18 Community Highlights: Migrating Hawks to Edible Mushrooms. Ghost Towns to Cemetery Walks.

Harvest Festivals are a great way to learn about local history and food culture. Check our Best Bets this week too for 10 featured festivals happening this weekend.

Migrating Hawks to Edible Mushrooms. Native American Harvest Festival to Jewish Harvest Festival. Ghost Towns to Cemetery Walks…. 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!


It’s Hawk migration season and bird lovers and families looking for outdoor adventures can join in several hikes in Berkshire County in search for these birds of prey. On Saturday, Oct 6th, hike Spruce Hill with Mass Audubon in North Adams, or Hulburt’s Hill at Bartholomew’s Cobble with the Trustees of Reservations in Sheffield. Both hikes are lead by naturalists to summits for great vantage points for spotting migrating raptors. On Friday, Oct 12th, folks can continue their search for migratory birds at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield with Mass Audubon as they make their trek from northern habitats to warmer climates.


Both the Springfield Museums and the Berkshire Museum will offer a chance for families to explore Native American Culture on Saturday, Oct. 6th. The Springfield Museums will have a Native American Harvest Festival with live music and drumming throughout the day. There will also be vendors of handmade Native American crafts, artifact identification (BYO artifact!), and traditional games and activities for kids! The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield will host guest artist Jeremy Frey, who will be demonstrating traditional Passamaquoddy basket-weaving techniques. The demonstrations are in conjunction with the museum’s Rethink! American Indian Art exhibit. Families can supplement studies of early New England history and Native American culture by visiting either event.

Then on Wednesday evening, Oct 10th, Westfield State University will offer an “antidote to Columbus Day” – the school will host a free evening of Native American poetry, featuring Native American poets who will read their work and discuss the importance of providing an indigenous perspective to the history of Columbus. Older Students can learn to understand the day of observance in a different light that acknowledges the whole story of the settling of North America.

The Congregation B’Nai Israel of Northampton invites the community to celebrate Sukkot on Sunday, Oct 7th. This free Jewish harvest festival will be jam-packed with fun, interesting, and delicious activities like bread baking in a wood fired oven, cider pressing, wheat threshing, live music, tastings of apples and honey, and more! Families can learn about the Jewish traditions that accompany the festival, its place within Jewish history, and more.


Dost thou desire to take part in medieval combat? Suit up in armor and visit Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum for their annual Medieval Faire on Sunday, Oct 7th in Lenox! There will be armored combat (every hour, on the hour!), equestrian demonstrations, roving troubadours and jesters, displays and demonstrations of medieval arts and crafts, and, for the more serious students of medieval history, lectures on medieval traditions and culture. The event is fun for the whole family – take a step back in time and surround yourself in history! Ventfort Hall’s unique architecture provides the perfect backdrop for the fair, too!

Other celebrations that will highlight local history on Sunday, Oct 7th, include the Hatfield Fall Festival (be sure to check out their new exhibit, Hatfield’s Ghost Town!) and the Wilder Homestead’s Colonial Sampler in Buckland. Both free celebrations offer local food and fiber art demonstrations and hands-on of traditional arts (like weaving, spinning, and shoemaking).

For the adventurous types on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 7th, take a tour of the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton to learn about the town’s interesting history by discovering whose graves lie in the cemetery, including Jonathan Edwards, an 18th century writer and theologian who preached in Northampton for over 20 years! Or, in Plainfield on Sunday, Oct. 7th is their Historical Society’s final Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills event. The topic is stone walls – titled, “Farming in Stone,” and includes a free indoor talk on the use of walls and who built them (locally), as well as an afternoon exploration of the beautiful woods to take a firsthand look at some remaining stone walls.

Tie history together with Halloween at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 7th with a lecture on the history of witchcraft in 17th century New England. Perfectly timed for Halloween, the talk will address the culture and religious beliefs of early New Englanders and will explore the basis for the widespread belief in witchcraft. Best for older students.


Child Care of the Berkshires is offering a Family Nutrition class, presented by Nutritionist, Allyse Wiencek on Tuesday evening, Oct 9th in North Adams. Also on Tuesday evening, the Collaborative for Educational Service and the Palmer-Monson Family Network will offer a free 6-week workshop series titled, “The Puzzle of Parenting” in Three Rivers. Then on Wednesday evening, Oct 10th, also in North Adams, Childcare of the Berkshires presents, “Everyday Parenting Solutions,” with Scott Noyes at the Haskins Center. – All three parent workshops are free.


Two other free highlights we must note involve mushrooms and cardboard boxes. On Saturday morning, Oct 6th, teens (and tweens) ages 12+ are invited to explore the wild woods of Williamsburg on a hunt for edible wild mushrooms! Lead by Marty Klein, artist/naturalist/forager, the event is for both beginners and experienced foragers. Great for kids interested in learning to identify edible local plants!

Also on Saturday morning, Oct 6th, it’s Cardboard Art Day at Owl and Raven! There will be plenty of cardboard on hand, but bring (if you can!) duct or masking tape, a cutting tool (simple scissors for little ones, boxcutters can be OK for teens/tweens), and lots of enthusiasm and design ideas! Who knows what will be created – you can work on an individual project or collaborate with others to make a masterpiece. It’s a great opportunity for creative free play and, for older students, to experiment with architecture and design.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and well over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events.


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