Arts

Get Ready for the Holidays With These Festive Events in Franklin County, MA

With the holidays being right around the corner, all of the towns in Franklin County are lighting up with holiday festivities and cheer. This weekend in particular, two seasonal events are happening: JingleFest in Downtown Greenfield and A Special Day in Northfield. Support your local community and enjoy either or both of these festive events.

 

JingleFest | Greenfield, MA

On Friday, December 8, the Greenfield Business Association and downtown merchants of Greenfield are hosting JingleFest from 5 to 8 pm. The theme for this year’s event is “Light the Way,” as festival goers will enter a totally lit up downtown. There will be tons of kid-friendly activities such as holiday crafts, a Children’s Holiday Parade, and visits with Santa Claus at Wilson’s Department Store.

Also during JingleFest, GreenFields Market will sell hot chocolates for just 25 cents and luminarias will be lit throughout Main St. Plus, businesses will compete for the best-decorated display window, voted on by shoppers themselves. All voters will be entered into a drawing for a free shopping spree.

Of course, our local passionate art community will be represented at JingleFest, with the reveal of several art displays in storefront windows. Local artists created these works to beautify Main Street for all the shoppers and celebrate the holidays. New this year is the Greenfield Holiday Pop-Up Market, thanks to Yankee Candle, which will be filled with local artisans, music, food, and libations.

For more information on JingleFest, visit their Facebook page.

 

12th Annual A Special Day in Northfield | Northfield, MA

Since you can never have too much holiday fun, the next day, Saturday, December 9, head over to Northfield for their 12th Annual A Special Day in Northfield: Olde Fashioned Holiday Celebration.  Happening from 10 am “through the evening”, this event is produced and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Northfield and the Northfield Area Tourism & Business Association. Blue and white snowflakes, signs and holiday wreaths on utility poles will guide people to event locations.

There are several new events this year such as dinner at Cameron’s Winery, the Friday eve before A Special Day and the strolling players from the Pioneer Valley Regional High School Band. Also new this year is the Buxton Christmas Barn with fresh-cut Christmas trees, wreaths, and accessories and the Indoor Farmers and Craft Market downstairs at the First Parish Church.

A Special Day will also boast a ton of kid-friendly activities. Mim’s Market is offering free gingerbread people decorating plus live music by Phil Watson and Friends on the Porch. Kids can also make winter-themed crafts at Dickinson Memorial Library and pine cone bird feeders at Kidder & Co. Other special events will include horse-drawn wagon rides, live theater, WHAI Radio Personality Nick Danjer, and even a bonfire at Northfield Golf Club.

Click here to download the full event schedule.

 

Happy Holiday Season, everyone!

Photo: Getting Ready for Santa at Centennial House Bed & Breakfast

Shop Local this Small Business Saturday in Western Massachusetts

Living in Western Massachusetts, we are surrounded by tons of small, locally-owned businesses. It is easy to regularly shop local and support small businesses. However, this Saturday, November 25, is a particularly special time to visit these stores, since it is Small Business Saturday, a national shopping holiday. You can finish all of your holiday shopping, while supporting our local economy.

Here a few stores that I highly recommend for Small Business Saturday:

Wilson’s Department Store: Wilson’s has been a fixture on Main Street in downtown Greenfield for over 125 years. It is one of few family-owned department stores left in the country and boasts 4 floors of name-brand merchandise.

Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange: Located on High Street in Greenfield, the Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange sells thousands of products for the home, farm, garden, pets, and more. Over 800 farmers comprise the co-op, which is almost 100 years old!

Shelburne Farm & Garden: Shelburne Farm & Garden is another great store for finding home, garden, and pet supplies. It is located on the Mohawk Trail/Route 2, close to the village of Shelburne Falls. Check out their end of fall specials and other deals for the holiday season.

