28 Community Highlights: Renaissance to Whistling. May Day to Pride Parade.
Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!
Featured learning highlight this week: Have you ever wondered what life was like during the Renaissance? You can discover activities, trades, and foods of the Renaissance at the 12th Annual Community Renaissance Festival, held by the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies on Sunday, May 4 in Amherst. All ages can learn about and celebrate this important cultural movement through theater performances, board games, weaving demonstrations, blacksmithing, leatherworking, dancing, live music, and more. The Renaissance Festival is a free interactive and engaging opportunity to get kids interested in European history and making connections between the Renaissance and many of the cultural movements that have occurred since then.
STEM ♦ Local History ♦ Science ♦ Renaissance ♦ Photography ♦ Animal Studies ♦ Community Service ♦ Diversity/LGBT ♦ Military History ♦ Ornithology ♦ May Day ♦ Plant Studies/Wildflowers ♦ Literacy ♦ Arts & Crafts ♦ Parent Workshop
The Holyoke Public Library will be offering a four part Architectural Building Club for youth ages 7-14. This free program will start Wednesday afternoon, May 7 and continue each week throughout the month. Each session will begin at 4:30pm and run for roughly one hour. Children will work with LEGO Architecture, Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs and mosaic tiles as they use their imagination to create blueprints, build structures and work with their peers. Reservations are required. Call 413-420-8105 to register.
The Pioneer Valley Institute and the Deerfield River Watershed Association present an historical visit to the Conway Station on Saturday morning, May 3, which was the junction of the Conway Street Railway that served the industries of Conway by trolley to the New Haven, Boston, and Maine Railroads. Older students interested in local history, industry, and transportation can learn about this historic railway and the bridges built for it over the Deerfield and South Rivers.
Cemeteries are a great place to learn about local history – you can study old epitaphs, see what materials gravestones are made of, learn about common names of the past, see what the average lifespan was during any given time, and discover prominent residents of the past. All this can be done at the Stockbridge Library’s first Cemetery Tour of the season – “Talented People You’ve Never Heard Of” – on Saturday afternoon, May 3. Come to Stockbridge Cemetery to “meet” and learn about some of these artists, musicians, inventors, and athletes who almost became famous. Older students who are interested in local history will learn much at this unique and educational tour of an historic cemetery dating back hundreds of years.
Tom Kass presents, “Tom Browne: King of the Whistlers,” at the Holyoke Public Library on Wednesday evening, May 7, as part of the Holyoke History Room Guest Speaker Series. Kass will discuss the life of Tom Browne, who performed whistling in clubs and at events, which led to a career in whistling on Broadway, in Europe, and in front of King Edward VII. Kass’ talk will tell of late-19th Century musical culture and popular entertainment. Older students interested in music, entertainment, and history will like this free talk about a well-known whistler from Holyoke!
The UMass Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department presents OEB Science Cafes at Esselon Cafe in Hadley each month. This month’s talk is by Dr. Lynn Adler, who will present, “Sex and Drugs and Plants and Bugs” on Monday evening, May 5. Learn about plant-insect interactions like pollination and more. Science Cafes are oriented towards adults without a science background, but are interesting to those with science backgrounds as well!
It is said that “life imitates art,” but what does that mean in terms of nanotechnology? Is it possible to shrink people or other objects? Amherst Cinema’s “Science on Screen” event on Tuesday evening, May 6 tackles these questions with a screening of Fantastic Voyage (1966; rated PG) and accompanying discussion on the history and future of nanotechnology with Dr. Katherine Aidala. The film is about a group of scientists who are miniaturized and injected into the bloodstream of a famous physicist in order to destroy a clot that threatens his life. Dr. Aidala will talk about the progress that has been made in the field of nanotechnology and what this means for the fields of science and medicine. Older students who like science fiction and who are interested in physics, nanotechnology, or biology will benefit from this engaging screening and talk.
Have you ever wondered what life was like during the Renaissance? You can discover activities, trades, and foods of the Renaissance at the 12th Annual Community Renaissance Festival, held by the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies on Sunday, May 4 in Amherst. All ages can learn about and celebrate this important cultural movement through theater performances, board games, weaving demonstrations, blacksmithing, leatherworking, dancing, live music, and more. The Renaissance Festival is a free interactive and engaging opportunity to get kids interested in European history and making connections between the Renaissance and many of the cultural movements that have occurred since then.
“Midnight to Midnight” is a community photography blitz aimed to capture contemporary images of Northampton. From 12:01am on Friday, May 2nd through 11:59pm on Saturday, May 3rd, all are encouraged to use photography to document aspects of Northampton that they feel are significant. This collaborative activity is a great educational opportunity for parents, families, and educators because it presents contemporary daily life and daily tasks as being significant (both now and to future generations), and can imbue participants with a sense of appreciation for, and pride of, the place the live, work and travel to.
