Suggested Events for March 24th – 30th, 2018

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.

Summer Camp

advertise with Hilltown FamiliesOur summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2018 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

Bulletin Board

April 7

All ages are welcome to the Smith College Museum of Art’s Free Community Day, inspired by the current exhibition 体 Modern Images of the Body from East Asia, Saturday, April 7 from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. The day’s events include: Storytime with Forbes Library (afterwards sign up for a library card!); Taiko drum performance; Art+Story comics workshop (space limited, sign up at the Welcome Table); Photobooth flipbook—Create your own keepsake flipbook by stepping into the mobile photo booth and getting your body in motion; Traditional Korean Dance Workshop; Tai Chi Workshop; and more! Also, visit the Sun Kim Bop Restaurant & Food Truck outside the museum!

Mar 24, 25, 30 & 31

The Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days, featuring pictures with the Easter Bunny, an Easter scavenger hunt, and crafts! Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. 413-627-6540. 58 North Road, East Windsor, CT.

Open House: Mar 24

Open House: March 24, 10am-12noon. Best kept secret in Amherst! Spring Street Preschool is an independent, progressive preschool located in downtown Amherst. Experienced and caring teachers provide opportunities for constructive play, literacy learning, friendship development and creative arts. Spring Street Preschool has two outdoor play spaces, including a nature playground. Enrolling children from 2 yrs 9 months – 5 years. Flexible schedule with hours from 8am-5:30pm and affordable tuition. Spring Street Preschool is a non-denominational preschool located behind the Congregational Church. To schedule a tour call 413-256-8442 or email springstreetpreschool@gmail.com. For more info visit www.springstreetpreschool.com.

March 25

Skating Club of Amherst Presents: Gold! Since 1968, the Skating Club of Amherst has been teaching Pioneer Valley children and adults to ice skate. On Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. come celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary at the annual community figure skating show at the Mullins Center at UMass-Amherst. The show features performances by figure skaters at all levels – from students in the Learn-To-Skate program, to competitive skaters. In honor of the club’s golden anniversary, the show will feature US pairs champions Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran, Hong Kong National Champion Maisy Ma, and reigning adult synchronized skating gold medalists Team Excel. Tickets $10 online or at the door. A portion of proceeds will go to support the Dakin Humane Society.

Jun 25-Aug 10

The Bement School in Deerfield offers summer programs for children from 4 to 15 years old. Children have the opportunity to enjoy the fun of a traditional day camp and help create their own schedule by choosing from our wide range of unique activities. Digging into Nature at Pine Hill provides outdoor education for ages 7-10. The Junior Camp provides a safe, nurturing camp experience for our youngest campers. The Adventure Day Camp offers activity choices that include cooking, movie-making, sportds, nature, arts and crafts, and swimming. The Counselor-in-Training program gives young teenagers experience working with children and developing valuable job skills while still enjoying the fun of summer camp. Summer programs run from June 25 to August 10. For more info: 413-774-7061; summer@bement.org; www.bement.org/summer.

Jul 4 – Aug 24

Learn to take care of & exercise a world class athlete – the Alaskan Husky Sled Dog! Choose a dog for the week and learn to feed, pet, play, clean-up after & train a sled dog. Ride a racing rig, scooter, bike, jog & swim – some of the warm weather activities dogs & Day Campers love to do together. Overnight Camp includes wilderness skills, primitive cooking at the bonfire, storytelling, marshmallows & howling! All have fun bonding, playing & mushing with the team! “My son just finished his first Puppy Camp, it was everything & more! He not only bonded with the dogs – he seemed to grow in self-confidence each day” (Cummington, MA). “My daughter loved the Sled Dog Camp. Marla’s personal approach & expertise with her animals is unmatched” (Hadley, MA). For more information about Sled Dog Camp, located in West Chesterfield, MA, call 413-296-0187 or email hilltownsleddogs@gmail.com.

