Suggested Events for April 14th-20th, 2012

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

Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade at Historic Deerfield (2011)

Fife and drum music this week, starting at the Historic Deerfield on Saturday with a Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade. And on Monday, Old Sturbridge hosts a special Patriots Day. Both events provide hands-on learning opportunities and reenactments. Great way for kids to learn about Colonial History. Scroll down for details. Click on photo to see images from last year's event in Deerfield. (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/school, service, open house or general 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

Spring Vacation Week: April 16th-20th: Many students get April 16th-20th off from school, and parents will be looking for activities for their children to enjoy during the break. There are many opportunities to be found in the region, with several boutique options to choose from, including nature, art, sports, ballet, history, gymnastics, stewardship, outdoor adventures, among others. Check out our post, 15 Camps for Spring Vacation Week in Western MA for some highlights of events and week long camp opportunities happening during Spring Vacation Week right here in Western MA. Some options are for the entire week, while others allow you to choose your days and have full day or half-day options. Then scroll down and check out our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events to see what’s happening all week during Spring Break in Western MA… there are over 150 events and activities to choose from!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

The Hilltown CDC’s 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! Entertainment will include live music, workshops, artists & artisans, local food, family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, Maypole, Morris Dancers, and much more!

Saturday, April 21st at 11am – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Enjoy a pink-themed lunch and a performance of a musical version of the popular children’s book, Pinkalicious!  at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle. There will, of course, be pink cupcakes – but don’t eat too many and get pinkitis!  Show begins at 1pm, lunch includes a meet and greet with the show’s cast and crew!  413-665-1277 ex 1308.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($) 

Sunday, April 22nd from 11am-4pm – EARTH DAY: Celebrate Earth Day at the Springfield Museums!  There will be live music (featuring environmentally-themed songs), free seedlings, a presentation on a birds of prey rehabilitation program, and displays from many local businesses, nonprofits, and initiatives – all Earth Day-themed!  The event is an opportunity to learn about green initiatives happening locally and ways to get involved, as well as a way to celebrate Earth Day!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE) 

BULLETIN BOARD

CLOTH DIAPERS: The Great Cloth Diaper Change Western Mass serves to promote the joys of cloth diapering, celebrate Earth Day, and break a World Record! Saturday. April 21st 11:30am at the Florence Community Center, 140 Pine Street, Florence, MA. Colorful cloth diapers galore! Local Eco-Conscious Vendors! Music! Door Prizes! Raffles! Come capture tons of excitement as we attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ of most number of diapers changed simultaneously. Doors Open at 11:30am. World Record Diaper Change Attempt will be at 12:30 sharp! If you don’t already cloth diaper your baby EVEN BETTER! They will have diapers to borrow for the event and there will be demonstrations of various kinds of cloth diapers that are available.

SUMMER CAMP: Adventure Camp: Four two-week sessions, June 25-August 17, 2012 The Bement School Summer Programs offer a preschool program and adventure day camp for boys and girls ages 15 months to 15 years. Adventure Camp provides a traditional day camp experience. Your child will participate in many activities to make his or her summer a memorable one. At the same time, parents can enjoy peace of mind knowing their child is in a safe and caring place. A sibling discount is available for siblings who enroll in multiple sessions. Bement School, Deerfield, 413- 475-3044. www.bement.org/summer. Optional services include: round-trip van transportation (Hadley, Northampton, Amherst), extended day supervision, enrichment programming, and bag lunches.

SUMMER CAMP: Adventures in Chinese: Two two-week sessions, July 16-Aug 10. Campers, ages 5-12 years, participate in activities designed to build vocabulary and confidence in speaking Mandarin Chinese. Campers will gain an understanding of Chinese art, culture and tradition. They will learn daily conversations in Mandarin including listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Bement School, Deerfield. 413-475-3044. www.bement.org/summer. Optional services include: round-trip van transportation (Hadley, Northampton, Amherst), extended day supervision, and bag lunches.

