Need Help Paying for Childcare?

FYI: Childcare Subsidies Are Available Now!

The Hilltown Community Development Corporation, funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development and the Town of Chesterfield, is now administering childcare subsidies for working families with children ages 0-5 residing in the towns of Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Peru, Plainfield, and Worthington. Parents must be working, or in a vocational or educational program during childcare hours to qualify.

If your gross household annual income is below the limits listed, you may be eligible for assistance in paying for your childcare costs:

  • Household of 2 – $51,200
  • Household of 3 – $57,600
  • Household of 4 – $64,000
  • Household of 5 – $69,150
  • Household of 6 – $74,250

Please contact Steve Herzberg for an application – 413.588.6693 or steven_herzberg@msn.com.

Highlights for the First Weekend of Summer

Lavender Festival happens this weekend in Buckland at Johnson Hill Farm. Walk their Lavender Labyrinth, gaze at their dove release, and join in on a number of hands-on workshops. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Summer is officially here and school is out (for most)! This weekend there are several community festivals and celebrations happening in Western MA to start your summer off right. Three such festival will be celebrating specific cultures, including Puerto Rican, Chinese and Vietnamese.

A community celebration of Puerto Rican arts and culture happens on Saturday, June 23rd in Holyoke at La Noche de San Juan. Live music will fill Holyoke Heritage State Park as participants enjoy dancing, beach volleyball and family activities. And on Sunday, June 24th up in the Berkshires, The Clark in Williamstown will host a traditional Chinese Street Festival, while down in the Pioneer Valley STCC host a Springfield Vietnamese Festival.

On both Saturday and Sunday this weekend the annual Mutton and Mead Festival takes place in Montague, a traditional Renaissance Faire offering families a unique opportunity to learn about medieval culture. And in the Hilltowns, Johnson Hill Farm in Buckland will have their annual Lavender Festival where visitors can tour the farm, watch demonstrations and take part in workshops.

Other festivals and celebrations this weekend include Trolleyfest on Saturday at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum where families can enjoy a trolley ride with costumed actors offer a living-history presentation of a 1910 trolley trip. And in Great Barrington, welcome the summer at the Berkshire Coop’s Summer Solstice Bash at Memorial Field with David Grover giving a family concert and local food being featured. Then on Sunday, festivals continue with Family Fun Day in Greenfield.

Library adventures await you this week too! With school letting out, many libraries will begin their summer reading programs. On Saturday, June 23rd, Tom Stankus presents, “T-Bone’s Big Adventure” at the Wilbraham Library to kick-off their summer reading program in the morning, and then in the afternoon Roger Ticknell and Davis Bates present,”Imagine That: A Song and Story Celebration” at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg to kick-off their program. Then on Monday, June 25th, Lee Library will kick-off their program with Magician Ed Popielarczyk, and the Southampton Library will kick-off theirs with a family-friendly show from the Salvation Alley String Band in the evening on Tuesday, June 26th. Then on Wednesday, June 27th, there will be a family concert with Jay Mankita at the Whatley Library to kick-off their summer reading program too!

Other literary adventures this coming weekend include local local author Ty Allen Jackson, reading When I Close My Eyes at the Lanesborough Library this Saturday morning, and a Bear-Themed Storywalk for the book Saturday Errands: A Day With Momma Bear and Honey Bee will lead families through Easthampton Saturday afternoon. Then later in the week on Thursday, June 28th, there will be a poetry slam at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield which will include a workshop for kids where they can learn about the idea of a slam, and see a mock-slam in the evening.

Find out about all of these events, and other weekend highlights, as well as our summer list of ongoing weekday events, on this week’s list of Weekly Suggested Events.

Community Celebration & Animal Adventure Highlights for this Weekend

Community Celebration, Community Breakfast, and Animal Adventure Weekend Highlights: May 19th & 20th, 2012

It’s Turtle Day at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary this Saturday, May 19th, 2012! Learn all about turtles – kids will get to meet a live turtle, learn about local turtle species, and take a walk along the brook highlighting the area’s natural history. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS

This weekend there are a number of community celebrations happening throughout the region, one of which is the 23rd annual Chester on Track event taking place this Saturday, May 19th in Hampden County! The event, which began as a celebration of the town’s railway history, now encompasses all types of history – everything from steam engines to the Civil War! There will be reenactments of both the Civil and Revolutionary wars, blacksmithing demonstrations, antique cars to check out, and railroad cars, including freight cars, a caboose, and steam and gas engines.

Also in Hampden County, all weekend is Long Meddowe Days. The Longmeadow Historical Society hosts this community celebration, commemorating Longmeadow’s history and culture with an authentic Civil War encampment, graveyard & architecture  tours, live music, Scottish dancers, and activities all weekend the family can enjoy.

In northern Berkshire County on Saturday, families can head to Mass MoCA (with bikes!) for the BIKEfest Family Bike Rodeo in North Adams for a bike-themed storywalk, a bike parade, and a celebration of all sustainable modes of transportation.  In central Berkshire County, celebrate all things mud at Muddy Brook Elementary School’s Mud Day in Great Barrington. Connecting the community with its environment, Mud Day will be filled with fun mud-based games for the kids (and adults not afraid of getting a little, or a lot, muddy!).

In the Pioneer Valley, Laurel Park in Northampton will host its annual Spring Festival at Laurel Park where families can enjoy an afternoon picnic with Morris dancers, live music, and a maypole, and throughout downtown Northampton, the Community Music Center will host Springfest with live music at various locations all day.

COMMUNITY BREAKFAST

Take your family to enjoy breakfast together with your community this weekend, excellent intergenerational opportunities to engage with your family in your community!  On Saturday, there will be a free community breakfast at the Community House in Longmeadow to enjoy before Long Meddowe Days, and on Sunday, a fundraising community breakfast for the Manhan Rail Trail happens at the American Legion Hall in Easthampton before heading over to Big Rig Day.

ANIMAL STUDIES

If your kids are interested in fish, turtles, birds, sheep, nocturnal creatures, or cats & dogs, there’s an opportunity for them this coming weekend and next.  On Saturday, it’s Turtle Day at Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Hampden, and the Ramsdell Library in Housatonic will host The Creature Teachers for kids to learn about creatures of the night.

On Sunday, the Forbes Library in Northampton is hosting a community bird walk where older kids can learn to spot birds, and get help identifying their markings and songs. And for the fish enthusiasts, head on over to the Turners Falls Fishway in Turners Falls to see directly into the river through a special viewing window as anadromous fish (those who live in rivers but spawn in the ocean) make their way to their Atlantic breeding grounds down the Connecticut River.

Later in the week, on Tuesday, May 22nd, families with older kids interested in volunteering at the Dakin Animal Shelter can come to an information session at the Leverett Library tin Leverett o learn about the many different activities that volunteers do and what is required of helpers. And then next week, mark your calendar for two weekend long events that celebrate all things sheep, Old Sturbridge Village’s Wool Days in Sturbridge and the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fairin Cummington.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about all of these events and well over one hundred other family friendly events, workshops for parents, and community opportunities happening all throughout Western MA in our list of Weekly Suggested Events!

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