Shop Local & Handmade During December Art Walk Easthampton

The holidays are here and many families are thinking about gift giving.  Art Walk Easthampton is happening this Saturday, December 14th from 5-8pm and is a festive event to attend with the family while shopping local and handmade for the holidays. With over fifteen exhibition spaces to explore, families can expect to discover unique gifts, art exhibits, local author/illustrator, and even art demonstrations.  There are three areas to check out during this Saturday Art Walk, including Eastworks, the Old Town Hall, and the Cottage Street Cultural District… Read the rest of this entry »

Plaid Friday in Western MA

Move Over Black Friday! Make Way for Plaid Friday!

Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big store “Black Friday,” and is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays.

The day after Thanksgiving, in the mass consumer world, is typically known as Black Friday. Instead of shopping at the big box stores that day, support Plaid Friday in Western Massachusetts! Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses.

Very much like the already well known Small Business Saturday, Plaid Friday ensures that the dollars you spend this holiday season go back into YOUR community. Smaller and independent retailers return a total of 51.1% of revenue to the local economy, while national chains, only return an average of 13.6% of revenue within the market that hosts the store.

Many locally owned, independent businesses are giving back to their community during the holiday season to, supporting causes like food security in the region…  Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Dec 3rd-9th, 2011

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Many towns host holiday strolls where families can enjoy walking around high-spirited Main Streets illuminated for the holidays while parents shop local and take in the celebratory atmosphere. Several Holiday Strolls are coming up this weekend and next! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Hilltown Families Board Game SwapOn Saturday, December 3rd from 9:30-10:30am: BOARD GAME SWAP: Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room in Williamsburg, MA. Bring in board games you would like to swap with other families. Kindly make sure the games have all their pieces before bringing in. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. RSVP here, or just drop in. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

Following the Board Game Swap on Saturday, December 3rd from 10am-3pm – MYO CRAFTS & HOLIDAY FAIR: Both kids and adults today can create unique handmade holiday gifts and crafts today at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School’s Eco-craft Fair!  Materials are largely recycled or all-natural items, and activities include wreath making, decorating candles, mixing herbal teas, and creating hats and scarves from fleece.  The event also includes a book fair and local artisans and craftspeople will be selling their wares.  There will be live entertainment all day (including a performance from the school’s chorus!) and delicious homemade food is available.  413-268-3421.  132 Main Street (just down the street from the Meekins Library on Route 9).  Haydenville, MA.  (FREE ENTRANCE, >$ CRAFTS)

On Sunday, December 4th  from 12noon-2pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Main Street at Christmas in the village of Stockbridge with antique cars, entertainment, Santa and holiday tunes. 413-298-5200. Stockbridge, MA (FREE)

And later on Sunday, December 4th  at 4pm and 7:30pm – VESPERS: Visit Mt. Holyoke College for their annual vespers service.  The college’s glee club, jass ensemble, choir, and handbell choir will perform, and there will be carols and a candlelight chant.  Abbey Memorial Chapel.  College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

Scroll down to see our complete list of Weekly Suggested Events for the entire week, with 70 event listings for this coming weekend alone!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

On Saturday, Dec. 10th from 3-8pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: Take a holiday stroll today in Great Barrington!  There will be all kinds of family activities, including childrens’ crafts, music all over town, a gallery walk, tree lighting, and fireworks!  Downtown Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

On Sunday, Dec. 11th at 11:30am – CAROLING: Go caroling all over the community!  The event begins with a potluck lunch at St. John’s Corner in Ashfield, then heads to Poet’s Seat and finally the Buckley Nursing Home.  413-369-0240 or 413-625-9680.  Ashfield, MA; 259 High Street, Greenfield, MA; 95 Laurel Street, Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

BALLET: Pioneer Valley Ballet is proud to present its 33rd annual production of the Nutcracker, an enchanting, classic ballet production at the landmark Academy of Music Theatre on Dec 9, 10, 11. All tickets are reserved seating and available online and in person at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Senior & MTA member discounts available in person only. To purchase tickets, please call the Pioneer Valley Ballet at 413-527-6363, or the Academy of Music box at 413-584-9032 x105, or visit www.academyofmusictheatre.com. All shows have discounted high school & college student RUSH seats available 1/2 hour prior each performance at the box office window. RUSH seats are restricted to upper balcony only.