SUMMER CAMP: Are you looking for a great summer experience for your kids? Check out our post Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA which highlights opportunities happening throughout the region. With a great variety of themes, there are many summer camp/programs your family can choose, including: farm & gardening, music, art, technology, nature, personal development, science, theater, sports, ballet, preK, college… as well as a good old fashion summer camp! Discover what’s being offered near you, and find out how you can add a camp to this growing list too!

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.

Giveaway: Crimson & Clover Farm Share

Enter to win a Small Farm Share from Crimson & Clover Farm in Florence, MA for the 2012 season by sharing a family recipe you're looking forward to preparing this spring with fresh local produce, embellished with the story behind this favorite dish! Deadline: April 16th.

CHEMISTRY: The Edwards Library in Southampton invites library patrons to begin their chemistry adventures at their library for the next few weeks. Beginning April 18th the Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program will be available to check out to families with kids ages 5-12yo for doing experiments at home. Kits may be check out for one week at a time and are available at the library until June. 413-529-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA (LIBRARY PATRONS)

Jennifer Atkins writes, “The MA Sheep and Woolcraft Fair, which is held in Cummington on Memorial Day weekend every year, needs spinners for the very popular Drop-In Spinning area.  We are looking for spinners willing to spend a couple of hours demonstrating their craft, and if they feel comfortable, helping people try it out. We will have some wheels available, or you can bring your own…Please contact Delia Nash if you could help out or would like more information… It is a fun way to help the fair be successful and to meet lots of interesting folks. 413-230-1458. bydelia@yahoo.com.”


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
April 14th-20th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes
Weekly eNewsletter | Events for Working Parents | Workshops for Parents

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Suggested Events 04/23/11-04/29/11

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

Hoop trundling at the Historic Deerfield this past weekend during their Patriot's Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade. Click on the image above to see more photos in this series. (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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and enhanced publicity. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you

BEST BETS

On Saturday, April 23rd, your family can celebrate Earth Day at multiple locations, including an Earth Day Fair in Pittsfield, Eco-Fair in Northampton, Sustainability Festival in  Amherst, and an Earth Day Festival in Easthampton.  All details listed under our Saturday events here.

On Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm – FARM ADVENTURE: Winterberry Farm’s Lambs’ Open House! Visit newborn baby lambs, as well as (maybe) some baby rabbits, ducklings, and/or goslings. There will definitely be chicks! Donations will be collected for Right Sharing of World Resources. 21 Teawaddle Hill Road. 413-548-3940. Leverett, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Mark your calendars for the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival! Three music stages 16 fabulous musical performances, including family concerts with The Nields, Mister G, Ben Rudnick and Friends, Sarah Pirtle and Lui Collins! - Great local food! - Kids-Made Craft Bazaar! - Solar powered stage! - Sustainable vendors! - May pole & Morris Dancers! - Kids under 12 free. All others only $5 per person!

Saturday, April 30th at 10am, 12Noon & 3pm- FAMILY TRAIN RIDES: Take a ride on a train from Pittsfield to Lenox and back on the historic Housatonic Railroad as part of Pittsfield’s 250th anniversary celebration. Pre-ticketing only- tickets can be found at City Hall, the Colonial Theater, or the Berkshire Atheneaum. 232 West Housatonic Street. 413-443-7201. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

In the Hilltowns on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12Noon – FAMILY DAY: Take the kids to Guyette Farm to build a blue bird house with the Franklin Land Trust. Call to register 413-625-9151 x108. Plainfield, MA ($)

Sunday, May 1st at 10:30am – MAY DAY FESTIVAL: Join the Great Barrington Rudolph Steiner School in celebrating May Day! There will be all sorts of celebratory activities including a puppet performance, dancing, games, and a BYO picnic! 35 West Plain Road. 413-528-4015. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

In the afternoon on Sunday, May 1st at 2pm – FAMILY THEATER: Ja’Duke presents the musical “Doctor Dolittle” at Greenfield High School. 1 Lenox Avenue. 413-863-0001. Greenfield, MA. ($)

