Berkshire Family Fun: December 2018
Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County for the month of November. We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week. Do you have an event you’d like to include in this list? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!
Berkshire Family Fun, a project of Hilltown Families, is sponsored in part by MASS MoCA:
Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Monterey, North Berkshire, Pittsfield, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Berkshire Arts And Technology Charter School. 1 Commercial Street.
Adams Visitor’s Center. 3 Hoosac Street.
Adams Library. 413-743-8345. 92 Park Street.
Adams Lions Club
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. 413-743-7121. 67 East Road.
Abbot School. 56 North Country Road.
Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 W Housatonic St. 413-443-0188
Windsor Lake. Kemp Avenue and Bradley Street.
The Maker’s Mill. 100 Eagle Street.
DownStreet Art. Main Street and downtown.
North Adams Farmers’ Market 413-664-6180. St. Anthony Drive & Route 8.
Western Gateway Heritage State Park 413-663-6312. 115 State Street.
North Adams Public Library 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street.
MASS MoCA 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way.
Haskins Community Center 413-664-4821. 210 State Street.
Natural Bridge State Park — 413-663-6392. McCauley Road.
Houghton Mansion 413-358-5239. 172 Church Street.
Saturday, December 8, 11am-12:30pm
The circumstances surrounding the death of Elizabeth Sanford Botsford in 1915 is one of Williamstown most persistent mysteries. The only daughter of a prominent local family, Elizabeth’s death changed the history of Williamstown forever. Come learn more about this intriguing tale at this lecture by local historian Patricia Leach! Milne Public Library. 1095 Main Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)
Saturday, December 8, 1-4:30pm
History, as they say, is written by the victors. In this sense, history has not been kind to George III, King of Great Britain. Remembered by the Americans as a villainous tyrant and by the British as the king who lost the American colonies to a ragtag bunch of rebels, his later life was defined by ongoing, and ultimately fatal, mental health struggles. Historians debate the source of his illness to this day. Some argue that the king suffered from the blood disease porphyria, while others believe he was bipolar. Alan Bennett’s 1991 play The Madness of King George offers a funny and touching look into the life and daily struggles of this much-maligned historical figure. A new production of The Madness of King George by the London National Theatre will be broadcast this Saturday at the Clark. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA ($)
Sunday, December 16, 3-4pm
The Romantic period in European art and literature was a time of radical change and dramatic social upheaval. Rapid technological advancements, the spread of industrialism, the French and American revolutions, and the rise of imperialism all had a tremendous impact on the artists of the time. J.M.W. Turner perhaps best exemplifies this period of transition and change in British painting. While his earlier works are consistent with the traditions of English landscape painting, with its placid view of nature and benign rural settings, Turner became fascinated by the wild, untamable, destructive power of the natural world and the fragility of humanity. In particular, many of Turner’s most distinctive works depict shipwrecks and fierce, tempestuous seas. His revolutionary use of oils allowed Turner to depict light and motion in a uniquely recognizable manner, and was extensively studied and imitated by the Impressionists. At first blush, Turner’s contemporary John Constable appears to have little in common with him. Much of Constable’s work is thematically linked to Turner’s early, immature period, featuring stately portraits, flocks of sheep, and grazing cattle. Modest in comparison to Turner’s eccentric and extreme personality, Constable once wrote in a letter: “My limited and abstracted art is to be found under every hedge, and in every lane, and therefore nobody thinks it worth picking up”. As it turned out, however, Constable’s work was also extremely influential for future artists. In his own way, Constable challenged artistic conventions of the day, especially as one of the first painters to work in nature. To mark the opening of the exhibit “Turner and Constable: the Inhabited Landscape,” curator Alexis Goodin will be discussing the similarities and differences between these two quintessential Romantic artists. The Clark Art Institute. 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA (FREE)
Milne Public Library 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street.
Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation 413-458-2494. 671 Cold Spring Road.
Clark Art Institute 413-458-2303. 225 South Street.
Images Cinema. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street.
Sweet Brook Farm — 413-884-4246. 580 Oblong Road.
Williams College Museum of Art — 413-597-2376. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive.
Williamstown Youth Center — 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue.
