16 Community Highlights: Apples to Alpacas. Quillwork to Dinosaur Tracks.

It’s a great weekend for pressing, baking and eating apples! Check our Best Bets this week for a list of fall festivals too! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield).

Apples to Alpacas. Quillwork to Dinosaur Tracks. Medieval to Colonial…. These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!


When you think of New England in the autumn, fall festivals, foliage and apples come to mind! This weekend families can learn about apple history, join in an apple bake off, participate in an apple fundraiser, or just celebrate the season at an Apple Harvest Festival. On both Saturday & Sunday, Sept 29th & 30th, families can step into the 19th century at Old Sturbridge Village for Apple Days – a weekend full of fall activities like cider pressing and apple picking (and eating!). Families can learn about the many antique apple varieties that are grown in the village’s orchards, and then learn about the process of picking apples, storing them, and using them for foods like sauce, pies, and cider.

Bakers can join in the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market’s Apple Cook Off on Saturday, Sept 29th! The event challenges community members to produce unique and delicious dishes, the main ingredient of which is local apples. There are separate age groups for kids and adults, and prizes will be given to dishes that are most unique, most creative, and most delicious. Also on Saturday is the Apple Harvest Festival on the Amherst Town Common featuring a crafts fair and lots of special children’s activities including hay rides, scarecrow making, pumpkin decorating, and cider making!

On Sunday, Sept 30th, Apple Spree takes place at Look Park in Florence, a fundraiser for the Northampton Survival Center – for each peck of apples purchased by a family, a peck will be donated to the center. There will be live music from Appalachian Still, an apple car race for kids to enter, an apple cooking contest, and, of course, lots of delicious apples to enjoy!


Do your kids love cartoons or comic strips? Syndicated cartoonist Hilary Price (the brains behind “Rhymes With Orange”) will speak at the Leverett Library on Tues. evening, Oct 2nd about how she became a cartoonist and what it’s like to produce a daily comic strip. Great for kids interested in using their artistic talents for humor! On Thursday, Oct 4th, Modern Myths comic book store in Northampton is hosting a series of afternoon comic-making parties for kids – every Thursday afternoon in October! The workshops present an opportunity for kids to learn about the language of comics and to learn how to express themselves through comic drawings and storylines. Both events are free


A couple of community events happen on Saturday, Sept 29th that take a unique look at local history through the lens of the season. Families can visit Historic Deerfield to learn about the history and cultural significance of scarecrows! Once used to guard crops, scarecrows are now a Halloween tradition. Families can even make their own! Or you could also head to Westfield for Colonial Harvest Days! This free event features a Revolutionary War reenactment, carriage and wagon rides, live music, the local celebrity Town Crier contest, a harvest hoedown and fiddle contest (open to the community!), local art and artisan goods, and more! Learn about the history of Westfield’s earliest days and the Revolutionary War.

For older students on Saturday morning, Sept 29th, they learn about how the presidency came about in the United States at the Sixteen Acres Library in Springfield! Baypath College professor Dr. Donald Murphy will present a lecture on the roots of presidency in the Constitution, and then will discuss how the first three people to hold office helped to shape the important position. This free lecture is particularly relevant, considering the upcoming election, and can help to supplement students’ in-depth studies of American history.

On Sunday, Sept 30th, the Whately Historical Society is hosting a free fall festival with a special exhibit, “Whately Schools Yesterday & Today.” Come check out a small town annual harvest/history celebration!

During the weekdays, history can be explore through math, fashion design and culinary arts! On Monday morning, Oct. 1st, Storrowton Village in West Springfield is offering a special program on math designed for students in grades 4-6 (or working on math that correlates to those grades). There will be hands-on activities that incorporate 19th century history with mathematical concepts, problem solving, and vocabulary! In the evening on Monday, the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke hosts historian Ned Lazaro, who will share the story of Violet Angotti, a Northampton dress designer during the early 20th century. The talk will discuss how, despite her profession becoming gradually more and more obsolete, Angotti worked to maintain her craft. Best for older students – pairs well with studies of technological advances and cultural change throughout the 20th century. Then on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 2nd, Ventfort Hall in Lenox hosts, “Food and Feasting in the Middle Ages,” a tea-and-talk featuring tastings of traditional medieval foods and interesting facts about the intersection of food and social class during the middle ages. Best for older students, the event will also cover food-related beliefs and practices popular during the middle ages.


On both Saturday & Sunday, Sept 29th & 30th, Sweet Brook Farm in Williamstown celebrates National Alpaca Farm Days. Families can learn about these animals and the gorgeous fiber they provide local farmers. There will be spinning and weaving demonstrations and free hands-on opportunities.

At the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield on Saturday morning, Sept 29th, the museum hosts a workshop on quillwork as part of the museum’s current Rethink! American Indian Art exhibit. Visitors can try hands-on quillwork themselves, while learning about its place in Native American history and culture.

On Sunday afternoon, Sept 30th, families can visit the Wistariahurst Museum to learn about dinosaur tracks and the 200 million-year-old history of Holyoke! Paleontologist Patrick Getty will teach kids about the dinosaurs who once inhabited the valley, and kids will get to do dino-themed hands-on activities.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 160 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.


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