Suggested Events for December 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth.” – Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, MA)

“Hilltown Families keeps us connected with all the amazing educational and cultural activities and resources that abound here in W. Mass and curates them in a way to let us know just what’s out there for the many varied interests of our young families and communities,while creating networks of support and growth.” – Kara Kitchen (Plainfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after-school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families’ Events:

Jan 1

Join us on New Year’s Day at Flywheel in Easthampton from 10am-12noon

Join us on New Year’s Day at Flywheel in Easthampton from 10am-12noon

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Featured Winter & Spring Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2017 Winter & Spring Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.

Bulletin Board

Dec 26-30

Let your imagination soar at the New England Air Museum this holiday season! The museum is offering an exciting array of family fun activities during December School Vacation Week, Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30. Explore 3 giant exhibit hangars filled with over 60 historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including: Daily hands-on Build & Fly Challenges; Interactive Flight Science Demonstrations; Computerized Flight Simulators; and Open Cockpit experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators (ages 10+). Visit their website for day to day activities.

Dec 26-30 & Feb 20-24

Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks, December 26-30 & February 20-24! Great for ages 7-13, their program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, engage in exciting games and group activities, and concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Email for information. To register, or

Jan 7

Amherst Montessori School invites parents to an Open House on Saturday, January 7th at 10am. Meet teachers and administrators, tour AMS’ beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. Amherst Montessori is a warm, safe, and supportive community that nurtures a lifelong love of learning. Learn more and register online at

Accepting applications for fall 2017. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 210 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts every day. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-4209

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating. Students graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, after-school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to

December 31st, 2016 – January 6th, 2017


Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: This week, we’ll feature Guest DJ, Charity Kahn, with her Peace, Love and Intention Episode. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from over 9 years!

Saturday, December 31, 10am-4pm
The Holyoke Merry Go Round, known as “Holyoke’s Happiness Machine,” is a sensory treat for the young and old. Your children can enjoy unlimited rides on the Merry Go Round as part of First Night Junior! Festivities also include a bouncy house, face painting, ice sculpting, and live music. Your ticket includes admission to the Children’s Museum and Volleyball Hall of Fame. Tickets can be purchased at the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and the Children’s Museum. For more information, please call the Merry-Go-Round: 413-538-9838 or the Children’s Museum: 413-536-7048. Various locations. Holyoke, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 31, 11am
For families with young kids, New Year’s Eve activities may be just too late at night to attend. Celebrate the holiday with the whole family at this family magic show. Film buffs are sure to love The Nerd Magician’s New Year’s Eve performance at Berkshire Museum. See how many pop culture and classic Hollywood film references you recognize during this hilarious, bold show. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Route 7. Pittsfield, MA. Adult $; Child <$; Museum members <$)

Saturday, December 31, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm
This December school vacation week, you and your child can learn New England history at the Old Sturbridge Village and catch a marionette performance of a classic children’s story. The award-winning company, The National Marionette Theatre, has been entertaining audiences with its productions for more than forty years. You can choose from four different 50 minute productions: Pinocchio on December 28, Sleeping Beauty on December 29, Peter and the Wolf on December 30, or Hansel and Gretel on December 31. For an additional five dollars you will be granted admission to explore Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. (Tickets <$; Museum admission <$)

Saturday, December 31, 12noon-12midnight
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are international holidays, celebrated everywhere in the world where people observe the Gregorian calendar. Whether you like to reflect on the previous year or make resolutions for the year ahead, you can gather with friends and family for First Night fun! First Night Northampton will feature live music, jugglers, magicians, dancers, puppets, a light display and more. There will be plenty of entertainment for all ages across 20 venues downtown. Visit First Night Northampton website for a full schedule. Northampton, MA. (Adult $; Seniors and kids 2-10 <$; kids under 2 FREE)

Saturday, December 31, 3pm
Have you ever heard of the term “chatelaine?” It is the feminine version of a castellan. Chatelaine refers to the head of a large household, a woman of many domestic duties. Mrs. George Morgan, known as Sarah to her friends and family, was chatelaine to one of Lenox’s greatest cottages, and she invites you and your family to tea! Actress Anne Undeland will be playing Mrs. Morgan at Ventfort Hall’s Christmas tea event, set in 1894. Reservations are required. Call 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 31, 6-10:30pm
21st Annual Starry Starry Night celebration in the heart of Orange that includes a line-up of performers as well as hay rides, ice sculptures, a Parade of Stars, and fireworks. Their Parade of Stars is open for anyone and everyone to join us in our festive walk from Town Hall to Memorial Park (no need to register).  BYO star to carry in the parade, and feel free to bring extras to share. Orange, MA (FREE)

