Suggested Events for August 11th – 17th, 2018
If 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.
Serving 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.
After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs
Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners. We have put together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Many of these programs aren’t just for kids, so to all the adults out there – feel encouraged to pursue your interests and honor your callings through these enrichment classes, too!
If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.
There’s Still Time!
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.
At Joy Art Space students experience the joy of creating art while developing new skills and finding their unique artistic voice! Joy Art Space offers private art lessons and small group classes for children, teens, and adults in painting, drawing, sculpture, and more! Students learn art techniques in a warm, supportive environment. Classes for all experience levels, beginner to advanced! Art teacher Lily Joy Friedling has taught privately and in schools for 10 years, and has an M.A. in Art Education from Columbia University. Located right in downtown Amherst on N. Pleasant Street. Visit www.joyartspace.com, contact email@example.com or, call 413-345-2747 to learn more!
Amherst Leisure Services Community Theater (ALSCT) is holding auditions for their upcoming January 2019 production of Peter Pan. Audition appointments can be made starting August 1 by calling Amherst Leisure Services at 413-259-3065. Auditions are September 14-16 (callbacks September 17) at the Bangs Community Center in Amherst. People of all performing experience levels, genders, and racial and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to audition. Children (at least 7 years old and in 2nd grade or higher), teens, and adults are welcome. More information about auditions — including character descriptions, audition music and readings, and downloadable audition forms — is available at www.alsct.org. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chad Stewart, former Disney animator and veteran home school Dad, offers a 12 week LIVE – online Animation Course for ages 11-18. He also teaches 2 online Drawing Classes as well. Each assignment, whether completed in hand-drawn or computer animation, is given a professional review with feedback for the individual learning of each student! We are taking registrations for our 2018 Fall Session (September 17-December 10)! Classes tend to fill up very quickly, so we encourage families to hold their child’s spot with a $50 registration fee. We have live spots and recorded classes, so there are options available for many different needs. Our live and recorded classes – with grading – are $350. Please send inquiries to email@example.com or check out our website: theanimcourse.com.
Reach thousands of families in the region with our 2018-2019 directory! Reserve your space. Our community is rich in after-school learning opportunities to supplement the interests of our children, teens, and life-long learners. We are putting together a directory of after-school & weekend classes and enrichment programs happening across Western Massachusetts to be published on our web site later this month and featured throughout the school year. If you have a class or program you would like to have included in our directory, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.
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 email@example.com.
JOIN 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
August 11th – 17th, 2018
Saturday, August 11th, 2018
9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. The Funkinships share some of their favorite songs about the river that brought them together. Learn about the critters that make the water a magical place and why we need to keep the rivers clean for them. 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, August 11, 10am
LOCAL HISTORY/CIVIL RIGHTS
Florence in the 19th century was a hub of radical activity. Some of the greatest abolitionists of the day gathered in this small community, including Sojourner Truth and David Ruggles, who helped Frederick Douglass and 600 other slaves escape to the North. Both Truth and Ruggles were part of a utopian commune known as ‘the Northampton Association of Education and Industry,’ which was committed to the vision of a society where equal rights were given to all regardless of race, gender, or religion. The abolition of slavery was a major focus for the community. Learn all about Florence’s radical history at this African American History Walking Tour, hosted by the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee. Sojourner Truth Memorial Park. Park Street, Florence, MA (FREE)
Saturday, August 11, 10am-11am
David Grover has been nominated for a Grammy and is compared to Mr. Rogers, James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Raffi. He has been playing children’s music since 1984 and performed at the White House and on the Today Show. Don’t miss this opportunity to see Grover play live this Saturday in Great Barrington! Great Barrington Bandstand. 334 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Saturday, August 11, 11am-12pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS/FASHION