Notchview Reservation 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance. 413-243-9919. 358 George Carter Road. Becket, MA. (FREE)
Friday, December 7, 6pm
Come help kick off the holiday season in Lenox, this Friday evening, with the annual tree lighting! Afterwards, don’t forget to head over to the community center for treats. For more information about Lenox’s holiday events, please visit Making Spirits Bright. Lilac Park. Lenox, MA (FREE)
Friday, December 14, 6-7pm
What could be cozier and more fun than a winter holiday pajama party? This Friday, community members will be gathering to read stories and sing songs, in the spirit of the holidays. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a special visit from Franco the Wonder Dog! Lenox Library. 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA (FREE)
Lenox Community Center. 413-637-5530. 65 Walker Street.
Lenox Library — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street.
Lenox Historical Society — Main Street.
The Mount – 413-551-5111. 2 Plunkett Street.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary – 472 West Mountain Road.
Shakespeare and Company – 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street.
Ventfort Hall – 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.
Tuesday, December 4, 10:30-11:30am
Exposing young children to music and language is tremendously important to their cognitive development. This program, designed for children ages 6 to 18 months, features storytelling, singing, sign language, and physical activities. Parents and caregivers will also have the opportunity to connect with each other and share their experiences. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Sunday, December 9, 3:30-4:30pm
This Sunday, the Berkshire Concert Choir will be performing their holiday concert, featuring a variety of Christmas songs from traditional renaissance works to contemporary pop music. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Friday, December 14, 8-9:45pm
In the long tradition of holiday variety shows, “Christmastime in the City” is coming to the Whitney Center for the Arts for the fourth year! This mix of song and spoken word is sure to bring lots of holiday cheer and Christmas spirit to you and your family. This beloved event is sure to sell out! Whitney Center for the Arts. 42 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA ($)
Saturday, December 15, 10am-12pm
Got a little one at home who just loves to build things? You’re in luck! This Saturday, Berkshire Museum is hosting a Pop Up Play Day, featuring giant blue Bilderhoos blocks and architectural building components. Let your imagination be your guide, collaborate with others, and create something amazing! Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)
Saturday, December 15, 10am-5pm
DANCE STUDIES/OPEN HOUSE
Have you always wanted to try salsa dancing? Now is your chance! Berkshire Salsa is having an Open House event, where you can come down and try out any class for free. This is a great opportunity to meet the instructors, check out the facility, and see what salsa is all about. Developing out of Cuban and other Caribbean folk dances, salsa dance grew rapidly in popularity in the United States after the 1950s, when Cuban and Latino communities began to establish themselves in New York City. During this period, the world famous Palladium Ballroom became a hub for Latin American music and dance. Legends such as Tito Puente were associated with the Palladium at this time. Come down to Berkshire Salsa and experience this fun and exciting dance for yourself. Berkshire Salsa. 307 North Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Saturday, December 15, 11am
Join David Grover for a special concert of award winning children’s music! Grover, longtime lead guitar for Arlo Guthrie, discovered that children’s music was his true musical calling after having children of his own. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a local children’s music legend. Berkshire Theatre Group. 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE)
Saturday, December 15, 3-7pm
Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol is a classic tale of the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday spirit. Since its publication in 1843, the immortal story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghosts has been adapted countless times. It has been made into several dozen films alone, including The Muppet Christmas Carol, a 3D animated film starring Jim Carrey, and a new version currently in production. A Christmas Carol has been adapted into every conceivable artistic medium and this simple story continues to resonate with audiences. For the 10th year, the Walking the Dog Theatre Company will be performing A Christmas Carol. Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA ($$)
Beacon Cinema. 413-358-4780. 57 North Street.
Wahconah Park. 105 Wahconah Street.
Berkshire Community College. 1350 West Street.
The Berkshire Athenaeum 413-499-4809. 1 Wendell Avenue.
Berkshire Humane Society 413-447-7878. 214 Barker Road.
Berkshire Lyric Theatre – 413-499-0258
Berkshire Museum – 413-443-7171 x10. 39 South Street.
Berkshire Music School — 413-442-1411. 30 Wendell Ave.
Colonial Theatre — 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.
Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market. First Street.
First Friday Artswalk — Downtown.
Hancock Shaker Village – 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street.
Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road.
Hilltop Orchard — Route 295.
