41 Community Highlights: Lunar Eclipse to Astronautics. Pumpkin Cookery to Apple Harvest.

For the first time in three decade, we will be able to witness a supermoon in combination with a lunar eclipse, resulting in a “blood moon.” Lasting only 72 minutes, the eclipse will begin around 8:11pm (EDT) on Sunday, Sept 27. According to the NASA web site, “a noticeable shadow will begin to fall on the moon at 9:07pm, and the total eclipse will start at 10:11pm.” Check out this video and local events you can engage in with your community, sharing this phenological phenomenon in the night sky which last time took place in the 1980’s!

Lunar Eclipse to Fall Festivals. Apple Harvest to Pumpkin Cookery. Astronautics to Banned Books Week…. These are just a few of the community-based 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 highlights this week: Have you ever wished you knew how to identify trees? Which trees are native? Which are evergreen and which are deciduous? How can we tell the history of a particular tree? The Hitchcock Center and arborist Todd Beals invite you to a Waugh Arboretum Tour on the UMass Campus on Sunday, September 27 from 1:30pm-3:30pm. Todd has also worked to develop a user-friendly online map and guide to the wonderful variety of trees on the UMASS Amherst campus, which you can continue to explore on your own. Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Registration required. 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant St., Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Fall FestivalsGuided Walks/HikesRiver EcologyLocal HistoryLunar AdventuresService-Based LearningMuseum AdventuresFolktalesMusic StudiesFilm StudiesTheater StudiesCulinary ArtsNatural HistoryParent WorkshopsBanned Books WeekDendrologyEntomologyAmphibiansAstronautics

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Fall Festivals

Saturday, September 26. 10am-5pm; Sunday, September 27. 10am-5pm
Garlic and Arts Festival ♦ Celebrate the artistic, agricultural and cultural bounty of the region at the 17th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. The purpose of the festival is to unite North Quabbin people whose livelihoods are connected to the land and the arts, and to invite both local residents and those who do not live in the region to experience the richness of an area that is often overlooked. Enjoy amazing music, performances, spoken word, dance, a pottery tent, climbing wall, hulahooping, horsedrawn hayrides, a farm animal area with great demos, and garlic games all weekend. Over 100 booths featuring regional artists, farmers, community organizations and fabulous food. Rain or shine. Kids 12 and under are free. Forster’s Farm, 60 Chestnut Hill Rd., Orange, MA. (<$)

Saturday, September 26, 10am-5pm
29th Annual Apple Harvest Crafts Fair and Children’s Festival The Amherst Family Center’s 29th Annual Apple Harvest Crafts Fair and Children’s Festival takes place September 26 on the Amherst Town Common! There will be artisan booths, hay rides, pony rides, games, scarecrow making, pumpkin decorating, a bouncy castle, cider making, live entertainment, and more throughout the day. Families will love this fun, free fall festival that supports the work done by the Amherst Family Center. Downtown. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 26, 10am-5pm; Sunday, September 27, 10am-5pm
36th Annual Lenox Apple Squeeze Harvest Festival The 36th Annual Lenox Apple Squeeze Harvest Festival takes place September 26 and 27! Celebrate fall in the Berkshires with food, rides, live music, shopping, and more at this lively street fair. 413-637-3646. Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 26, 12-4pm
Nuestres Raices ♦ Grassroots urban agriculture can strengthen and build healthy communities. Celebrate the work of Nuestres Raices during their annual Harvest Festival. This event features live music, traditional roast pork and chicken (Lechonera) among other foods, activities for children, information on sustainable energy, and more. 413-535-1789. 24 Jones Ferry Rd., Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 26. 10am-5pm
Hancock Shaker Village‘s Country Fair ♦ The Shakers are known for their long-established gender equality, as well as for their simplicity of lifestyle, architecture, and utilitarian objects. Learn more about life in a Shaker village at Hancock Shaker Village‘s Country Fair, September 26-27, where visitors will enjoy demonstrations of traditional Shaker crafting techniques, view a juried quilt show, see antique tractors and farm equipment, and participate in children’s games. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE for members and children 12 and under; $)