BULLETIN BOARD

GREAT CLOTH DIAPER CHANGE: The Great Cloth Diaper Change Western Mass happens on Sat., April 23rd at the Florence Community Center (140 Pine St.). This event promotes the joys of cloth diapering, celebrates Earth Day, connects families, & will set a WORLD RECORD! Bring your child & a cloth diaper and be a part of history! There will be extra cloth diapers on hand if needed. – Doors open at 11:30am and the change happens PROMPTLY at 12:30pm, synchronized with thousands of changes around the globe! – There will be prizes, snacks, speakers, music & local vendors. $1 Donation to Real Diaper Association. For more info email jmontagna10@gmail.com. Sponsors of the GCDC: Mother Herb Diaper Service, Cradle, Motherwear, Second Chances, Cup & Top Café, Warm Welcome Birth Services & Loveybums.

OPEN HOUSE: The Ashfield Community Preschool invites you to their Open House on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12noon. Come and meet their dedicated teachers who create a warm, loving environment for your children. Located in the heart of the hilltowns of Western MA, near the center of Ashfield, the preschool is a child centered, creative and loving environment surrounded by a large playground and enchanted woodland trails. The preschool is accepting applications for their summer and fall programs at this time. Full and half days available. For more information call 628-3248 or stop by on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-12Noon at 103 Baptist Corner Road, Ashfield, MA. acpres@verizon.net

Alison Krauss

Deadline to enter to win: May 6th

KID-GEAR SALE: On May 7th from 8am-12noon, the South Hadley Family Center will host their 4th annual Mom-to-Mom Sale, an event where moms (and families) get the opportunity to sell clothes, toys, books, etc. that their children have outgrown. Table rental is $15, and proceeds will go directly to the Family Center. If you have items to get rid of but don’t want to participate in the sale, you can drop them off at the Family Center and they will be sold to raise money for the center. For more information, please contact shfcckids@yahoo.com.

POSTPARTUM SUPPORT: On Saturday, April 30th from 12noon-1:30pm, there will be a initial meeting of the Berkshire County Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition. The meeting is an opportunity for care providers in Berkshire County to discuss how to best create a support network for mothers that utilizes all of the resources available in the area. Contributing organizations include Berkshire Children and Families, MotherWoman, Gathered Resources of Women, and more! The meeting will take place at the Redfield House at 48 Elizabeth Street in Pittsfield. To RSVP, contact liz@motherwoman.org.

HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION: South Berkshire Household Hazardous Waste Collaborative has scheduled their spring collection events. The first paint and oil collection is Saturday, April 30th from 9-11:39am at the Great Barrington Recycling Center, and there will be six more to follow. Families must register in order to drop off your hazardous waste. To do so, contact Avie Maloney at 413-445-4556. For more information, visit www.cetonline.org.

Lucindia Williams

Deadline to enter to win: May 6th

TUESDAY MARKET: Northampton’s beloved Tuesday market will be awakening from its winter slumber on May 3rd! However, before then the market, alone with Grow Food Northampton, needs to raise $4,000 in order to ensure that the food stamp (SNAP benefits) program offered at the market last summer can remain. The program not only allows the market to accept food stamps but offers double benefits- shoppers can use $10 of benefits for $20 of local food. To make a (tax deductible) donation of any amount, checks can be made out to Grow Food Northampton (include “FoodStampsx2 Program” in memo line) and mailed to PO Box 849, Northampton, MA 01061.

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Suggested Events 04/16/11-04/22/11

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

“Hilltown Families gives us lots of info about all the different happenings each week that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. This has been an invaluable resource for us to get to cool events and to make connections with other local families. Thank you!” - Stacy Calabretta of Goshen, MA (Photo credit: Angie Gregory)

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.

