Suggested Events for December 23rd – 29th, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity 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

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, 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 Arts Collective 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!

In the Spirit of Giving & Gratitude

Hilltown Families Founder, Sienna Wildfield, was invited to present a TEDx Talk that shared her vision and mission behind Hilltown Families.

We here at Hilltown Families would like to extend to you, our community, another opportunity to engage with your interests and honor your values this season. For over a decade, Hilltown Families has been working towards creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children and citizens through community-based education and engagement. As our Founder, Sienna Wildfield, explains in her TEDx Talk, feeling connected to where you live matters. We hope that you’ve come to see community-based education and the community-service learning opportunities that Hilltown Families curates for you each week as vital parts of helping grow active citizens who care about where they live. If you value the work that Hilltown Families does to support you in this effort and have the means to make a financial contribution this year, we would greatly appreciate your support. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization, which means your donation is tax-deductible. You can donate via this link or send a check to: Hilltown Families, PO Box 332, Williamsburg, MA 01096-0332. As always, thank you for being part of our community and participating in the strengthening of our people and places.

Bulletin Board

Dec 27 & 28

SHOW Circus Studio announces two days of Winter Circus Camp for children ages 7-12 this December in Easthampton: December 27 and 28. These day camps will run from 9am-3pm and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, tightwire, acrobatics, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. A great way to spend winter break! Cost: $75/day. For registration & more information please visit www.showcircusstudio.com.

Dec 29

Spend your holiday vacation at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. CactusHead Puppets brings the story of The Pied Piper to life on Friday, Dec 29th at 11am & 1pm in a comedic, updated adaptation of the traditional folktale. Not only does the town find a musical solution to pest control, but the kids of Hamelin teach the grown-ups a lesson about generosity. In the end, the townspeople all come together in celebration. Join puppeteers John & Megan Regan as they present this classic tale, told with multiple puppetry styles, and plenty of dancing rats. Tickets are $6 (Members $5.50) and may be purchased in advance at Museum Admissions Desk or call 413-559-6336.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, our 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, and engage in exciting games and group activities. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for info. www.centralrockgym.com

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 www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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 at sales@hilltownfamilies.org.

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 info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 23rd – 29th, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Cultural 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 23, 2017

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Guest DJ Charity Kahn brings you a celebration of the Winter Solstice, filled with musical gifts from her own JAMband, as well as others who help us remember our connection to this beautiful world around us. 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 select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Saturday, December 23, 2pm
FILM STUDIES/CHRISTMAS
It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the most popular American films of all time and a favorite family classic around the holidays. The 1946 film was based on a short story called “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern. The film is also often adapted for the stage. Have you ever seen it on the big screen? This winter, you and your family can attend a screening of It’s A Wonderful Life at Amherst Cinema. You can use this film as a launching point to talk to your children about the impact each one of us has on those around us. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 23, 4-8pm
LOCOMOTIVE/SANTA
Trains are often incorporated into Christmas village displays. Trains have symbolic ties to Christmas since they are one way for families to travel to one another. Toy trains are also a popular Christmas gift. You can celebrate the history of these symbolic ties to the holidays by visiting Santa’s Trains at Look Park. The Garden House has been transformed into a historic railway station, complete with decorated trees and model trains. Chat with the conductor, meet Santa’s helpers, and enjoy festive treats. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 23, 5pm-9pm
CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY
The festive light display, Bright Nights in Forest Park, has been listed as one of the Top 100 Attractions in North America seven times! The light displays creatively celebrate not only the themes of Christmas, Santa, and winter but also branch into other subjects with displays like the Victorian Village. Bright Nights invites visitors on Friday and Saturday nights through January 1st. For a full list of open hours and other details visit the Bright Nights website. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime – click here to select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Sunday, December 24, 10am-2pm
LOCOMOTIVE/SANTA
Trains are often incorporated into Christmas village displays. Trains have symbolic ties to Christmas since they are one way for families to travel to one another. Toy trains are also a popular Christmas gift. You can celebrate the history of these symbolic ties to the holidays by visiting Santa’s Trains at Look Park. The Garden House has been transformed into a historic railway station, complete with decorated trees and model trains. Chat with the conductor, meet Santa’s helpers, and enjoy festive treats. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 24, 5pm-11pm
CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY
The festive light display, Bright Nights in Forest Park, has been listed as one of the Top 100 Attractions in North America seven times! The light displays creatively celebrate not only the themes of Christmas, Santa, and winter but also branch into other subjects with displays like the Victorian Village. Bright Nights invites visitors on Friday and Saturday nights through January 1st. For a full list of open hours and other details visit the Bright Nights website. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Originally broadcasted out of Northampton, MA on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM for the holidays, we’ve gathered ten holiday episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show from over the years to share with your family as we celebrate the season. Enjoy these hour long, commercial-free podcasts that celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the New Year, and the spirit of peace and giving.