Sunday, September 27, 1pm-4pm
Hopkins Forest Fall Festival ♦ September 27th is the Hopkins Forest Fall Festival at Williams College. Celebrate fall with woodworking demonstrations, apple butter and cider production, the canopy walkway, shake splitting, a crosscut saw competition, live music, kids activities, and more. The Festival is a fun and educational way to welcome fall to the Berkshires. 413-597-2346. Northwest Hill Road. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Guided Walks/Hikes

Saturday, September 26. 9am-2pm
RIVER ECOLOGY ♦ When you explore the outdoors with knowledgeable guides, you can learn a great deal about local ecosystems, flora, and fauna. Guided group hikes also provide great opportunities to meet other families who share your interest in the outdoors, and with whom you might be able to arrange family hiking outings in the future. This weekend, Wild & Scenic Westfield River representatives will share some of their favorite hikes along the river valley. Registration required. 413-623-2070. Gobble Mountain, Middlefield Road, Chester, MA. (< $)

Saturday, September 26. 9am-4:30pm; Sunday, September 27. 9am-4:30pm
♦ CULTURAL HISTORY ♦ Participating in an interpretive walk allows you to feel more connected to the cultural, industrial and environmental history of the land and become involved in your surroundings. Housatonic Heritage Walks feature short walks, longer trail hikes, birding walks, tours of historical buildings and industrial sites, and a river canoe/kayak. Choose from a variety of walks in the upper Housatonic River Valley, all starting at different times throughout the day, and led by expert historians, naturalists and environmentalists. Registration required. 413-394-9773. Berkshire County, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, September 26. 1-3pm
♦ GEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL HISTORY ♦ Hiking can be about more than just experiencing the beauty of your environment. It can also be an opportunity to examine geological and cultural history. Trustees of Reservations invites you to explore Monument Mountain and David Dudley Field’s Carriage Road, looking at the geological, American Indian, industrial and cultural history of Monument Mountain with a particular focus on the instigator of the 1850 picnic with Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Meet at Monument Mountain Reservation Parking Lot. The hike is about 2 miles over varied terrain -please wear sensible shoes, bring water and snacks. Parking: Trustees members Free, Nonmembers $5/car. Registration requested. 413-532-1631 x10. 545 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington, MA. (FREE; < $ for parking)

Local History

Sunday, September 27. 2pm
♦ STOCKBRIDGE HISTORY ♦ Travel back in time with Barbara Allen, Curator of the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives, as she leads a walk down Stockbridge’s historic Main Street. Live through 275 years of Stockbridge history, starting with the first residents, Chief Konkapot and the Mohican tribe and moving through time to Cyrus Field and his trans-Atlantic cable, and Arlo Guthrie and Alice’s Restaurant. Registration required. 413-298-5501. Meet in front of the Stockbridge Library on the corner of Main and Elm Streets, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Lunar Adventures

Sunday, September 27. 5-7:30pm
HIKE/NATURAL HISTORY ♦ September’s full moon is known in many northern cultures as the Harvest Moon. The Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center invites you to a two-mile walk along the scenic Barton Cove peninsula, where you’ll explore the rich history, geology and natural history of this unique place along the Connecticut River. It is also the perfect setting for a sunset walk and viewing the full moon rising across the river. Dress in layers, bring a flashlight or headlamp, water and a trail snack to enjoy while the moon rises. Sturdy footwear works best on Barton Cove’s rocky trails. For ages 12 and older. Registration required. Call for directions. 800-859-2960. Gill, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 27, 6:30pm
ASTRONOMY ♦ Astronomy fans can come to the Springfield Science Museum to view the total lunar eclipse on September 27. Arrive at 6:30pm for planetarium shows, observatory tours, and presentations about eclipses, and then head out to the North Lawn viewing area to see the eclipse at 9pm. Members of the Springfield Stars Club will bring telescopes for you to look through, and you can ask them and Science Museum staff about what you’re seeing. This is the last total lunar eclipse visible in Massachusetts until 2019! 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (< $)

Sunday, September 27, 7pm-10pm
OUTDOOR ART INSTALLATION ♦ Celebrate fall at Park Hill Orchard on a full moon walk through their sculpture garden. Walk the orchard by torchlight and hear a poetry reading. 413-527-6186. 82 Park Hill Road. Easthampton, MA.