SPONSORSHIP: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and enhanced publicity. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you

BEST BETS

On Saturday, April 16th from 1-3pm – GEOLOGY: Families are invited to take a walk at the Chesterfield Gorge , along the Westfield River, with professor Richard Little.  Learn about the geology of the gorge and enjoy the outdoors!  Rain date is 4/17.  Meet for the walk in the Trustees of Reservations parking lot in Chesterfield. West Chesterfield, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, April 17th from 11am-4pm – EARTH FESTIVAL: Visit the Springfield Science Museum for the Earth Week Festival!  Tons of special activities, including demonstrations on how to cast a fishing rod provided by the DFW Angler Education Program.  There will also be giveaways and a bluegrass performance.  21 Edwards Street.  800-625-7738.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Mark you calendars for the Hilltown Spring Festival on May 14th at the Cummington Fairgrounds, right in the heart of the Hilltowns!

Saturday, April 23rd at 3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Explore Natural Glow, the Berkshire Museum’s hands-on program where kids can learn about naturally florescent minerals, lichens, and scorpions. Sponsored by the Northern Berkshire Mineral Club. 39 South Street. 413-443-7171. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Sunday, April 24th from 2-4pm – FARM ADVENTURE: Winterberry Farm’s Lambs’ Open House. Visit newborn baby lambs, as well as (maybe) some baby rabbits, ducklings, and/or goslings. There will definitely be chicks! Donations will be collected for Right Sharing of World Resources. 21 Teawaddle Hill Road. 413-548-3940. Leverett, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

BULLETIN BOARD

MEDITATION FOR KIDS: Meditation Course for Children ages 8-12, Sun., May 8. Kids are invited to spend the day at the Vipassana Meditation Center in Shelburne attending a 1-day course. Day will start at 9am & include sessions in the meditation hall interspersed with games & activities, ending at 4:30pm. All courses at VMC are offered on a donation basis. To register/watch a video about children’s & teens’ courses: www.Dhara.Dhamma.org

POST C-SECTION WORKSHOP: Post C-Birth Healing 5-Week Workshop at Cradle in Northampton begins on Mon., May 2nd from 6-8pm. This group is for women-post partum, to have a formalized space to process and heal from issues related to C birth experiences. Come share your story. Cost for full workshop: $70. To register, contact Sabrina Herman at Sabrinaherman.awake@gmail.com.

PUPPET FESTIVAL: The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton presents their 3rd annual Puppet Festival, April 18-21, 2011. The theater comes alive with story during school vacation week as puppets and marionettes take the stage all week (ages 4 and older). April 18th: The Woman Who Outshone the Sun, performed by Behind-the-Mask Puppets. April 19th: Jack and the Beanstalk performed by Spring Valley Puppet Theater. April 20th: Sleeping Beauty, performed by National Marionette Theatre. April 21st: Pinocchio, performed by the National Marionette Theatre. All shows begin at 10am and are 50 minutes long. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Academy Box Office, Tuesday-Friday from 3-6pm or by calling 584-9032 x105 or online at www.academyofmusictheatre.com.

BENEFIT CONCERT: Don’t miss Tracy Grammer & Jim Henry and The Nields, live in Shelburne Falls for The Academy at Charlemont‘s annual benefit concert! Sunday, April 17, 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall. Also featuring the debut of the astonishing student band Flapjack Overkill. Visit www.charlemont.org, or call the school at 413-339-4912. All proceeds will benefit The Academy’s scholarship fund.

Alison Krauss

Arianna Alexsandra writes: “Now that Spring is growing, so is the Ashfield Community Garden. If you are an Ashfield Resident and looking for some open, sunny land, inquire about available spaces… Throughout the year we also offer canning workshops and other “anyone can do this” community activities.”

