Mid-Spring Brings Family Fun to the Berkshires
The Middle of Spring in the Berkshires
It is rare for me to hear the groaning (aka whining) of my three children signaling an episode of utter and complete boredom during the school year. Between sports practices and games, sleepovers and school events there is hardly time to breathe let alone gather everyone up to head out to one of the fun-filled events the county has to offer. But summer is on the way and the schedules will begin to clear so maybe, just maybe … Until then, here are some upcoming events for those of you who have already begun to here the whines.
3rd THURSDAYS ARE BACK
One of my kids’ favorite summer events is attending Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays — monthly events when the town shuts down North Street in Pittsfield and fills the neighborhood with music and food and various other forms of entertainment. What’s not to love? Today, May 19th, will kick off the first 3rd Thursday event of the season, from 5-8pm (and beyond for adults). The theme is “Celebrating Youth” so many of the performances will feature local kids — Youth Alive, Berkshire Music School and Taconic High School students, Berkshire Rocks, the Hillcrest drummers, the winners of the Pittsfield Youth Commission Talent Show and more! Believe me, this is one event you won’t want to miss, but if you do, you can catch another one with another theme every third Thursday of the month through October.
FOR THE YOUNGER BUNCH
I realized that since my children are grown I haven’t been covering much for the preschool-aged kids in this column so here are a few upcoming events for them:
On Friday, May 20, Berkshire Country Day School will host another “BCD Music & Me” activity time for children ages 2 to 4 and their parents, from 9-9:45am. The activities featured will be a circle time, a singalong period, a themed project and a story time. The school is located on Route 183 in Stockbridge. For more information call 413-637-0755.
Next up, also on May 20, is an activity at one of my favorite places. Yup, you guessed it — the New Lebanon Library. Beginning at 6pm the library will host a Preschool Pajama Party featuring a short movie and a story. The library is located on Route 20 in nearby New Lebanon, NY. For more information call 518-794-8844.
This next event is geared to families with children of all ages, but I think it will be particularly fascinating to the younger bunch: Great Barrington Cooperative Preschool’s fourth annual Truck Day set for Sunday, May 22, from 11am-3pm. The day will feature a chance for children to experience the excitement of real trucks up close, food, raffle prizes, games and more. It will take place at the Great Barrington VFW, 800 South Main St. For more information call 413-528-2127 or visit preschoolgb.com. $
Last but not least, on Wednesday, May 25, from 10:30-11:30am the Norman Rockwell Museum will present “Kids Create!,” a preschool art program featuring interactive hands-on gallery experiences created just for young art-lovers ages 2 to 5 and their caregivers. The museum is located at Route 183 in Stockbridge. For more information and a schedule of upcoming “Kids Create!” programs visit nrm.org.
FUN FOR ALL AGES
On Saturday, May 21, Hillcrest Educational Centers, a local organization that has been providing state of the art residential treatment services to students with behavior disorders since 1985, as well as day treatment services, a community dental clinic and psychological services, will celebrate 25 years in the Berkshires with a community fun fair for kids and families. The fair will begin at 11am and run until 3pm. Highlights will feature the much-loved children’s performers David Grover and Grover’s Gang, Bowey the Clown, bounce houses, face-painting, pony rides and more. The fair is located at Hillcrest’s 788 South Street, Pittsfield property. For more information call 413-499-7924 or visit hillcresteducationalcenters.org.
AN EXCUSE TO GET DIRTY
I remember one spring when my twins were very little they put on their boots, clomped out to the driveway and went puddle stomping. The activity quickly led to puddle sitting, swimming, mud throwing … you get the point. But nonetheless it proved that playing in and with mud is just so darn fun. The students at Muddy Brook Elementary School know this, too, and on Saturday, May 21, they plan to teach the community just how interesting mud can be at their second annual “Mud Day.” The day will give the students an opportunity to present their scientific findings during the school year (with a focus on soil) in an outdoor classroom. The day also will feature local conservation organizations leading walks and hosting demonstrations from map games to mushroom hunting, music, a bike rodeo and more. “Mud Day” begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. at the school located on Monument Valley Road in Great Barrington. For more information visit muddybrookpta.com.
For the two years the Norman Rockwell Museum has been hosting a multicultural festival of fun for the whole family during their annual World Rhythms Day. This year’s third annual festival is set for Saturday, May 21, from 12noon-4pm and will feature music, dance, art-making, gallery talks, outdoor demonstrations, multicultural cuisine, as well as Native American song and storytelling with singer JoAnne Spies, world dance from Berkshire Pulse and the students of Olga Dunn Dance Company, art and storytelling from illustrator Anna Meyers and live percussion inspired by African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Asian traditions, courtesy of Tony Vacca and his World Rhythms Ensemble. The museum is located on Route 183 in Stockbridge. For more information visit nrm.org.
MAY 28th: AN ECLECTIC SATURDAY OF FUN
There is sure to be something for everyone next Saturday, May 28, throughout the county as events are schedule featuring activities that range from rafting, raptor demonstration, pony rides and crafts to fishing and learning origami folding techniques.
First up is the 20th annual Hoosic River Watershed Association’s Riverfest at Cole Field in Williamstown. The daylong festival will feature rafting, raptor demonstrations, pony rides, river critters, kids crafts, river arts, food, raffle prizes and more from 1-5pm, followed by a picnic concert performance by T-Bone Daddy. For more information visit hoorwa.org or call 413-458-2742.
If you don’t have as much time but still want to head outdoors with the kids, head over to the South Williamstown Community Association’s third annual Fred B. Windover Memorial Youth Fishing Derby for ages 4 to 12. That event takes place at Wendling Farm, 753 Oblong Road, from 9am-12noon. Log onto southwilliamstown.org for more details.
For those who would rather head indoors for some family fun, there is also an origami workshop for children ages 8 and up at the Lenox Library located on Main Street in Lenox that day. At the workshop participants will learn basic and/or advanced origami folding techniques as well as help string together more than 1,000 paper cranes that have been created by local students to be sent to a school in Japan. The workshop is scheduled to begin at 1:30pm. For more information call 413-637-0197.
Last but not least, on Saturday, May 28, the Pittsfield Parks and Recreation Department will feature its second annual Community Bike Ride at Burbank Park near Onota Lake. The event features a round-trip ride for riders of all ages with registration beginning at 9am. The ride will commence at 10am. Younger riders can choose to ride around a shorter path along the lake. More details can be found by calling 413-499-9370.
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. email@example.com — Check out Berkshire Family Fun the first and third Thursday of each month.