm – ICE ADVENTURES: Attend Holyoke’s Winter Ice Festival! Activities include an ice sculpting demonstration, fire juggling, ice skating, a visit from Rivè the River Otter, lights, art, food & fun! Between Appleton and Dwight Streets. 540-0200.  Holyoke, MA. (FREE!)

    On Sunday, February 20th from 3-5pm – FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Saturday, February 26th at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: The Deedle Deedle Dees will be a Flywheel in the old Town Hall, with a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song. Presented by Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock. Doors open at 1pm. Easthampton, MA ($)

    Sunday, February 27th at 2pm – THE REALLY BIG SHOW: The Northampton Arts Council presents The Really Big Show at the Academy of Music Theatre, a Valley classing featuring Tom Mahnken, of Trailer Park and Unit 7 fame, impersonating Ed Sullivan to introduce their bill of local artists. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

    AUDITIONS: Two hour auditions will be held for the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) musical production of Alice in Wonderland on Monday, March 7th at the Amherst High School Cafeteria, arriving at 3:45pm. Up to sixty roles are available and children ages 5-18 are encouraged to audition. No advanced prep necessary. The Missoula Children’s Theatre touring productions are complete with costumes, scenery, props and makeup. The MCT Tour Actor/Directors will conduct rehearsals from 4-8:30pm, 3/7-3/12. Actors will not need to be present at every rehearsal . The production will be presented to the public on March 12th at 1:30pm & 4pm at the Amherst High School Auditorium. For more info call 461-6722 or visit www.alsct.org

    FLAG DESIGN CONTEST: Do you have an older student who enjoys graphic design? All are invited to take part in the City of Pittsfield’s Flag Contest, a great project for students and homeschoolers to participate in. Sponsored by Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and State Senator Ben Downing, residents are invited to submit their design for an official City of Pittsfield flag. Click here for an application. Deadline is March 1st and the chosen design will displayed during Pittsfield’s 250th Celebration on April 29th.

    Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 23rd

    LITTLE RED SCHOOLHOUSE: Storrowton Village Museum’s Little Red Schoolhouse, an educational program open to grade 1-5 school classes, teachers and chaperones, takes place Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30am- 1:30pm. Participants dress in period costumes provided by Storrowton and are given a brief orientation on the roles each played in the 19th century. A “Schoolmaster” or “Schoolmistress” will lead the students through a variety of challenging and fun activities of a child’s school day early in the 19th century – quill pen writing, spelling bees, math drills and more. Copybooks and slates are used for lessons, and students will top off their day with old-fashioned games. For more information contact the museum at 205-5051. West Springfield, MA. (>$)

    THE KITCHEN GARDENER: A free clinic at the Worthington Library on Saturday, February 26th at 4pm will explore low cost strategies for season extension, increasing yield, increasing plant vigor, mitigating pests, disease and predation, reducing water usage, the practical possibilities of a four season harvest in our climate, on site fertility programs and more. You can increase yields, flavor and nutrition without spending a lot of money. Bring your ideas and experiences to share and bring an open mind. This program is part of the Worthington Library’s Omnivore’s Dilemma Program and is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

    Deadline to enter to win: March 2nd

    FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER WORKSHOP: Is your family preparing to buy your first home? Taking a free First Time Homebuyer workshop will introduce you to the “team members” you will assemble during your home purchase. Participants will learn how to select a team of professionals to help with the purchase of a home, which mortgage products are available to first time homebuyers, how to prioritize housing wants/needs, what happens in a home inspection, how to make an offer on a house, what happens at the purchase and sale signing and the closing, and more. This workshop is FREE. Wed and Thurs. nights March 30th, 31st, April 6 & 7th from 6 –8:30pm at the Cummington Community House in Cummington. Pre-registration is required. Contact Bea at 296-4536 x115 or beavh@hilltowncdc.org.

    ATTENTION SINGERS: Minerva Voices, a non-profit group for everyone from youths to adults, is accepting new singers to perform in a Best of Broadway Anthology with the theme of Family Relations. Directed by Jill Wheat and accompanied by Laurie Brenner, this performance opportunity includes unison, harmony and solo singing for singers of all experience levels. The group rehearses Mondays from 6:30-8:30pm at the Minerva Arts Center (1288 Massachusetts Ave.) North Adams for 13 weeks and will culminate in a performance at the MAC on Saturday, April 9th at 7pm. New singers are encouraged to head over to the MAC on or before the 2/28 rehearsal. For more info contact The Minerva Arts Center: 346-4502 or email MinervaArtsCenter@gmail.com. (>$)

    Deadline to enter to win: March 9th

    SUPPORT FOR PARENTS OF TEENS: Berkshire Families and Children is offering Guiding Good Choices for parents of children 9-14 who are interested in strengthening family bonds and reducing the risk factors associated with teenage drug use on Wednesdays, beginning on February 23rd in Pittsfield, MA. To register call Lori Munn at 441-7011.

    SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    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, Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights is our Guest DJ.  Joanie will be spinning tunes by Phish, Otis Redding, Okee Dokee Brothers, Blind Melon, Recess Monkey, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Jonas, and many others – including song from her new release, What a Zoo!

    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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, February 19th, 2011

    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.

    9am-4pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Hot Chocolate Saturdays at Bartholomew’s Cobble. Bring the family to enjoy hot cocoa and miles of trails. There are snowshoe rentals available to hike the trails, a sledding hill and a nature center too. 229-8600 Sheffield, MA, (>$)

    10am-12Noon – PARENTING SOCIAL: Color Play is a monthly social and craft for families parenting children of color, supporting parents by addressing the cultural imbalances on their children’s community, encouraging self-acceptance and identity awareness. Providing parents with the opportunity to have open dialogue around the many concerns of parenting children of color, it will include a story hour, healthy snack and seasonal craft; as well as, fun interactive parent-child connecting in a diverse setting. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    10-4pm – WINTER CARNIVAL: Community Winter Carnival at South Hadley High School.  Indoor and outdoor actiities for kids of all ages. Music, art activities, food and much more. South Hadley, MA (FREE)