The process known as “tie-dye” was popularized in America during the 1960s but it turns out that this art goes back thousands of years and is present in cultures from Indonesia, Africa, Japan, and South America. Tie-dye only become known in the United States in 1909, when Columbia University Professor Charles E. Pellow gave a presentation and lecture on the subject. The style of tie-dye that has become associated with the psychedelic aesthetic of the hippie movement in the United States is originally derived from Indonesian Batik techniques. Learn how to tie-dye shirts and bandannas at this workshop! Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Saturday, August 11, 11am-12pm
LOCAL HISTORY/CIVIL RIGHTS
W.E.B Du Bois remains one of the most significant historians of the 20th century. His two key works, The Souls of Black Folk and Black Reconstruction in America, present a searing critique of racism in America, driven by his powerful analysis that racism is caused by capitalism. Du Bois was a lifelong critic of capitalism and ultimately joined the Communist Party in 1961, when he wrote: “I believe in communism. I mean by communism, a planned way of life in the production of wealth and work designed for building a state whose object is the highest welfare of its people and not merely the profit of a part.” Ultimately, after constant harassment by the United States government during the McCarthy witch hunts, Du Bois left the country and settled in Ghana, where he remained until his death in 1963. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a major figure in the Pan-African Congress, which worked to support the efforts of Africans to gain independence from European colonizers, and an outspoken critic of the military industrial complex. This towering historical figure was born and raised right here in Great Barrington, as part of a small population of free, land owning African Americans. Du Bois attended an integrated public school and his intellectual curiosity was encouraged by his teachers. This positive, early experience inspired Du Bois to dedicate his life to empowering his community, both in the United States and abroad. Come attend a tour of Du Bois’ childhood home and discuss his life and legacy at the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site. 612 South Egremont Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Saturday, August 11, 1-3pm
Deep in the arid grasslands of the Namib desert in southern Africa, a peculiar feature of the landscape has mystified residents and scientists for centuries. The so-called ‘fairy circles’ are large circular patches with a diameter of about 10 to 40 feet, in which nothing grows. The circles are surrounded by abundant grasses. Indigenous people of the region believe that the circles were created by the gods, when they originally walked across the land. Other communities say that demons breathed poisonous gas onto the rings, which killed all the plants. The scientific community also has a number of theories regarding the creation of the rings. Most scientists believe that these rings are actually created by termites, which remove the grasses in the circle, much like beavers harvesting trees, in order to create desirable conditions for nesting. Insects have an incredible ability to alter their environments and this is often the best way to determine whether certain species are present. On this walk with local naturalist Charley Eiseman, who will discuss ways to track insects, by observing their signs. Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area. Florence, MA (FREE)
Saturday, August 11, 2-3:30pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS
According to legend, Cai Lun, the man said to have invented paper, drew inspiration from watching paper wasps build their nests. Cai, an eunuch in the service of Emperor He around 90 CE, developed a less expensive alternative to silk or bamboo, which were previously used for writing, by mixing wood bark, hemp, cloth rags, and fishing nets. Thus the first form of paper was invented. While modern methods are evolved quite a bit, paper is still made by mixing together different kinds of fibers and drying them in a thin sheet. Learn how to make paper using various recycled materials at this workshop! Sunderland Public Library. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA (FREE)
Sunday, August 12th, 2018
7-8am – 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, August 12, 1pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS/FOLKLORE
The brilliant, visionary Irish poet W.B. Yeats once wrote “Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, / For I would ride with you upon the wind, / Run on the top of the dishevelled tide, / And dance upon the mountains like a flame.” Almost all but dismissed as mere superstition in mechanised, hyper rational American society, millions of people all around the world still believe in and venerate the hidden folk. In Iceland, for example, over fifty percent of the population believes in elves and faeries and other unseen spirits. In various northern European communities, roads and other construction projects must be built in a way that accounts for important faerie sites. In such places, it is common to see roads that twist suddenly around a particular mound or stones that are known to be the abodes of the ‘good neighbors.’ Folk tales and other folk customs tell us about the tastes and habits of these spirits. What they like to eat, where they like to live, and how to avoid falling victim to their ire. An iron horseshoe placed above a doorway, for example, is known to keep the faeries away. Come build a home for the ‘little people’ at this Fairy House Building Workshop! Bring your own materials or use the ones provided. Looky Here. 28 Chapman Street, Greenfield, MA (FREE)
