Berkshire Family Fun for Late July – Early August, 2012

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
July 28th – August 10th, 2012

Summer theater and music continues in the Berkshires!  In addition to cultural performances, there are also great learning opportunities in  Berkshire County over the next two weeks!

With a region rich in local history, the history of families who lived in the Berkshires dating back to the 1600’s can be explored at the Mission House in Stockbridge, or explore during a guided tour of the Stockbridge Cemetery. Families can also learn about female soldiers in the Civil War at Western Gateway Heritage State Park  in North Adams, and “Amazing Americans” at the Milne Library in Williamstown. At the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, families can discover the importance blacksmithing was to Shaker history through demos and hands-on activities, and at the Ashley House in Sheffield the history and importance of pottery can be examined.

Other upcoming family fun learning opportunities in Berkshire County include exploring local boreal forests in Windsor with Mass Audubon, mapping the night sky at Naumkeag in Stockbridge, and learning about stars and planets at the Mason Library in Great Barrington.  There are even a couple of opportunities to learn about other cultures, including Australian Aboriginal culture at the Lenox Library and several other cultures at Pittsfield’s annual Ethnic Fair.

The Berkshires are not only a terrific place for high quality entertainment, but also a fun place to learn!  Find out all the fun thing’s happening for families and make plans to explore the Berkshires!

Call for Youth Photographers

North Berkshire

Adams | Lanesborough | North Adams | Williamstown | Windsor

Central Berkshire | South Berkshire


Adams Agricultural Fair  The Adams Fair takes place August 3rd-5thFriday’s attractions start at 5pm and include an antique car show and live music, along with family activities, rides, animals to visit and learn about, and more. Saturday’s highlights include sheep dog demonstrations, live music, dance performances, a magic show, along with animals to visit, and opportunities to learn about local agriculture and run from 10am-10pm.  Sunday opportunities include an ox pull, sheep dog demonstrations, demolition derby, and run from 10am-4:30pm!  Howland Avenue.  Adams, MA.  ($)

Main Street Stage Main Street Stage is doing a whirlwind backyard tour this summer with their production, “The King Stag,” a play chronicling a queen-finding quest.  The story is told through puppets, masks, music, magic, stilts, and more.  There will be a performance at the Adams Visitor Center on Saturday, July 28th at 6pm. (rescheduled to Sunday, July 29th due to rain)  3 Hoosac Street.  (FREE)


Mt. Greylock — On Sunday, July 29th at 6pm, visit Bascom Lodge for a slideshow of photos of local flora and fauna, then explore the summit with Aimee Gelinas of Tamarack Hollow (FREE). Students can use the event as a way to learn to identify plants and animals, and as a supplement to studies of local ecology.  E-mail to register.  Ongoing at Mt. Greylock:  Every Saturday visitors are invited to explore the waterfalls of Mt. Greylock from 1-4pm, leaving the visitors center at 1pm. And every Sunday families can go on a medicinal plant walk at 10am or 2pm. Leaving from the visitors center, the walk will be easy and focused on teaching visitors to identify plants with medicinal properties.  Then every Wednesday, there’s a “Nice and Easy” family-friendly hike – it’s about two hours long and will cover 1-2 miles of trail. Call to find out meeting place. And on Fridays, take little adventurers on a tyke hike! The hike is short, and ends with storytime. Meet at the Visitors Center at 10am. — 413-499-4262. Rockwell Road. (FREE)


Haskins CenterOn Monday, July 30th, Gym Group at the Haskins Center has moved outside for the summer!  Enjoy group playground time at 5:30pm on the center’s playscape. And on Thursdays, the center hosts morning playgroups outside on the playground at 11:30am.   413-664-4821. 210 State Street. (FREE)

Natural Bridge State Park —Natural Bridge State Park hosts nature walks every Sunday.  Visitors can learn about important local and natural history at the marble quarry that once operated nearby. Walks are two hours long leaving at 10am and 1pm. The park also hosts a Tyke Hike every Tuesday at either 1pm or 3pm. This short, kid-friendly expedition is lead by a park interpreter, who will share information on the natural wonders at the park. And every Thursday at 2pm, kids can exercise their creativity by doing outdoor nature crafts. — 413-663-6392. 107 McAuley Road. (FREE, >$ Parking)

