Berkshire Family Fun for late April through early May, 2013

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
April 20th – May 3rd, 2013

April in the Berkshires (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)Spring is being celebrated in Berkshire County and we have over 30 highlights to share: community service, parent workshops, theater, animal & nature studies, local history, sustainability, community activism… Berkshire County has all of this going on into the beginning of May, plus much more!

On Saturday, April 27th from 10am-2pm, Berkshire County Rx Round Up takes place. Protect your family and the environment by safely disposing of your unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications. Bottles and pills left around the house are easily picked up by curious hands, or erroneously flushed into our water systems. Help your children understand the attention and care required for handling and properly disposing of all medication. Disposal sites will be set-up throughout Berkshire County including: Adams Police Station, Pittsfield Health Center, and West Stockbridge Police Station. Contact your area representations at: North County,; Central County,; and South County, Berkshires, MA. (FREE)

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through May 3rd, 2013:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events

North Berkshire

Cheshire | Lanesborough | North Adams | Williamstown | Windsor

Central Berkshire | South Berkshire


Saturday, April 20th from 9am-1pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Clean up the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail! Families with children ages 8yo and older can assist with cleaning up the trail and landscaping. Call for exact location: 413-499-7003. Cheshire, MA (VOLUNTEER)


Saturday, April 27th from 11am-2pm – SCHOOL PREPAREDNESS: Are your kids heading to school for the first time in the near future?  Berkshire United Way is hosting a School Readiness Fair today at the Berkshire Mall!  Families can attend the event to meet early childhood professionals, learn about local schools, register for early childhood education, and find out what they can be doing at home to support children’s transition into attending school.  Get answers to all of your school-related questions, and help your kids prepare for what’s ahead!  Route 8.  Lanesborough, MA.  (FREE)


Saturday, April 20th & 27th from 2pm & 7pm; Sunday, April 21st & 28th at 2pm; Friday, April 26th at 7pm  – THEATER: Mill City Production performance of the classic children’s story, James and the Giant Peach from the book by Roald Dahl and dramatized by Richard R. George.  An adaptation of the 1961 children’s book, this production is sure to delight both children and adults alike. The cast features 13 local actors and features Charlie Waltermire as James. Performances will take place at Mill City’s Theatre at Building 4N (next to the Visitor’s Center) in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park. North Adams, MA ($)


Saturday, April 20th at 7:30am – ORNITHOLOGY: Enjoy an early morning bird watch with the Hoffman Bird Club!  Today’s Birding Beyond Your Backyard event will take place at Linear Park, where families will learn to search for waterfowl, migratory birds, and common field species.  Meet at the tennis courts.  Linear Park Road.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, April 20th at 8:30am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES/COMMUNITY SERVICE: Go on a spring bird and ecology hike at Sheep Hill. The Sheep Hill property has a variety of habitats to support a great diversity of nesting birds, including Eastern Bluebird, American Kestrel, Tree Swallow and Red-winged Blackbird. This is also a good time of year to see the migrating birds on their way from their overwintering sites to their northern nesting grounds.  After the hike, stay for a spring clean-up of the Sheep Hill grounds in preparation for the WRLF’s May 5th Sheep to Shawl festival and other spring events.  The clean-up will begin at approximately 10am.  Tools and refreshments will be provided.   Heavy rain cancels. 413-458-2494. Route 7 South. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Saturday, April 20th from 10am-12noon – NATURE STUDIES: Explore the Hopkins Forest this morning to learn about the various species of reptiles and amphibians who rely on the forest’s unique habitat in order to survive.  Thomas Tyning, a professor at Berkshire Community College, will lead the exploration and will teach participants to look for and identify common frogs, turtles, salamanders, and snakes.  There are a full 20 species of these creatures living in the forest!  Bulkley Street and Northwest Hill Road.  WIlliamstown, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, April 20th from 10am-4pm – BOOK SALE: The Friends of the Milne Public Library host the annual book sale today!  Visit the Williamstown Elementary School gym to peruse a variety of titles – that you can take home for good!  Stock up on your summer reading. 115 Church Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (SALE)

