22 Community Highlights: Sweet Festival to Zucchini Festival. Minerals to Rockets.

Modern pow wows invite both Native and non-Native American people together to honor American Indian culture and history. Authentic dancing, drumming and tribal regalia will be presented at the 8th Annual Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow this weekend in Adams, MA.

Sweet Festival to Zucchini Festival. Minerals to Rockets. Silversmithing to Citizen Scientists… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week celebrates while learning about Native American traditions and history at the Rock, Rattle, and Drum Pow Wow in Adams this Saturday & Sunday, August 10th & 11th. The event is an explosion of Native American culture – families can listen to drumming, try out traditional foods, learn about the creation of arts and crafts such as pottery and beaded items, participate in community dances, and more!


Plant & Nature StudiesCitizen ScientistsHistoryCultural StudiesLocal FoodFilmsScienceAnimal Studies


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Montague Soap Box Derby: Making Math and Science Fun!

Montague Soap Box Derby for Youth
Sunday, Sept 22nd, 2013

Wondering what a Soap Box Derby is? According to Wikipedia, it’s “a youth soapbox car racing program which has been running in the United States since 1934.” Read about the history of the Soap Box Derby on Wikipedia.

The 4th annual Montague Soap Box Derby is coming up!  The event will take place on September 22nd on 1st Street in Turners Falls, at the top of the Unity Park hill.  There are three age brackets (8-12yo; 13-19yo; 20+yo.), and participants should race homemade cars with a minimum of three wheels and no motorized propulsion.

Designing, building, and racing a car can provide a multidisciplinary hands-on learning experience for kids, making math and science fun and would be an excellent project to work on this summer! Designing a car requires some basic math, engineering, and design skills, and executing a plan means learning how to use basic tools.  The race itself is a physics lesson – racers will learn how to utilize the slope of the hill paired with the size and weight of their car to accomplish the fastest speed possible.

Western Reserve Public Media in Ohio has made available a comprehensive teacher’s guide (pdf) designed for 5th & 6th grades called Masters of Gravity which could serve as a curriculum tool for the Soap Box Derby in Montague, MA.

For more information or to register, call 413-320-5336 or visit montaguesoapboxraces.comDeadline to enter for this year Sept 2nd!

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for August 3rd & 4th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for August 3rd-9th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities!

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 24 Community Highlights: Felt to Pottery. Storytelling to Stargazing, and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: August 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

August 3rd-9th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


TheaterHistoryNature Studies/HikesArts & CraftsMuseum AdventuresAstronomyCultural StudiesMusic Studies

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 19 Children’s Books on Food Security/Scarcity
  2. 13 Suggestions on What to Do with Tattered & Torn Clothes
  3. Dirty Dozen & Clean 15: A Family Guide to Reducing Exposure to Pesticides in Your Produce
  4. How Does Your Family Approach Chores, Allowances and Educating Kids About Finances?
  5. Language Play: 6 Pre-Reading Activities

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

25 Community Highlights: Felt to Pottery. Storytelling to Stargazing.

Age of Iron Weekend at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield this August 3rd & 4th, 2013. Blacksmiths will showcase their art and artisanship with both historical and contemporary demonstrations. Ironwork craftsmanship dating from the 17th to the 21st century,

Felt to Pottery. Storytelling to Stargazing. Ethnic Fair to Agricultural Fair. Earth Songs to Revolutionary War… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week is a free summer celebration at the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage in Greenfield on Sunday afternoon, August 4th. See the art of blacksmithing with a live demonstration and learn what a blacksmith might have made, other than horseshoes! There will also be an opportunity to learn about textile technology with hands-on activities for all ages, and to view several exhibits on Franklin County’s industrial history, including “Textile Town: Conway’s Industrial History” and “Industry and Innovation: Franklin County’s Unique History.” Light fare and live music will add to the festive atmosphere too! Come celebrate and learn a  few new things about Franklin County’s rich industrial history!


TheaterHistoryNature Studies/HikesArts & CraftsMuseum AdventuresAstronomyCultural StudiesMusic Studies


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 27th & 28th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 27th-August 2nd, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities!