    10:30am – MUSIC SERIES: Music series at the Jones Library. For kids of all ages. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    11-11:45pm – KIDS YOGA: Karma hosts a children’s yoga class for kids ages 6-10yo. Stretches, poses and yoga/theater games. Pre-register. 727-8143 http://www.bekarma.com Northampton, MA ($)

    11am-3pm – WINTER CARNIVAL: Pittsfield Winter Carnival happens at the Controy Pavilion on Onota Lake at Burbank Park.  There will be hayrides, sledding races, family ice skating & hockey, ice fishing, carnival games, music, hot cocoa, and much more. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

    11:30am-9pm – ICE SKATING: Outdoor ice pavilion (435 Main Rd.). No skate rentals. 528-1443 x248 Monterey, MA (FREE)

    12:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Chow Time in the aquarium at the Berkshire Museum. 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA (FREE w/museum admission)

    1-4pm – TEEN ART WORKSHOP: Realist painter Patty Mullins will hold a teen art workshop at Norman Rockwell Museum. Art-loving teens will learn how to hone their powers of observation and drawing skills during this creative workshop that will inspire experimentation with materials, techniques, and new ways of seeing. Register by call 298-4100 x221 www.nrm.org Stockbridge, MA (>$)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    1:30-3:20pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Collins/Moylan Arena (41 Barr Ave.). Skate rentals available. 772-6891 Greenfield, MA ($)

    ♦ 2-3:50pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Fitzpatrick Arena (575 Maple St.) Skate rentals available. 532-2929 Holyoke, MA ($)

    2-4pm – CHESS: Love chess?  Want to learn?  Whether you are a chess pro or barely a beginner, you are welcome at Forbes Library’s casual drop in chess sessions!  Bring your own set if you have one!  All ages welcome.  20 West Street.  587-1011. www.forbeslibrary.org.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE!)

    2-7pm – ICE ADVENTURES: Attend Holyoke’s Winter Ice Festival! Activities include an ice sculpting demonstration, fire juggling, ice skating, a visit from Rivè the River Otter, lights, art, food & fun! Between Appleton and Dwight Streets. 540-0200.  Holyoke, MA. (FREE!)


    Sunday, February 20th, 2011

    Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    ICE SKATING:

    • 11:30am-9pm – MONTERY: Outdoor ice pavilion (435 Main Rd.). No skate rentals. 528-1443 x248 (FREE)
    • 1-2:50pm – GREENFIELD: Public indoor ice skating at Collins/Moylan Arena (41 Barr Ave.). Skate rentals available. 772-6891  ($)
    • 2-3:50pm – SPRINGFIELD: Public indoor ice skating at Smead Arena (1780 Roosevelt Ave.) Skate rentals available. 781-2599  ($)
    • 3-5pm – EASTHAMPTON: Public indoor ice skating at Lassone Ice Rink. No rentals, so bring your own skates. Sharpening is available. Refreshments for sale. 529-3000 (>$)

    2pm – GOSPEL MUSIC: Visit Bay Path College for “A Celebration of Gospel Music.”  Hear Bay Path’s own Sister Act Gospel Choir, as well as other guest choirs at this celebration of Black History Month!  588 Longmeadow Street.  565-1000. www.baypath.edu.  Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE!)

    2pm – ALLOY ORCHESTRA: The Northampton Arts Council presents Alloy Orchestra at the Academy of Music Theatre. Alloy Orchestra is a three-man musical ensemble who will perform with the silent film classic, Metropolis. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

    2pm – BUBBLES: BubbleMania! at the Colonial Theater.  The show is made up of spontaneous comedy, jazz music and an array of bubbling skills including fog-filled bubble sculptures, helium-filled foam, bubble ping-pong, and trapping an audience member inside a gigantic soap bubble!  111 South Street.  997-4444.  www.thecolonialtheater.org. Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

    2-4pm – MUSIC: Old Time String Band at the Blue House Cafe (Route 9) with Karl Ferret and a crowd of “a-pickin’ and a-grinnin'” musicians. Menu available. 268-7441 http://www.bluehousecafe.info Haydenville, MA (FREE)

    2-5pm – SEWING: Community bag sew for bagshare at the Bullitt Reservation. Bagshare works to provide reusable cloth bags to local businesses for shoppers to use instead of environmentally unfriendly plastic and paper bags.  332 Bullitt Road.  628-4485. www.thebagshare.org.  Ashfield, MA.  (FREE!)

    3-5pm – FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 02/12/11-02/18/11

    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 Magic Wood at Notchview in Windsor, MA (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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    In the morning on Saturday, February 12th at 10am FAMILY CONCERT: The Alchemystics perform at The First Churches of Northampton as part of Nonotuck Community School’s 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series. The band labels themselves as new roots music- the group plays a mixture of reggae, soul, hip hop, and dub. Before the show, students from Easthampton’s SHOW Circus Studio’s Circus Stars Youth Performance Troupe will present a show of tumbling, juggling, and other circus feats! 129 Main Street. 586-5996. http://www.nonotuck.org. Northampton, MA. ($)

    Later from noon-6pm down in the Pioneer Valley — WINTER FEST: Amherst Leisure Services hosts Winterfest 2011. Bring the family to enjoy both indoor and outdoor winter activities a the Cherry Hill Golf Course (323 Montague Rd.). There will be sled dogs, music, kids carnival, cross country ski lessons, fireworks, sledding & tubing, hay rides, food, and much more. www.winterfestamherst.com Amherst, MA ($)

    Also at the noon hour, up in the Berkshires VALENTINE: Family Valentine’s Day celebration at Ventfort Hall (104 Walker St.). Activities through out the day: bonfire, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, Nutshell Playhouse in concert, Victoria Tea, “The Might Mysterious Megapuff”, guided tours and more. 637-3206 www.guildedage.org Lenox, MA ($)

    Then on Sunday, February 13th at 2pm UKES & YOYOS: Northampton Arts Council presents Ukes and Yoyos at the Academy of Music Theatre, featuring extraordinary ukulele and yoyo performers. 587-1269 Northampton, MA ($)

    And in the evening in the Hilltowns on Sunday at 6:30pm FOOD ADVENTURE: Visit The Old Creamery for their popular Chocolate Tasting! Learn about and taste many different varieties of chocolate. Pre-registration requested. 445 Berkshire Trail. 634-5560. www.theoldcreamery.coop. Cummington, MA. (FREE!)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Saturday, February 19th from 9am-2pm — WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET: Bernardson Winter Market happens at United Church (58 Church St). www.buylocalfood.org Bernardson, MA (MARKET)