CRAFTED IN THE VILLAGE: December 3rd and 4th. Crafted in the Village. Open Studios and Craft booths all over Ashfield!  Shop with those who make what they use and use what they make.  Saturday 11am – 4pm  Sunday 11am – 2pm  Saturday night: Swing Caravan in Concert at Elmer’s Store! Dinner begins at 5, the concert starts at 7pm. Come early to shop, stay to eat and swing!  www.Elmersstore.com for information on everything!

Enter to win eco-friendly, locally-made, free-play toys & music from Easy Keepers. Deadline to enter to win: 12/5/11

OPEN HOUSE/CRAFTS: On Sat. Dec. 3rd, Greenfield Center School will again host a Crafty Rumpus Open House. This is a colossal arts, crafts and music event for all ages with free art activities for children 3-12 years. Also musician Jay Mankita, who, according to Pete Seeger, is “one of the half dozen best songwriters today” will perform children’s music, as will Carrie Ferguson. In addition, Crafty Rumpus hosts a 25+ booth craft fair featuring juried artisans from across the region offering lovely wares, and will be serving up savory and sweet foods. All events free and all are welcome! Admissions information will also be available. For directions: www.centerschool.net and check out the Rumpus website: craftyrumpus.com Crafty Rumpus 2011 Sat. Dec 3rd, 10-4

HANDMADE HOLIDAY FAIR: Start your holiday shopping at Alchemy Initiative’s Handmade Holiday Festival– a juried exhibit of 40 artisans. From pottery and jewelry to chocolates and quilts- this is your one-stop spot to check everyone off your holiday list! Preview Party: Fri., Dec. 2nd, 4-7pm, $20. Gen admission: Fri., 7-9pm and Sat., Dec. 3rd 10-6pm, $4 adults/kids under 5 free. Drop and Shop: Parents, drop your child off at Bisque, Beads, & Beyond for a two-hour art project while you shop. Hands-on for your child, hands-free for you! Special hours on Saturday only. Call BBB to reserve your child’s spot: 413-442-9033. For more info, visit www.AlchemyInitiative.org or call 413-236-9600. 40 Melville St., Pittsfield, MA (next to the CYC and Boys and Girls Club).

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

Lee MacKinnon, Director of Family Education and Support at the Hilltown Community Health Centers writes, “A staff representative from the Hilltown Community Health Center’s Families  Together program will be at the Cummington Family Center, 33 Main St. in  Cummington, on Wednesday, December 7 from 10-11am. Hilltown residents  wishing to give comments, suggestions, or ideas for improvement to the program  are invited to drop by and complete a survey. Anyone wishing to give input but unable to make the session may obtain a survey at the Worthington Health Center  or call the health center at 413-238-5511 x155 to find out how to complete a survey.  Families Together is funded by the Massachusetts Community Development Block  Grant Program. To remain eligible for these funds, the program must annually  gather this information.”

Enter to win a yearlong family membership to The Trustees for 2012 plus two adult stickers for cross-country skiing at Notchview in Windsor for the 2011-12 season. Deadline: 12/24.

Emma Stamas of the West County Resilience Committee writes,Creating a More Resilient Holiday Season… Have you ever wanted to have a less stressful and more meaningful holiday season? Join in a discussion about how to save time and money and become more sustainable with members of West County Resiliency at our Tues. December 6 meeting at 7 to 8:30pm at the Shelburne Senior Center. Come and learn new gift giving ideas and less wasteful ways to make decorations, gifts, wrappings,holiday meals, and ways to minimize stress and depression. For more information about this free event or what our group is all about, call 413-624-3240.”

Kristen Rhodes of Leeds, MA writes, “Looking to start a playgroup for my 4yo son. If your child is 3-6 & you are looking for a homeschooling playgroup, contact me!  I’m hoping to get together up to 5 mornings a week (9:30-11). My son has a severe peanut allergy so the group would need to be peanut free. I am willing to host, provide activities, & snacks (just let me know of food allergies/special diets) or we could meet at a peanut free facility if the group prefers…  Pretty much I’m looking for an alternative for preschool as he is in much need of play with other children & cannot attend most playgroups due to his severe allergy, I have a background in early childhood & wouldn’t mind facilitating. Anyone is interested in brainstorming some type of playgroup, let me know!”