The Outlet Store: The Outlet Store on Chapman Street in Greenfield is the go-to spot for work shirts, boots, Carhartt brand clothing, and other heavy duty outdoor and work attire. It’s a small store with friendly staff who will help you find anything you’re looking for. Plus, the prices are very reasonable.

Salmon Falls Gallery: Up on the hill, overlooking Shelburne Falls and the Deerfield River, Salmon Falls Gallery represents over 100 local artists. Owned by local glassblower, Josh Simpson, the gallery has rotating exhibits, so there is always something new to see. You will be sure to find something special for a loved one or yourself, since there is such a wide range of art; woodwork, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, and more.

Shelburne Arts Co-op: The Shelburne Arts Co-op is another great source of fine crafts and art in Shelburne Falls. The Co-op has been owned and operated by local artists since 1998, who are ready to help you find something special.

To find more local small businesses in the area, type in your location on the Shop Small Map. Happy shopping!

Moonlight Magic Kicks Off the Holiday Season in Shelburne Falls This Friday!

Thanksgiving is this Thursday! While I am looking forward to spending time with family and reflecting on what I am grateful for, in the back of my mind I am thinking about Moonlight Magic. Moonlight Magic is the annual holiday kick-off event in Shelburne Falls. Every year on Black Friday, which this year is November 24th, from 4-9 pm, the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association closes off Bridge Street and the Iron Bridge to host this magical event.

Vendors will line the streets, selling crafts, candles, maple and other farm products, wreaths, and other delightful things perfect for gifting for the holidays. Barberic Farm will be selling their delicious frozen meat pies, jams, jellies, pickles, plus their handmade wool and leather products. Shelburne Farm & Garden will also have a booth, selling birding supplies, pet toys, hats, and gloves. You could get all your holiday shopping done without having to even look at a mall!

School groups and other non-profits will also set up to fundraise for their special projects. Colrain Central School will be raffling off gift baskets, and Hawlemont Elementary School will sell baked goods and offer cookie decoration as a fundraiser for their Nature’s Classroom trip. Of course, don’t forget to look for the Salvation Army kettle to make a donation.

While you’re shopping around, there will be a bunch of performances, both indoors and out. Keep your ears open for roaming performers, Welcome Yule, a group of carolers, and Tom Crean, banjoist. At 5:15 pm, be sure to be outside to watch the Parade of Lights come down Conway Street to Bridge Street. Wave to Santa Claus and his crew, plus a special horse drawn wagon courtesy of Greenfield Savings Bank. Then, pay Santa and Mrs. Claus a visit at the Mason’s Lodge on Main Street. Some other acts you won’t want to miss include Ageless Waves of Rhythm, the Senior Center’s drumming group, who will perform in Greenfield Savings Bank, and Celtic Heels, Irish step-dancing group.

My favorite part of Moonlight Magic are the beautiful lights and decorations throughout the village of Shelburne Falls. Luminaria line the streets and christmas lights and garlands drape overhead, making this cozy village even more serene.

For more information and specific event details, go to shelburnefalls.com.

 

Colrain Artists Open Their Doors This Weekend!

Colrain, Massachusetts is a beautiful town in northern Franklin County, just below the Vermont line. The town draws many artists who seek inspiration from its natural beauty. There are so many artists, in fact that each year they all come together to host Crafts of Colrain Open Studio Tour. Grab a map and a friend and take a tour around Colrain this Saturday and Sunday, November 11-12.

18 artisans will open their doors to showcase their art and offer live viewings of their processes. Their crafts include woodwork, fiber art, metalwork, painting, pottery, and more. One particular artist whose work I always enjoy is Ruby Rice. She creates visionary healing arts ranging from pillows to wall hangings to notecards and more. Her sanctuary and gallery has the feel of a chapel and is meant to comfort and make guests feel at home.

For more information and to download a free map and schedule, visit www.craftsofcolrain.com.

Franklin County CiderDays Coming This Weekend!

