Musical Diversity at the Hilltown Spring Festival!

Celebrate Music Diversity at the Hilltown Spring Festival

Mark Your Calendars for the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 15th at the Cummington Fairgrounds in Cummington, MA!

This year at the Hilltown Spring Festival, the Hilltown CDC will be featuring 15 bands on 2 stages! Musical offerings at the Festival will range from the jazz saxophone of Charles Neville to the Scottish pipes of Dan Houghton and will include special musical jam sessions and hands-on demonstrations throughout the day. Also on the bill are the local psychedelic Dixieland band, The Primate Fiasco, alt-jazz from Swing Caravan, Celtic fiddler Katherine First and student choirs and musical groups from Hilltown-area schools.

Among the 15 acts scheduled to perform are Gaia Roots & the Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra:

  • Gaia Roots
    The women of Gaia Roots blend vocal harmonies with percussion rhythms creating a unique weave of traditional music and original creations. Their influences and instrumentation draw on traditions from Europe, Native America, Israel, Macedonia, South Africa, India, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Haiti. Their new CD, Mother Drum, was just released last month in Northampton. This is Amiee, Shanti and the rest first appearance at the festival and they’ll be playing at 3PM.
  • Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra
    The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra is a rare treat for irreverent unplugged fans across the country. Formed in 1994, the members now include songwriter and educator Bernice Lewis, composer and arranger Cathy Schane-Lydon and artist Sarah McNair. Close-cropped harmonies and unrestrained ukulele strumming produce a highly original sound, as the Ladies propel themselves through a set peppered with familiar classics alongside lesser-known gems. Nothing is sacred in the Ladies’ quest for suitable material. Expected and surprising genres are equally lavished with attention to harmony, humor and originality.

Suggested Events 04/24/10-04/30/10

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


Peach trees are in blossom in the hilltowns. (Photo credit: HF Contributing writer, Tony(a) Lemos)

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


FAMILY CONCERT: Our friend Uncle Rock will be performing at the Eric Carle Museum on May 15th at 1pm, celebrating the release of his new CD, The Big PictureThe Big Picture is a socially conscious salute to Uncle Rock’s musical heroes. The 12 original songs (and two covers—Carol Burnett’s theme song and Tom T. Hall’s “Sneaky Snake”) offer sonic nods to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, the Ramones, Buddy Holly , Johnny Cash and even Billy Idol. Known for his rockabilly style and lyricism inspired by Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein, Uncle Rock offers a musical variety show here with songs about recycling, acceptance of differences and the importance of shopping locally.  Proceeds benefit the Northampton Community Music Center Scholarship Fund.


Click on the banner to find out what's happening all over Western Mass to celebrate Earth Day.

Saturday, April 24th in Amherst, MA (FREE)

10am-4pm – The First Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival, held on the Town Common and around town. The festival combines The Renewable Energy Fair, Amherst Grows Green and Arbor Day event. There will be tree pruning and tree climbing demonstrations held at Kendrick Park. Sustainable product suppliers, local artisans, consumer information regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy providers will be on hand on the Town Common. A diverse group of entertainers performing on stage on the Common include Drew Hickum and the Colonels, Jay Mankita, Piti Theatre Company, The Raging Grannies, and Marcy Gregoire. In between along the “green path,” local businesses will participate in a scavenger hunt and offer special discounts and incentives to festival attendees. Don’t miss what is destined to become a premiere Valley event!

Sunday, April 25th in Northampton, MA (FREE)

11am-4pm – Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day at the WGBY Family Funfest and Eco-Fair in Northampton’s Pulaski Park and at the Northampton Center for the Arts. A free event with music, demonstrations, and activities for all ages. Music on the Earth Day Stage (courtesy of WRSI): Swing Caravan, Mister G & Primate Fiasco. Over at the Noho Center for the Arts will be Tom Knight Puppets. Entertainment and games for the entire family, inside and outside! Trash audits, recycling, composting, eco-friendly ideas and exhibits from Green Northampton, Pedal People, MassBike, Northampton Public Schools’ Green Teams, and more Earth Day activities for the whole family! 800-781-9429 ext. 258


Saturday, April 24th at Elmer’s Store in Ashfield: Pulled pork sandwiches; Coleslaw; and Mac-n-cheese. And for vegetarians: Eggplant parmesan. BYOB 628-4003