    Sunday, February 20th from 2-5pm — BUBBLES: BubbleMania! at the Colonial Theater. Loaded with visual comedy, quick wit, big band swing music and the untamed, often unbelievable qualities and beauty of bubbles. www.thecolonialtheater.org Pittsfield, MA ($)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    DEBUT OPENING CELEBRATION: Despite the “wintery mix” that made last Saturday night a slippery, slushy evening, a hearty crowd of supporters of Hilltown Families came out to the debut opening celebration of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit at Cup & Top Cafe in Florence, MA. See snap shots taken at the opening (thank you Tony Lemos!) in our Facebook photo album. The show will be up at the cafe through March and the proceeds from the sales go to benefit Hilltown Families. — In April the show travels to Haydenville to Bread Euphoria where it will be on display in the Corridor Gallery at Andrew Quient Pottery. Mark your calendars for April 10th. There will be a Benefit Birthday Bash at Bread Euphoria for Hilltown Families from 4-7pm with pizza and birthday cake donated by the bakery and a family concert with Mister G. Interested in volunteering for the party planning? Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

    SAVE THE DATES FOR PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN SCREENINGS: Preschool screening will be held on April 4th at Littleville Elementary School. Kindergarten Screening will be held for children living in the towns of Huntington, Montgomery, Russell and Worthington on April 14th at Littleville Elementary School. Kindergarten Screening will be held for children living in Blandford, Chester or Middlefield on April 14th at Chester Elementary School. More information will be coming soon, including the ages of eligible children and how to schedule an appointment.

    ART EXHIBIT: From Feb. 2 – Feb. 28, Mexican-inspired metal embossments created by students from the Montessori School of Northampton will be displayed at The Green Bean. Students from K-6 created embossed metal designs based on Mexican folk imagery. They began with drawings of designs containing forms found in nature, transferred their designs to aluminum sheets, embossed them by drawing and punching shapes, and added color to highlight elements of their designs. The project was guided by art teacher Barbara Neulinger and fits into the school’s cultural curriculum. This is the third year that The Green Bean has hosted an exhibition of work from the school’s students. 241 Main Street. 584-2326. Northampton, MA.

    SHORT STORY CONTEST: The Westfield Athenaeum Library is holding a short story contest. Stories can be about any topic, and submissions will be accepted from January 31st-February 26th. Submissions may be no longer than three pages, and should have been written within the last year. Stories will be judged based on creativity, grammar, presentation, and overall writing skills, and all submissions will become the property of the Boys and Girls library at the Athenaeum. More information is available at the Athenaeum Library website- www.westaeth.org.

    JUNIOR SOLAR SPRINT: Are you an educator? Homeschooler? Attend a free Junior Solar Sprint workshop on Tuesday, February 15th from 4-7pm and learn how to lead middle school students through the Junior Solar Sprint experience- a program where kids design, build, and and compete with model solar cars. 950 North Street. www.cetonline.org. 445-4556. Pittsfield, MA.

    DOCTOR FOR A DAY: The Hampshire District Medical Society is again sponsoring their annual “Doctor for a Day” program. Juniors and seniors interested in becoming a physician should pick up an application in the Gateway High School Guidance Office in Huntington, for a chance to spend a full day shadowing a real physician! Applications, including two letters of recommendation, are due to the Society by February 18, 2011.

    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 Black History Month Episode celebrating musical legends, including: Ella Jenkins, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, and many others. 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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, February 12th, 2011

    First Annual Northampton Ice Art Festival

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs 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.

    8am-12Noon – ICE FISHING: Get outside for the Annual Children’s Ice Fishing Derby on Ashfield Lake for all school aged children. There will be prizes and a spaghetti supper, plus an educational presentation following the supper for the kids. 628-4400 Ashfield, MA (FREE, />$)

    WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    9am-2pm – Winter Farmers’ Market in the basement of Thornes through April 30th. Food, live music and art. Northampton, MA
    10am-2pm – Winter Farmers’ Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.). Amherst, MA
    10am-2pm – North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Blue Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com Amherst, MA
    10:30am-1pm – Springfield Winter Market happens at Forest Park. 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month. www.buylocalfood.org Springfield, MA

    9am-1pm – FAMILY BREAKFAST: Enjoy a locally grown breakfast, proceeds from which benefit the Northampton Survival Center. Visit the Food Shed at Enterprise Farm for a meal of pancakes made from local wheat flour from Four Star Farm, local bacon and sausage from Austin Brothers Farm, and local cider and locally roasted coffee from Pierce Brothers. 72 River Road. 665-8608. www.enterpriseproduce.com. Whately, MA. ($)

    9:30am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Learn about the history of chocolate, and how it became a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Try chocolate cake made from an original recipe from 1824. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. 800-SEE-1830. www.osv.org. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

    10am- FAMILY CONCERT: The Alchemystics perform at The First Churches of Northampton as part of Nonotuck Community School’s 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series. The band labels themselves as new roots music- the group plays a mixture of reggae, soul, hip hop, and dub. Before the show, students from Easthampton’s SHOW Circus Studio’s Circus Stars Youth Performance Troupe will present a show of tumbling, juggling, and other circus feats! 129 Main Street. 586-5996. http://www.nonotuck.org. Northampton, MA. ($)

    10am – FAMILY CONCERT: Enjoy the music and storytelling of Sarah Pirtle and Erin Berard, founders of the touring program Courage Stories. Some songs and stories inspired by life on the farm! 4 Norman Road. 625-2355. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. ($)

    10am – NATURE WALK: Take a nature walk with Ted Watt at Benson Place. Look for tracks, snow fleas, bird songs… 337-5340 Heath, MA (FREE)

    10am-12Noon – ANIMAL STUDIES: Berkshire Sanctuaries is sponsoring a Bird Banding Demo at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary for families w/kids 3yo & older. Use mist nets, band birds, record data, relase birds unharmed. (472 West Mountain Rd.) berkshires@massaudubon.org Lenox, MA (>$)

    10am-12Noon – OPEN HOUSE: Spring Street Preschool with host a Kids’ Party and Preschool Open House with a student art show, bake sale and kids’ activities. http://www.springstreetpreschool.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-4:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Visit Historic Deerfield for the 2011 American Heritage Chocolate Celebration! Enjoy learning all about how delicious chocolate treats are (and once were) made, make Valentines, and take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. 84 Old Main Street. 774-5581. http://www.historic-deerfield.org. Deerfield, MA. ($$)

    10:30-11:20 – SCIENCE ADVENTURE: Visit the Haskins Center in North Adams for Kitchen Chemistry: Science Fun for Families, a hands-on workshop where children and their parents can explore science through everyday materials found in most every kitchen. Activities will likely be messy, and every child will be able to bring home their own ocean in a jar. Pre-registration required. 210 State Street. 664-4821. www.ccberkshire.org. North Adams, MA. (FREE!)

