34 Community Highlights: PumpkinFest to FarmFeat. Rag Shag Parades to Art History.

Is Western MA home to the rag shag parade? See what our readers had to say in our archived post, Rag Shag Parades – A Western MA Tradition.

Science Quest to Anime. PumpkinFest to FarmFeat. Rag Shag Parades to Art History… 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:  Celebrate Halloween at Red Gate Farm’s Haunted Farm on Saturday, October 24 from 5:30pm-8pm! There will be a not-so-scary haunted animal tour, hayrides, forest elves, pumpkin carving, cider pressing and tasting, games, activities, treats, and more. Come in costume and have a blast at this Halloween party! All are invited, but children ages 2-12 will have a particularly fun time! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)

ScienceAnimeService-Based LearningMuseum AdventuresCostume DesignFood HistoryChildren’s Literature National Food DayNature StudiesDendrologyGeologyLocal HistoryCemetery ToursFestivalsHalloween CelebrationsRag Shag ParadesChamber MusicArt HistoryClassical MusicOrchestraParenting WorkshopEconomics

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Saturday, October 24, 9:30am-3:40pm
How are nanoscale devices made? Why should we celebrate bacteria? How do science and food intersect in molecular gastronomy? What is it like to make ice cream using liquid nitrogen or turn peanut butter into a powder? Find out at Science Quest, a UMass event in which students in grades 10-12 are invited to visit campus and participate in science activities, demonstrations, and guided lab tours. Students get to create their own schedules of mini-classes to suit their interests and curiosities! In addition, UMass undergraduate science majors will be available to talk about their experiences and a UMass admissions representative will be on hand to talk about preparing for and applying to college. Registration required. 413-577-0570. Integrated Science Building, 661 North Pleasant Street, UMass Campus, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, October 24, 10am-11:30am
The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a parent-child workshop at the Westhampton Public Library on October 24th. “Young Scientists” is a program for parents/caregivers and their children (birth-age 5) that focuses on encouraging and building on your child’s natural inquisitiveness and includes fun science activities for caregivers and children to do together. Pre-registration required. 413-586-4900 x5568. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, October 24, 11am-1:30pm
School-age kids can visit the Meekins Library for a Halloween-themed STEAM craft activity! Design and decorate ghosts, bats, witches, and pumpkins, then watch them dance with static electricity! 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Monday, October 26, 6pm
Come to The High Horse for this month’s Sci.Tech.Café! The topic this month is “How to Navigate Environments with Toxins.” Sasha Suvorov, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at UMass Amherst, will talk about chemicals, toxins, how to know what is safe, the impacts of flame-retardant chemicals, and more. Those interested in health and environmental science will enjoy this talk, which is designed for community members without science backgrounds. 24 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.


Saturday, October 24. 9:30am-4:30pm
Sunday, October 25, 12:30pm-4:30pm
Springfield City Library’s celebration of Anime and Comics culture. Teens are invited to dress up for a cosplay contest. Saturday will feature some of your favorites in animation in our film festival, plus special guest surprises! Sunday will include our famous art and costume contests, and many other surprises and special events! Snacks will be provided both days. 413-263-6840. The Central Library. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA (FREE)

Service-Based Learning

Saturday, October 24, 9am-12:30pm
Enjoy a crisp morning at Notchview as a part of the largest group ever to clear the trails and help prepare the property for the upcoming Nordic ski season! On this Trustees of the Reservations “Make a Difference Day,” everyone will be able to enjoy autumnal views, wildlife watching, fresh air, and the intrinsic reward of making a positive difference in our region. Please bring a snack and water bottle, as well as gloves and small clippers if you have them. Participants should dress in layers to best accommodate a variety of types of work. 413-532-1631 x 19. Route 9, Windsor, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Museum Adventures

Saturday, October 24, 10am
Learn how to do Halloween makeup at the Berkshire Museum‘s Learner’s Lab on October 24th. Director Kara Demler and makeup artist Rachel Fedderley will share tips and tricks for awesome Halloween makeup. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, October 24, 10am-4pm
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. ($)

Saturday, October 24, 11am-5pm
Norman Rockwell Museum presents “Back in Time,” a family cruise-in festival. Inspired by the 30th anniversary of the film “Back To The Future,” the event will feature a classic car show (including a DeLorean, and original car used in the movies); music from the 1950s to 1980s; talks on the movie series, locally-produced Ride Film, automobiles, and the art of both Norman Rockwell and Drew Struzan (who designed the movie series’ iconic posters); seasonal art activities; vintage costumes; and a screening of “Back in Time,” a new documentary that examines the cultural phenomenon of the time-travel trilogy. Support for the event has been made possible by the Pittsfield Piston Poppers; and R.W.’s Inc., offering full service towing, repairs, and car rentals in the Berkshires. 413-931-2221. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA (FREE w/Museum Admission)

