Hilltown Families


Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="250"] 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![/caption]

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.

Each week, Hilltown Families taps into your interests and values and gives you the chance to connect with others who want to explore them. By highlighting the learning opportunities that are embedded in the everyday events, activities, and spaces that make up our communities, sharing this information with families via our extensive online network, and supporting your participation in engaging and meaningful ways – together – we are building connections that shape and change lives and communities. Hilltown Families is where families come to connect to the place where they live and the people who call it home.

The beautiful fact is, we can’t do any of this without you. It all comes back to you and your engagement. During this season of gratitude and giving, we are inviting you not only to get out and have some fun while you learn, we’re inviting you to invest in the organization that helps make that possible. Hilltown Families is in the process of redesigning our website and planning new in-person programming for the Spring. We will bring you seasonally-based mindfulness events and workshops for learners of all ages and backgrounds at our founder, Sienna Wildfield’s, new space, Curly Willow on the Westfield River. But we need your help. Please support what you love by donating what you can to Hilltown Families. Consider making it a monthly contribution. For less than what you spend on a cup of coffee, you can make a big difference in the lives of families – just like yours – throughout Western MA! We thank you!

Our Saturday Morning Music Party Series is BACK!

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1st), Hilltown Families, the Flywheel Arts Collective, and the Easthampton Family Center 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 fruit, along with The Mr. Fuzznogginz Show – the hippest, coolest, funniest magic show in New England. As always, we close out the morning with 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 the organizers, 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!

Plus, this year, we’ll be collecting donations of new toys and toiletries to donate to the YWCA of Western MA. This activity came out of one Hilltown Families grandma who wants to get her grandson into the habit of joyful giving at a young age. We think that more really is merrier and decided to open it up to the whole Hilltown Families community! Please join our family in expressing the value of generosity by developing a practice of giving as individuals, with our neighbors, to our communities. You bring the toys and toiletries and we’ll sort, package, and deliver them to the YWCA of Western MA, which, for over 150 years, has provided shelter, support services, and tools for self-sufficiency for women and girls in our community.

Bulletin Board

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Dec 7, 8, & 9[/caption]

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. This year, everyone is invited to our village tavern to enjoy traditions from the early Middle Ages to rousing contemporary carols. Come hear ancient songs, see the Abbotts Bromley horn dance, a mummers play and the passing of the yule log! There will be Basque, molly and sword dances! Friday and Saturday Dec. 7 and 8, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 9, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors and children 5-16 years, at Amherst Books, Amherst; Broadside Bookshop, Northampton; World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield; at the door or online. Information and reservations at www.welcomeyule.org.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Dec 7 – 9[/caption]

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Live on stage December 7 – 9 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. A special Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 7 at 4:00 p.m. has lighting and sound accommodations for a reduced sensory experience, and is also ideal for young children. The 40th Anniversary Celebration Performance that evening features special musical guests and a champagne treat for the adults. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Dec 8[/caption]

As an alternative to traditional holiday buying, the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School will host a Winter Fair featuring musical performances and holiday gift-making on Saturday, December 8. Holiday crafts use recycled and natural materials and include fairy houses, full-sized wreaths, gingerbread people, and more. All proceeds support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. The Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School is a public school serving grades K-8 and emphasizing mixed-aged classrooms and an arts-integrated approach to curricula. There is no tuition; admission is by lottery and is open to students throughout Hampshire and Franklin counties. For more information about the Winter Fair visit www.hilltowncharter.org or call (413) 529–7178.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Dec 9[/caption]

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 9. The program begins at 1 PM. Meet students, teachers, and current parents and get a feel for their their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, competitive athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership, with daily round trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield and the hilltowns, including several stops along each route. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Dec 9[/caption]