    11:30am-9pm – ICE SKATING: Outdoor ice pavilion (435 Main Rd.). No skate rentals. 528-1443 x248 Monterey, MA (FREE)

    12Noon – VALENTINE: Family Valentine’s Day celebration at Ventfort Hall (104 Walker St.). Activities through out the day: bonfire, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, Nutshell Playhouse in concert, Victoria Tea, “The Might Mysterious Megapuff”, guided tours and more. 637-3206 www.guildedage.org Lenox, MA ($)

    12-2pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Get henna-ed! Professional henna artist Sangita Desai will visit the Meekins Library for a seminar in which participants can learn about the Indian tradition of henna and pick out their own designs to be henna-ed on their hands. Ages 12+, pre-registration requested. 2 Williams Street. 268-7472. www.meekins-library.org. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE!)

    12Noon-6pm – WINTER FEST: Amherst Leisure Services hosts Winterfest 2011. Bring the family to enjoy both indoor and outdoor winter activities a the Cherry Hill Golf Course (323 Montague Rd.). There will be sled dogs, music, kids carnival, cross country ski lessons, fireworks, sledding & tubing, hay rides, food, and much more. www.winterfestamherst.com Amherst, MA ($)

    1pm – STORYTELLING: Author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney shares stories and reflects on how he pieces together tales. Pinkney is a 2010 Caldecott Medal winner. 125 West Bay Road. 658-1100. www.carlemuseum.org. Amherst, MA. (FREE with museum admission!)

    1-3pm – ARTS AND CRAFTS: Get creative with lace, paper, stickers, glitter, etc. at the Dickinson Library! Sponsored by The Friends of the Library, this Valentine-making workshop is open to anyone! 115 Main Street. 498-2455. www.northfieldpubliclibrary.org. Northfield, MA. (FREE!)

    1–3 pm: CRAFTS: Make Your Own Paper at the Berkshire Botanical Garden for families w/kids 5yo+. Learn the craft of paper making from beginning to end, and take home hand-crafted paper for cards, collage, printing or framing. 298-3926 Stockbridge, MA ($$)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 02/05/11-02/11/11

    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

    Bill Koch Cross Country Ski League held their annual Lollipop Races for kids ages 6 and younger at Notchivew this past Sunday in Windsor, MA. (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.

    SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm – HILLTOWN FAMILIES CELEBRATION: Visit Cup and Top Café (1 North Main St.) for the family-friendly opening celebration of the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA, a fundraiser for Hilltown Families. There will be giveaways of local food products (click here to enter to win), screening of The Nields Organic Farm for the kids, refreshments, soup, birthday cake, and a playspace for the kids. All images are for sale and all proceeds go to benefit Hilltown Families. 585-0445. www.cupandtop.com. Florence, MA. (FREE/FUNDRAISER)

    On Sunday, February 6th at 1pm & 3:40pm – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Traditional English Long Sword dance groups That Long Tall Sword and Flesh Wounds (of Smith College) will be doing two shows at the Eric Carle Museum’s Great Hall (125 West Bay Rd.). 658-1100. http://www.carlemuseum.org. Amherst, MA. (FREE!)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, February 12th at 10am – FAMILY CONCERT: Enjoy the music and storytelling of Sarah Pirtle and Erin Berard, founders of the touring program Courage Stories.  Some songs and stories inspired by life on the farm!  4 Norman Road.  625-2355.  http://www.redgatefarm.org.  Buckland, MA.  ($)

    On Sunday, February 13th at 1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: World premier of Mr. G’s Community Chorus at Cup and Top Cafe. The chorus, made up of children ages 6-10, will sing Mr. G songs as well as classics by artists like Bob Marley and Patsy Cline. 1 North Main Street. 585-0445. http://www.cupandtop.com. Florence, MA. (FREE!)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    BIRDS OF PREY OPEN HOUSE: On Sunday, Feb 6th from 1-4pm,Greenfield Center School will host a Birds of Prey Open House from 1-4. Come from 1-2 to hear Tom Ricardi, Raptor Rehabilitator, talk about his work. See several majestic live birds of prey. From 2-4 enjoy light snacks and bird-related activities and projects. Dissect an owl pellet, make masks and more. Kindergarten through 5th grade classes will be open for touring. All activities are free. www.centerschool.net

    MAMMA MIA SING-ALONG: Fun! Fun! Fun! 3rd Annual Mamma Mia Sing-Along & Costume Contest! Sat., Feb. 5, 7:30 pm, Academy of Music, Northampton. Contest: 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Out! For Reel LGBT Film Series presents this fabulous evening of fun, singing, & laughter. Mamma Mia!, starring Meryl Streep, is a musical and love story set to ABBA songs. Closed captions. Dress up in island or wedding garb, hats, boas, overalls, flippers for the Anything Goes Costume Contest. Judges include Mayor Clare Higgins & Sen. Stan Rosenberg. Tix: $11 Advance/ $14 Door / $9 Student – Academy Box Office only. Tix online at http://www.OutForReel.org or State St. Fruit Store, Northampton, Academy B.O., Food For Thought, Amherst, & World Eye Books, Greenfield. For more information: www.OutForReel.org

    BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th by 7pm.