Jul 9-Aug 3

Miss Leticia Music Summer Camp for Guitar, Ukulele, and Rock Band! Music instruction for beginners and interm/adv Rock Band for students ages 6-14. Weekly themed camps for 4 weeks total, July 9-Aug 3rd. Themes this year are: July 9-13 (British Invasion); July 16-20 (Radio Hits); July 23-27 (Rock Through the Ages); July 30-Aug 3 (Songwriting). Classes held at 41 Blue Hills Rd in Amherst at Miss Leticia Music School, 8:30-3pm M-F. Campers bring their own lunch, snack provided. Cost: $400 weekly (multi week and sibling discounts available). Classes limited to 8 students per group. Instructors: Rhys Davies, Leticia Davies, Kimaya Diggs, Rusty Daniels. To register, email leticiadavies@comcast.net.

Jul 9 – Aug 29

Riotous Youth’s fun and inspiring 2-week summer theatre programs introduce students ages 7 to 17 to Shakespeare’s language, his stories, characters, and themes using imaginative and playful methods. Each session ends with a performance piece based on the kids’ experience of the play, which they share with family, friends, and Shakespeare & Company members on the final day of the session. For more information about Riotous Youth, located in Lenox, MA, call 413-637-1199 or email jenniejadow@shakespeare.org.

Jul 16 – Aug 10

Journey Camp returns to Conway and Deerfield this summer! The supportive staff makes it easy to find new friends while exploring nature, theater, games, music, and crafts. Inclusiveness and peace-building are hallmarks of this camp. Founder and Director, Sarah Pirtle, has numerous awards for her books and music for children. Farm Week for All ages 6-12 at Open View Farm, Conway, June 25-29; Starseed for All ages 6-12 at Woolman Hill, Deerfield, July 2-6; Moonseed Leadership Camp ages 12-18 at Woolman Hill, July 16-19; Girls Weeks ages 6-12 at Woolman Hill, July 30-August 3 and August 6-10.

Community Action’s Head Start & Early Learning Programs (formerly The Parent-Child Development Center/PCDC) offer a variety of program options for pregnant women and families with children ages birth-5 throughout Hampshire, Franklin, & Western Hampden Counties. Community Action’s Head Start provides early education and care and quality comprehensive services to children in Head Start/Early Head Start programs and offers full-day and part-day center-based classrooms, family childcare, and home visiting. Centers are located in Orange, Turners Falls, Greenfield, Amherst, Northampton, Easthampton, Ware, Westfield, & Agawam. Call 413-387- 1250 or visit www.communityaction.us to apply.

A preschool experience that savors childhood. Nature walks by woods and stream, days of music and song, stomping in puddles, nourishing, shared meals: these are parts of the young child’s daily rhythm at The Hartsbrook School. Led by experienced, nurturing teachers, the early childhood program supports imagination and joyful play. Give your child the foundation for future learning and enjoy a vibrant parent community. The Hartsbrook School has limited openings for children 2.9 to 5 years old for the 2018-19 school year. Come take a tour of the school and experience our early childhood program for yourself. 193 Bay Road, Hadley, 413-586-1908. For more information: www.hartsbrook.org

Add your class

Our summer camp guide is up! Check out our featured post, 2018 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA for a list that will wow and dazzle you! Summer opportunities featured range from music, art, farming, theater, dance, science, nature, sports, speaking, yoga, rock ‘n roll… to traditional summer day or overnight camps/programs! There’s something for all ages, toddlers to teens! Check it out and start making your summer plans! — Do you have a summer camp or program you’d like to have included in our comprehensive list? Find out how you can submit your listing HERE.

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
March 24th – 30th, 2018

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

  Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, March 24

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 Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Get ready to get up, get down and get FUNKY! Guest DJ, Chris Wiser (a.k.a. Boom) from Sugar Free Allstars hosts a show all about funk, soul and R&B music. You won’t be able to sit still while listening to this one, so grab your dance shoes, it’s time to get this party started! 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, March 24
EASTER / TROLLEY HISTORY
The Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days, featuring pictures with the Easter Bunny, an Easter scavenger hunt, and crafts! Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. 413-627-6540. 58 North Road, East Windsor, CT.