There Will Be Light: A Community Hanukkah Celebration. Sunday, Dec. 9, 5 pm – 7:30 pm at Congregation B’nai Israel, 253 Prospect St., Northampton. Join us at 5 pm for two programs: 1. Candle lighting & song circle. Light hanukiot in the main sanctuary and sing songs of light and hope in-the-round with Molly, Aram, and Rabbis Jacob and Justin. 2. Candle lighting & music for families with kids ages 0-5. Join Felicia Sloin & friends for 8th night menorah lighting, story telling, song, and play. At 6:30 pm, a catered dinner will be served. RSVP requested: cbinorthampton.org. $10/person, $7/children 12 and under. We encourage you to bring your own menorah. For more info, contact Merideth Lively: mer@cbinorthampton.org or (413) 584-3593.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Dec 15[/caption]

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 15th at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Add your class[/caption]

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 sales@hilltownfamilies.org to learn about our advertising options and sponsorship packages.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="40"] Add your school[/caption]

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.


December 8th – 14th, 2018


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

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April is just the start of exciting events at the Emily Dickinson Museum, with family friendly opportunities to explore the museum and educator programs throughout the coming months. There are so many ways to get close to one of America’s greatest poets.

Young Hampshire College alumni are presenting their work on culture, sustainability, and history this month at the Hampshire College Art Gallery.

With more than 1,700 specimens, including dinosaur skeletons and footprints, the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College is one of New England’s treasures. Admission is free and a visit always promises “wow” moments for children and their families. Read more in our monthly column, “Museum Adventures.”

Looking at art and material culture gives parents and children an opportunity to make discoveries together and create shared experiences. Museums allow us to engage with distant cultures, imagine times long past, and reinterpret our own experiences. Professional museum educators have developed a series of tips that will help you get the most out of your next museum visit!

10 Learning Adventures with Museums10 this Holiday Season Don’t stay cooped up this winter! Museum adventures await you—make art with your children, enjoy contemporary art yourself, take in a gallery talk, or join in a game of table top nine pins. There is something to explore at each of the Museums10 member institutions during December, and beyond! 

Celebrate National Picture Book Month this November with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Special story times, performances, a day all about Alice in Wonderland, and more await you and your family.

Explore archaeology, open hearth cooking, colonial life, and so much more at Historic Deerfield this October. Who knew there were so many fun (and tasty!) ways to get to know history?

For 40 years the UMCA has been leading the way for art and art education, and their exciting exhibitions this fall showcase the talent of dynamic artist Chuck Close, as well as the insightful work of Anne Beresford.

The Smith College Museum of Art has seen a lot of exciting activity this summer, with renovations to the lower level that will be unveiled in October, offering new ways for visitors to experience their delightful collection of art. The Museum also revamped their admission prices and will now be free of charge for children 18 and under, making it that much more family friendly and accessible.

Experience, investigate, and explore world-class art and hidden treasures at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum. In July, families can travel the world without ever leaving the area through the Mead’s family workshops and open house days. Enjoy art-making, guest performances, tours, and more—all of it free and open to all.

This month in “Museum Adventures: Highlights from Western MA Museum Educators,” Maureen Turner shares highlights from the Yiddish Book Center. Visitors to the Center don’t need to be able to read or speak Yiddish to enjoy the Center—although by visit’s end, they’ll realize they probably knew more Yiddish words than they thought (nosh, schmooze, and shlep are all Yiddish words commonly used in English), and leave knowing even more!

Anytime arts & cultural organizations collaborate the results are likely to be greater than the sum of the equal parts. Museums10 is a powerhouse of creativity in the Western Mass region- a group of 10 museums committed to strategically enriching the cultural life of the region. And they’re celebrating their 10th Anniversary. Read on about how this creative collaboration works and flourishes.

QUESTION AND ANSWERS Is there a museum/attraction in Western MA that you still haven’t got around to visiting that you’ve been meaning to? Mark Grodzicki writes, “Wistariahurst in Holyoke.” Sarah Lewis writes, “The Peace Pagoda (Leverett).” Abbe Laine Schiowitz writes, “The Children’s Museum in Holyoke.” Jennifer Shiao Page writes, “Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield.” Kelly Jabour Pramberger writes, “Eric Carle Museum in Amherst.” Shelly Bathe Lenn writes, “ALL of… Read More

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