    Lilly Lombard of Grow Food Northampton writes: WE REACHED OUR GOAL! Thanks to over 1300 contributors, including the Kestrel Trust that helped us tip our bucket [on Tuesday], we have secured the funds to buy the Bean & Allard farmland to create the Northampton Community Farm! We expect to close on the purchase of the land in mid-to-late February, and look forward to a groundbreaking celebration at the site after the spring thaw. Our Farm will proudly post a Forever Farmland sign and will stand as a permanent reminder that, when we as citizens dare to think BIG, act collaboratively, and exercise enormous tenacity, we can achieve wonders!

    VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Volunteer Opportunity at New Hingham Elementary School in Chesterfield, MA. A group of students would like to create a New Hingham newspaper and is asking for parent or community support. Volunteers would be needed during recess periods (approximately 12:15-12:45) to work with students developing stories and conducting interviews. A student-run newspaper is a great way to build community and to allow students of various grades to work together. For more information, contact Michael Fredette at the school office or by email at mfredette@hr-k12.org.

    Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th by 7pm.

    SUSTAINABILITY: On Saturday, February 12, from 10-11:30am there will be a free home composting workshop at Ward’s Nursery in Great Barrington. Attendees will participate in a hands-on demonstration of how to build an efficient and active compost pile. A good home compost system can improve lawns, gardens and houseplants; help the planet by reducing household waste volume; and save money by reducing waste costs and saving the expense of having to purchase topsoil or compost in bags. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Avie Maloney at aviem@cetonline.org or call 413-445-4556 ext. 30.

    GATOR GRINS AT LITTLEVILLE AND CHESTER: Hilltown Community Health Center’s dental outreach program ‘Gator Grins’ will provide a dental education program on February 8th for Littleville Elementary School in Huntington. On February 15th, the program moves to Chester Elementary School in Chester. Students at Chester who were served in the past will automatically go onto the schedule. Parents of students who are new to the program can contact Kirsten Cooper at 667-3009 ext. 239, or email her at kcooper@hchcweb.org to enroll.

    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 we will be rebroadcasting The Fox & Frog Folk Song Episode where we feature several folk songs, including “Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” “Simple Gifts, The Fox” “Frog Went A-Courtin’.”  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!

    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 | Listen Here

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 01/29/11-02/04/11

    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

    Save your shopping for the Greenfield Winter Farmers' Market next Saturday, Feb. 5th. Winter Farmers' Markets are great community events to take the family to. The kids can discover locally grown roots and grains, chat with farmers, see demonstrations and taste samples - and parents get to stock up on locally grown foods, like these fresh sunflower sprouts selling at the Northampton Farmers' Market two weekends ago. (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, January 29th starting at 11am – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Free Day 2011 at MASS MoCA. Tours, sale, photo booth, art-activities, demos, ice cream and more. http://www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (FREE)

    All weekend long from 9am/10am-5pm – TRAINS: The Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will take place at the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (1305 Memorial Ave.). Over 50 model railroad displays in varying scales, vendors, crafts, clinics, and more. If you have kids crazy over trains, here’s 7 acres of railroad mania! 267-4555 www.railroadhobbyshow.com West Springfield, MA (>$)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    Opening party for the debut on "Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit" is on Saturday, Feb. 5th from 5-7pm. Bring the kids and come celebrate 5 years with an opening reception at Cup & Top Cafe in Florence, MA.

    On Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm – HILLTOWN FAMILIES ART OPENING: Visit Cup and Top Cafe for the opening reception of the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA, a fundraiser for Hilltown Families. There will be giveaways of local food products (click here to enter to win), screening of The Nields Organic Farm for the kids, refreshments, birthday cake, and a playspace for the kids. All images are for sale and all proceeds go to benefit Hilltown Families. 585-0445. http://www.cupandtop.com. Florence, MA. (FREE/FUNDRAISER)

    On Sunday, February 6th from 1-4pm – BIRDS OF PREY OPEN HOUSE: Greenfield Center School will host a Birds of Prey Open House from 1-4. Come from 1-2 to hear Tom Ricardi, Raptor Rehabilitator, talk about his work. See several majestic live birds of prey. From 2-4 enjoy light snacks and bird-related activities and projects. Dissect an owl pellet, make masks and more. Kindergarten through 5th grade classes will be open for touring. All activities are free. www.centerschool.net

    BULLETIN BOARD

    Dance/Movement/Yoga for Children and Teens in Shelburne Falls with Kate Pousont: Ongoing movement classes in the beautiful studio at Shelburne Falls Yoga. Classes emphasize anatomically sound technique and the joy of movement, incorporating exercises from a variety of dance forms as well as improvisation, kinesthetic games, and yoga. Newly forming teen class will combine dance, body conditioning, and yoga to increase body awareness, strength, and flexibility. Kate is a longtime performer and teacher of modern dance and ballet and a certified Kripalu Yoga and Yoga ed. instructor. She has performed throughout the northeast and also teaches at PVPA and Valley Dance Project. 413.475.2441 or pousont@mtdata.com for more information.

    Hilltown Families turned five at the turn of the year … and we are celebrating all year long! This month we are offering 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses, celebrating local food and businesses with a sample of products from Dean’s Beans, Tea Guys, Bart’s Ice Cream, Dufresne’s Sugar House, and Appalachian Naturals. Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th.

    VOTE FOR HILLTOWN FAMILIES – BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    FREE RELAXATION WORKSHOP: The Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a free workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn relaxation skills to help with stress, fear, and anxiety. The workshop will be 10am-12Noon on Saturday, January 29th at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Rd.) in Huntington. “Mind-body techniques”, focused breathing, and using your imagination are becoming more and more understood and welcomed as a compliment to traditional medical practices. Presenter, Ann Buscemi, who is certified in Therapeutic Hypnosis and Emotional Healing, will teach some very simple techniques that can be used anywhere, anytime. Call Lee at the Worthington Health Center for info and registration: 238-5511 x155.

    Win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Alchemystics in Northampton on February 12th - part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Deadline to enter to win: 02/08/11 @ 7pm (EST).

    RECYCLING FUNDRAISER: The Littleville Elementary School PTO in Huntington, MA is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Protect the environment by donated used items (cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, digital video cameras, ink jet cartridges, MP3 players and more). Items may be dropped off at the school on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays and this will be an ongoing fundraiser.

    SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. 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 we are playing lots of new music, including: Billy Kelly, Lunch Money, Steve Weeks, Luv Clowns, Grove Kid Nation and Jamie Broza.