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Dec 3rd-9th, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Nov 26th-Dec 2nd, 2011

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Happy Thanksgiving Day! (Heritage breed turkeys at Earthfire Farm in Buckland, MA. Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

On Friday, November 25th: BLACK FRIDAY – The day after Thanksgiving is filled with family friendly activities. Families can discover the roots of Thanksgiving in Sturbridge, check out Springfield’s Big Balloon Parade; enjoy merry-go-round rides in Holyoke; track animals in Conway; watch a puppet show in Amherst; be dazzled by holiday light display in Florence & Springfield; shop local at Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls; and much more!

On Saturday, November 26th at 11am – FAMILY MUSIC: The Nields, a local sister songwriter duo, will be at Odyssey Bookshop on Saturday morning to teach families about the importance of music, especially creating music together! Their book, All Together Singing in the Kitchen  is about family music making and includes tools for getting started. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (<$)

On Sunday, November 27th 9am and 11am – FAMILY FUN RUN: Get outside post Thanksgiving for some fresh air, exercise and delicious food (and delicious landscape) with your community! The annual Gorge apres Gorge takes place today at the Chesterfield Gorge. The event begins with a 5k race on the Westfield River at 9am, followed by a free family fun walk at 11am. Following the event will be free tea, cocoa, and coffee from Bread Euphoria, as well as delicious potluck food (bring something to share!). Make the most of the last of the fall weather and foliage. 413-296-4793. Chesterfield, MA. ($)

Scroll down to see our complete list of Weekly Suggested Events for the entire week!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Hilltown Families Board Game SwapOn Saturday, December 3rd from 9:30-10:30am: BOARD GAME SWAP: Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room in Williamsburg, MA. Bring in board games you would like to swap with other families. Kindly make sure the games have all their pieces before bringing in. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. RSVP here, or just drop in. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

On Saturday, December 3rd at 5:30pm – CAROLING: Enjoy caroling and sleigh rides in the center of Williamsburg! There will also be crafts, cider and cocoa, and treats. Takes place on the Grange Hall Lawn. Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

On Sunday, December 4th from 11am-4pm – YULETIDE: Storrowton Village is dressed to the nines this holiday season! Wreaths, garlands, and more donated by local businesses adorn every nook and cranny. This weekend, you can visit the beautiful village and enjoy special holiday events. There will be live music, caroling, a visit from Santa, ice carving, blacksmithing, open hearth cooking, a petting zoo filled with farm animals, and more! Celebrate the holidays and learn some history, too! 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (<$)

BULLETIN BOARD

Enter to win eco-friendly, locally-made, free-play toys & music from Easy Keepers. Deadline to enter to win: 12/5/11

OPEN HOUSE/CRAFTS: On Sat. Dec. 3rd, Greenfield Center School will again host a Crafty Rumpus Open House. This is a colossal arts, crafts and music event for all ages with free art activities for children 3-12 years. Also musician Jay Mankita, who, according to Pete Seeger, is “one of the half dozen best songwriters today” will perform children’s music, as will Carrie Ferguson. In addition, Crafty Rumpus hosts a 25+ booth craft fair featuring juried artisans from across the region offering lovely wares, and will be serving up savory and sweet foods. All events free and all are welcome! Admissions information will also be available. For directions: www.centerschool.net and check out the Rumpus website: craftyrumpus.com Crafty Rumpus 2011 Sat. Dec 3rd, 10-4

Win tix for a parents' night out in Northampton, MA. Deadline to enter to win: 12/1/11

HANDMADE HOLIDAY FAIR: Start your holiday shopping at Alchemy Initiative’s Handmade Holiday Festival– a juried exhibit of 40 artisans. From pottery and jewelry to chocolates and quilts- this is your one-stop spot to check everyone off your holiday list! Preview Party: Fri., Dec. 2nd, 4-7pm, $20. Gen admission: Fri., 7-9pm and Sat., Dec. 3rd 10-6pm, $4 adults/kids under 5 free. Drop and Shop: Parents, drop your child off at Bisque, Beads, & Beyond for a two-hour art project while you shop. Hands-on for your child, hands-free for you! Special hours on Saturday only. Call BBB to reserve your child’s spot: 413-442-9033. For more info, visit www.AlchemyInitiative.org or call 413-236-9600. 40 Melville St., Pittsfield, MA (next to the CYC and Boys and Girls Club).

Lego KidsFest

Legos are great for creative free play! Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page to find out how you can win tixs to KidsFest!

