Suggested Events 08/29/09-09/04/09

Click on image to see schedule.

Click on image to see schedule.


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


The way I see it, there is only one thing happening this weekend, and that’s the 141st Annual Cummington Fair.  The Biggest and Best Little Fair in the Country!

A friend recently emailed me to see if I know about discount coupons for the fair.  I don’t (do you?).  But I did share with her our stratagies in years past to save a few pennies.  I’ll share them with you here, but I’m no expert on the Cummington Fair.  Just been going with my family and friends for the past six years.

First I should share that kids under 10 get in free and their adult companions only pay $8. Kids ages 10-16 are $4. There is also the option of buying a 3-Day pass (save $4 per adult) or a 4-Day pass (save $7 per adult). You also have to pay for parking, anywhere between $3-$5 per car.  So carpool if you can to save a few extra dollars.

The fair starts Thursday night and you can buy a $10 wrist band for the kids to ride the midway unlimited all night long (or until they’re too dizzy to stand).  It’s also Truck Night, which has always been a little too loud for us with a young child, so we’ve always tried to skip this night.  But I imagine if we had one of those kids that yelled and pointed, “Tuck!” every time one passed by, this would be an excellent night to go!

Half price tickets for rides on the Midway are sold on Friday night. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Friday is Demolition Derby Night. Crazy as it sounds, I know several dads that love to take their sons to this one, but I’m certain there are moms and girls that would enjoy it too.  What you need to know is that on Friday night you can buy discounted tickets for the rides, which in years past meant 1/2 priced tickets for the rides on the midway. This is where our penny saving strategy comes in.  We give friends who go on Friday night money to buy us a ream of tickets.  The secret … you can use these tickets all weekend long! Hopefully the same is true for this year.

Saturday is Old Fashion Fair Day.  Families can come early and stroll around in the morning looking at the antique tractors, watch the 4H kids proudly share their animals, visit the petting barn, and check out the craft barn.   After 11am the shows begin.  This year Pickles da Clown,  Youth Gymkhana Horse Show, Tommy James Magic Show, Rosaire’s Bears, Tommy Vee Hypnotist and Lucky Bob will be giving shows all weekend long.  As well as the Draft Oxen Pulls and the Ox Teamster Challenge.

The community Roast Beef Dinner’s first seating happens around lunch time and then again as an early dinner.  There are also loads of food vendors selling food.  In the afternoon hours, in between shows and performances, families can check out the exhibitor hall and see all the glorious produce local gardeners have grown and crafts artisans have made.  After the dinner hour families can listen to the Cottonwood Band or square dance with the Country Friendship Band.  Then in the evening, new this year, there will be FIREWORKS!

Red Bucket Sugar Shack sells maple syrup cotton candy at the Cummington Fair. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The bonus on Saturdays for us is we can let our kid and her friends ride the midway twice as much because we purchased our tickets for half the cost on Friday night.  We do end up shelling out extra money for games and simulated rock climbing. To save a little more money we often times pack sandwiches, fruit and water to hold us over … but who can resists Red Bucket’s Maple Syrup Cotton Candy (hope my dentist isn’t reading this!)?

Sundays are great days too!  It’s Senior Day, an excellent opportunity for grandparents to take their grandkids! The Lumerjack Championship happens in the morning, and later in the day is the Draft Horse Competition, Skid Steer Rodeo and the community turkey dinner.  New this year is the Firemen’s Muster at 1pm.  And Fireworks happen again in the evening!

The Cummington Fair is held every year at the Cummington Fairgrounds (97 Fairgrounds Road, Cummington, MA).  It’s located one mile off of Route 9 from the center of Cummington, or 5 miles off of Route 143 from the center of West Chesterfield.  Click here for Fair Schedule.


I’ve linked to several state fair lesson plans below for all our homeschooling and afterschooling families:


  • Did you get a chance to take our poll?  As our 1,001 post we’ve posted a poll to help HF better serve our readers.  Please take a moment to answer a questions.  Pretty please with a cherry on top! Click here to go on.
  • Suggest an Afterschool or Homeschool Class Bulletin Board: Families are invited to post homeschool & afterschool classes they would like to recommend to other families. Please feel encourage to post your recommendations in the comment box on this page, and let other families looking for classes know about this community resource. If you instruct a class and would like to spread the word via Hilltown Families, contact us about becoming a local sponsor. Email
  • Kyra Anderson of Northampton, MA writes: I’m trying to put together a game club for kids in the 8-10 age range, either after-school or during the school day (for homeschoolers, like us) who love all games, especially especially Magic, The Gathering and D&D.  My vision for this class is that it would be free and meet weekly at our house here in Noho (time and day flexible).  Any interested parties, please feel free to email me kyra@davidmilgrim. or call 413 341-3689.
  • Brent Williams writes: Great coverage of Ann Cooper’s Lunch lesson. Whole Foods Market and Chef Ann Cooper, have just joined forces to transform lunch in schools across the country with the “School Lunch Revolution” campaign. This national effort, aims to enable schools to improve the way children eat. The free, first-of-its-kind Lunch Box Web site – – will provide the necessary resources for food service directors to make tangible changes in their cafeteria menus.  I thought you and your readers might find this a good follow up to your recent post + there are some great videos with Chef Ann which offer back to school food tips for parents. You can find these videos @
  • Seth Eisman of the HCDC in Chesterfield, MA writes: Website Marketing for Businesses of All Sizes Workshop begings on September 16th.  Click here for more info.

