Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2016

Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2015

Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2014

Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2013

Berkshire Family Fun: Gratitude in the Berkshires

Thankful for the Berkshires

Recently my husband and I have been reading Mark Nepo’s amazing, Oprah-lauded book, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. The book is comprised of 429 pages of daily affirmations, reflections and meditations and has been a wonderful way to connect with my husband first thing in the morning over a cup of coffee, if we are lucky, before the kids get up. Today’s affirmation began with a quote from Berkshire-based musician James Taylor: “We could never have guessed; We were already blessed where we are …” It has taken me a long time to realize that and, like it is for many parents, can still be a daily struggle when juggling work and kids and homework and sports schedules and general adolescent unease. But by taking a few moments each morning to reflect on what I have, who I am, where I am going, and where I live each morning, is a wonderful reminder of how blessed I really am.


This column has served as a biweekly reminder of how lucky my husband and I am to be raising our children in the Berkshires. Besides the lush landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation, as well as the arts and culture at our fingertips just waiting to be explored, we are also lucky to live in an area with some of the best school systems in the state. From sports teams that regularly reach post-season tournaments, and award-winning theater programs among area schools, state-recognized musicians and hardworking debate teams, if one takes a close look at the schools in Berkshire County you will witness some pretty amazing things happening.

Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., the Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter School in Adams is opening its doors for the fall trimester’s Student Arts and Technology Showcase. The evening is an opportunity for students to present their artistic feats through a variety of dramatic and musical acts in the BArT atrium, while a wide array of student watercolors, still-life drawings, digital photos, musical compositions, and animations will be displayed throughout the building. The BArT chorus also will make their school-year debut! The gallery opens at 6 p.m. with performances beginning at 7 p.m.

Then on Friday, Nov. 18, the school’s class of 2012 will host a Dinner and Family Movie Night fundraiser to raise money towards the purchase of new young adult novels for the school’s library. There is a small fee for tickets, but that will get you two slices of pizza, a drink, and the choice of one of two movies — “Aladdin” or Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner is served from 6 to 7 p.m. and the movie runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Popcorn, drinks, and assorted desserts also will be available for purchase.

BArT is located at 1 Commercial Place in Adams. For more information log onto the school’s website at


One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions each year is visiting the annual Festival of Trees at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, but for some reason last year we missed it. Not this year though! With the theme “Under the Big Top” I can’t wait to see what tree decorators have come up with.

This year’s event, opening Nov. 18 and running through Jan. 2 promises to be “a dazzling, fun-filled holiday extravaganza with more than a hundred decorated holiday trees scattered throughout Berkshire Museum’s galleries.” In addition to the trees, there will be special exhibits of vintage circus memorabilia, posters, and photography adding to the exciting Big Top atmosphere.

The 27th annual Festival of Trees festivities begins Friday, Nov. 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with an Opening Night Party, an evening of exhilarating entertainment and delicious delicacies for the whole family. The festivities include performances by a troupe of atmospheric aerialists, a nimble contortionist, and towering stilt walkers. The RSVP period is over, but you may be able to sneak a late ticket by calling 413-443-7171, ext. 45 or by e-mailing

Then on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the museum will host aerial circus workshops with Show Circus Studios, where the company will bring their aerial rigging and years of professional circus performances to the museum for a truly unique experience, as the lucky workshop participants try their skills aloft. Recommended for ages 8 to 16; the workshop size is limited to 10 per session. Registration is required: call 413-443-7171, ext. 10. Workshop participants must be accompanied by an adult. For more information visit

Stay tuned in upcoming columns for more events associated with the Festival of Trees!


Looking for something to do over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge has you covered.

On Saturday, Nov. 26, from 1 to 4 p.m., the museum will host a Pop-Up Festival where families will learn about the art of paper during this fun-filled afternoon of workshops, tours, and talks exploring the world of mechanical books and cards. Museum-goers will even get a chance to design their own holiday gifts to share. For more information visit

Also beginning at the museum this month is its educational program “Kids Create!,” scheduled to take place the last Wednesday of each month through April (Nov. 30, Dec. 28, Jan. 25, Feb. 29, Mar. 28, and Apr. 25) at 10:30 a.m. Parents and children ages 2 to 5 will get to explore the galleries with the museum’s Chief Educator Melinda Georgeson for an exciting interactive look at the world of art. Find more information on this low-cost program on the museum’s website.

One last thing you might want to add to your calendars, as December fills up quick, is the museum’s “Cabaret for Christmas” event on Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. where visitors can enjoy an old-fashioned afternoon of music, art, and heartwarming treats! At 4 p.m., Curator of Education Tom Daly will explore the spirit of the holidays in Norman Rockwell’s art, and at 4:30 p.m., the Sheri Buxton Trio will perform seasonal favorites. Norman Rockwell’s favorite cookie recipe will be served with hot chocolate, and patrons also can make a holiday pop-up card to take home.

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