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Despite drought conditions last summer and early ice this winter, trout hatcheries in Massachusetts have produced enough trout to stock the state’s waters.  Trout will be released throughout the beginning of April.  For more information on trout stocking and a list of weekly activities, visit here or call the valley DFW office at 413-323-7632.  Along with trout, the state’s waters will also be stocked with salmon this month.  The salmon release process is more involved than that of trout and requires that fish be transferred by hand in buckets from trucks to waterways.  For a list of dates and locations of salmon releases to volunteer at, click here or call 508-389-6331.Lucindia Williams

EARTH DAY: Celebrate Earth Day (April 22nd) with Transition Northampton by helping to create an Oil Memorial- a large structure made up of empty oil drums and covered in materials and products that oil is used to produce (glue, plastic bottles, shopping bags, candles, CDs, rope, lipstick, etc.).  Families are encouraged to help out with creating the memorial– it is a great way to teach kids about what resources are used to create the products that they use on a daily basis.   The Oil Memorial will be displayed at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Saturday, April 23rd, and families can bring items to contribute on that day.  For more information, contact Bethany at webster.bethany08@gmail.com or Jamie at jpottern@gmail.com.

EARTH DAY: Northampton Public Schools are working together to create the world’s largest ball made from single-use shopping bags for Earth Day.  The ball, which will be rolled through Northampton to Pulaski Park on April 23rd, is being created by students at all four elementary schools in Northampton, along with the high school’s Environmental Club.  Students are working together to collect bags from their families, neighbors, and friends.  The number of bags collected is being recorded and will be reported once the ball has been made.  The goal of the project is to highlight the excessive amount of bags that shoppers use and to show how many non-biodegradable items could be saved if local shops went bag free.

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: April’s Critter of the Month, designated by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, is the New England Cottontail– Massachusetts’ only native rabbit!  The New England Cottontail is currently a candidate to be designated as endangered, as it requires large spaces of thick underbrush in order to survive and only 5% of the state’s forested areas fit this description.  The DFW is currently counting cottontail populations throughout the state, and if you are aware of cottontail populations near you, please alert the DFW by visiting here.

SCREEN FREE WEEK: Celebrate Screen Free Week from April 18th-24th.  Advocated for by the Department of Public Health, Screen Free Week means exactly what its name implies- no screens for you or your kiddos for a whole week! (Except when you need to check Hilltown Families to find fun family events.)  Children who spend excessive amounts of time in front of screens (television, computer, hand held game device, etc.) have higher rater of obesity, poor school performance, and attention problems- not to mention the fact that they take part in far less creative play. Find out more at www.screenfreeweek.org.

SATURDAY SPRING FARMERS’ MARKETS:

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week is a rebroadcast of David Weinstone from Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals.

Listen Now
Listen to Podcast Now

Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org 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.
  • 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!

WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

7:30am-7:30am – SEWING: Help sew bags for ten different Bagshare locations at the Village Church and Hilltown Sewing Center!  This is a 24-hour event ending on Sunday morning (the 17th).  The event is broken into six four-hour shifts, each lead by an experienced sewer.  Main Street. Cummington, MA.  (FREE)

8am – NATURE STUDIES: Help restore Atlantic Salmon in MA by stocking Salmon fry with MassWildlife at Middle Branch  Westfield River. You will get wet!!! Some waders will be available for loan. A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, up and down steep banks in chest or hip waders so you should be in good physical condition. Meet atGateway Regional HS. Call to confirm schedule: 508-389-6331 Huntington, MA (FREE)

8am-3:30pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURES: Head to Hadley for the UMass Livestock Classic!  There will be petting zoos, arts and crafts, hay rides, Joshua the Camel, and raffles, as well as a chance to watch UMass students compete with their livestock.  111 North Maple Street.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

9am – WALK FOR PEACE: Take part in the Cave Hill Classic with your family.  Participants can do either a five mile run or a two mile walk.  The walk is a great walk to get out with the family while supporting the Leverett Peace Pagoda.  Cave Hill Road.  Leverett, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

10am – MOVIE: Images Cinema will screen the animated shorts nominated for Oscars this year.  There are six movies contained in the hour and a quarter run time, and the collection is not rated.  50 Spring Street.  413-458-1039. Williamstown, MA.  ($)