    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!

  • 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 | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, January 29th, 2011

    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.

    9am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Winter Farmers’ Market in the basement of Thornes through April 30th. Food, live music and art. Northampton, MA (MARKET)

    9am-1pm – PARENTING WORKSHOP: As a follow-up to Friday (1/28) night’s lecture, Kim Payne will facilitate a workshop based on his ideas presented in the book, “Simplicity Parenting.” Hosted by the Hartsbrook School. 584-3198. www.hartsbrook.org Hadley, MA ($$)

    9am-5pm – TRAINS: The Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will take place at the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (1305 Memorial Ave.). Over 50 model railroad displays in varying scales, vendors, crafts, clinics, and more. If you have kids crazy over trains, here’s 7 acres of railroad mania! 267-4555 www.railroadhobbyshow.com West Springfield, MA (>$)

    9:30-11:30am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Join Red Gate Farm for Family Farm Day! Explore the farm, go snowshoeing, and learn about animal tracks! 625-9503. http://www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (FREE!)

    9:30am-4pm – FIRE & ICE: Learn about old-fashioned winters at Old Sturbridge Village with ice harvesting, ice-skating, sleigh rides and 18th century-magic tricks. 800-733-1830 Sturbridge, MA ($)

    10-11:30am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Animal Tracking: An Outdoor Adventure with Rachel Roberts at the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). Learn about animal tracking and animals’ winter behaviors with science educator Rachel Roberts. The adventure will include looking for tracks at Northfield Mountain, as well as tracking games. Dress warmly- lots of time will be spent outdoors! Pre-registration required. For ages 5yo+ 800-859-2960. Northfield, MA. (FREE!)

    10am-12Noon: RELAXATION WORKSHOP: The Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn relaxation skills to help with stress, fear, and anxiety at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Rd.). Call for to reg and for more info. 238-5511 X155 Huntington, MA (FREE)

    10am-12Noon – NATURE STUDIES: Tracking at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary (127 Combs Rd.). Identify and follow tracks of native animals and learn about their habitat and winter behavior. 584-3009 Easthampton, MA ($)

    10am-2pm – WINTER MARKET: Visit the Amherst Winter Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.) where chef Tom Hidas will be creating a soup using ingredients from all of the market’s local farmers. The soup will be presented to local leaders and the market’s sponsors at 12pm. 512-9664. http://www.amherstwintermarket.com. Amherst, MA. (FREE!)

    10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Blue Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com Amherst, MA (MARKET)

    10am-5:30pm – GIRLS IN SPORTS: Mass College of Liberal Arts hosts National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Attend a day of clinics (including basketball, softball, volleyball, zumba, tai chi, and tennis), as well as an MCLA women’s basketball game (vs. Worcester State University). For grades 3-8, pre-registration required. 662-5437. http://www.mcla.edu. Williamstown, MA. (FREE!)

    10:30-11:30am – PLAY TIME: The Family Resource Center will offer a Cabin Fever Festival at the Haskins Center Gym. Many snow themed activities, including: build a bear cave; make an indoor snowball; decorate snowflakes; make hot cocoa mix; listen to winter songs and stories. Must pre-register at 664-4821. North Adams, MA (FREE)

    11am – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Free Day 2011 at MASS MoCA. Tours, sale, photo booth, art-activities, demos, ice cream and more. http://www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (FREE)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    1:30-3:20pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Collins/Moylan Arena (41 Barr Ave.). Skate rentals available. 772-6891 Greenfield, MA ($)

    ♦ 2-3:50pm – ICE SKATING: Public ice skating at Fitzpatrick Arena (575 Maple St.) Skate rentals available. 532-2929 Holyoke, MA ($)

    2-6pm – CONCERT: Check out the second annual Berkshire Bluegrass Show, featuring Acoustic Blue, Cedar Ridge, and Dyer Switch. Hosted by the Italian American Club. 442-6098. http://www.acousticblueonline.com. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

    5pm – PUPPET SHOW: Talking Hands Theatre presents “Little Superheroes” – a puppet show about what kids can do to protect the environment, at the Jewish Community of Amherst (742 Main St.). Amherst, MA (FREE)

    7:30-9:30pm – COMMUNITY DANCE: Head to the Wendell Town Hall for a night of International Circle Dancing! Beginners welcome- dances will be taught if needed. Celtic, Israeli, Turkish, Arabic, Armenian and American dances will all be featured. 978-544-3218. www.hinesmusic.com. Wendell, MA. (Donation)

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    Suggested Events 01/22/11-01/28/11

    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

    Winter can be an excellent time to get the family outside to explore local habitats, find signs of wildlife and discover winter adaptations of animals in the region. Tracks can easily be identified in snow, like these raccoon tracks found in Florence, MA. - Several free or low cost community tracking adventures happen this weekend, including in the towns of Ashfield, Easthampton, Florence, Lenox, and Williamstown. Bundle them up and head outdoors for a day of wildlife adventures! (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

    In the morning on Saturday, January 22nd from 10am-3pm – WINTER TRAILS DAY: Activities at Notchview Reservation for annual Winter Trails Day. Cross-country ski lessons for all levels, clinics, snowshoe hike. Bring skis or rent in advance from your local ski shop. Snowshoes available on site. 684-0148www.ttor.orgWindsor, MA (FREE)

    Later in the day on Saturday, January 22nd from 1-7:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Opening Day Celebration for MC Escher: Seeing the Unseen at the Berkshire Museum (39 South St). Hands-on fun with drawing activities, the art of printmaking, Escher’s Animals, multimedia presentation and opening reception (5-7pm). 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    In the evening on Saturday, January 22nd at 7:30pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    And not to be missed on Sunday, January 23rd at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present 2 time Grammy Award winning artist, Bill Harley in his triumphant return to the Pioneer Valley as part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series at Flywheel Arts Collective in the old Town Hall. Families are invited to come sit and listen to Bill’s funny and engaging stories and songs. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door. Easthampton, MA ($)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, January 29th from 10am-5:30pm – GIRLS IN SPORTS: National Girls & Women in Sports Day for girls in grades 3-8 at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (375 Church St.). Must pre-reg 662-5000 Williamstown, MA (FREE)

