Seven Fall Festivals in Western MA

Annual Harvest Celebrations Highlight Local Food Traditions

South Ashfield Library serves up slices of homemade apple pie served with chunks of Vermont cheddar cheese at the Ashfield Fall Festival on Columbus Day weekend. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Autumn in Western Massachusetts is a great time of the year to explore the region. As the seasons change and school buses slow down your morning commute, community harvest celebrations fill our weekends with fairs, festivals and community dinners. Since 2005, Hilltown Families has been a resource for finding out about these community building celebrations that support local farming and highlight our local culture.  To follow is a sample of just a few of these harvest gems you’ll find out about during the harvest season.

10th Annual Honeybee Festival

Sept 10th, 2011 in South Deerfield: Celebrating all things honey, the 10th Annual Honeybee Festival happens on Saturday, September 10th from 10am-4pm, at Warm Colors Apiary. With honeybees being vital to our local food supply, participants can learn about their importance with live demonstrations of beekeeping.  Area chefs will be cooking up dishes of local food with honey as their featured ingredient, honey ice cream will be scooped out, and delicious samples of mead will be poured for the adults. — 413-665-4513. 2 South Mill River Road. South Deerfield, MA (FREE)

6th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival

Sept 18th, 2011 in North Amherst: The next weekend on Sunday, September 18th from 12noon-6pm, is the 6th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival. A fundraiser for the North Amherst Community Farm, the festival is a family-friendly celebration with live music,  farm-fresh food, microbrewed beverages, local ice cream, and a small farmers’ market offering locally grown produce. — 413-624-6223. 1089 North Pleasant Street. North Amherst, MA. ($)

Cooking demonstrations at the Garlic & Arts Festival. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

13th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival

Oct 1st & 2nd, 2011 in Orange: October is my favorite month for harvest celebrations in Western Massachusetts. The first weekend in October is the 13th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange, MA. Celebrating agricultural and a region rich in local culture, the Garlic and Arts Festival is a two day celebration with cooking demonstrations, garlic market, garlic cuisine, local artisans and great entertainment! — 60 Chestnut Hill Road. Orange, MA (>$)

50th Annual Festival of the Hills

Oct 1st, 2011 in Conway: That same weekend is the 50th Annual Festival of the Hills in Conway, MA.  On Saturday, October 1st the town hosts a pancake breakfast with local maple syrup, sale of baked goods from Conway local kitchens, and community turkey dinner.  Then on Sunday, October 2nd, is their festival with traditional New England celebration, including log-splitting, pumpkin-stacking, and a good old fashion skillet-tossing competition! — Conway Town Center & Ballfield. Route 116. Conway, MA (FREE)

41st Annual Ashfield Fall Festival

Oct 8th & 9th, 2011: One of my favorite community celebrations, anytime of the year, is the 41st Annual Ashfield Fall Festival on Columbus Day Weekend.  With the smell of pumpkin donuts and hot apple cider wafting through the air, this sleepy little Hilltown comes alive with an iconic New England harvest festival. On the common the community can play games, visit local artisans, watch Morris dancers, while listening to live music. Their annual “Pumpkingames”  bring generations together into teams that formed on-the-spot, competing in a variety of games, such as pumpkin bowling and a pumpkin relay race.  After dancing and playing games, try some warm homemade soup at the Congregational Church Soup Kitchen. And for dessert in the town hall, the South Ashfield Library serves up slices of homemade apple pie, served with big chucks of Vermont cheddar cheese! — Ashfield Town Common. Route 116. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

GFN Harvest Celebration

New on the scene this year is Grow Food Northampton’s October 9th, 2011 Harvest Celebration at the Northampton Community Farm. Live music, local food, games, and farm tours will complement this happy celebration of the first year’s harvest at Crimson & Clover Farm! –

17th Annual Cider Days

The first weekend of crisp November brings us Franklin County’s Cider Days. Celebrating the traditional drink of New England, Cider Days is for everyone who loves fresh apples, sweet and hard cider, cooking with apples, and enjoying autumn in New England. This is the 17th year of this festival, and there will be orchard tours, cider making workshops, cider tastings, talks by orchardists, and more. Highlights include Saturday’s Apple Pancake Breakfast at the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield, and the Marketplace at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls, with local artisans and producers, food vendors, and of course, apples!

Other harvest festivals to look forward to include: 25th Annual Apple Harvest Crafts Fair & Children’s Festival in Amherst and Nuestras Raices’ Annual Harvest Festival in Holyoke on Sept 24th, 2011; Westhampton Fall Festival and Great Pumpkin Roll and Pumpkin Festival in South Deerfield on Oct 16th, 2011. Check back with us for these harvest festivals and more in the weeks to come, or check out list of Weekly Suggested Events every Thursday to find out what festival are happening that weekend.