Kids 14 and under can enjoy a day of fun, fishing, and learning with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at their Regional Office in Hadley on Saturday, May 3. There will be free fishing (rods available), a live bird demonstration, and the Wildlife on Wheels trailer. Families will enjoy this fun event, which can introduce kids to fishing at this free event.
All ages can learn about the fascinating world of birds of prey at a special Wingmasters event at the Great Falls Discovery Center on Saturday afternoon, May 3 in Turners Falls. Julie Anne Collier of Wingmasters will present a free live raptor program featuring five live birds like hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles. She will discuss the lives, habitats, adaptations, diets, and behaviors of these birds. Kids and adults of all ages will love learning all about these amazing creatures.
Meet Jori, the Great Barrington police dog, and his officer, Tim Ullrich, at the Mason Library in Great Barrington on Saturday afternoon, May 3. Jori will demonstrate sniffing and show his knowledge of signals and commands. Anyone interested in dogs and how they can help people and communities will love seeing Jori share his knowledge and skills. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA.
Families can participate together in community service at one of the many spring clean ups happening in the region. Here are five featured community service opportunities happening this Saturday, May 3.
Northampton’s 33rd Annual LGBT Parade and Pride Event takes place on Saturday, May 3, downtown and at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. See the Parade march down Main Street and follow behind to the Fairgrounds, where the Pride event takes place. The Pride event features live music, drag performances, speakers, vendors, and more. Celebrate Northampton’s diverse LGBT community at this fun event!
Learn about the Springfield Armory‘s historic weapons at a Blank Firing Demonstration on Saturday afternoon, May 3. Visitors can see the weapons, hear the rifles blasting, and smell the burning gunpowder at this demonstration. Seeing the firing demonstration can teach students of all ages about historic weapons and what the Springfield Armory was used for in the past.
Discover local birds on a bird walk with Forbes Library on Sunday morning, May 4. This free guided walk will take participants through the Smith College campus and up to Paradise Pond in Northampton in search of birds. This walk is great for beginner birders who want to learn more about bird identification, bird calls, and what some good birding spots in the area are.
Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for an easy bird walk at their Steepletop Preserve in New Marlborough on Sunday morning, May 4. The walk will take you through wetlands, mature forests, fields, field edges, woodland clearings, and more, in search of unique bird species. This hike is easy and roughly two miles, making it appropriate for older students interested in birds and hiking.
All ages are invited to parade from Montague Center post office to the Montague Town Common for a May Celebration on Sunday, May 4. Come sing May songs, carry the maypole, participate in maypole dancing, and see Morris dancing from several different troupes. Bring a blanket and picnic lunch to this fun community celebration.
Discover Spring wildflowers at Field Farm with The Trustees of Reservations and naturalist Pam Weatherbee on Sunday afternoon, May 4 in Williamstown. Learn about many of the interesting Spring wildflowers that can be found at Field Farm on this family-friendly walk.
The Berkshire Athenaeum presents “Fun With Words,” a event for children and their parents that is part of the Every Child Ready to Read series of programs. This free event will teach parents how to help their children develop early literacy skills and foster in them a love of reading. Takes place on Monday morning, May 5, in Pittsfield.
Kids can practice their reading skills by reading out loud one-on-one with a trained therapy dog at the East Longmeadow Public Library. on Monday afternoon, May 5. Reading out loud to dogs is a good way for kids to gain confidence in reading out loud, since dogs are non-judgmental listeners.
Encourage literacy and a love of books in your young children (ages 2-5) with Child Care of the Berkshires‘ Raising a Reader Program on Wednesday evening, May 7 in Cheshire. Borrow bags of books for ten weeks, read them, then return them so another family can enjoy them. This free family fun gatherings that introduce you to special ways to share reading with your family. Dinner, activities, and transportation included.
Learn how to create with wool at a free felting workshop with fiber artist Sue McFarland at the Sunderland Public Library on Wednesday afternoon, May 7. Teens and tweens in grades 5-12 can learn to make interesting things from felt. This is a great chance to learn this fun and unique fiber art! Evening event, Introduction to Felt Making, follows for teens and older.
The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering “Positive Solutions for Families,” a free workshop for parents of children 3-5 years old in Amherst on Wednesday evening, May 7. The workshop aims to help parents explore their child’s social and emotional development and how best to nurture that development by connecting with their child through play, communication, relationship building, and healthy limit setting.
Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Charlemont/Hawley, Chesterfield, Conway, Heath, Leyden, Montague, Montgomery, South Hadley and Shutesbury Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.