    On Sunday, January 30th from 10am-5pm – TRAINS: The Amherst Railroad Hobby Show will take place at the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (1305 Memorial Ave.). Over 50 model railroad displays in varying scales, vendors, crafts, clinics, and more. If you have kids crazy over trains, here’s 7 acres of railroad mania! 267-4555 www.railroadhobbyshow.com West Springfield, MA (>$)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    PARENT/DAUGHTER WORKSHOP: Empower your daughter to make real friends, communicate assertively and be true to herself. The Real Parents, Real Daughters workshop, taught by bestselling author & educator Rachel Simmons, will introduce 4th & 5th grade girls to the skills to speak & listen with courage, improve parent-daughter communication patterns, & establish healthy friendship habits. Your daughter will get personal attention in our small group & take home fun memories and life-changing skills. Workshops are 2 hours long, once a week, for four consecutive weeks: January 24, 31, Feb 7 & 14 at LGA Schechter in Northampton, MA. Note: new Parents of Girls workshop starts Feb 28. Register for both HERE.

    Advocate for Hilltown Families! Invite your family, friends and neighbors to Vote for Us: Best Local Blog! - Deadline: Feb. 6th by 12Noon

    BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    Arianna Grindod writes: NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) is offering free teacher training workshops that focus on Solar Sense. Learn about solar energy science and its technological applications; how to integrate concepts of renewable energy into your STEM curricular activities; and how students can earn the Clean Green Power Champion Patch for participating in the pr…ogram. Contact NESEA to request a free educator workshop in your area agrindrod@nesea.org. See More K-12 Education K-12 EDUCATORS HOME http://www.nesea.org

    Hilltown Families 3rd Annual Handmade Valentine Swap. Deadline to sign up: January 30th. Open to all Western MA families.

    RECYCLING FUNDRAISER: The Littleville Elementary School PTO in Huntington, MA is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Protect the environment by donated used items (cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, digital video cameras, ink jet cartridges, MP3 players and more). Items may be dropped off at the school on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays and this will be an ongoing fundraiser.

    FREE RELAXATION WORKSHOP: The Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a free workshop designed for anyone wanting to learn relaxation skills to help with stress, fear, and anxiety. The workshop will be 10am-12Noon on Saturday, January 29th at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russell Rd.) in Huntington. “Mind-body techniques”, focused breathing, and using your imagination are becoming more and more understood and welcomed as a compliment to traditional medical practices. Presenter, Ann Buscemi, who is certified in Therapeutic Hypnosis and Emotional Healing, will teach some very simple techniques that can be used anywhere, anytime. Call Lee at the Worthington Health Center for info and registration: 238-5511 x155.

    Win a pair of tickets! Deadline to enter: 1/25/11 @ 7pm (EST).

    COMMUNITY CHORUS: Do you like to sing? Do you like other people? Come sing with other people! Minerva Voices, The Minerva Arts Center’s premiere choral group, is looking to expand its enterprise by adding talented voices of all ages and ranges. Come to Minerva Voices’ first meeting and rehearsal of the New Year on Thursday, January 27th from 6:30 to 8:30 at 1288 Massachusetts Avenue in North Adams, MA. No audition required, just a pleasant demeanor and a willingness to sing. Meetings and rehearsals will be held on Thursday evenings this season, culminating in a final performance this Spring: “The Best of Broadway.” For more information, visit www.MinervaArtsCenter.org, e-mail MinervaArtsCenter@gmail.com or call (413) 346-4502.

    Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for 5 years! Help HF continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and/or enhanced publicity. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for details.

    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 Keller Williams guest DJs HFVS. He’s put a great show together, playing some of his favorite family friendly music, including past and current hits, along with music from his new family album, Kids.

    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!

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    Suggested Events 01/15/11-01/21/11

    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

    With the fresh snow fall, outdoor adventures this weekend will take you outside to explore and enjoy, including a moonlight snowshoe hike in Northfield on Saturday and Winter Tracking with Earthworks in Conway on Sunday. (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.

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, January 22nd at 11am – WINTER FEST: Blue Star’s 2nd Annual Sleigh Rally and Winter Fun Fest, hosted by Blue Star Equiculture at Burgundy Brook Farm (3090 Palmer St., Rt. 181). 289-9787 http://www.equiculture.org Palmer, MA (>$)

    On Sunday, January 23rd at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present 2 time Grammy Award winning artist, Bill Harley in his triumphant return to the Pioneer Valley as part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series at Flywheel Arts Collective in the old Town Hall.  Families are invited to come sit and listen to Bill’s funny and engaging stories and songs. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at Brown Paper Tickets. Easthampton, MA ($)

    BEST BETS THIS WEEKEND

    On Saturday, January 15th from 10am-2pm – WINTER FARE: Northampton Winter Fare at Smith Vocational and Technical High School, a one-day winter farmers’ market. Locally-grown foods, workshops, barter fair, and more. 665-7100 http://www.buyocalfood.org Northampton, MA (MARKET)

    Saturday evening, January 15th at 8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Concert & Dinner in the Hilltowns. Chris Smither will be performing at the Ashfield Town Hall. Pre-concert dinner at Elmer’s from 5-7:15pm. For dinner reservations and concert info call 628-4003. http://www.elmersstore.com Ashfield, MA ($$)

    On Sunday, January 16th at 1pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    Sunday evening, January 16th from 3-5pm – FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    NEW MUSIC SERIES: New 5-Week Music Series with Mister G on Mondays in Northampton beginning Jan. 17th: Mister G’s Community Chorus for kids 6-10yo (3:30-4:15pm). Imagine the Young at Heart Chorus for kids! Join the coolest chorus for kids singing classic rock, folk, soul & Mister G’s irresistible originals. – Mister G’s Jamboree for kids 0-5yo (10:15-11am or 4:30-5:15pm). While teaching at the Smith College Campus School, Mister G developed an innovative approach to early childhood music immersion. Music and movement have never been so much fun (& educational). – All classes at Cradle in Thornes Marketplace. Cost is $75 ($55 for each additional child) & includes Mister G’s CD, Pizza for Breakfast. Mention “Hilltown Families” when you register through mistergsongs.com, and get a free Mister G T-shirt.