Monday, December 25, 5pm-11pm
CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY
The festive light display, Bright Nights in Forest Park, has been listed as one of the Top 100 Attractions in North America seven times! The light displays creatively celebrate not only the themes of Christmas, Santa, and winter but also branch into other subjects with displays like the Victorian Village. Bright Nights invites visitors on Friday and Saturday nights through January 1st. For a full list of open hours and other details visit the Bright Nights website. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Tuesday, December 26, 9am-12pm
SELF DIRECTED LEARNING/ELECTRONICS
Are you interested in learning to work with LED lights and basic electronics? If so, this is the holiday event for you. LED stands for “light-emitting diode” and refers to a type of light source that is commonly used in traffic signals, advertising, and aviation lighting. At this exciting workshop, you will learn how to construct some basic LED holiday decorations. No electronics experience required. This event is appropriate for children grades 3-6. For more information and to reserve tickets, please visit Berkshire Museum. Pittsfield, MA ($$)

Tuesday, December 26, 1pm
THEATER/MARIONETTES
When Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird” debuted in 1910, it changed the world of classical music and ballet forever. For Stravinsky, a protege of renowned Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov, this was his breakthrough piece and catapulted him to stardom. Stravinsky’s novel combination of various Russian folktales and bold scenery created a new aesthetic for 20th-century ballet. Come see this classic story of a young prince and princess who try to save their kingdom with help from the magical firebird. This production is unlike any other with the use of marionettes, lavish costumes, and large puppets. For more information visit Berkshire Athenaeum. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, December 26, 2-3pm
READING/PENGUINS
Calling all penguin lovers! Local author Eric Bennett and the Forbes Library are hosting an exciting penguin party to celebrate Bennett’s book of penguin holiday fun Noodles & Albie’s Birthday Surprise. In addition to a reading of the book and slideshow, there will be a wide variety of penguin-themed activities. You can even come dressed as a penguin if you like. For more information, please visit Forbes library. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, December 26, 5:30-7:30pm
WORKSHOP/GRAPHIC NOVELS
The exact history of the graphic novel is disputed but it’s clear that this medium has existed for hundreds of years. In 1837 Swiss caricaturist Rodolphe Topffer published The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck. This picaresque adventure is often considered to be the first comic book. As famed comic historian Scott McCloud writes in his seminal Understanding Comics, Topffer’s work was the first to employ “interdependent combination of words and pictures.” Come to this special graphic novel workshop and learn all about how to design and create your own comics! Local comic artist Andrew DelValle will discuss all the elements of putting together a graphic novel. Participants are encouraged to bring any of their own work as well! For more information visit Greenfield Public Library. Greenfield, MA (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 9am-3pm
CIRCUS CAMP
SHOW Circus Studio announces two days of Winter Circus Camp for children ages 7-12. These day camps will run from 9am-3pm and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, tightwire, acrobatics, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. A great way to spend winter break! Cost: $75/day. For registration & more information, please visit www.showcircusstudio.com. Easthampton, MA ($$)