Saturday, April 20th at 11am – LOCAL HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE: The so-called “core” of Williamstown is a set of buildings created during the same time period and for similar purposes.  But when was it, and why?  Learn about the town’s history and reasons behind the particular architectural style of the town’s building core today at the Williamstown Historical Museum.  Local architect Andrus Burr will discuss the history of the grid between Cole Avenue and Southworth and Moorland Streets and its connection to the designing of the buildings found there.  The museum is located in the Milne Library.  413-458-2160.  1095 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

Friday, April 26th & May 3rd at 7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Students from Williams College’s astronomy program present a planetarium show tonight!  Held at the Milham Planetarium, the show will teach families about the many shiny things they see in the sky at night – they’re not all stars and planets!  Depending on weather conditions, observing may take place after the show.  413-597-3131.  829 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, April 27th from 7:30-9:30am – ORNITHOLOGY: Join the Hoffman Bird Club for a special Birding Beyond Your Backyard expedition to Field Farm, a Trustees of Reservations property.  Families will learn to spot and identify some common birds, and will get to explore the beautiful landscape.  413-458-4908.  Sloan Road.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, April 27th at 3pm & 7pm – PERFORMANCE: Minerva Arts Center‘s workshop The Gleekers will be performing.  for the public. Students in the workshop present dance, song and theatricality ranging from Broadway tunes to modern songs and choreography. Directed by Nicole Rizzo and Kimberly Rose, Produced by Kathy O’Mara and the Minerva Creative Team. Takes place a The First Congregational Church, Fellowship Hall. 413-441-6120. 906 Main Street. Williamstown, MA (>$) 

Monday, April 29th at 5:30pm – COMMUNITY DINNER/FILM: Spaghetti Dinner/Spaghetti Western Fundraiser! Enjoy an evening of spaghetti – on a plate and on the big screen!  Enjoy a spaghetti dinner at the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, followed by a screening of a classic spaghetti western (“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” starring Clint Eastwood) at Images Cinema, as a fundraiser for continued presentation of great films at Images.  Yum!  413-458-1039.  Main Street and 50 Spring Street.  Williamstown, MA.  ($$)


Saturday, April 27th & 28th at 10am – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Join Tamarack Hollow, a newly formed non-profit educational center, in clearing trails and making open space on their 32-acre boreal forest reserve. They need assistance dragging brush, cutting and clipping trees, clearing and blazing trails and more! They are also seeking donations of lumber to build out facility structures. Please email: to sign up for one or both work-days. Food provided for participants. 1515 Savoy Hollow Road. Windsor, MA (VOLUNTEER)

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Central Berkshire

Dalton | Hinsdale | Lenox | Pittsfield | Stockbridge

North Berkshire | South Berkshire


Wednesday, April 24th from 5:30-7pm: COMMUNITY SERVICE: Families with older children and train with the Housatonic Valley Association to be part of their Stream Team Project volunteer crew.  Walk or paddle a stretch of the river and report your findings.  Interest meeting at the Dalton Town Hall. 413-394-9796. Dalton, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Crane Museum of Papermaking — Visit the Crane Museum of Papermaking to learn about the history of papermaking at Crane since the early 1800’s. Located on the banks of the Housatonic River, the building itself is a museum! This is a great opportunity to learn about local history. The museum is open weekdays from 1-5pm. — 413-684-2600. 30 South Street. (FREE)


Saturday, April 27th from 9am-1pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Families can help the Housatonic Valley Association clean up the Old Mill Trail trailhead during their spring work party.  Help get the trail ready for a new hiking season by picking up trash and debris, replacing lost markers and removing invasive plant species.  413-394-9796. Old Dalton Road (opposite the Hinsdale Trading Co.) Hinsdale, MA (VOLUNTEER)


Wednesday, April 24th from 6:30-8pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Enjoy an evening in the valley visiting the beaver ponds at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.  Search for beavers and other kinds of wildlife that are attracted by the series of ponds that the beavers have created. Learn about the natural history of beavers and how they continue to change our landscape 80 years after their reintroduction.  Best for families with children ages 3-15yo. Wear long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, and a hat. Bring binoculars if you have them.  413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. Lenox, MA (>$)