    BEST BLOG: As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, acknowledge the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! It’s listed under “Media Mavens.” Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors? – Spread the word! www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

    Hilltown Families is giving away a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Grammy award winning artist Bill Harley, along with 2 copies of Bill Harley’s newest CD release,"The Best Candy in the Whole World." Deadline to enter to win is 01/19/11.

    Leslie Lucio writes: International Adoption Family Playgroup – A new playgroup for families with children who have been adopted internationally will be meeting in Northampton on January 15 at 3:30. This will be our first get together and we would love to have interested families join us. Most children are five and under, but we welcome families with children of all ages. Please email us if you are interested : LeslieLLucio@gmail.com

    NEW BABY/TODDLER GROUP IN HILLTOWNS: Free 10-week series for parents and their young children at the Gateway Family Center (9 Russel Rd.) in Huntington, MA on Friday mornings from 10-Noon, beginning January 21st through April 1st. Parents of infants under one year will meet together for five weeks to learn infant massage, baby sign language and to meet other hilltown families with babies. Parents of toddlers and preschool age children will meet for parent /child “playshops” that will include cooking projects, art activities, and games. In the final five weeks of the series, both groups will meet together for scheduled topics such as Music with Your Child, Stress Reduction, and Chat with a Pediatrician. Assistance with transportation is available. Call Lee at the Worthington Health Center, 238-5511 x155, or Kim at the Gateway Family Center, 667-2203, for more information. (FREE)

    Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for 5 years! Help HF continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and/or enhanced publicity. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for details.

    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!

    FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER: Is your family preparing to buy your first home? Taking a free First Time Homebuyer workshop will introduce you to the “team members” you will assemble during your home purchase. Participants will learn how to select a team of professionals to help with the purchase of a home, which mortgage products are available to first time homebuyers, how to prioritize housing wants/needs, what happens in a home inspection, how to make an offer on a house, what happens at the purchase and sale signing and the closing,and more. This workshop is FREE. Saturday, Jan. 22th, 29th and Feb 5th from 9am –12:30pm at the Hilltown CDC office in Chesterfield. Pre-registration is required. Contact Bea at 296-4536 x115 or beavh@hilltowncdc.org.

    VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Eastern States Exposition’s Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, MA is seeking volunteers interested in discovering the rich heritage of New England and sharing that knowledge during school programs held throughout the year. Dressed in Early American-inspired apparel , volunteers will guide and help children learn what life was like for youngsters in the 19th century. Volunteers will gain a wealth of knowledge about crafts, food and daily life of the era and will dress in a provided period costume to authenticate the experience. Prospective volunteers must be available weekdays and training sessions begin January 24. More info call 205-5051 or email storrow@TheBigE.com

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

    Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

    Don’t miss Bill Harley on the Hilltown Family Variety Show this weekend! On WXOJ 103.3FM (Northampton, MA) on Saturday, January 15th at 9am and Sunday, January 16th at 7am  We are re-broadcasting Bill’s visit where he told an early version of “The Best Candy in the Whole World” and his song “Everybody’s a Baby ‘Bout Something”.

    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!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

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

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, January 15th, 2011

    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.

    10am – FILM: Images Cinema (50 Spring St.) will screen Party Mix, a collection of shorts compiled by the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Party Mix is a collection of funny shorts for kids ages 6yo+. 72mins. 458-1039 www.imagescinema.org Williamstown, MA (>$)

    10am-12Noon – PARENTING SOCIAL: Color Play is a monthly social and craft for families parenting children of color, supporting parents by addressing the cultural imbalances on their children’s community, encouraging self-acceptance and identity awareness. Providing parents with the opportunity to have open dialogue around the many concerns of parenting children of color, it will  include a story hour, healthy snack and seasonal craft; as well as, fun interactive parent-child connecting in a diverse setting.  Northampton, MA (FREE)

    10am-3pm – GAME DAY: Board and card games will be available for the community to come and join in with one another at the Huntington Library. 667-3506 www.thehuntingtonpubliclibrary.org Huntington, MA (FREE)

    10am-2pm – WINTER FARE: Northampton Winter Fare at Smith Vocational and Technical High School, a one-day winter farmers’ market. Locally-grown foods, workshops, barter fair, and more. 665-7100 http://www.buylocalfood.org Northampton, MA (MARKET)

    1pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    1pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: The Springfield Museums will host a Premium Live Reptile Show, present by Animal Adventures, an expert “adventue guide” to introduce & educate families to a variety of exotic creatures. 263-6800 http://www.springfieldmuseums.org Springfield, MA (FREE w/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    1-3pm – NATURE STUDIES: Feed Your Bird Buddies at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, a workshop for children 5yo+ . Hands-on class that introduces recipes using fruit, nuts, seeds, and other natural materials. Families will make and take home their own creations to feed wintering birds. Pre-registration required: 298-3926. Stockbridge, MA ($)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    3:30pm – INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION FAMILY PLAYGROUP: A new playgroup for families with children who have been adopted internationally for kids up through 5yo. Email LeslieLLucio@gmail.com if interested. Northampton, MA

    4-6pm – HIP HOP SHOW: Youth Hip-Hop Show to honor local community leaders for MLK weekend at Berkshire Community College (1350 West St.). Dance party follows frm 7-11pm. 446-6261 Pittsfield, MA ($)

    6:30-9pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Snowshoeing in the moonlight at Northfield Mountain Education Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). . No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Rentals available. For ages 12+. Pre-reg 800-859-2960 Northfield, MA ($)

    7:30pm – THEATER: Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater presents The Wizard of Oz at the Bowker Auditorium. www.alsct.org Amherst, MA ($)

    8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Concert & Dinner in the Hilltowns. Chris Smither will be performing at the Ashfield Town Hall. Pre-concert dinner at Elmer’s from 5-7:15pm. For dinner reservations and concert info call 628-4003. http://www.elmersstore.com Ashfield, MA ($$)

    8pm-Midnight: DANCE PARTY: 3rd Annual Full Belly Dance Party For Local Food Security at the Hampshire College Red Barn. A fundraiser for the Kestrel Trust and the Amherst & Northampton Survival Centers. Love band (The No-No’s), cash bar. 259-1695 Amherst, MA (FUNDRAISER)

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