Wednesday, December 27, 10am
WORKSHOP/SUSTAINABILITY
We all know the feeling: all the gifts have been unwrapped, and you are sitting around in your living room surrounded by mounds and piles of tissue paper, wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, and other miscellaneous materials with which you just don’t know what to do. This holiday season take all your leftover wrapping supplies and turn them into something beautiful at this fun workshop! Art projects, engineering, and creative free play. For more information visit Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Amherst, MA ($)

Wednesday, December 27, 10-11am
STORYTIME/TRAINS
Children have been fascinated by toy trains since practically the birth of trains themselves. By 1891, the first widely adopted standards for toy trains were established in Leipzig, Germany. A German doll company at the time decided that they needed to develop a toy for boys that would be as popular as dolls were for girls. The first toy trains were very simple and had no moving parts. Things have sure come a long way since then. Come along to this special storytime focusing on trains. Everybody is welcome to bring their trains from home! For more information visit Greenfield Library. Greenfield, MA (FREE)

Wednesday, December 27, 3pm
LIVING HISTORY/TEATIME
The phrase “the gilded age” is borrowed from Mark Twain’s novel by the same name. For Twain, the phrase perfectly described a period in American history during which enormous social crises were disguised under a thin veneer of gold. Travel back to this elegant but troubled time with a living history performance by acclaimed actress Anne Undeland. Undeland will be portraying Mrs. George Morgan, sister-in-law to the infamous ‘robber baron’ J.P. Morgan. Mrs. Morgan will treat guests to a lavish and historically accurate tea party and tell stories about her time at the Ventfort Hall estate. For more information, please visit Ventfort Hall. Lenox, MA ($$)

Wednesday, December 27, 7-9pm
ORNITHOLOGY/OWLS
“Who Who Who Cooks For You,” said the Barred Owl. Join the The Trustees at Bartholomew’s Cobble on this night time hike to learn all about the owls in our woods. Meet at the visitor’s center at 7pm and then head off into the fields and forests of the cobble to try and call the owls. This program is appropriate of anyone able to be quite for short periods of time as we try to call the owls to us. Flashlights strongly encouraged. 413-229-8600. Weatogue Road. Sheffield, MA (>$)

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday, December 28, 9am-3pm
CIRCUS CAMP
SHOW Circus Studio announces two days of Winter Circus Camp for children ages 7-12. These day camps will run from 9am-3pm and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, tightwire, acrobatics, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. A great way to spend winter break! Cost: $75/day. For registration & more information, please visit www.showcircusstudio.com. Easthampton, MA ($$)

Thursday, December 28, 1pm
THEATER/LITERARY STUDIES
As charming and playful as it it, the origin of J.M. Barrie’s classic 1904 play “Peter Pan” is heartbreakingly tragic. When Barrie’s older brother David died in an ice-skating accident the day before his 14th birthday, he became, in the thoughts and memories of Barrie and his mother, ‘the boy who would never grow up.’ In time, this served as the inspiration for the character of Peter Pan. Ever since the play debuted in London in 1904, it has been very popular and led to countless adaptations. This holiday season comes to a special screening of “Peter Pan” performed at the National Theatre of London and shown in High Definition. For more information and to order tickets please visit The Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA ($)