Sunday, August 12, 2-4pm
LOCAL HISTORY/ICE CREAM
Originally settled by Europeans in the mid 18th century, the Chesterfield area has seen many historical transitions over the years. Come on out and enjoy an afternoon of ice cream and local history at the Chesterfield Historical Society’s Edwards Museum. Get together with neighbors, friends, and community members and celebrate summer and the rich history of the hill towns. Edwards Museum. North Road, Chesterfield, MA ($)
Monday, August 13th, 2018
Monday, August 13, 10:30-11:30am
Herpetology is the branch of zoology that studies amphibians and reptiles, including turtles. The term is derived from the Greek word “herpein,” meaning “to creep.” The Mass Parks Junior Rangers program gives children ages 8 to 11 to learn all about the animals that live along the Connecticut River Canal. Great Falls Discovery Center. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA (FREE)
Monday, August 13, 11am-2pm
Local musician and educator Aimee Gelinas has been studying west African and Afro-Caribbean drumming for years and recently traveled to study with Guinean master drummer Mamady Keita. Join Gelinas as she shares her knowledge and experience with drumming classes at the Berkshire Athenaeum this Monday. The first session is specially designed for young children and their parents and the second session is for children ages 10 and above. Instruments provided. Berkshire Athenaeum. 1 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Tuesday, August 14th, 2018
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, August 14, 10am-12pm
ARTS AND CRAFTS/GARDENING
The feeling of planting a seed and watching it grow is very special, especially for young children. As it grows, they learn about the cycles of life and feel the pride of creating new life. This event, sponsored by the Amherst Family Center, offers children and their parents to decorate a flowerpot, plant a seed, and take it home to watch it grow. UMass. Amherst, MA (FREE)
Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
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, August 15, 3-4:30pm
When Tsar Peter I, also called ‘the Great,’ Emperor of Russia, began to look west toward Europe during Russia’s cultural and scientific growth in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the evolution of Russian cuisine grew by leaps and bounds. Europeans tastes and recipes became widespread among the Russian nobility and upper classes. The 19th century cookbook A Gift to Young Housewives reflects the impact of European cuisine, with its recipes for aspics, tortes, mousses, and sponge cakes. The book fell into disfavor during the Soviet era, when it was condemned as “bourgeois and decadent.” The book’s outright hostility towards the working classes can be seen in quotes such as this: “fresh roach [a type of fish] is not very tasty and barely useful; it is, therefore, best used to feed the servants.” Nevertheless, traditional Russian dishes persisted through Tsar Peter’s reign, through the Soviets, and into the present. For more than a thousand years, Russians from all walks of life have kept their traditional culinary culture alive with dishes such as shchi, a sour cabbage soup, kvass, a fermented beverage made from bread, and kasha, a generic term referring to hot or cold porridge made from a variety of grains, especially buckwheat and barley. Today, as the political climate in Russia has led to sanctions from the West and imports of many foodstuffs have been banned by the government, many Russians are returning to traditional foods and reviving traditional culinary practices. Professor Darra Goldstein will be discussing these and other aspects of Russia’s long and complex culinary history at this talk, hosted by the Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA ($)
Wednesday, August 15, 6pm
It has been observed that the Victorians were frankly obsessed with death. This preoccupation was likely inspired by Queen Victoria’s 40 year mourning period following the death of her husband Prince Albert. For every day after Albert’s death, the Queen dressed in funeral clothes. Victorian society had an elaborate funeral etiquette and failure to properly observe public demonstrations of grief could lead to social disaster. It has been famously recorded that Victorians often hired professional mourners to accompany funeral processions but history is filled with other strange Victorian funerary customs, including the practice of taking family photographs with recently deceased relatives and giving little girls dolls for them to practice mourning at an early age. One of the less creepy Victorian funerary customs involved ornately decorated tombstones. Come learn all about Victorian funeral art during this walk through the Pine Hill Cemetery. 117 Court Street, Westfield, MA ($)
Wednesday, August 15, 6-8pm
Come celebrate summer and community with Orchestra in the Orchard, a summer music series with free concerts at Small Ones Farm. Bring your food, blankets, and lawn chairs and enjoy live classical music played in a beautiful rural setting. Raspberry pie and Maple Valley ice cream for sale. Small Ones Farm. 416 Bay Road, Amherst, MA (FREE)
