26 Community Highlights: Cupcake Chemistry to Maple Celebrations. Upcycling to Family Dancing.

Discover the history of maple sugaring at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day on Sunday, March 15, 11am-3pm. See demonstrations of tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling, hearth cooking, and early American crafts, and learn about the history and folklore of maple sugaring in New England. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Family Dance Party to Maple Celebrations. Fireworks to Step Dancing. Cupcake Chemistry to Upcycling… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured community highlight this week: Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids: March 14 & April 18 from 10am-12noon. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have Saturday Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Maple Syrup CelebrationPlant StudiesSt. Patrick’s DayUpcyclingSpring MusicalsArt WalkEnvironmental StudiesPerformancesSTEM Parent WorkshopsCulinary Arts Museum Adventures

Learn Local. Play Local. is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Maple Syrup Celebration

It’s maple syrup season! You probably love covering your pancakes with delicious local syrup, but have you ever tried producing your own? Learn all about maple sugaring at Williams College’s Maplefest at the Hopkins Memorial Forest on Saturday, March 14 from 11am-2pm. This free celebration gives community members of all ages a chance to see every step of the sugaring process, from tree to bottle. Visit a working sugar house, observe the finishing and bottling of syrup, tap a tree, gather sap, taste syrup, watch videos, do fun activities, and more. There will also be a demonstration of a pre-colonial evaporating methods, to teach about the history of maple syrup production and how it was carried out in the past. All ages will have a blast learning about syrup at this fun late-winter celebration. 271 Northwest Hill Road. Williamstown, MA (FREE)

Discover the history of maple sugaring at Storrowton Village’s annual Maple Harvest Day on Sunday, March 15, 11am-3pm. See demonstrations of tree tapping, sumac spile making, sap boiling, hearth cooking, and early American crafts, and learn about the history and folklore of maple sugaring in New England. Come at 10am for a special pancake breakfast (>$). This is a great chance for the whole family to learn about sugaring! 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires is hosting a family fun and Good Deeds Day celebration at Ioka Valley Farm on Sunday, March 15, 2pm-4pm. Federation and PJ Library families can come learn all about maple sugaring at this fun event. Learn how sap becomes syrup, tour the sugar shack, do a Jewish tree-themed scavenger hunt, hear stories, feed chickens and goats, and enjoy delicious maple snacks. This is a great way to learn about maple sugaring, have fun, and do a good deed – donate supplies to the Berkshire Humane Society. A list of much-needed supplies and more information on the event can be found here. 413-442-4360. 3475 Route 43. Hancock, MA. (FREE)

Plant Studies

Spring will be here soon, but we’re still a good ways away from the trees leafing out, meaning there’s still plenty of time to learn how to identify leafless trees! Join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center and forester Helen Johnson on Saturday, March 14 from 1pm-4pm for a free late winter tree identification program. Learn how to identify trees using characteristics like bark, tree shape, buds, habitat, and branching patterns, which are all incredibly useful when it comes to identifying trees, even when they do have leaves on them. Participants will also learn about threats to our forests, such as insects, diseases, and invasive plants, and what can be done to stop them. No previous tree identification experience is necessary for this program. Call Northfield Mountain at 800-859-2960 to sign up. Northfield Mountain is located at 99 Millers Falls Road in Northfield, MA. (FREE)

St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Bousquet Mountain at their 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Slush Run and Fireworks Spectacular on Saturday, March 14. There will be activities for all ages, including an obstacle course, Irish Olympics, a cookie race, a torch light parade (8:30pm), fireworks (9pm), and a slush run. Sign up the morning of the event. 413-442-8316. 101 Dan Fox Drive. Pittsfield, MA.

Enjoy Irish music and food for St. Patrick’s Day at Ventfort Hall on Saturday, March 14, 3:30pm-5:30pm. Chris Scott and Woody Printz will play Irish tunes on the dobro, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and harmonica. There will also be Irish-themed foods like tea and leprechaun lemonade. Older students and adults will enjoy this lively and educational musical event. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Irish step dancing comes to stage on  Saturday, March 14, 7pm-9pm. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early this year at a performance by the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company at the Academy of Music. Come see their modern take on traditional step dancing and hear music by local group Four Sisters and the Farmhands. The whole family can come enjoy this lively Irish dance performance! Tickets available in advance. 413-584-9032 x105. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)

The Berkshire Museum is screening the Oscar-nominated film Song of the Sea (2014; rated PG), which was nominated for Best Animated Film and is based on the Irish legend of the Selkies. Screenings take place Saturday, March 14, 7pm, Sunday, March 15, 1:30pm & 7pm, Monday, March 16, 1:30pm & 7pm. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)


Lou Leelyn of Lou’s Upcycles will lead a workshop on plastic bag upcycling at the Pelham Library on Saturday, March 14, 11am-1pm. Learn how to turn plastic bags into usable textiles using a household iron. Participants will make their own wallets to take home at this fun, hands-on workshop. Call the library to pre-register. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Spring Musicals

Northampton High School theater will perform a production of the musical Godspell on March 12, 13, 14 at 7pm and Saturday, March 14 at 2pm. Tickets available in advance or at the door. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)

Hampshire Regional High School presents a production of Little Shop of Horrors, Friday, March 13 & Saturday, March 14 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, March 15 at 2pm Come see this fun musical featuring awesome rock music. 413-527-7680. 19 Stage Road. Westhampton, MA. ($)