Saturday, October 24, 2pm
Children’s book author Marcus Ewert and illustrator Lisa Brown will be at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art to share their new book, Mummy Cat, on October 24th. This fun storytime is all about mummification, pyramids, hieroglyphs, queens, and cats, perfect for any budding Egyptologist. A relevant art project accompanies this event. Book signing to follow. Free with museum admission. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. ($)

Food Studies

Saturday, October 24, 11am-3pm
The Greenfield YMCA and the Franklin County Community Development Corporation are holding a National Food Day event at the Y on October 24th. “Toward a Greener Diet” focuses on healthy eating, food policies, and food-related problems. There will be farmers, doctors, chefs, teachers, and parents present to talk about greener diets and food-related health and environmental issues. There will be opportunities to try and buy local foods and to learn cooking tips from chefs. Students interested in local food, culinary arts, food policy, or healthy eating can learn a lot by attending this event. 413-773-3646 x448. 451 Main Street. Greenfield, MA.

Nature Studies

Saturday, October 24; 1-3pm
Spend time together outdoors, discovering and learning about the forest during a beautiful time of year. Life Underground and Overhead; Families Outdoors is happening at Northfield Mountain Recreation & Environmental Center. Come explore life in and around a tree, life in the leaf litter and bizarre invertebrates living underground. The afternoon will include time for hiking, drawing, hands-on activities, observation and exploration. Join Northfield Mountain Naturalist Kim Noyes for some family fun in the woods, exploring life underground and overhead. Bring a sense of adventure and wear clothes that can get dirty. For ages 6 and older. 800-859-2960. Northfield, MA (FREE)

Sunday, October 25, 10am-3pm
Join the Pioneer Valley Institute, geologist Richard Little, and naturalist Nancy Goodman for a hike and discussion on the geology and biology of the Chesterfield Gorge. Older students interested in geology and ecology can learn about the history of the Gorge, how it was formed, what animals and plants call it home, and other things about the site. Email wildeyes@rcn.com to register. 413-775-1671. River Road. Chesterfield, MA. (<$)

Local History

Saturday, October 24, 2pm-4pm
“Walk with Southwick Spirits” to learn about local history and Southwick’s residents of the past. Head to Southwick Cemetery to learn about Southwick’s history with the Southwick Historical Society on a tour of the cemetery. Best for older students interested in local history. College Highway. Southwick, MA. (DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Saturday, October 24, 3pm-5pm
The Sheffield Historical Society is holding a “Spiritwalk” through Center Cemetery for kids and adults. Learn about local history through this walk, which features costumed actors playing the roles of Sheffield residents of the past. Rain date is 10/25. 413-229-2694. Berkshire School Road. Sheffield, MA. (<$)

Sunday, October 25, 2pm
The First Church of Christ and the Longmeadow Historical Society are offering a program led by Besty and Al McKee, “Longmeadow Cemetery – The Early Period,” at the First Church of Christ on October 25th. Learn about gravestone carvings in the cemetery, stone cutting, the McKee’s historic home, and more. This program would be excellent for older students who want to learn more about local history and the fascinating past of Longmeadow’s cemetery. 413-567-3600. 763 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA.

Thursday, October 29. 5-6pm
Luminaries: Exploring Stockbridge Cemetery. Join Norman Rockwell Museum Curator of Education, Tom Daly for a walking history tour of Stockbridge Cemetery, which boasts the burial sites of such luminaries as Norman Rockwell and Elizabeth Freeman. A cider and donut reception will precede the tour on the lawn adjacent to the bell tower parking area at the Old Town Hall. 413-931-2221. 9 Route 183. Stockbridge, MA (>$)


Saturday, October 24, 2pm-9pm
October 24th is Franklin County Pumpkinfest! This annual Halloween celebration features many food and craft vendors, games, live music and entertainment, pumpkin carving, fire dancers, and more. 413-522-0712. Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, October 24, 5:30pm-8pm
Celebrate Halloween at Red Gate Farm’s Haunted Farm! There will be a not-so-scary haunted animal tour, hayrides, forest elves, pumpkin carving, cider pressing and tasting, games, activities, treats, and more. Come in costume and have a blast at this Halloween party! All are invited, but children ages 2-12 will have a particularly fun time! 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. ($)