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Events Happening in the Hilltowns

SATURDAY – 08/29

4 Comments on “Suggested Events 08/29/09-09/04/09

  1. Short Term Weather Forecast

    Today: Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 10am. High near 67. East wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

    Tonight: Showers likely before 2am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 2am and 3am, then a slight chance of showers after 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 58. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

    Sunday: A slight chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming west between 7 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 51. Northwest wind between 5 and 7 mph

  2. WOW!!! Thank you!!!
    that would be a wonder-filled show to watch with my wonderful family
    with respect,elizabeth & family living in leeds,ma.

  3. Saturday in Northampton

    Free Music with kids favorite Aric Bieganik music teacher from Northampton Parents’ Center and NCMS
    08/29/2009 11:00 AM – Manhan Cafe
    72 Union Street
    Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027
    Cost:Free w/tips
    Description:Solo Aric show! Lots of coffee and treats to rock! From 11am-12:30pm!!!

    Saturday in Florence

    Please stop by the cafe this Saturday August 29th between 10am-2pm for a very special fundraiser. 12 year-old Florence resident, Julia Gillis, will be “working” at the cafe to raise money for the Children’s Hospital in Boston. In addition to her hourly “wage,” which will be contributed by friends & family, she will donate to the hospital any contributions collected from Cup and Top customers during the day. So please come by to support Julia’s initiative and the Children’s Hospital.

    Read more about the Children’s Hospital here:

    Helen Kahn Cup and Top Cafe 1 North Main Street, Suite 2 PO Box 60628 Florence, MA 01062 413-585-0445

    Saturday in Amherst

    Come to Juniper Hill Farm’s August 29th Sunset Salon

    Dear Friends and DNErs,
    After a rousing and inspiring Dance Camp we want to include our new and old dancing friends as well as all the rest of you beauties. We’ve gotten into homesteading as some of you know and are in the process of starting a small CSA-Commuqnity Supported Agriculture and educational farm. Come see the blossoming of our place and join our Sunset Salon monthly gatherings and hear beloved Jay Mankita and others play and dance.

    6 PM – Juniper Hill Farm Tour- Come see Kelley’s magical rustic art fence,
    2nd huge owl sculpture, gardens, the goats and their kids frolicking and the
    baby chicks. Alisande and Liana and Hannah will talk about why we’re
    homesteading and pearls of learning we are having in the process.

    7 PM – Yummy Pot Luck Dinner and Gorgeous Sunset over the Berkshires. Thanks
    you all for bring such great food last time.

    8-9 PM – Circle Time! Checking in, Introductions.

    9 – and on…. Music Jay Mankita, dancing, drumming and deejayed music.

    We hope to see you here! You can bring your friends just call us to check in so we can organize the food. Bring a pot luck dish and your beautiful selves. Hope to see you on August 29th. RSVP or just come. Email us for directions or google maps. 45 Schoolhouse Road, Amherst or Shutesbury gives good on line directions.

    Alisande, Liana and Kelley
    Juniper Hill Farm
    45 Schoolhouse Road
    Amherst, (really Shutesbury) Ma. 01002

    Saturday & Sunday in Amherst

    Benefit Tag Sale for Hands-on Elders, an organization serving local elders with Bodywork and Massage Awesome and inexpensive variety of items, including camping gear, kitchen appliances, China cabinet, a plethora of stuffed animals, videos, books, cookbooks, kids game and toys, clothing, shoes (some brand new!), satchels, bags, craftes, arts, jewelry, a full mini-manger, etc.etc. Three FREE boxes and refreshments available and some very appealing RAFFLE items. We are set up in the Community Center indoors at 34 Pomeroy Lane cooperative (follow 116 S. to the Hess station and turn left) so no problem with rain. SATURDAY, August 29 10am-4pm and SUNDAY, August 30 10am-2pm

    Monday in Northampton

    Knitting & Crochet Circle at Forbes Library
    Mondays from 10 to noon
    Do you enjoy knitting, crocheting, or some other type of yarn craft or
    would you like to start or improve on a yarn craft? You are invited to
    the Forbes Library’s Knitting & Crochet circle. This group is a casual
    place to meet other yarn crafters of all kinds and experience levels and
    share crafting tips and pleasant conversation. Bring your projects in
    progress or ideas for new ones. This group is starting up again for the fall and will meet weekly on Monday mornings from 10-12 in the cozy Arts & Music magazine lounge.

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