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday, January 1, 10am-12pm
On the first day of 2017, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, a screening of Pancake Mountain will delight families. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Start off the new year with a New Year’s Day Music Dance Party! Save on the babysitter and dance away on the first morning of the new year! These Morning Music Parties are a fundraiser for both Flywheel Arts Collective and Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun! Flywheel is located in the old Easthampton town hall. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (DONATION)

Sunday, January 1, 7-8am
Hilltown Family Variety ShowValley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. This Sunday, you can hear commercial-free family radio featuring Guest DJ, Charity Kahn, with her Peace, Love and Intention Episode. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see nearly 10 years of archived shows.

Sunday, January 1, 7am-8:30am
Want to catch the first sunrise of the year? Get up early and welcome the new year with a sunrise hike. Participants will meet at the Bartholomew’s Cobble visitors’ center for coffee before the hike. This event is weather dependent and you must register. For more information please call 413-298-3239 ex 3013. 117 Cooper Hill Road. Sheffield, MA. (Members FREE; Non members <$)

Sunday, January 1, 8am-4:30pm
 With its roots lying in the snowy winters of Scandinavia, cross-country or “Nordic” skiing has been a competitive sport since as early as the 18th century. Distinctly different from downhill skiing in both structure and purpose, cross-country skiing utilizes much narrower skis and boots than downhill skiing does. Cross country skiers strive sometimes for speed, but aim more to cover great distances. Accessible to skiers of all ages and abilities, cross-country skiing is a favorite winter activity which allows families to get exercise while exploring beautiful landscapes. Start this winter and this year off by renewing or beginning this hobby at Notchview. For more information call The Trustees at 413-628-4485 x383 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($ – $$$)

Sunday, January 1, 10am-3pm
Did you know that you can rent snowshoes at the visitor’s center of Bartholomew’s Cobble? Snowshoes have been around for thousands of years, helping people travel more easily over snow. Bring your own snowshoes or rent them, and enjoy the beautiful trails draped in snow. Enjoy hot chocolate in the visitor’s center after your hike! Adult and child snowshoe sizes are available. For more information call 413-298-3239 x 3013. 117 Cooper Hill Road. Sheffield, MA. (Members <$; Non members $)

Sunday, January 1, 12pm
 Hikes are a healthy way to celebrate the New Year with your family or friends. All are welcome to participate in a 1.5 mile hike to the overlook at Briar Hill Conservation Area. In this hardwood forest you can see hemlock, oak, and hickory, and ultimately a view overlooking parts of Williamsburg. In the event of heavy precipitation, or hazardous conditions, the hike will be cancelled. Call 413-268-7523 with questions. Park and meet at the trailhead on Briar Hill Road. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 1, 12pm-2pm
Ring in the New Year by connecting with your community and nature while getting some exercise. Kestel Land Trust invites you to a hike, either in Belchertown at the Reed Conservation Area, or in Northampton at the Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. This program is free but registration is required. Visit the Kestel Land Trust website for full details. 413-549-1097. Belchertown or Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, January 1, 1pm-3pm
Start off the New Year with exercise, nature studies, and community at the First Day Hike. Participants will walk a two-mile path along the Canalside Rail Trail. This route is gentle, making for a family friendly event. Attendees will learn about the natural, historical, and cultural features of Turners Falls, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate back in the hall at Great Falls Discovery Center. Dress warm and wear winter boots. Dogs are welcome on leash. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

Tuesday, January 3, 4:30pm
Not many toys can boast over 2,500 years of use worldwide, but the yo-yo has enjoyed consistent use in hundreds of cultures for nearly three millennia. The popular Northampton education-based store A to Z hosts Yo-Yo School three times a week inside their store, and their teachers are true masters. Open to all ages, although older elementary children often have the motor skills and coordination needed for it to be a bit easier to learn. Read more about Yo-Yo school on Hilltown Families. Call 413-586-1611. 57 King St., Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, January 4, 6pm
Longer nights in winter create increased opportunities for stargazing! Crystal Mengele and members of the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomy Association will share their knowledge of astronomy at this lecture at the Greenfield Public Library. Mengele and the Astronomy Association will share their experience with viewing the night sky with both telescopes as well as the naked eye. The program will take place in the LeVanway Room and on the back lawn. The First Wednesday Speaker Series, sponsored by the Friends of Greenfield Public Library, is free and open to the public. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, January 4, 7:30pm
Young people just out of college sometimes have trouble meeting new people out in “the real world.” In your twenties and thirties you may end up moving around, to explore new places and build your career. Moving to a new area, it can help to get out and connect with people as much as possible. This new book club is targeted to twenty and thirty something adults (although anyone ages 21 and up is welcome!) Come make new friends who share a love of reading. Books and Brew Book Club is brought to you by the Springfield City Library and will be held at Nathan Bill’s Bar and Restaurant. Each book will be available for free check out at the East Forest Park Branch Library. 413-263-6836. 122 Island Pond Road. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