Western Gateway Heritage State Park The park  hosts a program on female soldiers in the Civil War on Saturday, August 4th at 2pm.  Pair with studies of American History, women’s rights, and feminism.   413-663-6312.  115 State Street.   (FREE)


The Clark — The Clark hosts live outdoor concert on July 31st at 6pm.  Dinner available for purchase.  In case of rain, concerts will take place in the museum’s auditorium.   413-458-2303.  225 South Street.  (FREE)

Images Cinema — The hills are alive with the Sound of Music! Quite literally, in fact – Images Cinema screens the film outside on Sunday, July 29th at dusk on the Morgan Lawn!    (FREE)

Milne Library — Kids often have a hard time understanding what history has to do with their lives – Keith Johnson presents, “Amazing Americans” at the Milne Library on Thursday, August 2nd at 4pm – this presentation will show kids exactly why learning history matters!   413-458-5369.  1095 Main Street.  (FREE)


Tamarack HollowBoreal forests are a special part of the Berkshires – the forests contain unique plants and animals, and are found only at higher elevations (such as the mountains and hills of the Berkshires!).  Explore the boreal forests of Tamarack Hollow on Saturday, July 28th from 10am-1pm with Mass Audubon!  Hike will be 2-3 miles and include some bushwhacking – wear pants!  Call to register and directions. — 413-584-3009.  ($)

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Central Berkshire

Becket | Dalton | Lee | Lenox | Pittsfield| Stockbridge

North Berkshire | South Berkshire


Jacob’s Pillow — Students from the School at Jacob’s Pillow present free original contemporary dances performances all summer on the Inside/Out stage as part of the school’s summer series. Kids can experience professional contemporary dances, and dance and movement as artistic expression. Best for kids with audience skills.  There are performances scheduled for Wednesday, August 1st, Thursday, August 2nd and Friday, August 3rd starting at 6:15pm. Visit their web site to see what performances are scheduled. BYO picnic for dinner on the lawn before the show.  413-243-9919.  385 George Carter Road. (FREE)


Dalton CRA — It’s Family Fun Night at the Dalton CRA’s Pinegrove Park on Tuesday, August 7th from 4-7pm!  Fun and games for the whole family, plus drinks, snacks, and popsicles! 413-684-0260.  400 Main Street.  (FREE)


Church on the Hill — The Church on the Hill hosts their annual Arts and Crafts Fair Saturday, July 28th & Sunday, July 29th from 10am until 5pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday, featuring artisan goods from all over the Northeast.  Visit to see what artists are creating, and find some great items to bring home.  — 413-637-1001.  (FREE/SALE)

Lenox LibraryPuppetree presents “Caps for Sale” at the library on Saturday, July 28th at 11am, a story based on the 1938 classic children’s book written by Esphyr Slobodkina.On Tuesday, July 31st at 1pm, Terry a la Berry will put on a family concert at the Reading Park next to the library. Music continues on Saturday, August 4th at 6:30pm with the didgeridoo, an Australian instrument rich in Aboriginal culture, in a program called, “Didgeridoo Down Under,” followed by an Aussie Fun Jam Workshop at 7:45pm for t(w)eens.  The jam will allow youth to play the didgeridoo, an instrument traditional made by insects (eucalyptus trunk hollowed out by termites) (Call to register for workshop.). Then on Tuesday, August 7th at 1pm, Nutshell Playhouse will be at the library with “Tutti Frutti, a family performance mixing pirates, clownerie, music and puppets. — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. (FREE)

Lilac Park — Enjoy live music every Wednesday on the lawn at the park at 7pm. Each week features great local performers as part of their lawn concert series. BYO family, blanket and picnic dinner for an evening filled with music as the sun sets. In case of rain, the show will take place at the town hall. — Main Street. (FREE)