Thursday, August 16th, 2018
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, August 16, 10am
The world of plants has so much healing to offer us. Some say that certain plants even grow in places where the particular ailments they treat are most common. Healing plants have the tendency to appear to us when we need them most. Even common plants that we interact with in various ways everyday have healing properties that we may not be aware of. The species of oats that we use for oatmeal, for instance, is cultivated from a wild grass that can be harvested for its milky immature seed that contains a host of healing properties. Milky oats have been known as a nerve tonic for thousands of years. As exhaustion and stress become more and more widespread in our modern world, milky oats offer a remedy from the ancient, timeless world of plants. The People’s Medicine Garden at Just Roots community garden is welcoming volunteers this Thursday to come help with garden work and take home some healing herbs. Just Roots. 34 Glenbrook Drive, Greenfield, MA (FREE)
Thursday, August 16, 6pm
There is nothing better than live music outside in the summertime. Take advantage of the mild weather and long hours of daylight and come out for an evening of fun, music, and community! Every Thursday evening in July and August, Party in the Park is offering free family concerts, and don’t forget to check out all the classic and custom cars, too! Noel Field. 310 State Street, North Adams, MA (FREE)
Thursday, August 16, 6:30pm
HEALTH AND WELLNESS/PLACEMAKING
Exercise is something that many of us struggle to motivate ourselves to do. But who doesn’t love to dance! When we are dancing, we get amazing exercise, without even realizing it! Since Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez first developed Zumba in the late 1990s, as a fusion of dance and exercise, it has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon. So put on your sneakers and come on down to the park for this free Zumba class. Park Square. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Thursday, August 16, 8:30pm
The 2016 film “Moana” tells the story of a young girl’s quest to discover herself, with the help of a narcissistic demigod. The film’s touching story, rousing music, and lush animation has made a hit among audiences and critics. This Thursday, Movies Under the Stars is offering a double feature, pairing “Moana” with “The Karate Kid.” Don’t forget to bring your picnic chairs! Look Memorial Park. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA (FREE)
Friday, August 17th, 2018
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, August 17, 7pm
Most of us are familiar with organic farming as a method of growing produce without the use of harmful chemicals. But the philosophy of this movement is deeply rooted in spirituality and profound ecological awareness. As agrarian philosopher Wendell Berry has written, “An organic farm, properly speaking, is not one that uses certain methods and substances and avoids others; it is a farm whose structure is formed in imitation of the structure of a natural system that has the integrity, the independence and the benign dependence of an organism.” Of course, for the vast majority of human history, all farming was ‘organic,’ but the modern incarnation of this practice was originally formulated in Germany in the 1920s by occult philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who referred to his approach as ‘biodynamic agriculture.’ Responding to local concern over the future of agriculture, Steiner developed an approach to farming, which to this day, is unsurpassed in terms of its level of nuance and holistic perspective. Steiner believed that as the farm is itself a microcosmic organism, its processes are linked to and influenced by the vastness of the cosmos as a whole. Thus sowing, weeding, and harvesting are all performed in accordance to various movements of the celestial bodies, the sun, moon, and stars. This astrological aspect of biodynamic farming places importance on the movement of the zodiac on the growth cycles of various plants. Furthermore, Steiner believed that since a farm should be a self sustaining unit, producing its own compost and fertilizer, certain mineral and herbal applications could be made to both soil and manure to increase its effectiveness. In one of the more unique and eccentric applications, Steiner recommended placing pieces of oak bark into the skull of a domesticated animal, surrounding it with peat moss, and burying it in the earth in a place with lots of rain water. While Steiner’s biodynamic farming represents a brilliant synthesis of agriculture and folk culture, the contemporary organic farming movement has moved away somewhat from the more explicitly magical aspects of his method. Modern organic farming still retains the overall philosophical principle that a farm should be an integrated entity, which does not rely on chemicals and fossil fuels. If you’d like to learn more about the fascinating history of organic farming, don’t miss this screening of “Evolution of Organic.” Pothole Pictures Film Series. 51 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls, MA ($)
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.