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 27 Community Highlights: Argentinian Folk Music to New England Folk Art. Pollinators to Raptors., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

July 27th-August 2nd, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Community Service Animal & Insect StudiesNature Studies Museum AdventuresHistoryMusic StudiesOrnithology

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Kids Can Count Jellyfish as Seaside Citizen Scientists this Summer
  2. Youth Against Hunger Education
  3. Let’s Play: Tactile Play
  4. Q&A: Where’s Your Favorite Place to PYO Blueberries in Western MA
  5. Music Trekking: Down By the Ocean

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

27 Community Highlights: Argentinian Folk Music to New England Folk Art. Pollinators to Raptors.

Frog at the Westfield RiverIce Cream Socials to Intergenerational Hikes.  Argentinian Folk Music to New England Folk Art. Herpetology to Lepidoptera. Susan B. Anthony to Virginia Lee Burton. … These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week explores river critters at the Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield! Discover the creatures that live in and around the river with naturalist Aimee Gelinas and the Trustees of Reservations on Saturday, July 27th. See if you can spot a red newt or how to tell the difference between a frog and a toad. This free intergenerational event is appropriate for ages 5 and older. The hike is easy and time will be spent in the river with nets exploring, so come prepared to get wet!


Community Service Animal & Insect StudiesNature Studies Museum AdventuresHistoryMusic StudiesOrnithology


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 20th & 21st, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 20th-26th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities!

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 30 Community Highlights: Munch to Thoreau. Scottish to Yiddish., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

July 20th-26th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Art HistoryCulinary ArtsIndustryHistoryShakespeareHikesNature StudiesSTEMGeology & PaleontologyCultural StudiesEntomologyLawn Concerts

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Beach Day Trips: 16 Recommendations from Western MA
  2. Ukulele Episode with Guest DJs, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)
  3. Documentary on the History of Traveling the Mohawk Trail by Berkshire Students
  4. Our Daughters: The Importance of a Parent’s Empathy
  5. Q&A: What to Do With Teens Reluctant to Participate in Family Outings

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

30 Community Highlights: Munch to Thoreau. Scottish to Yiddish.

Opportunities to supplement insect studies this weekend include dragonflies and damselflies in Easthampton, Bug Safari in Housatonic, Science in the Parks in Pittsfield, and a search for aquatic insects (like this one pictured here)in Plainfield.

Munch to Thoreau. Motorcycles to Metalworking. Turbines to Firefighting. Scottish to Yiddish… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week explores the ecosystem of streams, home to a wide variety of often overlooked creatures. By wading in and flipping rocks, netting fish and sorting through leaf packs, discoveries of remarkable critter can be found which can lead to a better understanding our waterways and habitats. The Franklin Land Trust will be hosting an free opportunity for families to explore these stream ecosystems at the Guyette Farm in Plainfield on Saturday morning, July 20th. Josh Morse will lead an exploration of woodland streams and the different aquatic insects that live in these habitats. Families with kids ages 6-12yo will learn how to interpret the health of our streams by the presence of these benthic invertebrates.


Art HistoryCulinary ArtsIndustryHistoryShakespeareHikesNature StudiesSTEMGeology & PaleontologyCultural StudiesEntomologyLawn Concerts


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 13th & 14th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 13th-19th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, nearly 60 Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities!

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 30 Community Highlights: Wiggly Worms to Curious Creatures. Marionettes to Shadow Puppets., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

July 13th-19th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Nature & Animal StudiesHikesArt WalksCulinary HistoryHistoryFilm & Music StudiesFolktales & Puppet ShowsLibrary Adventures

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Make Your Own Sunblock
  2. 5 Hikes for Families in Western MA State Forests and Parks
  3. Outdoor Swimming Pools in Western MA
  4. The Verve Pipe Guest DJ Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)
  5. Q&A: Are Your Kids Still in Diapers? What Do They Swim In?