The Mount —  Berkshire Theater Group presents Pinocchio in the Dell at The Mount!  Enjoy the classic tale of a wooden boy who cannot lie (without very, very obvious consequences!) while taking in the beautiful surroundings.  Show runs  Tues–Sat at 4pm and Tues & Thurs at 7pm, through August 11th. ($$)  Visitors can take a spooky mystery tour of  The Mount Monday, July 30th at 7:30pm… beware – you never know what you might encounter!  Visitors will not only be thoroughly creeped out, but will learn some of the building’s interesting history. ($) On Wednesday, August 1st & 8th at 5pm there will be a reading of work by Edith Wharton, read by a professional actor – use the reading as an opportunity to enjoy writing you already love, or to introduce older students to classic literature. ($)  And on Friday, August 3rd at 8pm, families can enjoy Music After Hours – traditional and modern music, performed by local musicians. (FREE)  — 413-997-4444.  2 Plunkett Street.   (FREE-$$)

Roce Reading Park — On Sunday, July 29th & August 5th at 10am families can enjoy a serenaded outdoor breakfast at the Roce Reading Park at 10am!  Students from Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute will perform classical music, and light breakfast will be provided from local restaurants.  What a great way to start off a Sunday!  —  413-637-2630.  18 Main Street.  (FREE)

Tanglewood —Families can learn about orchestra instruments, music styles, and musical concepts at Tanglewood’s Watch and Play program on Sunday, July 29th at 1pm.  The event is specially designed to make kids’ visit to Tanglewood educational, and to provide them with background information that will help them make sense of what they hear.  Takes place in the Chamber Music Hall.  Tickets to afternoon performance required. ($$) For a free opportunity, attend an educational program and a Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsal on Friday, August 3rd from 9-11am!  There will be a presentation for families, a tour, and, of course, music.  Shed seating is available for groups with kids ages 8+, while younger kiddos are asked to watch with their grown-ups from the lawn. (FREE) Family concert happens on Tuesday, August 7th at 8:30pm  with a family friendly concert ending with fireworks! ($$) — 413-637-5274.  297 West Street.  (FREE-$$)


Lee Library — On Tuesday, August 7th, Pioneer Valley musician Jay Mankita presents, “Big Dream Songbook”  – the event celebrates the end of the library’s summer reading program, and there will be ice cream after the show! — 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. (FREE)


Berkshire Athenaeum — Not only is there a whole lot of reading going on, but crafts and music are happening at the library this summer too. Kids are invited to visit the library on Tuesday, July 31st at 1pm to craft their very own sparkly magic wand (Registration required). On Thursday, August 2nd at 1pm, the library hosts Tom Siegling, performing, “Howl at the Moon with Music,” a concert of night- and nature-themed songs.  Thenon Wednesday, August 8th, Peter Boie bring an educational hands-on “Magic Show” for non-believers. Peter creates an atmosphere for audience member to enjoy the illusion of magic, rather than thinking if it’s real or not. The show lasts for 45 mins and is good for ages 5yo+. And finally, on Thursday, August 9th kids ages 5-12 can participate in a craft activity, “See Your Dreams Camouflage Binoculars.”413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. (FREE)

Berkshire Museum —The museum host a production of Beauty and the Beast by Barrington Stage Company’s Youth Theatre. Show runs Sat.-Tues. & Thurs. at 2pm through Aug 12. Check their web site to confirm time and dates. Best for children with audience skills, ages 5yo and older (To order tickets call 413-236-8888.). There will be a special celebration on Saturday, August 4th at 4pm of Barrington Stage Company’s production of Beauty and the Beast with a fancy tea party!  Kiddos (and their grown ups) can enjoy tea and crumpets with cast members, then explore the museum.  Wear a costume if you wish! ($$)— Ongoing at the museum, every Saturday at 12:30pm it’s chow time at the aquarium!  Visit to see tank animals have their lunch, and learn about who eats what and why. And every Friday at 11am, friends from the aquarium will be shared, and kids can learn all about them through stories and activities.  (FREE w/admission)   — 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Rte. 7. (FREE w/admission-$$)