10-11:30am – PARENTING WORKSHOP: Nonotuck Community School presents a workshop lead by Sarah Getoff, MEd LMHC, entitled, “Assertiveness at All Ages: How to Teach Children Skills to Protect them for a Lifetime.”  221 Riverside Drive.  413-586-5996.  Florence, MA.  ($)

10-11:30am – NATURE STUDIES: Explore vernal pools at Laughing Brook with your family.  Naturalist Kevin Kopchynski will lead kids in observing pools and looking for invertebrates, egg masses, amphibians, and reptiles.  Pre-registration required.  739 Main Street.  413-584-3009.  Hampden, MA.  (>$)

10am-12noon – NATURE STUDIES: Explore vernal pools at Bartholomew’s Cobble.  Learn to identify egg masses, fingernail clams, fairy shrimp, wood frogs, and salamanders.  Be prepared to get wet and muddy, and please pre-register.  413-229-8600.  Sheffield, MA.  (>$)

10am-12noon – EGG HUNT: The Basketball Hall of Fame hosts the Easter Egg Extravaganza!  Over 500 eggs will be hidden inside the Hall of Fame- come and find them. 1000 West Columbus Avenue.  413-781-6500.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12Noon – PARENTING SOCIAL: Color Play is a monthly social and craft for families parenting children of color, supporting parents by addressing the cultural imbalances on their children’s community, encouraging self-acceptance and identity awareness. Providing parents with the opportunity to have open dialogue around the many concerns of parenting children of color, it will include a story hour, healthy snack and seasonal craft; as well as, fun interactive parent-child connecting in a diverse setting. Northampton, MA (FREE)

10am-1pm – VOLUNTEER: Help clean up the gardens at the Great Falls Discovery Center for Massachusetts’ Park Serve Day.  All ages welcome.  2 Avenue A.  413-863-3221.  Turners Falls, MA.  (FREE)

10am-2pm – TEEN VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY:  Join Grow Food Northampton for the first work day at the Northampton Community Farm.  The fields need to be cleared of rocks for spring plowing, so bring gloves, a spade, and a large bucket if you have any (or all) of those things!  Ages 12 and older. Corner of Spring and Meadow Streets.  Northampton, MA.  (VOLUNTEER)

10am-2pm – EGG HUNT: Shaker Farms Country Club’s annual Easter egg hunt.  Along with the egg hunt, there will be a raffle, games, and a visit from the Easter bunny (delivered by helicopter!).  866 Shaker Road.  413-568-4087.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – HISTORY: Visit Historic Deerfield for a Patriots Day celebration.  Learn about the history behind the holiday and “the shot heard ‘round the world.’  There will be a Revolutionary Muster and Parade, as well as other activities to keep families occupied all day.  84 Old Main Street.  413-774-5581.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – HEALTHY KIDS: The Pittsfield YMCA hosts Healthy Kids Day- there will be zumba, gymnastics, a scavenger hunt, face painting, and more!  292 North Street.  413-499-7650.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – SHEEP SHEARING: Head to Hancock Shaker Village for sheep shearing demonstrations!  1843 West Housatonic Street.  413-443-0188.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-5pm – ART FESTIVAL: The Paint and Pixel Festival will take place at the Northampton Center for the Arts.  Meet creators of comics, graphic novels, picture books, and webcomics!  17 New South Street.  413-584-7327.  Northampton, MA.  (>$)

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Berkshire Family Fun: April Vacation Week

A School Break Survival Guide

The Frog (played by Mark Hohlstein) offers the Princess (played by Honora Toole) the ball he has retrieved from the well in Castle Hill Theatre Company’s production of ‘The Frog Prince’ set to open Wednesday, April 20, at New Stage Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield.

School vacations at home always sound like a good idea until about the third day in a row of hearing those incessant whines from your children: “I’m bored.” “There’s nothing to do.” Well, this year you have one of two choices — you can lock them in separate rooms for the week and throw away the key or you can follow this simple guide to having some fun in the Berkshires.