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA

30 Community Highlights: Wiggly Worms to Curious Creatures. Marionettes to Shadow Puppets.

Wiggly Worms to Curious Creatures. Local Diarist to Local Industry. Marionettes to Shadow Puppets… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week turns STEM into STEAM! Kids 12 and under can participate in the Sunderland Public Library’s free paper airplane contest on Wednesday evening, July 17th! Make a plane at home and bring it to the library to see how it flies. Airplanes must be true paper airplanes – no cardboard, wood, plastic, wire, tape, clips, staples, etc. If youth participants want to continue to experiment with paper airplane, bring them to the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield every Thursday at 1pm as part of their PaperWorks art exhibit to further supplement their interests and learning about basic principles of physics & engineering… and art!


Nature & Animal StudiesHikesArt WalksCulinary HistoryHistoryFilm & Music StudiesFolktales & Puppet ShowsLibrary Adventures


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 6th & 7th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 6th-12th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, nearly 60 Summer Camp Options, and our Bucket List of Summer Activities!

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 23 Community Highlights: French Paintings to Folk Art. Cockatoos to Bald Eagles., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

July 6th-12th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


EntomologyLocal HistoryColonial HistoryArt HistoryArtAnimal StudiesMusic/Cultural StudiesArchaeologySTEMNature StudiesAgriculture

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: 30 Recommended Folk Remedies to Make in the Summer
  2. Where Can Kids Take Swim Lessons in the Summer?
  3. Language Play: 5 Speech and Language Games for Travel
  4. North Quabbin Woods Quest
  5. HFVS Road Trip Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

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23 Community Highlights: French Paintings to Folk Art. Cockatoos to Bald Eagles.

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 29th & 30th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 29th-July 5th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and nearly 60 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 28 Community Highlights: Rockets to Origami. Hieroglyphics to Bridges., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

June 29th – July 5th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Independence DayPlants, Nature & Animal StudiesSTEMArchaeologyLocal HistoryArts & CraftsLawn Concerts & Family DinnersMovies

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Web Review: Fireworks, Chemical of the Week
  2. Kids’ Market in the Hilltowns
  3. Q&A: Sunblocks that REALLY Work
  4. HFVS Summer Essentials Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Q&A: What’s a Good Non-Toxic Bug Repellant

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28 Community Highlights: Rockets to Origami. Hieroglyphics to Bridges.

Hometown parades are a great way to have fun with your family while taking in the culture of various local towns. The Chesterfield 4th of July Parade is the quintessential hometown parade, now in its 66th year! The theme this year is “Children are Our Future.”

Swamps to Camp Fires. Rockets to Origami. Fireworks to Hometown Parades. Hieroglyphics to Bridges… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

4th of July Highlights! From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of 4th of July celebrations happening in Western MA. Check our 4th of July preview of events, parades & fireworks happening to celebrate in Western MA: 2013 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks


Independence DayPlants, Nature & Animal StudiesSTEMArchaeologyLocal HistoryArts & CraftsLawn Concerts & Family DinnersMovies


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Ticket Giveaway: 2013 Green River Festival!

Win a Pair Tickets to
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL
Happening July 20th & 21st, 2013
Greenfield, MA

Enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Green River Festival happening July 20th or 21st in Greenfield, MA. Deadline to enter to win: 6/7/13.

The 27th annual Green River Festival happens again this year on July 20th & 21st, 2013… and Hilltown Families has a pair of tickets to giveaway for either day! With a pair of tickets, and free admittance for children under twelve, two adults can take a gaggle of kids and plan on spending the day at this great Western MA music festival! Tickets do not including parking or food.

Details on how to enter to win are below. Deadline to enter to win is Sunday, July 7th by 11:59pm (EST).

ABOUT THE GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL

Western New England’s favorite summer festival (voted best festival in the Valley Advocate for the past 11 years) will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 20 & 21, 2013 on the grounds of Greenfield Community College (I-91, Exit 26, Greenfield, MA). Presented by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, this celebration combines a spectacular line up of music on three stages, food, crafts, a dance tent, a wide array of kid’s activities and entertainment, and hot air balloon rides for the Pioneer Valley’s biggest outdoor event of the summer. This is the only music festival in Massachusetts that features hot air balloons!