LEGO MANIA: The LEGO KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford’s Connecticut Convention Center December 2nd-4th. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Universe and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation and the Mystery Mural, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. Five identical 4.5 hours sessions are available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.LEGOKidsFest.com

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Volunteer opportunity in Northampton. The Manna Meal Program serves three meals each week to Northampton residents out of two local churches. Volunteers are needed to help set up for the meals, serve food, and clean up afterwards. Mondays and Saturdays at lunchtime, and Wednesdays at dinnertime. To sign up, contact Robert Saalfrank at 413-587-2674.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Nov 26th-Dec 2nd, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Nov 19th-25th, 2011

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Many of the holiday fairs that happen over the holiday season host craft making for families too! Great opportunity to make your own holiday gifts while getting out into the community and being creative with your kids! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

On Saturday, Nov. 19th from 10am-3pm – HOLIDAY FAIR/CRAFT MAKING: Ride a pony, dip candles, see a marionette show, enjoy delicious food, and more at the Hartsbrook School’s Holiday Fair!  The Pocket Lady and King Winter might even pay a visit.  413-586-1908.  193 Bay Road.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE ENTRANCE, >$)

On Sunday, Nov. 20th at 2pm – FAMILY THEATER: Nutshell Playhouse performs their swashbuckling adventure, “Pirates!” this afternoon at the New State Performing Arts Center!  The show is a fun adventure involving ships, eye patches, and a magical journey to the bottom of the sea!  413-212-1416.  55 North Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (DONATION)

Scroll down to see our complete list of Weekly Suggested Events for the entire week!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Hilltown Families Board Game SwapOn Saturday, December 3rd from 9:30-10:30am, Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room in Williamsburg, MA. Bring in board games you would like to swap with other families. Kindly make sure the games have all their pieces before bringing in. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. RSVP here, or just drop in. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Kurt Heidinger of Biocitizen writes, “Biocitizen is offering a course that reveals how the natural philosophy of Transcendentalism got its start here in the Northampton area. Participants in this class (limit of 6, w/4 seats still open) read key works of local Transcendentalists; keep a journal; & practice environmental philosophy at places that inspired them: in our area, Walden Pond, & NYC’s Central Park & the Met. Our goal is this: we need to change our way of life if we’re to live in harmony with the designs of nature, but this change will not be brought to us by the government or corps—it happens 1st on the personal level. To fuel & encourage this transformation, our course empowers you with a deep historical and ecological understanding of our “native” natural philosophy.”  www.biocitizen.org

Win tix for a parents' night out in Northampton, MA. Deadline to enter to win: 12/1/11

 CRAFT FAIR: The Little Drummer Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, Nov 19th, 9am-4pm, at Franklin County Technical School, 82 Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls. Proceeds from the show benefit the Franklin County Technical School music department and award winning drumline! This juried craft fair features craftspeople from throughout the Pioneer Valley selling unique handcrafted products, including knits, woodworking, pioneer chairs, oil paintings, hook rugs, lotions, salves & lavender, soaps, candles, dried floral, fudge, jams & condiments, handbags, jewelry, cards, soft toys, and quilts!  Fair held indoors, plenty of free parking. Free admission. Raffles, refreshments and bake sale items! Find them on Facebook!

 OPEN HOUSE: Amherst Montessori School will hold an Admissions Open House for Parents, Saturday, November 19, 10 AM-noon. Learn what a Montessori education is all about, and if it is the right choice for your child.  By following true Montessori principles, Amherst Montessori School nurtures each child’s spirit by demonstrating respect for others and a celebration of diversity, while offering a competitive academic curriculum. Children become self-confident, socially responsible leaders who think outside the box. To register for the Open House, please call 413-253-3101. Amherst Montessori School, 27 Pomeroy Lane, Amherst. www.amherstmontessori.org.