Art Walk

Explore Easthampton’s local art scene at this month’s Art Walk on Saturday, March 14, 5pm-8pm. This is a fun evening out that lets you see work by talented local artists and experience some of the great art-related opportunities Easthampton has to offer! There will also be tons of great activities around town, like a DIY paper flower garland workshop at Knack (in the Eastworks building). More information can be found on the Art Walk Easthampton website. 413-527-8278. Downtown. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Environmental Studies

Project Native’s 5th Annual Environmental Film Festival kicks off on Sunday, March 15, 10am-6pm at the Tower Theaters in South Hadley. Award-winning documentaries about a variety of current environmental issues will be screened all day at the theater, and older students and adults interested in these topics will enjoy learning about the issues and seeing these fascinating films. Films featured include DamNation, Plastic Paradise, The Starfish Throwers, Resistance, and Groundswell Rising. A full list of films and more information can be found on Project Native’s website, which is linked to above. Seating is limited. 413-274-3433. 19 College Street. South Hadley, MA.


Lightwire Theater will perform an exciting show at the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on Thursday, March 19, 10am. Come see The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare live onstage, acted out with amazing lights. Reserve tickets in advance. 413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive. Amherst, MA. ($)

The Bay Path University Performing Arts Department presents a production of Winnie the Pooh this March in the Mills Theatre in Carr Hall on Friday, March 20, 7pm. Come see these timeless stories of friendship told using hand-and-rod puppets. Adults and children alike will love seeing these heartwarming tales brought to life onstage. There will also be arts and crafts activities. Tickets available in advance. 413-565-1307. Longmeadow, MA. ($)

Acting students from Whole Children and Milestones will perform Once Upon a Bog at Smith College’s Hallie Flanagan Theater on Friday, March 20, 7pm. This original play is a tale of adventure, fantasy, fun, and friendship, and explores themes of acceptance and teamwork through upbeat song and dance. Don’t miss this fun performance! Tickets available in advance. 413-585-8010. 122 Green Street. Northampton, MA. ($)


Ages 3-5 can attend the Westfield Athenaeum‘s monthly STEM series on Saturday, March 14, 3pm. Come learn about technology, read a technology-related book, and do a fun craft. Call to sign up. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Preschool-aged children can learn about light and dark at Shutesbury Town Hall as part of a series of programs focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and math on Wednesday, March 18, 3pm. This is a great chance to introduce young kids to STEAM topics! Call to register. 413-259-1213. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)

Kids ages 6 and older are invited to come to the Greenfield Public Library for this month’s session of “Fun with Science,” an activity using science in a craft or experiment, with educator Corissa Tripp on Thursday, March 19, 4pm-5pm. This free program is made possible by the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library. This community-based STEM program happens on the third Thursday of each month through June 2015. 413-772-1544 x5. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Parent Workshops

Frontier Regional CFCE presents a workshop for parents of children age 12 and under, “What Every Parent Should Know About Technology and Your Child,” at Deerfield Elementary School on Saturday, March 14, 8:30am-12noon. Jeanine Fitzgerald will present this talk, which focuses on the impact of technology on children. Participants will learn how design a healthier approach to technology for their children. There will be a continental breakfast (8:30am) and the workshop begins at 9am. Call or email KGreen@frsu38.org ASAP to register. 413-665-1151 x46. 21 Pleasant Street. South Deerfield, MA.

The Springfield Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts are offering a workshop for parents at the JCC on Sunday, March 15, 11am – “Today’s Teens: Substance Abuse in the Suburbs.” Come learn about teen drug use, how substance abuse culture has changed, and what social media has to do with it. Time will also be spent discussing the warning signs that your teen might be in trouble. This workshop is for parents/caregivers, but interested teens are welcome. Please pre-register. 413-455-1936. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

The Springfield Public Schools’ Parent and Community Engagement Center is offering a workshop for parents on homework help on Tuesday, March 17, 5:30pm-6:30pm. Learn how to make homework time more productive at this engaging workshop. 413-787-6747. 91 School Street. Springfield, MA.

Parents/caregivers can attend a free workshop at the Haskins Center on Friday, March 20, 1:30pm-2:30pm. Come learn about finances and stretching your dollar at this budgeting workshop, “Dollar Cents.” Learn the basics of banking and more at this highly informative workshop. Transportation and childcare available – please register. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Culinary Arts

Discover the chemistry behind cupcakes at the Springfield Museums’ Museum School on Saturday, March 14, 10am-12:30pm. Learn basic cupcake decorating techniques at this fun hands-on program. Purchase tickets in advance. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Kids Club at Whole Foods Market is offering a make your own applesauce program with Vermont Village Applesauce on Monday, March 16, 4pm-5pm. Learn how to make delicious, healthy applesauce at this fun program. Best for ages 4-10. Call or stop by to sign up. 413-586-9932. 327 Russell St. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Museum Adventures

Start With Art is The Clark’s series of programs for preschool students on Saturday, March 14, 10am. There will be themed talks, gallery guides, and art-making activities related to theme of flowers and plants. Best for children ages 3-6 and their parents/caregivers. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Learn Local. Play Local. is supported in part by a grant from the Buckland, Colrain, Cummington, Deerfield, Hadley, Longmeadow, Montgomery, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Sunderland, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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