Downtown Pittsfield — Pittsfield’s annual Ethnic Fair takes place on Sunday, August 5th from 12noon-6pm!  The event includes food, music, vendors, and more representing and sharing parts of many different cultures.  Countries such as Ireland, Brazil, Greece, Columbia, Ecuador, and multiple African countries will be represented.  Families can learn about the traditions of many different world cultures, and older students can use what they learn to think about international influences on American culture.  — Park Square and Housatonic Street. (FREE/$)

Hancock Shaker Village — On the weekend of August 4th and 5th from 10am-5pm, Hancock Shaker Village hosts the Age of Iron Weekend. For a full weekend blacksmiths from Berkshire, Connecticut, the Capital District, and New England Blacksmith Guilds will be at the village demonstrating the art of blacksmithing and metal work.  Families can even have hands-on opportunity to try the art of blacksmithing.  There will be several techniques and styles highlighted, including ironwork craftsmanship dating from the 17th to the 21st century, Japanese hardware, tool making, engraving, and Viking and Shaker forging.  This learning opportunity will afford youth a first hand look at how blacksmithing was an integral part of life in Shaker history. — 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic.  ($$)

Marketplace Cafe — The cafe hosts free marionette shows with Robbins-Zust Marionettes.  Bring the kids and come see Rumplestiltskin on Saturday, July 28th or Little Red Riding Hood on Saturday, August 4th.  Both shows begin at 11am. —  55 North Street. (FREE)

Onotoa Lake — From 6-8pm every Wednesday this summer families can enjoy Live on the Lake, a community concert series, takes place tonight on the shore of Onota Lake!  Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy great family-friendly live music.  — (FREE)

Berkshire Children – Parents can enjoy a night out celebrating Berkshire Children & Families’ 125th Anniversary on Monday, August 6th.  At 5:30pm Kids 4 Harmony will perform with members of Eli Newberger’s Gershwin Constellation featuring renowned musicians Eli Newberger and BSO pianist Bob Winter at Spice Dragon (297 North St.). Then at 8pm at the Barrington Stage Company’s Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden St.), there will be a benefit concert for BCF with Eli Newberger’s Gershwin Constellation. — RSVP: 413-448-8281 x14. ($$)

Treehouse — There free summer programs continue at Treehouse this summer.  There are a couple of playgroups on Tuesdays: Kids ages 2-4 and their siblings can come together in their playspace in the mornings from 10-10:45am; and there will be drop-in crawl time for infants in the afternoon from 3-4pm.  And on Wednesdays, a New Moms Group takes place from 11am-12noon, intended for moms with babies under 9 months – drop in and get support from others parents experiencing similar adjustments and developments. — 413-344-4435. 305 North Street. (FREE)

Wahconah Park — Baseball is in the air and the Pittsfield Suns have several upcoming home games sports fans can attend.  Bring the kids to the ballpark on July 29th & August 5th for a 4pm game on their home field. Visit their web site for a full schedule of who they are playing against.  Go Pittsfield Suns! — 413-445-7867. 105 Wahconah Street ($)


Norman Rockwell MuseumEvery Wednesday from 10-11:30am, the museum hosts, “Creating Together: A Parent-Child Experience,” an art workshop featuring a gallery tour and hands-on art making.  Each week brings a new theme and art style to explore.  — 413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  ($)

St. Paul’s Church — St. Paul’s hosts free marionette shows with Robbins-Zust Marionettes. Bring the kids and come see a production of Goldilocks and Peter Rabbit on Monday, July 30th, Sleeping Beauty on Tuesday, July 31st, Rumplestilskin on Wednesday, August 1st, or Firebird on Thursday, August 2nd. All shows are at 11am and 2pm. — 29 Main Street. (<$)

NaumkeagStargaze the night away at Naumkeag on Friday, August 3rd from 5:30-9:30pm. Begin the evening with a picnic dinner (or visit later in the evening, once it’s dark), then spend the night gazing into the skies.  Stargazing kits including maps and activities available for kids.  And don’t forget about “Croquet on the Lawn” which happens every other Thursday this summer from 3-5pm. Families can come for a relaxed game of croquet, the leisurely sport of Edwardian high-society. Experience Gilded-Age style and splendor at this marvelous estate and an afternoon of play for families. Kids can learn about cultural history by visiting. Refreshments served. — 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Road. (<$)