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Suggested Events 10/09/10-10/15/10

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


Click on image to learn how to make a Halloween Paper-Maché Piñata

DIY: Halloween Paper-Maché Piñatas—The history of piñatas is rich, with historical traditions found in China, Europe, and Mexico, and are made out of a variety of materials, including clay pots, tissue paper, ribbons and paper-maché. In Mexico, piñatas were originally clay pots filled with sweets and treasures, later transformed into a seven-point star with religious symbolism. In today’s modern world, piñatas come in a menagerie of traditional and commercial characters and icons. Click on the image above to learn how to make your very own Halloween Paper-Maché Piñata with Hilltown Families Guest Artist, Kara Kitchen. (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.


On Saturday & Sunday, October 9th & 10th from 10am-5pm – FALL FESTIVAL: Ashfield Fall Festival takes place on Main Street (rain or shine). A fabulous family event. Arts & Craft exhibits, local food, live music and dance, many kid activities, book & tag sales, seasonal foods. A showcase of Ashfield artisans and businesses. No dogs. Ashfield, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

On Saturday night, October 9th from 6-9:30pm – HALLOWEEN EVENT: Skeleton Crew Theater (SCT) at Camp Kee-Wanee. SCT is a theatrical attraction with a Halloween twist. Think of it as a treasure/scavenger hunt you’ll solve in one evening. Shows are 45/65 minutes long. Dress for the outdoors and bring a flashlight. Not scary or gory, just spooky in a tasteful way. Bad weather cancels. Greenfield, MA ($)

On Sunday night, October 10th at 7:30pm – CONCERT: Sonya Kitchell will be in concert at Memorial Hall. Joining her for this special evening is the Brooklyn String Quartet with opening act, Rusty Belle. 665-4036 Shelburne Falls, MA ($$)


On Saturday, October 16th from 10am-3pm – DISCOVERY DAY: Arcadia Discovery Day invites you to come explore the sanctuary and its many habitats, take a net and investigate the small invertebrates in the pond and field, build a bluebird or American kestrel box, and see live birds up close with local wildlife rehabilitator Tom Ricardi. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, October 17th at 12:30pm – FALL FESTIVAL: Westhampton’s 5th Annual Fall Festival with the famous Great Pumpkin Roll (4:15pm). Demos, crafts, 5k, cookout, campfire sing-along. Westhampton, MA (FREE)


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 for more information. — Help us help you!

KID’S CONSIGNMENT SALE: On Saturday, October 9th, come shop The Green Turtle’s Fall/Winter Children’s Consignment Sale at Richmond Town Hall (1529 State Rd.) in Richmond, MA from 10am–5pm. The Green Turtle is an upscale Children’s Eco Boutique showcasing high-end gently loved items ranging from clothing (newborn to preteen); including boutique apparel, shoes, books, toys, CD’s and DVD’s, baby and kids gear, furniture, décor, hand crafted items and more. Get deals on boutique brands and name brands such as: Mini Boden, Hanna Andersson, American Girl, GAP, Gymboree, Naartjie, Polo, LL Bean, Talbots as well as Carters, Old Navy, Children’s Place and more! Shop the Green Turtle Dollar Rack!

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

Deadline to enter to win: 10/13

JOB VACANCY: Executive Director, Hilltown Community Development Corporation (CDC). The Hilltown CDC has been working to address the economic, housing, educational, social and community needs of a ten-town rural region since 1981. The ED will supervise Hilltown CDC’s professional team and the management of all programs. Preferred candidates will have strong leadership and organizational skills and will have experience in financial analysis, budgeting, resource development and grant writing. Candidates with at least 3 years experience in non-profit management strongly preferred. Position requires an ability to understand and manage compliance with federal and state regulations. Full job description is posted at

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

Deadline to enter to win: 10/13

FIELD TRIP: This weekend is the Cranberry Harvest Celebration. Pack up the car and take a road trip to Wareham, MA, for cranberry bog tours, helicopter rides, pony rides, cooking demonstrations, juried crafters and artisans, musical performances, games for children and much more. The Cranberry Harvest Celebration is a great way to see and learn about the picturesque cranberry harvest, while enjoying some old-fashioned family fun.

NEW EXHIBIT: October 2nd through February 27th: Color Forms I: Pink and Blue Projects at KidSpace at MASS MoCA in North Adams. First of a two-part series of exhibitions that explore how color can become form and how it can be connected to social constructions of meaning such as gender. Artist Portia Munson will use paintings, photographs, and everyday objects to discuss the mixed messages sent to children about gender and about mass consumption. The sheer mass of collected pink and blue material goods displayed will make plain how children are indoctrinated into the world of materialism and are taught social rules for gender identity from an early age.

Deadline to enter to win: 10/20

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

COAT COLLECTION: The Girls Scouts in Hadley, MA are collecting gently-used coats to donate to local shelters this winter. Coats can be dropped off at the Hadley Park & Rec and the Hadley Elementary School through October 8th. More info call Kate at 531-5415


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 continuing with our fundraising efforts.  Donate now to Valley Free Radio, YOUR community radio station!

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!


    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

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    Suggested Events 10/03/09-10/09/09


    Garlic and Arts Festival

    North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. (Photo Credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    Suggest an Event

    Click here to suggest an event.