Enter to win eco-friendly, locally-made, free-play toys & music from Easy Keepers. Deadline to enter to win: 12/5/11

OPEN HOUSE/CRAFTS: On Sat. Dec. 3rd, Greenfield Center School will again host a Crafty Rumpus Open House. This is a colossal arts, crafts and music event for all ages with free art activities for children 3-12 years. Also musician Jay Mankita, who, according to Pete Seeger, is “one of the half dozen best songwriters today” will perform children’s music, as will Carrie Ferguson. In addition, Crafty Rumpus hosts a 25+ booth craft fair featuring juried artisans from across the region offering lovely wares, and will be serving up savory and sweet foods. All events free and all are welcome! Admissions information will also be available. For directions: www.centerschool.net  and check out the Rumpus website: craftyrumpus.com  Crafty Rumpus 2011 Sat. Dec 3rd, 10-4

HANDMADE HOLIDAY FAIR: Start your holiday shopping at Alchemy Initiative’s Handmade Holiday Festival– a juried exhibit of 40 artisans. From pottery and jewelry to chocolates and quilts- this is your one-stop spot to check everyone off your holiday list! Preview Party: Fri., Dec. 2nd, 4-7pm, $20. Gen admission: Fri., 7-9pm and Sat., Dec. 3rd 10-6pm, $4 adults/kids under 5 free. Drop and Shop: Parents, drop your child off at Bisque, Beads, & Beyond for a two-hour art project while you shop. Hands-on for your child, hands-free for you! Special hours on Saturday only. Call BBB to reserve your child’s spot: 413-442-9033. For more info, visit www.AlchemyInitiative.org or call 413-236-9600. 40 Melville St., Pittsfield, MA (next to the CYC and Boys and Girls Club).

Lego KidsFest

Legos are great for creative free play! Stay tuned to the Hilltown Families Facebook page to find out how you can win tixs to KidsFest!

LEGO MANIA: The LEGO KidsFest is a giant traveling LEGO expo coming to Hartford’s Connecticut Convention Center December 2nd-4th. This hands-on, educational, all-ages LEGO extravaganza features millions of LEGO bricks not to mention lots of construction zones, dozens of life-sized LEGO models and displays, LEGO Universe and LEGO Games, group builds such as Creation Nation and the Mystery Mural, live LEGO Master Builders, and so much more covering three acres of space. Five identical 4.5 hours sessions are available. Tickets are $18 for kids and $20 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.LEGOKidsFest.com

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Nov 19th-25th, 2011

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for Nov 12th-18th, 2011

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Take the challenge this year by shopping local and non-commercial during the holiday season. The abundance of craft fairs and open studios happening in the area featuring handmade products by local artists and artisans make it easy to find that special something when looking for a gift of any kind. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

HILLTOWN FAMILIES PRESENTS

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15th from 7-9pm: HILLTOWN FAMILIES PRESENTS: “The Importance of Creative Play in a Commercialized World” with Dr. Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe and Consuming Kids on Tues., Nov 15th from 7-9pm at the Meekins Library in Williamsburg (FREE). In the critically acclaimed Consuming Kids, Dr. Linn, the nation’s leading advocate for protecting children from corporate marketers, provided an unsparing look at modern childhood molded by commercialism. In her book, The Case for Make Believe, Dr. Linn argues that while play is crucial to human development and children are born with an innate capacity for make believe, the convergence of ubiquitous technology and unfettered commercialism actually prevents them from playing. Dr. Linn will speak about these issues and help generate ideas for preserving non-commercialized creative play, especially around the holidays. A Q&A session will follow.

BEST BETS

Holiday fairs can be fun opportunities for the entire family, many of them offering non-commerical crafts and activities for the kids, and local handmade items to purchase for gift giving, any time of the year. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

On Saturday, Nov 12th from 10am-4pm in Berkshire Co. – HOLIDAY FAIR: The Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School’s 39th annual Holiday Fair !  There will be, of course, locally handmade goods for sale, as well as hayrides, puppet shows, a silent auction, pocket lady, candle dipping, delicious food, and more!  413-528-4015.  35 West Plain Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE ENTRANCE)

Later in the day on Saturday, Nov 12th from 1-4pm in Hampden Co.- LITERACY: November is Family Literacy Month in Massachusetts, and the Children’s Museum at Holyoke is hosting a Family Literacy Day!  There will be a StoryWalk, opportunities for parents to learn how to support literacy at home, free carousel rides, and tons of reading-themed activities.  413-536-5437.  444 Dwight Street.  Holyoke, MA.  (FREE)

On Sunday, Nov 13th from 10am-5pm in Hampshire Co. – OPEN STUDIOS: There are over 50 artists, artisans, and craftspeople whose studios are in the Arts and Industry building in Florence!  This weekend, they’re offering an open studio event where families can tour the building, check out what’s being produced, and even buy some local artwork!  Great opportunity for kids to get a behind the scenes look at working artist studios. 413-348-7503.  221 Pine Street.  Florence, MA.  (FREE) 

Scroll down to see our complete list of Weekly Suggested Events for the entire week!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Another excellent opportunity to shop local and handmade is the "Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit." Not only can you meet the challenge of shopping local, but the sale of every images benefits Hilltown Families! They make an excellent gift too!