Service-Based Learning

Saturday, September 26, 1pm-4pm
PARK CLEAN-UP ♦ Volunteer to help clean up Greenfield Energy Park in time for fall and the last event of the season. The whole family can help out by cleaning up, preparing the gardens for winter, and celebrating a successful summer at the park. Email nhazard@worldsustain.net to RSVP. Miles Street. Greenfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Sunday, September 27, ALL DAY
CHARITY BIKE RIDE/FOOD SECURITY ♦ The 5th Annual Will Bike 4 Food charity cycling event to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts takes place on September 27th. There are multiple rides to choose from – 3.5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles, and you must register by September 25th if you’d like to ride. This is a great opportunity for the whole family to get outdoors to support a good cause. More info on the Will Bike 4 Food website. Hatfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, September 27, 11am-6pm
CHARITY FUNDRAISER ♦ Miles for Moments is an annual celebration and fundraiser for Moments House, a local cancer support community. The day consists of a 5k walk, live music, food and drink vendors, face painting, balloon animals, decorating the new Moments House Kart, and more. This is a fun-filled day for the whole family, and a chance to support (and learn about!) a wonderful community resource! Takes place at Berkshire Common. Pittsfield, MA. ($-$$)


Saturday, September 26. 10am-5pm
♦ MUSEUM ADVENTURES Exposure to books in fun and interactive ways for young children can lead to a life-long enjoyment of reading. The Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle and the Springfield City Library will host the annual “LittleFest” event to promote a love of reading in young children. There will be performances including musical literary adventure and a reading-themed magic show, appearances by Daniel Tiger, free books (while supplies last), magic and art. September 26 is also Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! The Springfield Museums are offering free admission for up to two people. This is a great chance to explore the museums for free! Advance registration required. 413-263-6800 x488. Activities are free with the price of museum admission. 21 Edwards St., Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, September 26. 2pm
MUSEUM ADVENTURES The Eric Carle Museum hosts Elisha Cooper, award winning author/illustrator of Beach, the 2006 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner, for a Special Storytime as he reads from his new book, 8: An Animal Alphabet. 413-658-1132. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, MA. ($; FREE WITH MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Sunday, September 27, 2pm-3pm
POLISH FOLKTALE ♦ The Activated Story Theatre will present two Eastern European folktales at the Jones Library on September 27. Children ages 4-10 and their families can hear “The Dragon of Krakow,” which is a Polish tale, and “Something from Nothing,” which is from the Jewish tradition. Families will enjoy hearing these lovely folktales. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Music Studies

Saturday, September 26, 3:30pm-5:30pm
WWI PATRIOTIC SONGS ♦ Discover the music of World War I at Ventfort Hall with Berkshire guitarist and singer Doug Schmolze. He will provide insights into the era and life during wartime with patriotic songs and other music from the time period, including ragtime, waltzes, and romantic songs. All ages are welcome to come learn about this significant time period and the music that defined it. Tickets available in advance. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Sunday, September 27, 3pm
CLASSICAL MUSIC ♦ The Sage Chamber Music Society presents a chamber music performance at Smith College’s Sweeney Concert Hall. “Early Autumn Trios” will feature violin, cello, and piano playing Haydn, Harbison, and Brahms. Students interested in classical music will enjoy this performance. 144 Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 27, 4pm
PIANO DUET ♦ The Mt. Holyoke College Music Department presents a performance by Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt, who will perform Piano Four-Hands Favorites. This performance would be of interest to students of all ages who are interested in music. Takes place in McCulloch Auditorium. 413-538-2306. Lower Lake Road. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, September 30, 12:30pm-1pm
CLASSICAL MUSIC ♦ Take the opportunity to relax and enjoy live music at Smith College’s Music in the Noon Hour event. Smith faculty artists and friends will perform half-hour recitals of classical music. Takes place at Sweeney Concert Hall. 413-585-3222. 122 Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, October 1, 7pm-8:30pm
GYPSY SWING MUSIC ♦ The Wistariahurst Museum presents a performance by gypsy swing group The Michael Sheridan Trio. They will play tangoes from South America, as well as the music of Django Reinhardt. Students with audience skills who are interested in music would enjoy the performance. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Film Studies