Fall in New England is such a favored time of year; the bright colors of the foliage, a chill in the air, and of course, all things apple. Every fall on the first full weekend in November, I look forward to CiderDays, a Franklin County celebration of apples. Many of the events are free and range from workshops to talks to tastings to festivals with music and more. This weekend, November 3-5 marks the 23rd Annual CiderDays.

Here are a few events happening this weekend that caught my attention:

On Friday from 6:30-8:00 pm, the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center will host “How to Taste Hard Cider.” Learn from cider educators Eric West and Nicole Leibon of Farnum Hill Ciders the thought process behind tasting and evaluating cider. Then, be guided through a tasting of various cider styles. The cost is $30/ticket and includes light hors d'oeuvre.

On Saturday, the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center will host free workshops, talks and tastings from beginner through advanced for cider makers, home orchardists and cider aficionados.

Then, on Sunday from 2:30-3:30 pm at the Deerfield Community Center in Historic Deerfield, learn how to make Spanish style cider (Sidra) from cidermakers Scott Heath (Tilted Shed, CA), Ryan Burk (Angry Orchard, NY), John Reynolds (Black Duck Cidery, NY), cidermaker/restauranteur Sam Fix (ANXO, Washington DC), and beverage director Brian Rutzen (The Northman, Chicago, IL). Join moderator Darlene Hayes for discussion and samples. Tickets are $30.

Plus, I am very excited about this year’s Cider Salon — the world's longest-running hard cider tasting. This year, the Salons will be held in a large tent in Unity Park, on the Connecticut River in Turners Falls, with more than 90 individual cider brands from across North America and Europe. There will be two sessions — 3:30 - 5:00 and 5:45 - 7:15. Tickets are $30 per session.

For more information, to purchase tickets, and to download the full schedule, visit ciderdays.org.

Don't Miss The Great Falls Festival (Pumpkinfest)!

On Saturday, October 21, 2017 the Great Falls Festival will fill Avenue A in Turners Falls from 2-9 pm. Formerly known as Pumpkinfest, the event organizers decided to change the name of the event to pay tribute to the village’s pre-colonial era name, the falls on the Connecticut River, and of course, the season.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring cash for food and craft vendors who will set up booths along the street, or for tickets for the beer tent.

Show your Halloween spirit by wearing your costume and bring your own carved pumpkin to display. You can also decorate your own pumpkin for free from 2 to 6 pm.

Remember to bring your dancing shoes! There will be live music all event-long on either of the two music stages. Musical acts include Blue Prints of the Heart, Honey Badger, and Jimmy Just Quit, to name a few. Check out the live performances by the North County Line Dancers, Zumba Dancers, Fire Dancers, and more.

Easily avoid the hassle of parking near the event. There will be a free shuttle from Turners Falls High School from 2 to 10 pm.

For more information on the Great Falls Festival and a full schedule of events, go to www.facebook.com/greatfallsfestival.

One Long Weekend, Two Fabulous Festivals

This Columbus Weekend, the Pioneer Valley will host two popular festivals. On Saturday, October 7 through Monday, October 9, the Paradise City Arts Festival will take place at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. Meanwhile, only 30 minutes Northwest of Northampton, Ashfield will host its Fall Festival on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8 up and down Ashfield’s Main Street.

Founded by two artists 23 years ago, the Paradise City Arts Festival now fills up three buildings, an outdoor sculpture promenade, and a festival dining tent. Many artists apply to have a booth at the festival, but only some are selected to attend. Their works for sale range from wearable arts to furniture and home décor to fine art and sculpture. Under the dining tent, local food vendors bring flavors from around the world. Enjoy live music while you dine from The Jazz Divas, The O-Tones, and The Blend. Returning this year is the Silent Art Auction to benefit WGBY/57 public television.

The Ashfield Fall Festival also features arts and crafts exhibitors, but with more of a hometown feel. More than 50 exhibitors will line the Main Street in Ashfield. You can also pick up some locally grown and prepared foods, enjoy live music and dance, and participate in fall-themed games, like pumpkin bowling! Although the Ashfield Fall Festival has been around for almost 50 years, the purpose of it is still to celebrate Ashfield, showcase local business, fundraise, and provide opportunity for the town’s youth to practice creative, social, and business skills.