Saturday, March 24, 10am-12pm
OPEN HOUSE
Best kept secret in Amherst! Spring Street Preschool is an independent, progressive preschool located in downtown Amherst. Experienced and caring teachers provide opportunities for constructive play, literacy learning, friendship development and creative arts. Spring Street Preschool has two outdoor play spaces, including a nature playground. Enrolling children from 2 yrs 9 months – 5 years. Flexible schedule with hours from 8am-5:30pm and affordable tuition. Spring Street Preschool is a non-denominational preschool located behind the Congregational Church. To schedule a tour call 413-256-8442 or email springstreetpreschool@gmail.com. For more info visit www.springstreetpreschool.com.

Saturday, March 24, 10:30-11:30am
EASTER EGG HUNT
The roots of Easter lie in the pre-Christian history of Anglo-Saxon Britain. The name ‘Easter’ is thought to derive from the Germanic goddess Eostre or Ostara, the goddess of Spring, whose name translates to ‘the Shining One.’ The historical record for the worship of Eostre comes to us by way of the Venerable Bede, the 8th century English monk, considered by many to be the father of British history. By the 8th century, the pagan Anglo-Saxon worship of Eostre had died out and was replaced by the modern holiday of Easter, which preserves the celebration of the coming Spring. How the easter egg custom originated is a matter of considerable historical dispute but however it began, this charming celebration is a big hit! Come celebrate Spring with a fun easter egg hunt and a visit from the easter bunny. Trinity Church. 17 Severance Street, Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)

Saturday, March 24, 1pm
ZEN/ARCHERY
Ever since Zen buddhism first arrived in Japan in the 12th century, it has had a massive impact on Japanese society. The martial art known as ‘kyudo,’ or the ‘way of the bow,’ has its roots in ancient Japanese warfare but when the samurai warriors were moved to a more bureaucratic administrative role beginning in the 17th century, kyudo evolved into a spiritual practice via the philosophy of Zen buddhism. According to the Japanese Kyudo Federation, the ultimate goal of kyudo is the achievement of ‘shin-zen-bi,’ meaning ‘truth-goodness-beauty.’ This means that when an archer shoots from a place of virtuousness, truth, and compassion for all beings, beautiful shooting occurs naturally. Especially in the last several decades, kyudo has been taught and practiced primarily as a form of active meditation and contemplation. The profound alignment of the mind and body required for kyudo offers a dynamic active variation to traditional meditation. In the 1980s buddhist monk Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the leading figures in introducing Tibetan buddhism to the West, invited a Japanese kyudo master to give a demonstration at a monastery in Vermont and ever since then there has been considerable interest in kyudo in the Connecticut River Valley. Shuuko, the Hampshire college chapter of the international kyudo association, is offering a special weekend-long seminar on kyudo for both beginners and experienced archers. Hampshire College. 893 West Street, Amherst, MA ($$$)

Saturday, March 24, 6pm
IMMIGRATION/COMMUNITY MEAL
To say that immigration is an important aspect of American history is an understatement. In fact, none of us would be here at all if it was not for immigration. Moreover, the United States is not unique in this. Human populations have been immigrating around the world since the beginning of history. There is no community of people anywhere in the world that did not originate someplace else, if you go far back enough. What this historical phenomenon demonstrates is that human communities are always hybrids. Groups travel and move and as they do so, they adopt customs, influence the creation of new cultures, and bring certain cultural elements with them. All cultures, from the most heterogeneous to those that might appear homogeneous, are actually the result of generations of immigration. Food cultures and traditions are one of the best ways to illustrate this historical fact. Chicken tikka masala is a perfect example: one of the most popular and recognizable Indian dishes in the world was actually likely invented in Scotland by a Pakistani chef in the 1970s, who decided to add some tomato soup to a plate of chicken curry after a customer complained that it was too dry. Come learn all about immigration and enjoy some delicious foods from around the world at this Immigration Night event. Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. 220 Main Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

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Sunday, March 25

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!

Saturday, March 25
EASTER / TROLLEY HISTORY
The Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days, featuring pictures with the Easter Bunny, an Easter scavenger hunt, and crafts! Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. 413-627-6540. 58 North Road, East Windsor, CT.