Saturday, September 26, 7pm-9pm; Sunday, September 27, 7pm-9pm; Monday, September 28, 7pm-9pm
SHORT FILM FEST ♦ The Manhattan Short Film Festival will screen some of the world’s best short films at the Berkshire Museum the weekend of September 25-28. The festival receives over 600 entries from more than 45 countries, which are then screened around the world so audiences can view and vote, with the winner announced on October 5. This is a unique opportunity for students interested in film to see these short films and to participate in the voting process. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Theater Studies

Saturday, September 26, 7:30pm
♦ THE VANDAL ♦ Shakespeare and Company presents a reading of Hamish Linklater’s The Vandal on September 26. The play is a bittersweet comedy and theater students and fans will enjoy the reading. Tickets available in advance. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Saturday, September 26, 7:30pm
QUEEN MARGARET ♦ Real Live Theatre presents a performance of their original play, Queen Margaret, at Gateway City Arts. The play is about Margaret of Anjou who was featured in four separate Shakespeare plays and contains material from Shakespeare’s plays to tell the story of Margaret. This is a staged reading and preview to the full performance. Shakespeare fans will love this reading of what could be considered a brand new Shakespeare play! Tickets available in advance. 413-387-9780. 92 Race Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Culinary Arts

Saturday, September 26, 10am-4pm
COLONIAL COOKERY ♦ Experience life in an early New England kitchen at Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooking demonstrations! Learn about traditional fall harvest foods like pumpkins, apples, and corn. These cooking demonstrations allow visitors of all ages to see what life was like in the past and the types of chores and activities they would do had they lived several hundred years ago! Free with admission. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Sunday, September 27, 1pm-3:30pm
BREAD BAKING ♦ Learn the art of baking bread at “From 100% Rye to 100% White: Making Sourdough Breads at Home Hands-On” with Julia Copoulos of Small Oven Bakery at Different Drummer’s Kitchen. This hands-on workshop takes participants through the steps of making bread, from weighing the dough to forming and baking. Time will be spent discussing different kneading techniques, starters, proper dough temperature, and more. This is a great introduction for those who are interested in learning how to bake their own bread! 413-586-7978. 34 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. ($$$)

Tuesday, September 29, 6:30pm-7:30pm
STILL ROOM RECIPES ♦ Learn about storing and preserving herbs at the S. White Dickinson Memorial Library with experts from Stockbridge Farm. There will be a cooking demonstrations and recipes for dried herbs, vinegars, oils, syrups, butters, pastes, and more. Older students and lifelong learners interested in growing their own food, cooking, and preserving would enjoy this program. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road. Whately, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, October 1, 10:45am-12pm
KIDS’ KITCHEN ♦ Children ages 2.5-5 years and their caregivers are invited to Kids’ Kitchen, a fun cooking group that meets on Thursdays. Children who participate in meal preparation often show greater tolerance for a variety of foods and healthier eating habits than children who do not. The focus will be on learning basic food prep techniques and making healthy choices for everyday meals. Sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104 x 1159. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Natural History