Saturday, April 24th at Remington Lodge in Cummington : Guest chef David Greeman (of Green Street Cafe, The Blue Heron, and The Deerfield Inn) will be serving  Root vegetable bisque with fines herbes; mixed green salad with shallot and garlic vinaigrette; roast leg of lamb, stuffed with tomato, garlic, rosemary, and mushrooms, served with Cabernet jus;  flageolets; Hadley asparagus and potatoes Boulanger; fruit cobbler with maple chantilly. BYOB RSVP 634-5493

Saturday, April 24th at Bread Euphoria in Haydenville: Sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza (including Gluten-Free pizza!).  Open mic! Beer & wine available. 268-7757


SPONSORSHIP, ADVERTISING & ANNOUNCEMENTS: Deliver your message to a large local family based audience while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Advertise your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement here in the Bulletin Board section of our List of Weekly Suggested Events. – SPONSORSHIP: Interested in supporting the work of Hilltown Families?  Find out how to be a sponsor! Serious inquiries can email us at for details

MotherWoman in Amherst, MAFUNDRAISER: MotherWoman’s annual Mother’s Day campaign is underway!  “Mothers are Worth a Million, we’re only asking for $10” honors mothers & helps to fund mother’s support programs in our community. For every $10 you donate (link), a flower bearing the name of a mother you would like to honor will be hung in the window of a participating local business (link). When you buy a flower, you celebrate the women in your life, provide crucial funding to help mothers, and support local businesses. MotherWoman encourages you to patronize participating businesses and to stroll Amherst & Northampton to view the beautiful chain of flowers in storefront windows. Together- we can honor and support mothers- one flower at a time. Learn more about our campaign at

VOLUNTEER/VENDORS WANTED: The Town of Washington is seeking participants for the Washington Annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, June 26th from 9am-3pm. Anyone can join in. Have your tag sale; sell your crafts, baked goods or flowers; advertise your business or organization… Food provided by Ozzie’s Steak & Eggs. Entertainment with the Eagles Band and Ed the Wizard. Many family activities. Anybody interested in participating, volunteering or with suggestions, call RJ Peltier at 623-5911.

YOUTH PROGRAM: Community Action Youth Programs will have a Spring Fair on Thursday, April 29th from 5-7pm in Northampton. Come learn about their free programs offered from the youth community. There will be fun games and activities for your ages 9 and older, including: youth group led presentations; youth film showing; tasty food; dance performance by Alpha Squad (Hampshire Heights’ youth dance group). CAYP is located at 2 Conz Street, #34 Maplewood Shops. For more information and to RSVP, call Loren at 475-1571

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT GIVEAWAY: Two Tickets to See the Phenomenal Guitar Duo Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Calvin Theater

HOMESCHOOL OPPORTUNITY FOR OLDER STUDENTS: The new Museum of Springfield History will host a talk that examines Springfield’s role in the Gold Rush at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 25th, with a talk titled “Springfield and the California Gold Rush.” The talk will highlight the fascinating lives of some of the Springfield residents who journeyed west during the Gold Rush. Some of them played important roles in the development of California while others returned home to achieve positions of stature in our own communities. The program will be held in the museum’s SIS Hall and is free with the price of museum admission. Museum passes may be available for borrowing from your local library. For information, call 413-263-6800 or visit

MASS 99: The Mass. Office of Travel + Tourism has launched the ‘MASS 99’ promotional program offering a wide range of $99 activity packages to choose from throughout Massachusetts this spring. They are asking travelers to visit for a complete list of $99 packages on activities, attractions and events. In conjunction with the $99 activity packages, MOTT’s web site features many great deals on lodging throughout the state this spring for those who want to combine their activities with an overnight stay. ‘Mass 99’ deals are valid April 19 – June 27, 2010.

