40 Community Highlights: Archaeology to Fermentation. Homecoming to Harvest Festivals.

Harvest festivals continue this weekend in Hadley, Easthampton, and Westhampton!

Archaeology to Fermentation. Homecoming to Harvest Festivals. Parenting Workshops to Community Meal… 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: Go on an archaeological tour of Deerfield Village and a guided tour of the Old Burying Ground with Claire Carlson, Education Program Coordinator at Historic Deerfield, for Deerfield’s Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 17, 10am-12:30pm. These tours will engage visitors in local history, life in the past, and how the times have changed in New England. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Western MA CultureHarvest FestivalsFermentationHerbal MedicineArchaeologySTEMNature StudiesGuided HikeStoryWalksFood HistoryHomecoming WeekendBaseball HistoryFamily ConcertsAstronomyGender StudiesArtificial IntelligenceCultural StudiesDog LoversParenting WorkshopsCreative-Free PlayCommunity MealLocal HistoryArt Studies

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Western MA Culture/Celebration

Saturday, October 17, 10am-5pm
The 26th Annual Harvest Festival takes place on the Sturbridge Town Common the weekend of October 17 and 18! There will be tons to do for the whole family, including fun live music, local artisans and crafters, food vendors, harvest food, a scarecrow contest, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. Fall festivals are an excellent way to celebrate the changing of the seasons in New England! Main Street. Sturbridge, MA.

Saturday, October 17, 11am-4pm
North Hadley Sugar Shack’s 17th Annual Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival and Tractor Parade takes place October 17th and features fun activities the whole family can enjoy. There will be face painting, pumpkin decorating, food, balloon sculptures, a birds of prey program by Tom Ricardi, a tractor parade, wagon rides, and more. Celebrate fall in the Valley at this fun festival! 413-585-8820. 181 River Drive. Hadley, MA.

Saturday, October 17, 11am-5pm
The annual Easthampton Harvest Festival features fall fun, food, and activities for the whole family! This year there will also be a craft fair. Come by and celebrate pumpkins, fall, and Halloween at this exciting community festival at Nonotuck Park. 413-529-1440. 1 Daley Field Road. Easthampton, MA.

Sunday, October 18, 10:15am-7pm
Come to Westhampton Town Center for the annual Fall Festival! There will be tons of great activities, including a 5k race/walk to benefit the library, and the famous Great Pumpkin Roll takes place at 4:15pm. There will also be food, music, and activities for all to enjoy. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, October 17 at 10am-4pm
Berkshire Fermentation Festival. There will be cultured food vendors sampling and selling their products, workshops, DIY demos, lectures, music and more. Connecting local fermentation educators and businesses with food enthusiasts in a day of education and empowerment! Participate in workshops and lectures, meet local fermenters, check out what our fermentation vendors have to offer, and participate in the social ferment. Great Barrington Fairgrounds. 775 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

Saturday, October 17. 12:00pm-3:30p,
Are you curious about how herbal bitters and cordials can improve your health? Would you like to learn how to make these delicious concoctions? In this class, Just Roots will provide recipes and demo preparation techniques so that you can learn to make your own medicinal beverages. Registration required. 413-325-8969. Greenfield Community Farm, 34 Glenbrook Dr, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, October 17, 2pm-4pm
Learn about the history and healing powers of labyrinth walking at Park Hill Orchard! Older students and lifelong learners are invited to participate in this event, which will also include instruction about medicinal herbs. 413-303-0335. 82 Park Hill Road, Easthampton, MA. (< $ SUGGESTED DONATION)


Saturday, October 17, 10am-12:30pm
Go on an archaeological tour of Deerfield Village and a guided tour of the Old Burying Ground with Claire Carlson, Education Program Coordinator at Historic Deerfield, for Deerfield’s Archaeology Day. These tours will engage visitors in local history, life in the past, and how the times have changed in New England. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. (FREE)