This years line up includes: Gogol Bordello, The Devil Makes Three, The Skatalites, JD MCPherson, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Jeffrey Foucault & Cold Satellite, Slaid Cleaves, Yonder Stage (Dance Tent), The Bernie Worrell Orchestra, Ryan Montbleau Band, The Duhks, Miss Tess & The Talkbacks, Poor Old Shine, Caravan Of Thieves, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Lake Street Dive, Todd Snider, Heather Malone, Bombino, Spirit Family Reunion, Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, and The Sun Parade.

Local highlights include: Lux Deluxe, Salvation Alley String Band, Gaslight Tinkers, The Boxcar Lilies, Who’da Funk It, And The Kids, Spanish for Hitchhiking, Rusty Belle, Jeffrey Foucault, Heather Maloney and Philip Price in the round, The Dire Honeys, Bright Lines and Bunk.

Find out more about this award-winning Western Mass music festival at www.GreenRiverFestival.com.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to be used either day, July 20th or 21st, at the  Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  Winner can choose to use their tickets for either day, but not valid for both. To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER by selecting from the icons below.
  • TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES AND HOW IT KEEPS YOUR FAMILY CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT THE REGION below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Sunday, 07/07/13 @ 11:59pm (EST).

If you don’t win, tickets are available online at www.greenriverfestival.com.

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 22nd & 23rd, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 22nd-28th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: 2013 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and nearly 60 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 30 Community Highlights: Fossils to Fire. Kirtan to Orchestra., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

June 22nd-28th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

EntomologyAnimal StudiesNature ScienceArchaeologyHistoryGeologyLibrary AdventuresAstronomyFilm, Dance & Music StudiesFashion StudiesHighlights in the Hilltowns

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: Where’s an Outdoor Place for PreK Kids to Play on Summer Days?
  2. Summer Solstice Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)
  3. Camping with Kids
  4. Firefly Watch! Citizen Science Project
  5. Summer Resources for Children with Special Needs

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30 Community Highlights: Fossils to Fire. Kirtan to Orchestra.

Ants to Grasshoppas. Fossils to Fire. Kirtan to Orchestra. Earth to Outerspace… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Summer Solstice

Friday, June 21st, marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year!  Celebrate the Summer Solstice at UMass at sunset this evening.  Professors from the UMass Department of Astronomy will be at the UMass Sunwheel in Amherst inviting the public to join them on the longest day of the year.  Learn about the significance of solstices and equinoxes and the history of the UMass Sunwheel at this participatory community event.  Gather with your friends & neighbors, mark the seasons, and learn a little while you’re at it!


EntomologyAnimal StudiesNature ScienceArchaeologyHistoryGeologyLibrary AdventuresAstronomyFilm, Dance & Music StudiesFashion StudiesHighlights in the Hilltowns


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for Father’s Day Weekend

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 15th-21st, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and nearly 60 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 29 Community Highlights: Dragonflies to Damselflies. Father’s Day to Juneteenth., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

June 15th-21st, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Historic Homes & BuildingsMusic StudiesLawn Concerts Animal & Insect StudiesPlant StudiesLibrary AdventuresHistoryParent Workshops & Support

RECAP

In need of a night out? We’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a Parents’ Night Out to see CHICAGO at Mountain Park in Holyoke on Friday, June 21st! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Father’s Day Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)
  2. 12 Tips for Live-Away Dads
  3. Q&A: Local Strawberries
  4. Food Allergies and Summer Camp
  5. Make Your Own Root Beers

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29 Community Highlights: Dragonflies to Damselflies. Father’s Day to Juneteenth.

Dragonfly or damselfly? Learn how to tell the difference between these two insects this weekend at the Mills River Environmental Center and the benefits they contribute to our larger ecosystem.

Dragonflies to Damselflies. The Hundred Dresses to The Hunger Games. Naturalists to Musicians.  Father’s Day to Juneteenth… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Happy Father’s Day!

On Father’s Day this Sunday, June 16th, dads and grandfathers with younger kids can enjoy a free train ride at Look Park in Florence, or Forest Park Zoo in Springfield. Or take an even bigger free train ride at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. Other locations honoring dads and granddads on Father’s Day include Historic Deerfield and Old Sturbridge Village, both of which will offer free admission on Sunday, and a free ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round. Check our Best Bets for Father’s Day highlights for more ways to spend time with the dad in your life this weekend in western Massachusetts!