SCOUT DAY: Scout Day at Historic Deerfield on Saturday, May 1st from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. Scouts and their families are invited to become acquainted with Historic Deerfield during a special day of activities. Girl and Boy Scouts of all ages will explore historic houses and grounds, learn about the past, and make a project to take home. Families can find out about Historic Deerfield’s special programs designed to help scouts meet their goals. Pre-registration is required by April 25th. For more information or to register, please contact Faith Deering, Museum Educator, at (413) 775-7116 or

Earth Day 40th Birthday Media Giveaway

JOB POSITION: The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA is looking for a full time Children’s Department bookseller. The person should be cheerful, enthusiastic and highly motivated and have an extensive knowledge of children’s literature. The responsibilities include in-store bookselling, buying from publishers and toy distributors, working with teachers and local schools around children’s events and in-store book fairs, and a variety of related tasks. The work schedule is Tues. through Sat., including 2 evening shifts. Must have transportation and be fluent in various computer programs. Salaried position that includes benefits, vacation, etc. Submit resume, cover letter, reference list & salary requirements ASAP to Neil Novik at

MEDITATION COURSE: Children’s Meditation Course at Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne, MA on 4/25/10. The aim of this course is to introduce young people ages 8-12 to Anapana meditation – the first step in the practice of Vipassana meditation, a traditional meditation technique practiced for over 2,600 years. Anapana is the observation of natural, normal respiration which helps develop concentration of the mind. With practice, students develop a better understanding of themselves and how their minds work, gaining an inner strength that helps guide decision making. A teenager’s course for ages 12-15 will be offered Oct. 24th. Courses offered on a donation basis. Application materials can be downloaded from or call (413) 625-2160 x313

Hilltown Family Variety Show

HFVS airs every Saturday from 9-10am, and encores air on Sundays from 7-8am, on 103.3FM WXOJ Northampton, MA


Tune in on Saturdays from 9-10am, or listen to our podcasts HERE. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • HFVS Podcast

    PODCAST: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!


    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Ice Skating

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 04/24/10

    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

    8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at Middle Branch, Westfield River, Huntington. 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 at the Gateway Regional High School in Huntington. Call to confirm schedule: (508) 389-6331 Huntington, MA (FREE)

    8am – NATURE STUDIES: The Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation and North Berkshire Audubon are hosting a bird walk at Sheep Hill, a conservation property and the headquarters of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation. Sheep Hill offers a mix of habitats and great viewing opportunities for returning birds such as warblers, swallows, and sparrows, as well as year-round residents such as bluebirds and finches. Participants will learn about bird identification through habitat, behavior and song. This leisurely walk is suitable for all levels of enthusiasts, and is open to the public. 458-2494 Williamstown, MA (FREE)

    9-11am – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Third Annual Ashfield Road Clean Up Day. The snow has melted, revealing a year’s worth of trash along our road. Let’s get together and clean it up! And we can meet our neighbors too. Meet at 102 Ashfield Rd. Bring your morning beverage and we’ll share potluck muffins, donuts, etc.from 9 to 9:30. Then we’ll work in teams to pick up the trash. We can leave it in neat piles along the road and the Williamsburg Public Works Dept will take it away on Monday. For more info call Lisa Hall 268-9271 Wiliamsburg, MA (FREE)

    9am-1pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Footsteps and Footholds at Chapel Brook Reservation. Its time to walk the walk…and climb the cliff. Join other friends of Chapel Brook for a morning of easy trail maintenance, followed by a picnic lunch at noon, and your choice of a wildflower walk or an introductory climbing lesson with the Appalachian Mountain Club at 1pm. Call the Trustees of Reservations at 413-532-1631 x13 or email to pre-register or for more information. Ashfield, MA

    9am-12Noon – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Trash Trackers at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, as part of the Statewide Volunteer Day. Help pick up trash along the Fern Trail, River Trail, Old Springfield Road, and in the meadows. During spring flooding, the Mill River and the Ox-Bow overflow and often leave behind plastics, aluminum cans, and other non-point pollution which was located in the watershed heading downstream. Tasks include: picking up trash! – There will be nature games and activities for kids. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy; and after lunch explore the sanctuary with naturalist Patti Steinman and volunteer guides. – This is an outdoor project, appropriate for all ages. Wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt, bring gloves (preferably waterproof) and wear sturdy shoes (closed toe). Click here to sign up. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

    9am-2pm – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Annual Earth Day Clean-up of the Housatonic River Walk. Lunch provided and tours provided after 2pm. Must be 10yo+. (413) 528-3391 Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

    10am-3pm – FILM STUDIES: Moving Pictures: Creating Animation at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Illustrator/animator Elizabeth Buttler will take young artists through the process of creating moving pictures with traditional animation techniques- from the creation of flip books to the use of a zoetrope. Ages 13 and up. Stockbridge, MA ($)