Saturday, October 17, 10am-12noon
Families can visit the new UMass teaching and research labs in the Integrated Science and Life Science Laboratories buildings. This hands-on program will give kids the opportunity to see and touch critters, science experiments, and forensic science equipment. Attendees can also learn what UMass science graduates go on to do after school. Register in advance. 661 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, October 20, 4pm-5pm
Learning about electronics is a lot of fun when you get to create your own circuits and assemble functional electronic devices. Kids ages 8 and up are invited to join the littleBits ™ building club at the Jones Library to explore circuitry with user-friendly, color-coded pieces, and the help of a knowledgeable guide. Pre-registration requested. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, October 20, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Students ages 10 and up who are interested in computers, technology, coding, and programming can attend a Mobile App Development workshop run by Holyoke Codes. Get creative and come up with an app idea, then make it using App Inventor for Android! This visual app development tool from MIT allows users to create their own app and then use it and share it with others. Takes place at Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center. Register in advance. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE/DONATION)

Thursday, October 22, 4pm-5pm
Do you know a kid who loves to tinker? Tinkering is a great way to encourage creativity, explore invention, and learn STEM content and skills. Tinkerers ages 8 and up are invited to check out the new Makerspace at the Jones Library. There will be 3D printers and other cool supplies to try! Pre-registration requested. 413-256-4096. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Nature Studies

Saturday, October 17. 9:00am-12pm
What forces have acted upon the earth throughout time to create the valley in which we live? The Hitchcock Center and Naturalist Ted Watt invite you to a geology hike up Mount Holyoke in Skinner State Park. Meet at the entrance gate and the hike will entail walking the auto road part way and then taking the New England National Scenic Trail to the summit of the mountain. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and dress for the weather; some steep sections of trail families welcome; recommended for young people fourth grade and up. Heavy rain cancels. Registration required, children are free. J. A. Skinner State Park, 10 Skinner State Park Rd., Amherst, MA. ($)


Saturday, October 17, 10am-11am
CNC will be posting a Story Walk at the Swift River Fall Fest around the school track. Come check out the new Story Walk “Looking for a Moose” by Author Phyllis Root. 201 Wendell Road. New Salem, MA (FREE)

Saturday, October 17, 10am-11am
There will be a fall-themed StoryWalk for young children and their families at the Buckland Public Library on October 17th. On the walk, read Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland, illustrated by Elly Mackay, and learn about the changing of the seasons. Kids will have a chance to sort leaves by shape and color, collect fallen leaves, and make leaf rubbings. 413-625-9412. 30 Upper Street. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Food History

Saturday, October 17, 9:30am-5pm
Sunday, October 18. 9:30am-5pm
Dig In: A Field-to-Table Festival” is Old Sturbridge Village’s harvest season celebration for the whole family. Celebrate fall and the harvest while learning about food and farming, seeing demonstrations, sampling foods, helping with the harvest, and more. Visitors can watch costumed interpreters do colonial harvest tasks, like grinding corn with a “quern,” churning butter, shelling corns and beans, and more. “Dig In” is a fun way for all ages to learn about the harvest and how agriculture has changed since colonial times. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Sunday, October 18. 1-4pm
How was grain milled in the 1800s? The Bisbee Mill Museum will be running for the last time this season for curious folks to see a fully operational grist mill in action (2-3:30pm). Come curious, ask questions, and learn about the history of this mill and historic production of food in the Hilltowns. With three floors of agricultural and industrial exhibits, as well as antique engine-powered 1800s grist mill, the Mill gives its visitors hours of learning and entertainment possibilities. 66 East Street. Chesterfield, MA (FREE)

Sports/Homecoming & History

Saturday, October 17, 10am-5pm
Westfield State University’s annual homecoming celebration is on October 17th. There will be reunion activities for alumni, but sporting events are open to the public and include men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and food. See Westfield State’s homecoming webpage for more info. 577 Western Avenue. Westfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, October 17. 2-3pm
Larry Moore, Educational Consultant – Museum and Outreach Educator for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, will present his program, “Tools of the Trade” – the changes in technology of Baseball Equipment, on the lawn at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. Families can come see 75 baseball artifacts, from balls and bats to uniforms, which will be showcased and shared with the attendees who will be able to swing bats, toss balls, don historically accurate uniforms and literally “get into the game.” 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA. (>$)