Sunday, September 27. 2pm
NATURAL HISTORY ♦ The earth beneath your feet has countless stories to tell. The composition of the soil, minerals in the hillsides, and oxbowed rivers each can teach us about the land where we make our homes if we know how to interpret their tales. Local naturalist Laurie Sanders knows how to translate these stories, and she shares her expertise to help us better understand the ways in which the interactions between people and nature have shaped present-day Northampton in Rediscovering Northampton: Local History Viewed through an Ecological Lens. This six-part lecture series takes place for six Sundays (through November 22) through Historic Northampton and features a different topic each week. This title of this week’s talk is Agriculture, Art, Tourism, and the Natural History of the Northampton Meadows. Registration required. 413-584-6011. Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, Smith College, Northampton, MA. (< $ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Parent Workshops

Monday, September 28, 1:30pm-2:30pm
BUDGETING ♦ The Family Resource Center is hosting a workshop for parents titled, “Dollar Cents: Stretching Your Dollar” at the Haskins Center. Learn about budgeting, saving, and more at this free, informative workshop. Please call ahead if you need childcare or transportation. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, September 29, 5pm-6:30pm
DISCIPLINE ♦ The Family Place is offering an introductory discipline workshop on September 29 – “Effective Discipline 101: Introduction to 1-2-3 Magic for Parents.” Parents of children ages 2-12 can come learn about this discipline strategy at the workshop, where dinner is provided. Childcare and transportation available. Registration required. 413-663-7588. 61 Main Street. North Adams, MA.

Wednesday, September 30, 3:30pm-4:30pm
BRAIN DEVELOPMENT ♦ Parents can attend a Brain Building workshop at the Haskins Center on September 30. Learn interesting facts about brain development and brain-building activities to do at home with kids. Childcare and transportation available. Call to register. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Banned Books Week

Tuesday, September 29, 4:30pm
FIRST AMENDMENT FILM FESTIVAL ♦ In celebration of Banned Books Week, the Jones Library is holding a First Amendment Film Festival featuring movies based on books that have been challenged or banned in the United States. At 4:30pm a family classic will screen, followed by another film at 6:30pm. Call the library for movie titles and ratings. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, September 30, 3pm-4pm
CRAFTERNOON ♦ The Hatfield Public Library is holding a special Banned Books Week crafternoon on September 30. Kids can come make a fun craft at this event. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Nature Studies

Sunday, September 27. 1:30pm-3:30pm
DENDROLOGY ♦ Have you ever wished you knew how to identify trees? Which trees are native? Which are evergreen and which are deciduous? How can we tell the history of a particular tree? The Hitchcock Center and arborist Todd Beals invite you to a Waugh Arboretum Tour on the UMass Campus. Todd has also worked to develop a user-friendly online map and guide to the wonderful variety of trees on the UMASS Amherst campus, which you can continue to explore on your own. Wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. Registration required. 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant St., Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, September 27. 12:30-3pm
ENTOMOLOGY ♦ Take a walk with Gail Howe Trenton to learn about our local pollinators in the field. We should be able to see and observe many pollinating late-summer plants as we learn of their adaptations and natural history. Gail’s enthusiasm, love of insects, and amazing tidbits of information will help even the greatest skeptic learn to appreciate and enjoy these beneficial invertebrates. Best for older students and life-long learners. Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. 413-584-3009. Easthampton, MA ($$)

Thursday, October 1. 5:30pm-7:30pm
AMPHIBIANS ♦ You may be familiar with searching under logs and stones for salamanders, but did you know that at night these fascinating creatures venture out from their hiding places into the cool of the evening? Head to the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and search the woodlands of Pleasant Valley in this Sunset Salamander Search, and learn about the lives of these amphibians. Children must be accompanied by an adult; open to families with children 3 and older. Registration required. 413-637-0320. Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, 472 West Mountain Rd., Lenox, MA ($)


Friday, October 2, 7pm
♦ ASTRONAUTICS Are you interested in learning what it’s like to be an astronaut? The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center presents a talk by NASA Astronaut Stephanie Wilson, who grew up in Pittsfield and has traveled into space three times. She has served as a flight engineer as well as the operator of a robotic arm, and made history as the second African-American woman in space. Kids can learn what it takes to become an astronaut and how good grades, determination, and dedication can get you there. Reservations are encouraged. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

[Photo credit: (cc) Vann Piazza]

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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