Thursday, December 28, 2pm
ASTRONOMY/PERFORMANCE
Our little solar system is only a mere four and a half billion years old. It resides in a backwater of the Milky Way galaxy, in the Orion Arm, about 26,000 light years away from the center of the galaxy. Our solar system is inhabited by eight planets, one star, more than 3,000 comets, as well as hundreds of thousands of planetoids. Learn all about our solar system at this fun and dynamic performance, including colorful skits, original songs, and puppetry. For more information visit Springfield Museums. Springfield Museums. Springfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Thursday, December 28, 3pm
ARCHITECTURE/LEGOS
The developmental benefits of playing with LEGOs has been well documented. In addition to improving teamwork, patience, and fine motor skills, LEGOs can also be a huge boost to creativity. Opening a box of LEGOs is like opening a door to a universe where anything can be created! This special session of LEGO club will also feature a film screening. For details please visit Berkshire Athenaeum. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 28, 3:30pm
THEATER/PUPPETRY
Acclaimed puppeteer Carl Sprague has been working with puppets since he inherited his great-grandfather’s handmade collection of wooden marionettes. Sprague’s work has appeared in films such as “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Age of Innocence.” Now Sprague brings his magic to the Ventfort Hall Mansion with a performance of the beloved folktale “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” After the show, audience members will have a chance to talk with Sprague about his incredible relationship with puppeteering. For more information, please visit Ventfort Hall. Lenox, MA ($)

Thursday, December 28, 3:30-4pm
ZOOLOGY
The Zoo in Forest Park is dedicated to offering wildlife education for all ages. The zoo features local indigenous animals as well as exotic species from all over the world. This special event brings the zoo to you! Members of the zoo staff will be at the Forbes Library, along with some of their animal ambassadors, talking about animal diet and behavior. And be sure to bring any questions you might have. For more information, please visit Forbes Library. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 28, 4:30pm
PLACEMAKING/LANTERN WALK
Bartholomew’s Cobble is 329-acre National Natural Landmark, named after the two large rocky knolls (cobbles) found there. At the top there is a spectacular panoramic view of the Berkshire and Taconic Mountains, as well as the Housatonic River Valley. This holiday season, experience the Cobble like never before, lit up with hundreds of luminarias! After the walk enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores back at the parking lot. For more information visit Bartholomew’s Cobble. Ashley Falls, MA ($)

Thursday, December 28, 6pm
ASTRONOMY/PLANETARIUM
Did you know that planetariums have existed since the Greek mathematician Archimedes in the third century B.C.? Archimedes’ device was very simple and essentially allowed him to predict the movements of the moon, sun, and planets. Since then, planetariums have evolved quite a bit. Now you can buy a home planetarium device, which can project up to 10,000 stars! Learn all about the universe, planetariums, and the wonders of the night sky with the STARLAB portable planetarium at the Lee Library. For more information, please visit Lee Library. Lee, MA (FREE)

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday, December 29, 10:30am
CULINARY STUDIES/WORKSHOP
Do you know a child who loves to cook or is interested in learning to cook? Cooking is an experiential way for children to learn and practice many skills, including basic math, building confidence, developing a refined palate, getting in touch with their senses, and eye-hand coordination! This fun workshop will teach kids how to make a variety of breakfast foods, including pancakes and french toast. For more information and to register please visit Clark Art Institute. Space is limited. This event is appropriate for children ages 5-10. Williamstown, MA ($$)

Friday, December 29, 11am-12pm
CONCERT
Rolie Polie Guacamole is an award-winning children’s music group all the way from New York City, that specializes in exciting original music, focusing on healthy food and leading an active lifestyle. Their music is an eclectic mixture of rock, folk, and funk. So come on down and dance and get silly with Rolie Polie Guacamole! For more information visit Forbes Library. And while you’re at it, check out Rolie Polie Guacamole’s own DJ Frank Gallo on the Hilltown Family Variety Show at Hilltown Families. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 29, 11am
THEATER/PUPPETRY
“The Pied Piper of Hamelin” is a story that many of us are familiar with but the history of this ancient folk tale is truly shocking. While the Brothers Grimm transcribed the story in the early 19th century, there is evidence that the story has been told since the early 1300s! Furthermore, historical sources suggest that something did happen to make all the children of Hamelin disappear around that time. Theories on the cause of this mass disappearance range from a children’s crusade to a mysterious dancing sickness. See this traditional tale told in a new way, through the use of exciting puppets. For more information visit Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Amherst, MA ($)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Heath, Holyoke, Ludlow, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Rowe, Russell, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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