Saturday, October 17, 3:30pm
Sports fans can attend the UMass Amherst homecoming football game against Kent State at McGuirk Stadium on October 17th. The marching band will also perform an exciting halftime show. Stadium Drive. Amherst, MA. ($$$)

Family Concerts

Saturday, October 17, 11am
The Northampton Community Music Center presents a performance by Nick Deysher and In the Nick of Time at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art as part of their Family Concert Series. Kids will love this fun concert. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, October 17. 2pm
It is always nice when parents and children can enjoy music together! Randy Kaplan, a songwriter known for his “not-JUST-for-kids” music, will bring songs from his latest album, Jam on Rye, to Mass MOCA . Reservations required. 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA. (<$)


Saturday, October 17, DUSK
Want to learn about astronomy first-hand? Join the Trustees of Reservations and the Arunah Hill Natural Science Center for an evening of stargazing and searching for moons, planets, galaxies, and more at Notchview! Please call to pre-register. 413-532-1631 x10. Route 9. Windsor, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, October 18, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Students and lifelong learners who are interested in astronomy can attend public stargazing on the roof of Smith College’s McConnell Rooftop Observatory. Come use the telescopes to see stars, planets, galaxies, and nebulae. 413-585-3935. College Lane. Northampton, MA.

Friday, October 23, 8pm-9pm
Autumn nights offer wonderful skywatching, and with the help of Williams College students and their Zeiss Skymaster planetarium projector, folks can really be treated to a wonderfully informative and awe-inspiring tour of the night sky and astronomical phenomena. This planetarium program will be held most Friday evenings through December 4, 2015. Reservations are recommended. 413-597-2188. Hopkins Observatory, 829 Main Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Gender Studies

Saturday, October 17, 10:30am
Talk My Fair Ladies: Female Robots and Androids in Movies, Television, Photography and Art. Julie Wosk, professor and author of the new book My Fair Ladies, takes us on an amazing tour of artificial women—robots, dolls, mannequins—throughout history at the Berkshire Museum. From The Twilight Zone to The Stepford Wives to today’s robot females in television and film, these females reveal men’s fantasies about creating the perfect artificial woman who mysteriously comes to life. Included with regular Museum admission. 413-443-7171. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Cultural Studies

Saturday, October 17, 1pm
The Springfield Museums are hosting a Family Fiesta Day. Celebrate Hispanic culture with a full day of family shows, exhibits, drop-in art activities, and more! Performances include The Tale of Juan Bobo by CactusHead Puppets and Latino folk music by MarKamusic. Also check out exhibits of photographs by William Hughes and stringed instruments by Will Cumpiano, part of Herencia Latina 2015-16, organized by the Pioneer Valley History Network and the Springfield Public Library. Free with museum admission. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, October 18, 4pm-5:30pm
What is lost when a language ceases to be spoken? Explore this question during a screening and discussion of Rising Voices/Hothaninpi at the Academy of Music. The documentary focuses on language loss and revitalization efforts on Lakota reservations in North and South Dakota, and includes portions of short films created by Lakota filmmakers. 413-584-9032 x 105. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Dog Lovers

Saturday, October 17, 1pm-3pm
The Dickinson Memorial Library‘s 6th Annual Dog Show is on October 17th! Kids (or adults) can bring their dog and enter them to win a prize in a category like most comical, best look-alikes, best dressed, daintiest, best trick, best smile, and others. This fun, friendly dog show is a great chance for kids to get experience handling their dog in a show, and is a great place to meet other dog-loving community members! 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (>$)

Saturday, October 17, 1:30pm-2:30pm
The Westfield Athenaeum is hosting a Read to Rover event for kids ages 3-9. Young readers can practice reading stories aloud to specially-trained dogs, who offer non-judgmental, non-threatening attention. This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to improve their reading skills and their confidence in reading aloud. Please register in advance. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Parenting Workshops