Saturday, April 27th at 3pm – LOCAL HISTORYVentfort Hall hosts a Victorian tea and a lecture on local history this afternoon!  Best for older students, the tea and treats will follow a talk titled, “Driving Miss Biddle: Michael Cole and the Life of a Lenox Chauffer,” which will teach visitors about the employee/employer relationship that the local man had with the wealthy families he worked for in the Berkshires.  Advance tickets suggested.  413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  ($$)


Daily through May 5th from 10am-4pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURE: Springtime brings new things – new leaves, new flowers, and of course – new babies!  Visit Hancock Shaker Village to see the newly born farm animals – families will be able to get up close and personal on a Behind-the-Scenes Farm Tour!  There will be piglets, chicks, lambs, calves, and more to watch and learn about, and families can tour the village and learn about Shaker history and culture after they’ve met the creatures.  Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm runs daily through May 5th.  413-443-0188.  1843 West Housatonic Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

Saturday, April 20th from 11am-12noon – THEATER: Berkshire Children’s Theater presents Kids Love Broadway II at the Berkshire Museum!  Part of the museum’s special school vacation week events, the show is a revue of the actors’ favorite Broadway classics – a must-see for musical-loving kiddos.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($)

Saturday, April 20th from 11am-2pm – EARTH DAY: The Berkshire Museum presents an environmentally friendly installment of Kitchen Ka-Boom, the museum’s monthly hands-on science event.  Families can make their own terrariums using plastic soda bottles, build plant pots out of newspaper, and learn about turning their own energy into electricity!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

Saturday, April 20th from 1-5pm – SKILLSHARE: Come visit the Repair Cafe, every third Saturday in St. Stephen’s Church basement in Pittsfield! Skilled volunteers can fix children’s bikes, mend torn jeans, repair computers and fix up vacuums cleaners stuffed with crumbs and LEGO toys. Bring your broken lamp or light fixture without adding it to the landfill or purchasing a replacement. Children can learn the science and maintenance associate with their very own bike! Free refreshments. Call Tom Harter at 413-212-8589 or email Janet Henderson at 67 East St. Pittsfield. (FREE)

Monday, April 22nd from 12noon-6pm – COMMUNITY ACTIVISM: Massachusetts Right to Know GMO’s is hosting a rally and awareness-building event today!  The rally will take place at Park Square, and families can attend in order to learn more about GMO foods and the legislation and requirements surrounding GMO labeling, as well as the many health risks of consuming GMO foods.  Bring a poster showing support for proper (and fair) labeling of GMO foods, or bring materials to make a sign once you’ve learned more about the cause.  Attending a rally is a great way to teach kids about community activism and the power that they have as citizens to promote their own ideas using the power of their own voice!  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

Thursday, April 25th at 7pm – DOCUMENTARY: The Berkshire Athenaeum screens, “Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1,000,” a documentary film about the environmental activist’s work to clean up and restore the Nashua River.  Chronicled in Lynne Cherry’s Book A River Ran Wild, the story of the river is rooted deep in New England’s natural and social history.  Stoddart will introduce the film herself, and families can learn about conservation, community activism, and habitat restoration from the documentary!  413-499-9480.  1 Wendell Avenue.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, April 27th from 9am-12noon – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Families with children 10yo and older can volunteer together at the Community Gardens. Help set up 162 plots by staking the gardens, installing waterlines and faucets, and raking and flattening the pathways. Get the site ready for the gardening season by painting, planting, setting up compost areas, repairing and installing the scarecrows. Or help clear and expand a turtle nesting site. 413-637-0320 x 8353. 350 Williams Street. Pittsfield, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Saturday, April 27th at 10am – ECOART: Visit TREEHOUSE for an Earth Day-themed art event!  Kids can make clean, green art projects – including pinwheels and picture frames – out of recycled materials, and families can learn about natural options for craft supplies.  305 North Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, April 27th from 6:30-8:30pm – TEENS: Marketplace Cafe hosts a Young Artists’ Open Mic for youth ages 21yo and younger. Young adults ages 21yo and younger can come show off their talent! 413-358-4777. 53 North Street. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Monday, April 29th at 5pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: The YEAH! Network (Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health Network) hosts, “Let’s Talk About Sex: Continuing the Community Conversation About Preventing Teen Pregnancy.”  The event takes places at Taconic High School, and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, co-founder of YEAH!, an organization that utilizes advocacy, research, and community collaborations to educate and empower local youth.  Parents can learn about this important cause, and what they can do to help their own children make healthy, informed decisions.  Sponsored by Berkshire United Way.  96 Valentine Road.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)