Unicorn TheaterDate night! Parents’ can enjoy a night of theater as the Berkshire Theater Group presents, “A Class Act,” at the Unicorn Theater on Friday, August 3rd at 8pm!  The show, nominated for 5 Tony awards, is a tribute to Edward Kleban – one of the collaborators of, “A Chorus Line.” — 413-997-4444.  6 East Street.  ($$)

Mission House —  Learn about the history of families who lived locally between 1650 and 1950 on Saturday, August 4th from 11am-2pm (rescheduled to Saturday, Aug. 18th).  Kids will learn about the importance of preserving family history, and can create their own family trees and scrapbooks to take home.  413-298-3239.  Prospect Hill Road.  Stockbridge, MA.  ($)

Stockbridge Cemetery — Take a guided tour the Stockbridge Cemetery on Saturday, August 4th at 4pm to learn about the town’s  “cottage-era” – the tour will include information about the homeowners, architects, and community members who lived in designed, or had ties to historic homes.  Students can use knowledge of American history to put what they learn on the tour into broader historical context, and older students can use the tour as an introduction to studies of architecture and design.  Parking available at town hall. —  413-298-5501.  Main Street.  (<$)

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South Berkshire

Great Barrington | Housatonic | Otis | Sheffield | Sandisfield

North Berkshire | Central Berkshire


Mason Library —Visit the library for a Skype visit from author Jeanne Birdsall, creator of the Penderwicks series on Saturday, July 28th at 1:30pm. Jeanne will answer questions and share what it’s like to be an author.   Then on Wednesday, August 1st,  at 10:30am, make your own mosaic clay flower pot, plant a seed and take it home to grow. On Saturday, August 4th at 4pm, learn about stars and planets at the library for a great introduction to studies of outer space for younger students. And on Thursday, August 9th at 3:30pm, kids can learn how to make ballerina paper dolls  (call to register). — 413-528-2403.  231 Main Street. (FREE)


Ramsdell Library —  Make your own shadow puppets on Tuesday, July 31st at 1:30pm at the Ramsdell Library!  Plan out your very own shadow theater production.  Call to register. — 413-274-3738.  1087 Main Street. (FREE)


Rocky Top Farm — Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is offering a workshop for educators on using hobby farming to accomplish learning goals set by the Common Core Standards on Tuesday, August 7th from 9am-3pm.  Takes place at Rocky Top Farm.  Registration required. 508-336-4426 ($$)


Sandisfield Fair — The annual Sandisfield Fair takes place Saturday, July 28th from 9am-9pm & Sunday, July 29th from 9am-4pm  Visit the fairgrounds for a wide variety of activities including Civil War reenactments, kids’ activities (crafts, games, etc.), animals to visit and learn about, live music, a cemetery walking tour, and a hike of the nearby Clam River. — ($)


Ashley House —  Items created out of pottery have been household staples for centuries – learn about the craft of pottery and its history on Saturday, July 28th from 1-3pm at the Ashley House.  Kids ages 8+ can participate, and will even be able to make their own items to take home out of clay! Call to register. The learning continues on Wednesday, August 8th from 1-3pm when families can learn about the history of hand-weaving, a centuries old craft, at Ashley House.  Kids will be able to view hand woven pieces and create their own masterpieces. — 413-298-3239.  Cooper Hill Road.  ($)

Bartholomew’s Cobble —  Canoe the Housatonic River on Sunday, July 19th & August 5th from 8:30-11:30am. A Trustees of Reservations guide will share information with families on the history of the river and the unique ecosystem surrounding it.  Best for experienced canoers. Also on August 5th from 10am-12noon, come meet Tom Ricardi’s birds of prey!  Ricardi helps to rehabilitate large birds of prey, and shares his birds for educational purposes.  Registration required.  —  413-229-8600. ($-$$)

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