Sunday, October 25, 12noon-4pm
Grow Food Northampton’s FarmFest 2015 takes place at Crimson and Clover Farm on October 25th. The festival is in celebration of the end of the farm’s fifth harvest season, and there will be food trucks, local beer and hard cider, cider slushies, live music, goats and pigs, pumpkin decorating, horse-drawn wagon rides, walking tours, educational activities, and more. This festival is a great chance to celebrate fall and the harvest season with community members and to learn about Northampton’s community farm! Park at Florence Fields Recreation Area on Meadow Street. Event is free, but there is a cost for some activities and food – proceeds benefit Grow Food Northampton. 413-320-4799. Meadow Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, October 29, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Friday, October 30, 5:30pm-8:30pm
The 1st Annual Pumpkin Walk will be held Halloween weekend at Western Gateway Heritage State Park. Community members can visit the park and stroll the walkways looking at carved and decorated pumpkins made by people of all ages! If you’re interested in donating a pumpkin, email contactmillcity@gmail.com. 115 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Friday, October 30, 6pm
The Stockbridge Library’s 5th Annual Pumpkin Walk-About, as well as the Stockbridge Halloween Parade and Party, takes place October 30 at 6pm. Carve a jack-o-lantern and drop it off in front of the town offices between 5pm and 6pm, enjoy the parade (6pm), listen to spooky stories at the senior center, and then come back and look at all the jack-o-lanterns, including your own! This is a fun way to celebrate Halloween while engaging with your community. 413-298-5501. Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Friday, October 30, 6:30pm
Washington’s annual John F.X. Keator Memorial Pumpkin Walk takes place October 30 in Washington Town Park. There will be trick-or-treating, hay rides, refreshments, and a bonfire. Celebrate Halloween at this annual town tradition! Route 8. Washington, MA.

Rag Shag Parades

Saturday, October 24, 5pm
The annual Chesterfield Rag Shag Parade takes place on October 24th, beginning at the Davenport School and ending at Town Hall. Kids can come in costume for fun and prizes. After the parade, enjoy Halloween games and the Chesterfield haunted house. 422 Main Road. Chesterfield, MA.

Sunday, October 25, TBA
Hadley’s Annual Halloween Party & Rag Shag Parade for families with elementary aged children happens on October 25. The Parade leaves from the Hopkins Academy parking lot and ends at the American Legion, where there will be fun Halloween activities! Parade cancelled if it rains. 413-586-6375. 31 Russell Street. Hadley, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, October 27, 6:30pm
Easthampton Rag Shag Parade is on October 27th. Come in costume and march through town celebrating Halloween with community members of all ages! Rain date 10/28. Begins at Maple Street School and ends at Easthampton Savings Bank. 7 Chapel Street. Easthampton, MA.

Friday, October 30, TBA – HALLOWEEN PARADE
Join the Easthampton Family Center for a Halloween parade at Easthampton High School. Come in costume and enjoy fun Halloween activities and trick-or-treating. 413-527-5496. 70 Williston Avenue. Easthampton, MA.

Friday, October 30, 11am
The Berkshire Athenaeum will host a preschool and toddler Halloween Parade, stopping at the various departments in the library for treats. Come in costume and tour the library! 413-499-9480. One Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

October 30, 7pm
Pittsfield will come alive tonight with all sorts of Halloween excitement! The super fun, annual Halloween Parade features spooky, scary, and exciting floats. 413-499-9370. Tyler Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Music & Art

Sunday, October 25, 11am
The Sage Chamber Music Society will perform a concert for Smith College’s family weekend on October 25th. Community members are welcome to attend this free concert, which features pieces by Handel/Halvorsen, Piazzolla, Debussy, and Mozart. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce students to classical music. Takes place in Sweeney Concert Hall on the Smith campus. 413-585-3222. 144 Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, October 25, 3pm
Lifelong learners and self-directed teens who are interested in art history can attend a lecture entitled, “American Impressionism through the Lens of the Artists’ Colonies,” at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts on October 25th. Scott Schweigert, Curator of Art and Civilization at the Reading Public Museum, will present this talk, which offers an in-depth look at the effects of the artist colonies on resident artists, including collaborating, teaching, and experimenting. Free with museum admission. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, October 25, 3pm
Williamstown composer Stephen Danker will present a concert of his String Quartets Nos. 13, 15, and 18 at The Clark. The renowned Borealis String Quartet from Vancouver, British Columbia will perform the quartets. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Friday, October 30, 4pm
The Smith College Orchestra is performing a special Halloween Family Concert on October 30th at Sweeney Concert Hall. Come in costume and enjoy a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” by the orchestra and faculty pianists, with guest narrator John Nowacki of New England Public Radio. This lively Halloween-themed concert is a great opportunity to introduce kids to orchestra music. Green Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Parenting Workshop

Monday, October 26, 1:30pm-2:30pm
Learning how to manage money is an essential life skill. Whether you are looking to improve your own budgeting skills or have a young adult in the family who is ready for an introduction to money management, the Berkshire Family Center‘s Dollar Cents: Learning to Stretch Your Dollar workshop is a great place to start! Topics will include banking basics, managing accounts, and how credit works. Transportation and child care available upon request. 413-664-4821. Haskins Center, 210 State Street, North Adams, 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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