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Thursday, January 5, 2015

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, January 5, 11:15am-1pm
Studying slave narratives enriches our understanding of local and national history, and can enlighten current racial relations in the United States. Lucy Terry is the first known African American poet. Her husband Abijah Prince was an entrepreneur and a veteran of the French and Indian wars. They were slaves in Deerfield and Northfield before becoming settlers and property owners in Vermont, raising a family of six, and defending their rights of property ownership in court. Learn about this 18th century family by attending a presentation by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, Dean Commonwealth Honors College, UMass Amherst. You are invited to bring a lunch to enjoy during this lecture at the Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, January 5, 5-6:30pm
“Circle of Moms” is a MotherWoman support group for mothers of children of any age. Discussions focus on self care, intention setting, and more. MotherWoman also runs a Postpartum Support group for moms of new babies or children under two. These groups run on a peer support model, but are often facilitated by a Nurse, Clinician, Social Worker or Community Member, all who are mothers. 413-387-0703. 220 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, January 5, 6:30pm
The Dickinson Memorial Library’s Environmental Awareness Group meets on the first Thursday of the month to discuss issues related to nature, ecology, biology, and other environmental topics. In this meeting, participants will be discussing the book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the author relays her knowledge of indigenous ecological and spiritual teachings. Come to discuss these topics and meet others who share your interests. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, January 6, 10:15am
It can be difficult for parents with infants to get out of the house! Clark Art Institute invites new parents and their infants to the permanent collection for a guided talk. This informal event welcomes parents of pre-toddlers. Strollers and front-style baby carriers are permitted. New Parents Gallery Talks continue on select Fridays through May. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 6, 10:30am-11:30am
Do your kids love animals? You can help nurture your child’s love of animals into a love of scientific learning. Youth ages three to six are invited to animal focused “Kidleidoscope” programs at Great Falls Discovery Center. Siblings and friends are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will learn about bears, who share our home in the Connecticut River. The January 6 program will focus on owls. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Friday, January 6, 11am-2pm
One benefit to homeschooling your children is that the schedule can sometimes allow greater flexibility for your child to explore their interests during school hours. The Mullins Center at UMass Amherst invites homeschooling families to skate at discounted prices. All children school age and younger are invited. Adults must be accompanied by children. Parents receive free admission and skate rental when accompanying children. Cash only. Commonwealth Avenue. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Friday, January 6, 6pm-9pm
Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to get outside in the cold months, enjoy the snow, and get exercise when other forms of recreation become inaccessible. Purchasing equipment for these hobbies, though, can be expensive. The Ski, Skate and Snowboard Winter Gear sale will be providing both new and used gear at low prices, while supporting a cause. All proceeds will benefit the Amherst Historical Society, a local resource for historical education. The sale will take place at Crocker Farm Elementary School. 280 West Street (aka, Route 116). Amherst, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Friday, January 6, 6:30pm-8pm
How many species of owl can you name? Owls populate regions in all areas of the world except Antarctica and some remote islands. Chances are, you can spot some type of owl by traversing the woods where you live, if you know how and where to look. Bring your child to the visitor’s center at Bartholomew’s Cobble for a reading of the children’s book, Owl Moon, followed by a show and tell of owl facts. Next, participants will hit the trail and see if they can spot some owls in their habitat. Dress for the cold and bring flashlights. For more information please call 413-298-3239 ex 3013. 117 Cooper Hill Road. Sheffield, MA. (<$)

Friday, January 6, 7:30pm-9:30pm
An interest in studying astronomy can develop from an interest in mathematical calculation, or a simple appreciation for the beauty of the sky. Families can share their interest in astronomy with one another by attending a Stars Over Springfield night at the Springfield Museums. These programs are are best suited for families with children ages 8 and older, however younger children are also welcome. If it is cloudy, a planetarium show will be presented in place of telescope viewing. For more information, please call 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (<$)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Agawam, Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Deerfield, Goshen, Hadley, Heath, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Southampton, Sunderland, Westhampton and  Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
















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