Sunday, March 25, 2-4pm
FILM SCREENING/FORESTS
The taiga, also known as the boreal forest, is the largest biome, or animal and plant habitat, on the planet. This forest encircles the northern portions of the globe and accounts for around 30 percent of the world’s forests. In North America, the southernmost portion of the forest includes parts of northern New England, where it is known as the north woods. Recent scientific research has confirmed what traditional communities have always known: the forest is a sentient superorganism, made up of individuals that have feelings and are capable of communicating with each other. Tragically, despite this and the fact that all life on earth requires forests due to their ability to capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, billions of trees are cut down every year and only 5 percent of the world’s old growth forests remain. Attend a screening of the film The Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees and learn all about the science of what makes the sacred northern forests so vital to our survival as a species. Hitchcock Center for the Environment. 845 West Street, Amherst, MA ($)

Sunday, March 25, 2-6pm
VERNAL EQUINOX CELEBRATION
Traditional communities around the world have celebrated the end of winter and the coming of spring in various ways throughout history. Among the pre-christian Scandinavians, this event was celebrated with the festival of dísablót. This ritual holiday was meant to ensure a good harvest in the coming year and was presided over by priestesses, the major figures of Scandinavian indigenous religion. Offerings were made to the female gods and spirits, followed by a festival market, and a popular assembly. To this day, the custom of dísablót remains alive in Scandinavia with the fair known as the dísting. Similar ritual celebrations are found throughout northern Europe. Come join local pagans for a Spring Equinox Celebration at Mount Greylock. This event is hosted by the ADF, a pagan fellowship, which is committed to the development and education of paganism and druidry in modern society. The celebration will welcome the coming of spring and the longer days, followed by a potluck dinner. Huntington, MA (FREE)

Sunday, March 25, 2pm
ICE SKATING
Skating Club of Amherst Presents: Gold! Since 1968, the Skating Club of Amherst has been teaching Pioneer Valley children and adults to ice skate. On Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. come celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary at the annual community figure skating show at the Mullins Center at UMass-Amherst. The show features performances by figure skaters at all levels – from students in the Learn-To-Skate program, to competitive skaters. In honor of the club’s golden anniversary, the show will feature US pairs champions Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran, Hong Kong National Champion Maisy Ma, and reigning adult synchronized skating gold medalists Team Excel. Tickets $10 online or at the door. A portion of proceeds will go to support the Dakin Humane Society.

Sunday, March 25, 2:30-5:30pm
YOGA AND PAINTING
This has been a particularly intense winter and we may not be out of the woods yet! Even if it’s just wishful thinking, come celebrate the vernal equinox and the beginning of spring with an afternoon of yoga and painting, inspired by the changing of the seasons. The poses in this unique yoga flow will be drawn from the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. And once your creative juices are flowing, you will have the opportunity to paint a piece of art inspired by spring. This event is a wonderful opportunity to align your physical and creative energies with the changing season. The Center Dance. 321 Main Street, Amherst, MA ($$)

Sunday, March 25, 5-8pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/PALEO DIET
The Paleo Dinner Club is having their inaugural potluck! The Paleo Diet has been growing in popularity since scientist Loren Cordain wrote his book on the subject in 2002. The premise of the diet is that while much has changed in terms of food availability since the paleolithic period in human history, around ten thousand years ago, the human body has not yet adapted to these changes. Adherents believe that the human body still functions best on a diet of unprocessed foods, little or no grains, sugar, or dairy. The focus on nutrient dense foods and prohibition on sugars and salt products, that are a major part of all contemporary processed foods, is consistent with a lot of the conventional wisdom on healthy eating practices. And while it is notoriously difficult to present scientifically compelling data on diet, many nutritionists advocate the Paleo Diet as a great way to lose weight, build muscle, and increase overall health. So come get together with other Paleo foodies in your area, meet new people and enjoy delicious healthy food! RSVP required, space limited. 164 North East Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