Historic Homes & BuildingsMusic StudiesLawn Concerts Animal & Insect StudiesPlant StudiesLibrary AdventuresHistoryParent Workshops & Support


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 8th & 9th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 8th-14th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and over 55 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 36 Community Highlights: Hermits to Fairies. Tornadoes to Dioramas., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

June 8th-14th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Indoor AdventuresHistoryAnimal Studies ♦  Nature StudiesOutdoor AdventuresMeteorologyMuseum AdventuresEngineeringOccupational ScienceMusic StudiesCommunity Service

RECAP

In need of a night out? We’re giving away a 4-pack of lawn tickets for a Parents’ Night Out to see CHICAGO at Mountain Park in Holyoke on Friday, June 21st! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Q&A: End of the Year Teacher Appreciation Gifts
  2. Western MA Folk Remedies for Stress
  3. How Does Your Sunscreen Rate?
  4. 12 Baseball Books for Kids
  5. 8 Featured Music CDs for Your Summer Family Road Trip

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36 Community Highlights: Hermits to Fairies. Tornadoes to Dioramas.

Lawn concerts in the summer are lovely opportunities to enjoy a picnic dinner together with your family, and your community! We’ll be adding lawn concerts to our list of weekly Suggested Events throughout the summer, from the Berkshires down to the Valley. Check there each week and make plans for a fun family dinner, al fresco style!

Hermits to Tornadoes.  Fairies to Snow White.  Lawn Concerts to Kayaking… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

LAWN CONCERTS

Summer evening lawn concerts are a lovely way for families to enjoy an al fresco dinner together, in the warm air with live music. BYO picnic dinners and chairs to the following free evening concerts this week and enjoy time together with your family and community:

  • Concert Series at Stanley Park in Westfield presents Shakin’ All Over, one of New England’s premier dance bands, on Sunday evening, June 9th.
  • Musical Moments at Amelia’s Garden in Westfield presents Dan Kane and Friends, who will be performing Broadway classics, on Tuesday evening, June 11th.
  • Coop Concerts Summer Series takes place on Thursday evening, June 13th at Greenfield Energy Park. This week’s show features Devlin Miles, Orlen & Gabriel, and Pat & Tex LaMountain Band. Each group will perform a range of music, including love songs, folk tunes, jazz, blues, ragtime, and country music.
  • Arts in the Park Summer Concert Series happens at Millside Park in Easthampton on Friday evening, June 14th.

Indoor AdventuresHistoryAnimal Studies ♦  Nature StudiesOutdoor AdventuresMeteorologyMuseum AdventuresEngineeringOccupational ScienceMusic StudiesCommunity Service


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for June 1st & 2nd, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

7th annual Hilltown Spring Festival happens this Saturday, June 1st from 10am-5pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for June 1st-7th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and over 50 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 25 Community Highlights: Spring Festival to Bugaboo Review. Ponding to Nature Walks., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: June 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

June 1st-7th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Culinary ArtsHistory ♦  Nature StudiesEtiquetteNational Trails DayCommunity ServiceScienceBugs & BirdsParent WorkshopsParents’ Night Out

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 16 Swimming Holes in Western MA
  2. Let’s Play: Miniature Playhouses & Creative Free Play
  3. 3 Recipes from the Spring Garden
  4. HFVS Guest DJ, Joe & Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. I Spy Nature Science: Citizen Scientists Wanted

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25 Community Highlights: Spring Festival to Bugaboo Review. Ponding to Nature Walks.