Thursday, November 17th from 7pm – OPENING RECEPTION: Mocha Maya’s hosts “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” through the end of the year and invite art patrons and families in Franklin County to stop in for the opening reception. The show is a fundraiser for Hilltown Families (so bring your check books) and the exhibit will highlight seasonal images from Franklin Co. and surrounding areas in Western MA. All are welcomed to join us!  413-625-6292. Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge Street. Shelburne Falls, MA (FUNDRAISER)

BULLETIN BOARD

 CRAFT FAIR: The Little Drummer Craft Fair will be held on Saturday, Nov 19th, 9am-4pm, at Franklin County Technical School, 82 Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls. Proceeds from the show benefit the Franklin County Technical School music department and award winning drumline! This juried craft fair features craftspeople from throughout the Pioneer Valley selling unique handcrafted products, including knits, woodworking, pioneer chairs, oil paintings, hook rugs, lotions, salves & lavender, soaps, candles, dried floral, fudge, jams & condiments, handbags, jewelry, cards, soft toys, and quilts!  Fair held indoors, plenty of free parking. Free admission. Raffles, refreshments and bake sale items! Find them on Facebook!

Kurt Heidinger of Biocitizen writes, “Biocitizen is offering a course that reveals how the natural philosophy of Transcendentalism got its start here in the Northampton area. Participants in this class (limit of 6, w/4 seats still open) read key works of local Transcendentalists; keep a journal; & practice environmental philosophy at places that inspired them: in our area, Walden Pond, & NYC’s Central Park & the Met. Our goal is this: we need to change our way of life if we’re to live in harmony with the designs of nature, but this change will not be brought to us by the government or corps—it happens 1st on the personal level. To fuel & encourage this transformation, our course empowers you with a deep historical and ecological understanding of our “native” natural philosophy.”  www.biocitizen.org

 OPEN HOUSE: Amherst Montessori School will hold an Admissions Open House for Parents, Saturday, November 19, 10 AM-noon. Learn what a Montessori education is all about, and if it is the right choice for your child.  By following true Montessori principles, Amherst Montessori School nurtures each child’s spirit by demonstrating respect for others and a celebration of diversity, while offering a competitive academic curriculum. Children become self-confident, socially responsible leaders who think outside the box. To register for the Open House, please call 413-253-3101. Amherst Montessori School, 27 Pomeroy Lane, Amherst. www.amherstmontessori.org.

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

JOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including DIY posts, seasonal cooking, and community-based educational opportunities. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

RECYCLING HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Home Depot is up to good this holiday season with their 4th Annual Eco Holiday Light Recycling Event.  They are offering a program for families to recycle their non-working strings of holiday lights at their stores through Nov. 13th.  This weekend take a moment to dig out the decorations and find those non-working strings of lights you’ve been hanging onto that you didn’t know how to recycle. – Watch this quick video highlighting the process of recycling strings of lights.

AGRICULTURE: The documentary “Farmageddon” is about the challenges that federal laws and regulations put on dairy farming and how it affects small dairy famers’ ability to produce a product that they are actually able to sell.  The movie will be screened at the Academy of Music on Nov 13th at 7pm as a fundraiser for Grow Food Northampton, the group that recently created the Northampton Community Farm.  Proceeds from the screening will benefit the group’s future organic community garden.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about dairy farming, as well as a way to teach your kids about food and farming!  Click here to see the trailer.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Nov 12th-18th, 2011

SaturdaySunday
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Shop Local This Holiday Season … AND WIN!

4th Annual Think Local First Contest

PV BALLE 4TH ANNUAL THINK LOCAL FIRST CONTESTThe Pioneer Valley Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (PV BALLE) 4TH Annual Think Local First contest will be running through the end of this year. As an incentive to get folks to support local, independent business in the Hilltowns and Pioneer Valley, over 90 local businesses have donated more than 130 gift certificates that value nearly $4,000 to PV BALLE’s contest this year. Visit www.pvballe.org to find out how you can participate.

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