Saturday, April 20th from 1-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Norman Rockwell Museum will celebrate the wonder of wordless picture books with “Zoom,” a special family day event.  Meet illustrator Istvan Banyai, the creator of “Zoom,” “Re-Zoom,” ”REM,” and “The Other Side;” whose artwork is currently on exhibit at the Museum. Mr. Banyai will present a day of talks, workshops, demonstrations, and signings. Throughout the day Meredyth Babcock, artistic director of the puppet company Marmalade Productions, will show you how to design your own shadow puppet characters that have the gift of movement, expression, and unique points of view, followed by a special performance. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA ($)

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South Berkshire

Great Barrington | Sheffield

North Berkshire | Central Berkshire


Saturday, April 20th from 9am-2pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Join the patrons of the Ramsdell Library for a day of cleaning up along the banks of the Housatonic River.  Meet at the library for an assigned route to clean-up. Pizza at the Brick House at noon for all volunteers. Screening of “Fold, Crumple, Crush” in the library theater at 2pm. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA (VOLUNTEER)

Sunday, April 21st at 4pm – FILM STUDIES: See a classic silent film on the big screen. Mahaiwe Performing Arts will be screening Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights.”  This 1930’s silent film, except for music and sound effects, was named one of the American Film Institute Top-100 American Films- a must see for any youth interested in film history, production or studies.  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($)

Friday, April 26th at 7pm – CIRCUS: Cirque Shanghai performs Bai Xi at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center!  The show combines acrobatics, action, and contemporary staging and choreography to create a beautiful, moving piece of artwork.  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($$)

Saturday, April 27th from 3-6pm – BOWL-A-THON: Volunteer with your family to help the Berkshire Humane Society raise money for their cat adoption center.  A bowl-a-thon is a familY-friendly fundrasing event.  Get a team of four together and sign up to bowl 3 games.  All this fun will take place at Cove Lanes.  Get your registration packet and sign up to support animal welfare in the Berkshires. 413-717-4244. 109 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Saturday, April 27th & Sunday, April 28th from 9am-4pm – CONSIGNMENT SALE: Community Health Programs is sponsoring a two-day consignment sale including maternity clothing and all types of quality children’s items: Spring/Summer clothing (sizes newborn to youth 14), toys, videos, games, books, cribs, furniture, sporting equipment and lots more. Takes place at the Housatonic Community Center. 413-644-0104 x1159. Main Street. Housatonic, MA (SALE)


Saturday, April 20th from 10am-12noon – NATURE STUDIES: Can you find Bishop’s Cap, Nodding Trillium, Bloodroot or Dutchmen’s Breeches in your local woods?  These creatively named plants are just a few of the fascinating spring plants that can be found at Bartholomew’s Cobble!  Join the Trustees of Reservations for a guided walk through the cobble, and learn to identify early spring plants!  Registration required.  413-229-8600.  Sheffield, MA.  ($)

Saturday, April 27th from 9am-12noon – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Help the Trustees of Reservations to maintain Bartholomew’s Cobble – volunteer during the organization’s spring workday to help with some outdoor “spring cleaning” of the area.  Families will be able to help with projects, and will also learn about ways that they can help to maintain the property throughout the season.  Lunch provided!  413-229-8600. Sheffield, MA.  (FREE).

Saturday, April 27th at 10am – ARBOR DAY: Plant a tree at the Bushnell-Sage Library and learn about the history of Arbor Day!  This family event is designed to celebrate and commemorate the day, and will teach families about why it exists and why it is important to participate.  413-229-7004.  58 Main Street.  Sheffield, MA.  (FREE)

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