Come to the Hilltown Spring Festival on Saturday, June 1st and join in a community Maypole dance! Originating in the 18th century, families can learn about this traditional folk dance by dancing around with ribbons in hand, intertwining and plaiting the ribbons to the pole with their community.  (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Afternoon Tea to Cooking Classes. Ponding to Nature Walks. Cellar Holes to Headstones. Knitting Marathon to Bugaboo Review… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Learning Highlights at the Hilltown Spring Festival

The 7th annual Hilltown Spring Festival happens this Saturday, June 1st from 10am-5pm at the Cummington Fairgrounds.  In addition to great fun and terrific music on multiple stages, there are always learning opportunities at the Festival!  New this year is Joshua Wachtel’s Musical Instrument Petting Zoo. Families can come touch and play a variety of instruments, including a mountain dulcimer, Moroccan bongos, a Turkish banjo called a cumbus, autoharp, flutes and many others, including Sir Planks-a-lot (a man-sized xylophone made of 2x4s!).  Other learning highlights include four different music workshops, including a couple of  interactive intergenerational workshops! Aimee Gelinas will lead a West African and Caribbean percussion & song workshop, and Tony Vacca leads a world music percussion workshop. All of this and so much more, like the Kids-Made Craft Bazaar where youth get to participate directly in the Festival, giving them some real-world experience showing and selling their work. Find out more about the 7th annual Hilltown Spring Festival.


Culinary ArtsHistory ♦  Nature StudiesEtiquetteNational Trails DayCommunity ServiceScienceBugs & BirdsParent WorkshopsParents’ Night Out


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for Memorial Day Weekend, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Mark your calendars! The Hilltown Spring Festival happens next Saturday, June 1st from 10am-5pm at the Cummington Fairground!

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 25th-31st, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Best Bets, Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board, Hilltown Family Variety Show, and over 50 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 35 Community Highlights: Rhubarb to Butterflies. Turtles to Trolley., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: May 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

May 25th-31st, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Weekend HighlightsHistoryTransportationAnimal StudiesScienceEntomologyGeologyNature StudiesParent Workshops

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 13 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Western MA
  2. Little Homes for Little Folks: Make Your Own Gnome Home
  3. Q&A: Where Do Babies Come From?
  4. 8 Ways to Create Engaging Engineering Activities at Home
  5. Q&A: Best Cup of Joe in Western MA?

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35 Community Highlights: Rhubarb to Butterflies. Turtles to Trolley.

It’s all turtles, all day long at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday in Hampden for Turtle Day! Visit to meet a real, live turtle and to learn about the species of turtles native to Massachusetts. Then, visitors will be able to go on a natural history walk of the sanctuary’s grounds to learn about how the landscape was formed and to learn about turtle habitat. Free. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Rhubarb to Butterflies. Bedrock to Marble. Turtles to Trolley… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Community Highlights

There’s fun stuff happening over the next few days!  Down in the Pioneer Valley, families can check out the Amherst Town Fair on the Common all weekend, and take in a concert with Mister G at the Eric Carle Museum on Saturday.  Also in the Valley, Look Park in Florence turns on all their amenities too, including their water park and paddle boats! In the Hilltowns, the Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair happens all weekend at the at the Cummington Fairgrounds with loads of hands-on learning opportunities, fiber arts, and animals.  Out in the Berkshires, there’s a Community Bike Ride in Pittsfield, Rhubarb Festival in Lenox and HoorWA’s annual Riverfest in Williamstown.  Then on Monday are Memorial Day Parades in various town across the region! Check out our short list of parade highlights!


HistoryTransportationAnimal StudiesScienceEntomologyGeologyNature StudiesParent Workshops


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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for May 18th-19th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 18th-24th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and over 50 Summer Camp Options.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 33 Community Highlights: Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: May 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

May 18th-24th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Early ChildhoodHistoryAnimal/Nature StudiesPlant StudiesLanguage ArtsCommunity ServiceParent Workshops

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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33 Community Highlights: Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites.

If being in the garden with your kids is more your speed, be sure to check out the plant sales & swaps happening this Saturday in Cummington, Holyoke, Shelburne Falls, and Sunderland.

Healthy Smiles to Spring Fling. Lady’s Slipper to Bird Calls. Charcoal Industry to Historic Mill Sites… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Community Highlights

With beautiful weather in the forecast, it’ll be a great weekend to head out to any of the many annual community celebrations taking place this weekend. Community highlights include the 34th annual Longmeaddowe Days in Longmeadow, 18th annual Springfest in Northampton, Muddy Brook Elementary School PTA’s annual Mud Day in Great Barrington, and Chester On Track which this year celebrates the 174th anniversary of the coming of the railroad to Chester!  There are also a couple of museum adventures awaiting families this Saturday with Museum Day at The Clark in Williamstown, and Art Museum Day at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.