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Monday, March 26

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

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, March 26, 6pm
FERMENTATION/KOMBUCHA
Nobody knows exactly where kombucha came from. This mysterious fermented beverage is thought to originate in Manchuria, in northern China. It is known to be consumed in far eastern Russia in the 19th century and then it migrated to Germany and Europe. The word ‘kombucha’ tells us little about its origins as well, since the term is a misapplied loanword from Japanese. There is a beverage consumed in Japan called ‘kombucha’ which translates literally to ‘kelp tea’ but this beverage has no relation to the effervescent fermented tea which now bears the name. No matter where it came from or how it got here, kombucha has been steadily growing in popularity in the United States in the 21st century. The refreshing taste and numerous claimed health benefits have made converts out of many people. And it is shockingly easy to brew at home! Local kombucha brewery Katalyst Kombucha will be giving a free presentation on how to brew your own kombucha, with just a few simple ingredients. Greenfield Public Library. 402 Main Street, Greenfield, MA (FREE)

Monday, March 26, 6-7:30pm
STEM/BLACK HOLES
A black hole is a phenomenon of spacetime that possesses such a powerful gravitational pull that nothing, not even light particles, can escape from it. Physicists argue that sufficiently dense black holes could even distort and warp the fabric of spacetime itself. It has also been suggested that black holes may have a role in shaping the structure of galaxies, drawing stars and planets into orbit around themselves. Since nothing can escape the pull of a black hole, they are incredibly difficult to study and these mysterious entities have captured our imaginations. If you are interested in astronomy or black holes, you won’t want to miss this SciTech Cafe presentation on galaxy mergers and the role that black holes might play in the evolution of galaxies. Union Station. 125 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

Monday, March 26, 7-9pm
COMMUNITY GATHERING/CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate Action Now is committed to creating a movement for global climate justice, with the hopes of averting or mitigating the climate crisis, which many scientists argue has already begun. The need for such a movement is more important than ever, as increasingly dire predictions are coming from the scientific community. Join Climate Action Now for their Monthly Gathering, celebrating local community and the power of collective action. Come meet new people and imagine ways to address the problems we face as a community. Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. 121 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA (FREE)

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Tuesday, March 27

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

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, March 27, 11am
HEALTH AND WELLNESS/YOGA FOR PARENTS AND BABIES
Childbirth and parenting can take a heavy toll on the body. Come invigorate and re-energize with gentle yoga designed for parents of young children. This class will focus on building strength and paying special attention to any parts of the body that require specific healing, while providing a relaxing, comfortable environment for babies! After the class, parents can feel free to browse the It Takes a Village closet for any articles of baby clothing or other equipment they might need. This event is hosted by Sunflower Yoga and It Takes a Village. 2 Main Street, Cummington, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, March 27, 6-7pm
HEALTH AND WELLNESS/QIGONG
Qigong is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice dating back more than 4000 years. A key element of Traditional Chinese Medicine, qigong is a holistic practice combining body movement, breathwork, and meditation, designed to increase the flow of vital energy throughout the body. The more commonly known practice of tai chi is very closely related and shares many elements. While it was originally derived from daoist mystical traditions of internal alchemy, the practice of qigong in the contemporary world need not contain overtly spiritual content. In fact, in China alone, over 200 million people practice qigong for health benefits and relaxation. If you are interested in learning more about this ancient healing practice, come check out this qigong class! Acadia Herbals. 2 Conz Street, Northampton, MA ($)