    If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, location, age appropriateness and costs before attending

    • FEATURED EVENT: North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival happens all weekend in Orange, MA. Kids under 12 get in free. Visit for more info.


    Subscribe to the HFVS Podcast

    The HFVS Podcast is back in action!  Technical difficulties blah blah blah blah … but that’s all fixed now and our podcast is back!  So now our listeners have three ways to tune in:

    1. HFVS Podcast: Listen to our most recent episodes anytime you wish!  Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!
    2. Streaming Audio: Surf on over to on Saturday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio from 9-10am.
    3. On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA from 9-10am.


     Win Tickets to see Dan Zanes and Friends

    • Victoria Worth of Ashfield, MA writes: The Smith soccer team will be holding 30-minute clinics for children after games on Oct 3 and Oct 10th. The kids will get to play in some fun activities and interact with the College varsity players. The games are held on the athletic fields at the college. Check the website for game times.
    • Frank Grindrod of Ashfield, MA writes: I just started a blog and we have our first post with a guided tracking walk in Alaska! Please share with the community. Thanks. The link is here.
    • Katarina Noyes of Hadley, MA writes: Volunteer Parent Aides reach out to Hampshire County parents looking for support. 3-5 hrs/wk makes a difference in the life of a family. If you are caring, non-judgmental and a good listener, then you can be a Parent Aide. Fall training now! Call Katarina at Berkshire Children and Families in Hadley, at (413) 584-5690 ext. 140 or email
    • OPEN HOUSE: Amy’s House Childcare will be hosting an open house both this Saturday and on Tuesday from 9am-Noon on Main Street in Cummington, MA.  Come explore a new option to childcare in the hilltowns.

      Conway Festival of the Hills (Oct. 4th, 2009)

      Conway Festival of the Hills this Sunday, October 4th, 2009.

    • Kim Edgar writes: Please plan to join us and invite others to attend the Northeastern Girls Collaborative (NEGC) Western MA Fall Forum being held at the brand new Engineering and Nanotechnology Ford Hall at Smith College, Northampton, MA on Thursday, November 19, 2009 from 4:00pm. to 6:00pm. Click here for more info.
    • AVAILABLE GRANTS: The Chesterfield Cultural Council seeks proposals from schools & youth groups. Click here for more info.
    • Claire Morenon writes: CISA is working on organizing a Winter Fare market this year in Northampton, and we need help! Click here for more info.
    • CALL TO ARTISTS:  Submit your photo or kids art work.  Do you have a great photo of life in Western Mass, or a fabulous work of art your kids have created that you’d like to submit to Hilltown Families?  Send your jpg or link to
    • CLASSES FOR KIDS: Don’t forget to check out our Suggest an Afterschool or Homeschool Class bulletin board.  Lots of great classes have been shared so far.  Share with us a class you’d like to suggest to local families too!
    • 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 on our Weekly List of Suggested Events.  Serious inquiries can email us at for details.


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

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival (October 3-4th, 2009)

    Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival (October 3-4th, 2009)

    Saturday 10/03

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    Halloween Health and Safety Tips

    Halloween Health and Safety Tips

    Hilltown Trick-or-Treaters. (c) Sienna Wildfield

    Hilltown Trick-or-Treater's. (c) Sienna Wildfield

    For many people, fall events like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats. These events are also opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety. Below are tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests…

    READ MORE:  CDC – Family Health – Halloween Health and Safety Tips

    Suggested Events 09/27/08-10/03/08


    Peace Pumpkins at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival

    Peace Pumpkins at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival

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

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

    It looks like rain this weekend folks … but rain or shine it’s harvest time!. Check out the harvest festivals happening this weekend and be sure to check our Suggest an Event page for more details.

    All Weekend

    • The Hancock Shaker Village will be having their Country Fair all weekend in Pittsfield. [LINK]
    • Historic Deerfield Museum hosts a history workshop to discover the seasons in Deerfield. [LINK]
    • The Big E continues in West Springfield. [LINK]

    Saturday 09/27

    • The Hilltown Junior Olympics happen in Windsor.
    • Nuestras Raíces will have their annual harvest festival in Holyoke. [LINK]
    • Adult pick-up soccer happens in Haydenville. [LINK]
    • The Amherst Family Center is having their annual Apple Harvest Crafts & Children’s Festival on the Amherst Town Common. [LINK]
    • In honor of Ramadan, Al-Iman will host its 5th Annual Iftar (break-fast dinner) at Smith College in Northampton. [LINK]

    Sunday 09/28

    • North Amherst Annual Harvest Festival happens at Simple Gifts Farm in Amherst. [LINK]
    • There will be a backcountry trek at Notchview Reservation in Windsor. [LINK]

    Weekday 09/29-10/03

    For more events happening this week, visit our SUGGEST AN EVENT page. There are also fun suggestions on our THINGS TO DO, PLACES TO SEE page. If you know of an upcoming event that you would like to share with other families, please feel encourage to do so by posting it HERE.

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