Arts

16th Annual Lavendar Festival at Johnson Hill Farm Buckland

Lavendar Festival Buckland MassachusettsJohnson Hill Farm is up on a hill, nestled in a Hollow surrounded by the rolling hills of Buckland, Massachusetts. This Saturday and Sunday, the farm will host a few more visitors than normal for its annual Lavendar Festival, which has occurred every year for the past 16 years on the last weekend in June. 

Local artisans and crafters will be there, displaying fine handmade work. Come and browse their stands and view their live demonstrations. Watch the doves be released, and then go for a peaceful walk through the Lavendar Labrynth, the antique cemetery, and the apple orchard. 

This is a great time to see such a magical place. Although guests are welcome to call ahead any time during the year to schedule a visit. 

More information at lavendarland.net.

Johnson Hill Farm Buckland Lavendar Land

 

Be Transported to Medieval Times at the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival

Joust Mutton Mead Medieval FestivalDo you want to be transported to medieval times? This weekend you can at the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival in Montague, Massachusetts. Started in 2011, the Mutton and Mead Festival is a highly anticipated annual event, where medieval England comes alive in Western Massachusetts. Once a year, the fictitious Mutton and Mead Tavern hosts their town’s summer festival and festival goers are brought back to the 13th century.

Children and adults alike are bound to find something that intrigues them at the Mutton and Mead Festival. The schedule is filled with events for Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16 from 10 am to 6:30 pm. See the joust where brave knights on horseback compete on the field of honor. Play games of skill and shoot a round of archery. Meet medieval characters such as Robin Hood and Maiden Marion. Explore the enchanted forest. Plus, enjoy many more comedy, stunt, and Shakespeare acts. View the full lineup here.

Local vendors from around the valley will be there as well, selling artisanal crafts, costumes, art, body products, tarot card readings, and more. Come hungry because there will also be lots of food for sale, and of course ales and mead too. See the full list of vendors here.  

The Mutton and Mead Festival is a project by the Knighten Guild. For directions to the festival, to purchase tickets, and for more details, visit their website.

Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival Montague Mass

Syrup: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival in Shelburne Falls

For the 10th year in a row, Shelburne Falls local theatre company, Piti, will hold their sweet performing arts festival, Syrup! This year, the festival will take place at the Shelburne Buckland Community Center in Shelburne Falls, with the benefit of having two stages for their performances. The�two-part event is scheduled for Saturday, March 9th and 23rd. This years Syrup festival will feature world class performances for all ages, a syrup tasting, free Real Pickles, and more.

Help Piti kick off the festival at 11 am on Saturday, March 9th, with a pancake brunch. Admission is free, just pay for your organic buckwheat pancakes and sample different local syrups. At noon, enjoy selections of Greatest Bits Volume 1 played by Carrie Ferguson. Then at 2:30 pm, Piti Theatres Olde Coleraine will return after a 3-year hiatus, a musical about Colrain at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. At 3:30 pm, experience the clown performance of award-winning Alex the Jester. After his performance, Alex will lead a workshop called Primal Talk: Non-Verbal Stuff Made Fun for teens and adults about communication tools. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students/seniors, and $5 for kids for the performances and $15 for the workshop.

Two weeks later come back for Day 2 of Syrup on March 23rd, an afternoon of works in progress showings and syrup tasting at The Barn at 31 Water Street in Shelburne Falls. This event is only for those aged 15+ and admission is free. The works to be shown include Narieka Maslas clown/dance piece and Jonathan Mirins Canary in the Goldmine a staged reading of the story of how him and his wife and production partner developed microwave sickness/electrical sensitivity.

Buy your tickets in advance and get more information at http://ptco.org/festivals/syrup/. Email info@ptco.org to register for the workshop. Have a sweet time at Syrup!

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These Upcoming Events in Franklin County Are Sure to Get You Into the Holiday Spirit

With Hanukkah already upon us and Christmas only a few weeks away, the holiday season is in full swing! Franklin County has lots of great holiday events coming up in the next few weeks, which are sure to bring our community lots of joy and cheer.