Tuesday, March 27, 6:30pm
ART/TOILETS
Anyone who has ever been to Japan knows that toilets are taken very seriously there. Toilets in Japan are much more elaborate than they are in the United States and elsewhere, featuring a dizzying array of electronic features and gadgets. The control panels on many Japanese toilets can be intimidating to many Western users and, in fact, the Japanese Washlet-style toilet has been considered by the Guiness Book of World Records to be the most sophisticated toilet in the world, featuring seven different functions. Some high-end Japanese toilets have wireless dashboards with LED displays and up to 38 buttons! Join Sharon Domier for this discussion of the history and aesthetics of Japanese toilets. This is sure to be an entertaining and eye opening event! Northfield Public Library. 115 Main Street, Northfield, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, March 27, 6:30pm
MEDITATION/ZEN
800 years ago, the Japanese Zen master Dogen wrote: “Coming, going, the waterbirds / don’t leave a trace / don’t follow a path.” Dogen taught that the path of the buddhas leads to the study of the self. And that the study of the self leads to forgetting the self and finding the inner unity with all things. In this regard, Zen buddhism was inspired by Chinese daoism, which taught that the self is actually an illusion that keeps us from recognizing that we are one with the world. The way of Zen promotes individual peace, as well as global and community compassion. Join ordained Zen teacher Jin Haeng Kyle Wiswall for an evening of meditation, readings and discussion, and community engagement. No experience necessary! For more information about this weekly event, please visit Zen Meditation Group. Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield. 245 Porter Lake Drive, Springfield, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, March 27, 7-9:30pm
FILM SCREENING/STEM
During the late 19th century, as the city of Los Angeles began to expand, it quickly exhausted its local water supply. In order to sustain its growing population, the city began to look elsewhere for its water needs. Beginning in 1913, water from the Owens River was diverted over 200 miles to Los Angeles leading to massive water shortages for local farmers in the Owens River Valley. By 1920, thanks to the construction of a 233 mile aqueduct, water was so scarce in the valley that the agricultural economy completely collapsed and what was once known as the ‘Switzerland of California’ had become an arid desert almost overnight. Finally, in 1924, the frustration of local farmers and ranchers reached its peak and an armed group seized the aqueduct and dynamited a large portion of it. This was beginning of the California Water War. Ultimately, fraud, embezzlement, and conspiracy undermined the Owens River Valley revolt. Roman Polanski’s 1974 masterpiece Chinatown, considered by several film associations to be one of the greatest movies ever made, was inspired by this dark chapter in American history and brought wider awareness to the issue of water rights disputes. The issue of water rights is becoming more and more pressing as cities around the world continue to expand, many of them in arid land without access to local water. Come attend a special screening of Chinatown, followed by a lecture by Dr. Anita Milman, professor of Environmental Conservation, on the crisis of water resources in the context of global change. Amherst Cinema. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA ($)

Tuesday, March 27, 7-10pm
PANEL DISCUSSION/SOCIAL JUSTICE
May 15 will mark the 70th anniversary of the ‘nakbah,’ meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, when more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, during the 1948 Israeli war of independence. This panel discussion will focus on the ways that Palestinians continue to resist the Israeli occupation, as well as other sites of resistance, including Honduras and locally, right here in Springfield. A key element to rejecting and resisting occupation, militarism, racism, and state repression, is to continue to tell these stories and to realize that the struggles of communities around the world are linked. If you are interested in learning more about the experiences of oppressed communities around the world and right here in Western Massachusetts, you won’t want to miss this event! Integrative Learning Center. UMass. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Tuesday, March 27, 7:45-9:15pm
SINGING/DEVOTIONAL
The ancient Vedic custom of Kirtan, meaning ‘narration’ or ‘recitation,’ refers to a form of devotional practice centering around the singing of chants, legends, and invocations for various deities. Typically, Kirtan involves call and response chanting from the audience, set to music. While these chants, in the United States at any rate, most often enumerate the holy names of the gods, Kirtan can also be a way to explore spiritual or theological questions, a musical form of philosophical investigation shared with the entire community. Kirtan can truly be a life-changing experience: there is a deep sense of bliss that comes over you when you lose yourself in the chanting, joining your voice with others in sacred words that have been spoken by millions and millions of human beings for thousands of years. For three decades, local musician Shubalananda Saraswati has been traveling across New England performing Kirtans four nights a week! Of the practice of Kirtan, Shubal observes “You can’t sing and think at the same time. Kirtan helps us quiet the mind and experience more peace in our lives.” Come experience this incredible mystical tradition! Karuna Center for Yoga and Healing Arts. 25 Main Street, Northampton, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

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Wednesday, March 28

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

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, March 28, 7:30-10:30pm
CONTRA DANCE
Contra dancing is one of our proudest local traditions, in fact it is often colloquially known as ‘New England folk dance,’ due its popularity and historical roots in the region. Ralph Page (1903-1985) played a vital role in keeping contra dance alive during a period when its popularity was waning. Page, known as the ‘dean of contra dance callers,’ single handedly wrote, published, and distributed “The Northern Junket,” which was at that time one of the only contra dance newsletters. Page was also the founder of the New England Folk Festival Association, celebrating contra dance and other forms of traditional music. Thankfully, nowadays the contra dance scene in New England is alive and well! More and more people are drawn to the friendly, inclusive, casual atmosphere, the catchy music, and the lively dancing. Come enjoy a wonderful evening of contra dancing with “The Cosmic Otters!” No experience necessary. Downtown Amherst Contra Dance. 99 Main Street, Amherst, MA ($)