STEP 1: KICK OFF THE WEEK IN STYLE

Start your week off on the right foot by celebrating the first weekend of vacation with a bang. Area museums, rec centers, theaters, churches, etc. are making it easy with a plethora of activities for the family; the difficult part is going to be choosing just one.

On Friday, April 15, Barrington Stage Company kicks off the weekend with the Pittsfield Youth Commission Talent Show from 7:30-9 p.m. at the company’s Union Street theater in Pittsfield. The event gives Berkshire County youth the opportunity to showcase their many talents in a fun and safe environment. You must purchase tickets but the prices are minimal. For more info call 413-499-9348 or email mmoyborgen@pittsfieldch.com.

Next up for the weekend … On Saturday, April 16, families can choose from:

  • 1 p.m. family movie, “Twas the Night Before Easter” at the First Congregational Church in North Adams
  • Easter egg hunt at Sweet Brook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Williamstown (call 413-398-8700 to learn more)
  • Healthy Kids Day for families featuring Zumba, gymnastics, a scavenger hunt and face-painting from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Pittsfield YMCA
  • Sheep shearing demonstrations at Hancock Shaker Village (Route 20, Hancock) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • International Family Film Series at Images Cinema in Williamstown featuring animated shorts “Night & Day,” “Madagascar: Carnet de Voyage,” “The Gruffalo,” “Let’s Pollute” and “The Lost Thing” beginning at 10 a.m.
  • Shakespeare & Company’s whirlwind tour through the life, times and works of Williams Shakespeare in “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World,” 1 p.m. Kemble Street, Lenox
  • “Life in a Vernal Pool,” at Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield where participants will take a look at egg masses of frogs, salamanders, fairy shrimp and fingernail clams from 10 a.m.-noon (413-229-8600)
  • Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Page-Turners: Creating Handmade Art Books” where teens can design, assemble and bind their own books made from fine papers, fabrics and art supplies from 1-4 p.m in Stockbridge.

If I weren’t in Florida my children and I would probably head south to try out the Bartholomew’s Cobble event and then wander on over to one of my favorite Berkshire County Museums — the Rockwell Museum — but good luck choosing from that list. I say, run yourself silly on Saturday and then sit back and relax at home on Sunday. That’s just my recommendation.

STEP 2: RUN DON’T WALK TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIES

I know you’ve heard this from me before, but libraries today offer some incredible FREE programming for families and during school vacations many of them tend to ramp things up. Next week is no different and it all starts at the New Lebanon, N.Y., (just over the Hancock border) with chess instruction for kids of all ages and levels. Chess begins at 6:30 p.m. The library will also offer a bingo afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 18, for kids ages 5 to 12. For more information call the library, located on Route 20, at 518-794-8844.

It’s family game day from 2-4 p.m. at the Milne Public Library in Williamstown on Tuesday, April 19.

Then on Tuesday, April 19, the Milne Public Library in Williamstown will celebrate “National Hanging Out Day” (you’ve gotta love that!) with a family game afternoon. Families are invited to bring a favorite board game or borrow one of the library’s to play between 2 and 4 p.m. One of my favorites is Sorry, but if it happens to be a long rainy afternoon you might want to try one of my kids’ favorites — Monopoly. The library is located at 1095 Main Street. For more information call 413-458-5369.

Next we move on to Wednesday, April 20, where the Lenox Library, New Lebanon Library, the Milne, and the North Adams Library all have programs scheduled. Read the rest of this entry »

What if Spring Break was Cancelled?

It Could Happen to Gateway Regional Middle-High School Students!

[Huntington, MA] – Spring Break for Gateway Regional Middle-High School students and staff is scheduled for April 21 – 25, 2008. But not if the district incurs too many more snow days.

The 2007-08 school year calendar has school ending on June 26th if five snow days are used. Because of the way the dates fall in June, this leaves only two additional school days available (Friday June 27th and Monday June 30th) to make up for any additional snow days or days lost due to other events. Blandford Elementary School already has to make up an additional day because the school was closed due to a broken water main last fall.

Read the rest of this entry »

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