For more information on the Paradise City Arts festival go to https://festivals.paradisecityarts.com/shows/northampton-october-show

For more information on the Ashfield Fall Festival go to http://www.ashfieldfallfestival.org/.

Whatever you do, enjoy the weekend!

Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center Brings Good Music and Good Times to Greenfield, MA

Greenfield, the capital of Franklin County, is a vibrant arts community. With this year’s addition of Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, this statement has become even truer. Owned by Steven Goldsher, this popular new business is a restaurant, bar, and concert and event venue all in one. Locals and visitors alike have been drawn to this spot, located in the Arts Block building on the corner of Main St and Court Square in downtown Greenfield, for a full night out. You can come for a delicious meal and then stay for a night of dancing in the ballroom to a live band, or head downstairs to The Wheelhouse, the speak-easy style bar.

In its short life so far, Hawks and Reed has hosted some incredible artists. Lee “Scratch” Perry, ranked one of the 100 greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2004, and Subatomic Sound System performed with The Alchemystics for its grand re-opening in May. Past acts have included artists of styles ranging from Latin big band, to electronic, to swing, and everything in between. Some acts you won’t want to miss coming up this weekend include The Dead Collective on Saturday, September 30, and The Joe Belmont Experience on Sunday, October 1.

To stay updated on events and happenings at Hawks and Reed, visit their website, HawksandReed.com, or follow them on Facebook.

 

Kick Off Fall at the Old Deerfield Fall Arts & Crafts Festival

Looking for something fun to do for the first weekend of fall? The Old Deerfield Fall Arts and Crafts Festival is taking place this Saturday, September 23 from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, September 24 from 10 am to 4 pm. Held on the grounds surrounding Memorial Hall Museum, this festival features crafts of various mediums, including woodworking, jewelry, apparel, glass, and pottery. Over 140 vendors from all over the region will be present, each offering their own handmade creations.

Browsing and shopping won’t be the only activities to do there. Live music will fill the air on Saturday with back-to-back performances under the food tent. On Sunday, make puppets with Caravan Puppets and enjoy live puppet shows. Plus, all weekend long at the Children’s Activity Area, take part in free dinosaur-themed crafting activities.

The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association organizes the Old Deerfield Arts and Crafts Festival and provides the free craft activities. For more information on this wonderful event, visit Deerfield-craft.org. There you will find details on parking and shuttles, vendor listings, and you can even download a printable map. See you there rain or shine!

The Cummington Fair is This Weekend! Celebrating 149 Years!

Summer is winding down but there is still plenty of exciting summer events happening in the valley. Thursday, August 24th kicks off the 149th Cummington Fair, in Cummington, Massachusetts, which will run through Sunday, August 27th. The Fair was initiated in 1883 with the purpose of spreading agricultural knowledge. Today, the Fair holds true to this with a variety of farm-themed events, such as Horse & Ox Draws, various animal showmanships, and judging of livestock.

However, that is not all there is to see at the Cummington Fair! Each day there will be a motorized event, like the tractor pull and Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby. Live music will fill the air with country acts such as Jose Duddy and Truck Stop Troubadours. There will be over 50 vendors selling everything from food, to crafts, to agricultural products. Plus, entertainers such as Kenya Acrobats, Christopher the Magician, and Wayne from Maine will perform multiple times throughout the weekend.

Whether you are a resident of Cummington, or the Pioneer Valley, or you are travelling from surrounding areas, you won’t want to miss this huge event. Purchase your tickets ahead of time at cummingtonfair.com to receive a discount and save time waiting in line. Also visit their website for a full listing of events and other information such as directions, parking, and camping. Hope to see you at the Cummington Fair!

www.cummingtonfair.com