Sunday, October 18, 4pm-5:30pm
What is ADHD? What does it look like? What are the differences between ADHD and ADD? How can you best support a child with ADHD? Join pediatrician Jonathan Schwab and clinical psychologist Sharon Saline at “ABC’s of ADHD: Preschool and School Age Years,” a short presentation followed by a Q and A, for in-depth information on this topic. This event is hosted by Northampton Area Pediatrics. Reservations requested. 413-517-2226. 193 Locust Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, October 19, 5:30-7pm
Active Parenting of Children Ages 1-4 Years. Mondays, October 19, 26 and November 9. This series will cover positive discipline methods, developmental stages, how to prevent tantrums, routines to make life easier and ways to take care of yourself so that you can better take care of your family. Parenting classes are an ideal place to meet other parents, share and discuss ideas and come away with a new perspective on parenting. Call 413-664-4821 to register. Child care and transportation available upon request. Haskins Center. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, October 20, 6:30pm-8pm
Parents/caregivers can attend a workshop on kids and technology at River Valley Market with Susan McNamara. “Connected Kids: Making Conscious Technology Choices with Your Children” focuses on helping parents support their children and instill values while determining how much technology is appropriate. In a world where technology and electronics are seemingly everywhere, this workshop can help parents find a balance that works for them and their children. Pre-registration is required. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, October 21, 6pm-7:30pm
Does your child have a diagnosed or undiagnosed special need? The Community Network for Children is offering a “Family Cafe Night for Families of Children with Special Needs. This parent facilitated group is open to all parents/guardians living in the Union #28 School district, (Erving, Leverett, New Salem, Shutesbury and Wendell) who would like support in managing day to day with their young children. The series will run seven Wednesdays throughout the school year at different school-based locations. This event is at Irving Elementary School. Pre-registration is required if childcare is needed. 978-544-5157. Leverett Elementary School. Leverett, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, October 22, 5:30pm-7pm
The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a First Steps to Reading workshop for parents/caregivers and their children (age 5 and under). Attend this workshop to help your child grow into reading through talking, playing, sharing books, and singing together. The workshop takes place at the Monson Free Library and runs on October 22 and 29, and November 5 and 12. Light supper provided. Call to register. 413-586-4900 x5568. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)

Creative-Free Play

Saturday, October 17, 4pm
All ages can participate in the Randall’s Farm & Greenhouse Scarecrow Contest! Get together with family, friends, or your club/group/organization and build a traditional (head, 2 arms, 2 legs) scarecrow to be dropped off at the Farm by 4pm on October 17. Entries automatically receive a gift certificate to the farm and are entered into the contest – scarecrows will be judged on October 18 from 9am-7pm and the winners will be announced on October 21. Participating in the scarecrow contest is a great chance for families to work together on a creative project that all ages can contribute to. 413-589-7071. 631 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)

Community Meal

Saturday, October 17, 4:30pm & 6pm
The Chester Railway Station‘s 7th Annual Hobo Harvest Dinner is on October 17th. There will be seatings at 4:30pm and 6pm, with delicious home-cooked foods like “trackside beef stew,” corn pudding, rolls, pie, and more. This annual community meal is a great opportunity to spend time with community members while supporting the Railway Station. Call ASAP to make reservations. 413-354-7878. 10 Prospect Street. Chester, MA. ($)

Local History

Sunday, October 18, 11am
Older students and adults interested in local history can join the Swift River Valley Historical Society for a walk from Gate 40 to the Indian Kitchen and plane crash site. The Historical Society’s guided walks are an excellent way to learn about the Quabbin’s rich history. 978-544-6882. Route 32A. Petersham, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Art Studies

Sunday, October 18, 2pm-4pm
The UMass Fine Arts Center’s Hampden Gallery‘s new exhibition, HEAD, opens on October 18 and runs through November 12, with an opening reception on October 18. Curated by D. Dominick Lombardi, the exhibit focuses on the symbol of the head in art throughout time and in contemporary art. Older students interested in art history and art studies would enjoy this interesting exhibit, which is free and open to the public. 413-545-0680. 131 Southwest Circle. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, October 20, 12:20pm-12:50pm
There will be a gallery talk at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum on October 20 – Professor of Philosophy Thomas E. Wartenberg will present, “Investigating Fourth Range: Thoughts on Illustration as Philosophy.” 413-538-2000. South Hadley, 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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