Spring is Full of Family Fun in the Berkshires!

Spring Activities in the Berkshires

Williamstown Rural Lands Foundations’s annual Sheep to Shawl Festival happens on May 7th at the Rural Lands Foundation in Williamstown, MA.

Between work, soccer practices, Little League cleanups, lacrosse games and running the kids around to anywhere else they “need” to be, there is little time to enjoy the endless amount of family activities offered up in the Berkshires. But if you have a little more time on your hands, or are just crazy enough to try and schedule one more thing into your busy schedule, then here are a few for fun-filled family events for you!

DRUMS OR SHEEP? YOU CHOOSE

Here I go again … more choices. But they’re good ones to have to make. On Saturday, May 7, there are two events during the day would tempt all three of my children (it just won’t tempt all three to the same one). If I had to guess my daughter would be drawn the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundations’s annual Sheep to Shawl Festival while my youngest son would definitely choose the youth drum and percussion clinic at Jae’s Spice in Pittsfield. My other son wouldn’t probably choose either one depending on his mood and the day. Anyway … here’s the scoop. The Sheep to Shawl Festival is held at the Rural Lands Foundation on Route 7 in Williamstown, MA and features crafts, local artisans and farm animals and more with a focus on the region’s historic fleece and fiber industry. The days events begin at 11 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. More information can be found at wrlf.org. $

The percussion clinic will be led by drum instructors from the Pittsfield Drum and Percussion Expo, including Chris Hairston of the Blue Light Jazz Trio and Aimee Gelinas, founder of Gaia Roots. The clinic is free and runs from 10 a.m. to noon at Jae’s Spice located at North St., Pittsfield. For more information log onto gaiaroots.com.

WHAT DO BUBBLES, NATIVE AMERICANS AND BLACK VIOLINS HAVE IN COMMON

They’re all part of the family-friendly events taking place on Saturday, May 14, around the area. First off from 10 to 11 a.m. Child Care of the Berkshires will offer up a “Wind and Bubbles” science workshop for children ages 2 to 5 at the Haskins Center in North Adams. It’s free but registration is required. Call 413-664-4821.

If you’d prefer drumming, music, dancing, storytelling and teepee-raising over bubbles then head up (and I mean up) to the top of Mount Greylock to Bascom Lodge for its season-opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find out more details at bascomlodge.net.

I’ve been excited about this next event since I saw it in The Colonial’s brochure when it came originally came out (when was that anyway?) —Black Violin. It sounds cool doesn’t it? But what is it? Black Violin is a revolutionary music group featuring two classically trained violinists and their DJ who will perform their unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk and classical music.

The performance begins at 2 p.m. at the South Street in Pittsfield at the Colonial theater and you can’t beat the ticket price, making Black Violin the perfect opportunity for your family to check out The Colonial. For tickets and information call or visit thecolonialtheatre.org.

NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY IN THE BERKSHIRES

There is always more to do in the Berkshires from hiking, to kayaking to visiting the myriad museums, but I can’t possibly get it all into this column or I’d be writing forever, but I have a keen interest in teaching my children about the rich history of the Berkshires so I have been on the lookout for kid-friendly historical events in the area and this one sounded pretty cool. On Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m. the Stockbridge Library on Main Street in Stockbridge will be hosting a program for children and families titled “Sounding Mohican Pathways: Flute, Song and Story at the Library with Shawn Stevens & JoAnne Spies” from 11 a.m. to noon. Stevens and Spies will share Mohican stories and songs for children of all ages. The event is free, but donations are welcome. For more information call the library at 413-298-5501.

AUTHOR VISIT

When my son Max was in the fourth grade my sister, a fourth grade teacher, game him a book that all her students were reading and loving — The Lightning Thief. Max was quickly immersed in the five-book series pleading for me to take to the bookstore the moment a new book was released. Now the creator of “The Percy Jackson” series, Rick Riordan, is knee-deep in two new series “The Kane Chronicles” and “The Heroes of Olympus.” The second book of the Kane Chronicles, Throne of Fire, was released this week. Riordan has hit the road to promote it and he’s coming to a couple of towns not-too-far from the Berkshires.

His first stop in the area is on May 5 at 6 p.m. at the Manchester Elementary School sponsored by one of my favorite places, Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT, only about an hours drive from North Berkshire locations. Then on May 7 (after a brief trip to Brattleboro, VT) at 3 p.m. Riordan will head to the Pioneer Valley via Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley courtesy of the Odyssey Bookshop. The Manchester event costs a small fee, but that fee can be put towards the purchase of the new book. Riordan’s visit in South Hadley is free.

If you haven’t read the books yet, believe me this is a big deal! And if you can get to either one of these locations, DO IT! You will be the cool parent much as I was this week when I got to interview Riordan for a feature in The Family Beat. Sorry for the shameless plug, but Rick Riordan is one cool guy and his books are pretty fascinating even for adults. To learn more about his tour dates and locations, upcoming projects and more visit www.rickriordan.com.

A CLASSIC TALE GETS A NEW TWIST

For weeks I’ve been raving about the New Lebanon, N.Y., library, just over the Berkshire County border and now I will give a shout-out to something else fun and family-related happening on the other side of the mountain. But first I will let you know that the library is hosting another Family Craft Night at 6 p.m. Friday, May 13 where children can make a popsicle stick house. Call 518-794-8844. Now back to the other event in New LebanonMountain Road School Players are putting on a  production of the classic fairytale Rumplestiltskin, yet this one promises to put a “new spin on the classic.” Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7 and will be at the Darrow School Theater, located right off of Route 20. For more information call 518-794-8520

CONSIGNMENT BOUTIQUES

Do I have one for you! I ventured into Bizzy B’s Boutique on Burbank Street in Pittsfield to photograph a playgroup they were having for an article I was writing on Gathered Resources of Women: GROW and left with six bags of clothes and toys for my 18-month-old niece and a friend’s newborn baby boy. It’s quaint and cute, has an amazing, ever-changing inventory of consignment items for children and the owner Keri Nelson is pretty cool, too.

The Green Turtle in Richmond is another consignment boutique mom’s will want to know about. The Green Turtle is an upscale children’s eco-boutique that showcases nearly-new boutique and name-brand children’s items ranging from clothing (newborn to size 14), shoes, baby and kids gear, accessories, books, toys, CDs and DVD’, furniture, decor, hand-crafted items and more. And May 14 marks one of two consignment sales the boutique holds each year in Berkshire County and New Haven, Conn. The sale will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Richmond Town Hall, 1529 State Road, Richmond. For more information visit greenturtleplanet.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Bevan McIlquham Berkshire Family Fun

Kelly Bevan McIlquham writes our bi-monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun, sharing update, events and activities for families in the Berkshires.  Kelly is a psychotherapist-turned-writer who resides in Hinsdale, MA with her husband, three children, a chocolate lab, a very fat cat, a turtle, and a few goldfish. She is the Features Editor for The Advocate and the Editor of The Family Beat in the Berkshires. Kelly also dabbles in writing for children and has had her non-fiction published by Wee Ones online family magazine. When not writing or editing, her favorite pastime is cheering on her children at various football, soccer, basketball and baseball games. kwm229@msn.com — Check out Berkshire Family Fun the first and third Thursday of each month.

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