Saturday, December 1, 6-7pm
Few activities can evoke the feelings of holiday cheer like caroling! Come together as a community and sing your heart out, and enjoy the luminarias as you stroll along Main Street. For more information, please visit Holiday Caroling. Main Street Historic District. Stockbridge, MA (FREE)
Sunday, December 2, 12-2pm
This Sunday Main Street in downtown Stockbridge will be transformed into a winter holiday wonderland! At this popular annual event, Norman Rockwell’s famous painting “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas” will be recreated with 50 antique cars. Come experience a piece of local history. Main Street Historic District. Stockbridge, MA ($)
Kripalu Center For Yoga and Health. 57 Interlaken Road.
Naumkeag. 5 Prospect Hill.
Berkshire Botanical Garden 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.
Chesterwood — 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road
Norman Rockwell Museum – 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
The Stockbridge Library, Museum, and Archives – 413-298-5501. 18 Main Street.
Ashintully Gardens. 413-298-3239. Sodem Road.
West Stockbridge Public Library – 413-232-0300 x308. 21 State Line Road.
Monday, December 17, 3:30-4:15pm
LITERACY/EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Increasingly, educators and parents are finding that having children read out loud to dogs can greatly benefit literacy and attitudes toward reading. While reading to a dog in and of itself won’t teach a child to read, it can greatly increase a child’s enthusiasm for reading and provide a patient and attentive listener. The simple act of reading out loud is also a key element in building literacy. Read and Wag Reading Dogs are just waiting for someone to come give them a snuggle and read them a story! Mason Library Children’s Room. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Tuesday, December 18, 10:30-11:30am
It’s never too early to introduce children to basic STEM ideas, and when they are combined with singing and playing, it’s even better! Children up to the age of 5 and their caregivers are invited to attend a special Play and Learn Playgroup, this Tuesday. Mason Library Children’s Room. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Wednesday, December 19, 4-5:15pm
The Housatonic Flats Reserve covers 26 acres of wetlands, floodplain forest, as well as a half mile portion of the trail along the Housatonic River, which is ideal for viewing birds, fish, and animals. Spend a peaceful evening with a casual sunset stroll in the Flats, followed by hot cider. Housatonic Flats Reserve. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Thursday, December 20, 7-9:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/SING ALONG
Honoring the memory of Woody Guthrie, the Guthrie Center was created by Arlo Guthrie to be a place for interfaith services and spiritual exchange. With this emphasis on building and developing community, the Guthrie Center hosts a Weekly Hootenanny, every Thursday evening. Bring an instrument, your voice, or just come to listen! The Guthrie Center. 2 Van Deusenville Road, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Friday, December 21, 10:15-11am
STORYTIME/EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Reading aloud to children has a wide variety of benefits, even beyond building literacy. It can be an important ritual that can help children during times of stress, develop curiosity, build a positive association with books and reading, and can create a larger sense of the world. This Baby and Me Storytime features finger puppets, rhyming, and stories for children up to 18 months. Mason Library Children’s Room. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA (FREE)
Triplex Cinema. 70 Railroad Street.
Lake Mansfield. 413-528-2810, ext. 30. Lake Mansfield Road.
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road.
Great Barrington Historical Society — South Main Street.
The Guthrie Center — 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road.
Great Barrington Riverwalk — Church and River Streets.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center — 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street.
Mason Library — 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street.
South Berkshire Kids – 413-464-5095. 444 Old Stockbridge Road.
Bidwell House Museum — 413-528-6888. 100 Art School Road.
Sunday, December 9, 3-5pm
READ ALOUD/LITERARY STUDIES
While not necessarily ranked among Charles Dickens’ greatest novels, A Christmas Carol has nevertheless perhaps had the strongest and most enduring cultural impact. The novella did much to establish Christmas as a secular holiday tradition. Victorian art critic and philosopher John Ruskin wrote that Dickens had taken the religious content out of the holiday and made it about “mistletoe and pudding – neither resurrection from the dead, nor rising of new stars, nor teaching of wise men, nor shepherds.” Critics in Dickens’ day were particularly drawn to the story in terms of its moral impact. The emphasis on the importance of doing good in society during the Christmas holiday especially resonated with readers. Leaving aside the moral and historical significance of A Christmas Carol the novella is also notable for the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, one of Dickens’ most grotesque caricatures. Scrooge, who has become synonymous with miserliness, is described as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” Given this characterization, Scrooge’s transformation forms the story’s primary plot. Enjoy this classic story with an interactive read a round, with cider and cookies! Bushnell-Sage Library. 48 Main Street, Sheffield, MA (FREE)