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Thursday, March 29

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

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, March 29, 7:30-9:30pm
DANCE/BALLET
Ballet first originated during the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and quickly spread to France, when Catherine De Medici, of the infamous Florentine Medici dynasty, became Queen of France in 1549. In France and Russia, the dance developed into the form of highly technical concert dance that it is now known for. Despite its long history and worldwide renown, contemporary dancers are still pushing the boundaries of the genre. BalletX is one of America’s most prestigious contemporary ballet companies, which blends modern experimentation and innovation with time-honored tradition. This performance by BalletX will include pieces set to the music of Amy Winehouse and is sure to be a hit with both ballet traditionalists and new fans! UMass Fine Arts Center. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA ($$)

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Friday, March 30

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

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.

Saturday, March 30
EASTER / TROLLEY HISTORY
The Connecticut Trolley Museum will hold Easter Bunny Fun Days, featuring pictures with the Easter Bunny, an Easter scavenger hunt, and crafts! Take as many trolley rides as you would like operated by period dressed motormen. Inside the Visitor Center you will find more static trolley cars and artifacts, a theater showing a short film about trolleys and a gift shop to buy that ‘special’ souvenir. Entrance into the Connecticut Fire Museum complete with antique fire trucks and apparatus is included with admission price. 413-627-6540. 58 North Road, East Windsor, CT.

Friday, March 30, 7:30pm
THEATER/HISTORY
The first European settlers who came to North America on the ‘Mayflower’ and founded the Plymouth Plantation worked hard to maintain good relations with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag people who lived on the Massachusetts coast. At that time, the population of the settlers was small and the Wampanoag were willing to coexist happily with the new arrivals. As time went on, however, and more and more settlers kept arriving, the territory of the Plymouth Colony continued to grow. Aside from epidemics of smallpox and other diseases, which the indigenous people were exposed to from the settlers, more and more territory was gradually seized by the Plymouth Colony and the relationship between these two communities began to sour. Eventually the settler authorities passed laws forbidding commerce with the Wampanoags and other region tribes and demanded that they disarm and surrender their weapons to the Plymouth Colony. When Massasoit was succeeded by his youngest son Metacomet, called ‘Philip’ by the colonists, the peace treaty between the two communities collapsed entirely and King Philip’s War began. The war ravaged the region and is considered by historians to be the deadliest war in the history of North America, proportionate to the population. 1675: A Musical tells the tragic story of King Philip’s War and follows two characters through the war. Indigenous Nipmuc author Jasmine Rochelle Goodspeed says of the play: “I wrote the piece as a message to non-indigenous audience to provide perspective on a piece of indigenous history that may not have been in their realm of knowledge.” For more information visit 1675: A Musical. UMass Fine Arts Center. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA (FREE)

Friday, March 30, 8pm
THEATER/GOGOL
In 1842, Ukrainian-born, Russian novelist and playwright Nikolai Gogol wrote: “And for a long time yet, led by some wondrous power, I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.” Throughout his work, Gogol insisted on satirizing the ridiculous, pompous, and hypocritical elements he perceived in Tsarist Russian society. Among his other brilliant works, Gogol is perhaps best known for his savagely funny lampoon of provincial Russian village bureaucracy in the play The Government Inspector. The play mocks the corruption and greed of local governments and caused such a stir in Russian society that they play was only staged through the intervention of the Tsar himself. The play revolves around a small Russian town whose corrupt officials are terrified when they learn that the government has dispatched an inspector to the town to investigate their mismanagement. When an elegant man arrives from Saint Petersburg, the Mayor and his cronies bend over backwards to placate him, assuming him to be the inspector. What follows is a hilarious comedy of errors and mistaken identities. The renowned No Theater will be performing Google Gogol, inspired by Gogol’s classic play. A.P.E Gallery. 126 Main Street, Northampton, MA (FREE)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Plainfield, Shelburne, Westhampton, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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