    10am-4pm – FUNDRAISER: The Riverbend Animal Hospital will have their annual Yard Sale fundraiser this weekend. Great opportunity to practice your 3 R’s! (off Route 9) Hadley, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    10am-4pm –EARTH DAY EVENT: The First Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival, held on the Town Common and around town. The festival combines The Renewable Energy Fair, Amherst Grows Green and Arbor Day event. There will be tree pruning and tree climbing demonstrations held at Kendrick Park. Sustainable product suppliers, local artisans, consumer information regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy providers will be on hand on the Town Common. A diverse group of entertainers performing on stage on the Common include Drew Hickum and the Colonels, Jay Mankita, Piti Theatre Company, The Raging Grannies, and Marcy Gregoire. In between along the “green path,” local businesses will participate in a scavenger hunt and offer special discounts and incentives to festival attendees. Don’t miss what is destined to become a premiere Valley event! Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-5pm ASTRONOMY: Astronomy Day at the Springfield Science Museum. Visit the special exhibit Black Holes: Space Warps and Time Twists. Get a space explorer’s card and fly your excursion pod to the edge of a black hole. Record your discoveries and pictures on a personalized website that you can share with your friends at home. From 12Noon-2pm, observe sun spots through solar telescopes, see a display of meteorites, see a planetarium show, and make some out-of-this-world crafts. (800) 625-7738 Springfield, MA (FREE w/Admission)

    11am & 2pm – THEATER: Berkshire Children’s Theater presents Snow White at the Berkshire Museum.  443-7171 x10 Pittsfield, MA ($)

    1pm – THEATER: Grab the kids and become a Shakespearean actor for an afternoon with Shakespeare & Company. 637-1199 Lenox, MA (>$)

    1pm – THEATER: PaintBox Theatre Presents Mother Goose in the auditorium at the Eric Carle Museum. 658-1126 Amherst, MA ($)

    1-3:30pm – SCIENCE ADVENTURES: Hands-on Family Science at the Springfield Science Museum. Investigate our solar system, examine animal characteristics and discover other engaging activities designed for families to explore together. (800) 625-7738 Springfield, MA (FREE w/Admission)

    2:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES: Lisa Benson, a current Northampton resident, taught English at a Junior High School in rural Japan. She will share her experience and knowledge about the Japanese countryside including local festivals and daily life in a talk, Life in the Japanese Countryside in the Community Room at the Forbes Library. The audience will have the opportunity to see pictures and artifacts and enjoy some tea and light Japanese snacks. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    3:30-4:30pm – FARM ADVENTURES: Farm Chores are Fun at Red Gate Farm. Children are invited to come help the farmer with Saturday afternoon chores. Come feed the animals, check for eggs and do other daily chores that make life on the farm so interesting. All are welcomed. Buckland, MA (FREE)

    6-8pm – CULTURAL STUDIES: Berkshire Museum and the City of Pittsfield host a celebration of Vietnamese culture with food and performance.  443-7171 x10 Pittsfield, MA ($$)

    6-8pm – MUSIC: Bread Euphoria will be holding a Bread & Acoustic Jam with local musicians. Come jam, or just come and listen. Haydenville, MA (FREE)

    6:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Woodcocks in Flight. Join the Hoffman Bird Club. Meet at the Price Chopper parking lot on the Pittsfield Lenox Road for this evening trip in search of displaying woodcock along New Lenox Road. Leader: Noreen Mole (442-6327, ) Lenox, MA

    7pm – CONCERT: Benefit concert for The Academy at Charlemont with Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem at Memorial Hall. The Academy Freightshakers will open the show. 339-4912 Shelburne Falls, MA (Fundraiser)

    7:30-9pm – CONCERT: “Cello Temple” with Stephen Katz, master cellist and valley resident who frequently plays with the Paul Winter Consort will be performing at the Prakasa Yoga Studio. Cello Temple is a blend of contemplative concert, healing journey and improvisational dance jam. (152 Ball Road) 268-7151 Goshen, MA ($$)

    8pm – THEATER: Arena Civic Theater presents To Kill a Mockingbird, Christopher Sergei’s beautifully crafted adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel at the Shea Theater. 863-2281, ext. 3. Turners Falls, MA ($$)

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    Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes at The Clark this Sunday

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

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

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

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

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