Early ChildhoodHistoryAnimal/Nature StudiesPlant StudiesLanguage ArtsCommunity ServiceParent Workshops


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Film Maker & Local Farmers Lead Community Conversation on Farming Past and Present

Pothole Pictures presents “Root Hog or Die”
May 17th & 18th in Shelburne Falls, MA

“Root Hog or Die” captures the lives and stories of the old time horse farmers in Franklin County in their own voices, faces, ingenious technology and well-tended land. According to Pothole Pictures coordinator, Fred DeVecca, “Rawn Fulton’s film provides a vibrant and down-to-earth historical context for the resurgence of local agriculture, CSAs and micro-farming in Franklin County today…It connects us to our neighbors, our history, the land and the farms we depend on and gives us all an opportunity to show our support for local agriculture.”

Nearly forty years after its first release, “Root Hog or Die,” the Franklin County documentary film on the last of the old time horse farmers in Western Massachusetts, re-appears on the big screen in Shelburne Falls. On Friday and Saturday, May 17th & 18th at 7:30pm, Pothole Pictures presents two screenings of “Root Hog or Die” in historic Memorial Hall Theater in downtown Shelburne Falls.

On Saturday, May 18, the film’s director, Rawn Fulton will present the recently re-mastered digital version of the original 56-minute film made in 1974, and will lead a community conversation about farming then and now together with a panel of local farmers. They include farmers and local families whose experience stretches back for generations and who are connected to many of the farmers featured in “Root Hog or Die” – Jim Wholey and the Dole family of Shelburne, and Al Pieropan of Ashfield.

Contemporary farmers with long family roots in Franklin County also include Faith and Peter Williams representing the Our Family Farms dairy cooperative and John and Carolyn Wheeler of Wheelview Farm. Newer arrivals to Franklin County farming include Paul Lacinski and Amy Klippenstein of Side Hill Farm in Hawley and David Fisher and Anna Maclay of Natural Roots CSA in Conway. New Roots brings the horse-powered farming tradition back to Franklin County in a new form – community supported agriculture. Recent Mohawk High School graduate will represent the new generation of young farmers revitalizing agriculture in Franklin County.

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Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for May 11th-12th, 2013

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for May 11th-17th, 2013 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including: Mark Your Calendars, Bulletin Board. and the Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, Learn Local. Play Local. for 25 Community Highlights: Mother’s Day to Mamadrama. Steamboat Bill to Beaver Ponds., and our column, Berkshire Family Fun: May 2013, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families!

May 11th-17th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Mother’s Day HighlightsAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryNature StudiesFilm StudiesPlant SalesParent Workshop

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

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25 Community Highlights: Mother’s Day to Mamadrama. Steamboat Bill to Beaver Ponds.

Sunday is Mother’s Day! If you’re looking for ideas for getting out on Mother’s Day, we have a few suggestions

Mother’s Day to Plant Something Campaign. Mamadrama to Steamboat Bill. Beaver Ponds to Fishways… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week!  Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Brunch, Hike & Celebrate for Mother’s Day

Not up for breakfast in bed, then head out for breakfast or brunch.  We asked our readers for family friendly restaurant recommendations for Mother’s Day and they had several to offer. Check out Mother’s Day Brunch to see their suggestions… and add one of your own.

After breakfast/brunch, celebrate Mother’s Day by taking her to one of the many gorgeous gardens dotted throughout Western Massachusetts including the Bridge of Flower in Shelburne Falls, one of the Commonwealth’s most unusual and enchanting “gardens” is found in Franklin County.  Read our post The Art of Great Gardens in Western MA for a list of recommended public gardens in the region.

Looking for other ideas?  Check out our Mother’s Day Highlights!


Mother’s Day HighlightsAnimal StudiesLocal HistoryNature StudiesFilm StudiesPlant SalesParent Workshop


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