Coming up this Friday, December 7th, downtown Greenfield will be the place to be. Jingle Fest, coordinated by the Greenfield Business Association will feature all sorts of holiday merriment. From 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, shop around the Pop-Up Holiday Market in The Pushkin. Of course, Santa will make an appearance at Jingle Fest and will be welcoming visitors at Wilson’s Department Store from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Other exciting happenings include a tree-lighting at Veterans Mall, carolers, pop-up performances and more! Visit their facebook page for more information.

If you still have a lot of holiday shopping left to do, you’ll definitely want to check out the Shutesbury Holiday Shop. For 7 years, the Shutesbury Holiday Shop has brought together an array of local artisans all from Shutesbury or the surrounding towns, to offer affordable, handmade gifts. There will be an assortment of jewelry, quilts, ornaments, woodcrafts, fiber art, artisanal food and much more. Plus, the Shutesbury Holiday Shop lasts for 3 days, starting Friday, December 7th, so there really is no excuse to not stop by and shop local for your holiday shopping. Click here for more information.

Turners Falls will host their annual holiday event on Friday, December 14th. It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls will bring together downtown businesses for a night of holiday cheer. Art exhibits, live music, restaurant specials, and holiday shopping are all part of this wonderful event. Plus, Santa will arrive at Spinner Park at 6:30 pm to collect notes of hope from event goers. Visit the Turners Falls River Culture website for more information.

I hope you enjoy some or all of these wonderful holiday events coming up in our local community. Happy holidays!

Support United Way of Franklin County at the 19th Annual Art & Leisure Auction

Join me for the 19th Annual Art & Leisure Auction to benefit United Way of Franklin County. The auction, to take place on Saturday, December 1 at Greenfield Community College, will feature a silent and live auction. Quality items have been donated by businesses and individuals around Franklin County. Bid on especially fine items in the live auction such as a $1000 gift card to Southwest Airlines, 4 pavilion Red Sox tickets, and a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard by private plane.

Arrive at 5:30 pm for the silent auction at and then stay for the live auction at 7:30 pm. Guest auctioneers Liz Fisk from WHAI 98.3/Bear Country 95.3 and Representative Paul Mark will lead the live auction. All activities will be held in the Cohn Family Dining Commons at GCC. Enjoy live music and food while you bid!

Tickets to the Annual Art & Leisure Auction are $35 per person or sponsor a table of 8 for $275. Click here to register now!

The mission of United Way is to improve the quality of life in our area through special focus on education, financial stability, and health. As a member of the board, I am proud to support the many ways that United Way benefits Franklin County and hope you will be too!


 

Moonlight Magic Kicks of the Holiday Season in Style in Shelburne Falls

This Friday, many shoppers will head to corporate stores across the country for Black Friday shopping. However, here in Franklin County, we like to do things differently by supporting our local businesses and kicking off the holiday season in style with Moonlight Magic.

This annual event known across the region will take place in the beautiful village of Shelburne Falls. The Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association has worked together with local businesses to put on this magnificent event. The village has already been beautifully decorated with holiday lights and garlands spiraling up the lamp posts along with pole tags with sponsors’ names showing their support. On the eve of Moonlight Magic, luminaria will line the streets directing event goers to various points of interest throughout the village.

Moonlight Magic is also one of the few times of the year where Bridge Street and Deerfield Ave will be shut down to traffic, allowing pedestrians to wander the streets, browsing vendor tents and businesses, which will stay open later for the event. Soon after sunset, the Parade of Lights will make its way down Conway Street, over the Iron Bridge and down Bridge Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be part of the parade, greeting shoppers and then ending at the Mason’s Lodge, for visits and photos. Throughout the event, there will also be various performances, including one of my favorites, the Ageless Waves of Rhythm, Shelburne Senior Center’s drumming group.

Moonlight Magic starts at 4 pm, giving you plenty of time to sleep in the day after Thanksgiving! Visit shelburnefalls.com for more information or pick up an event brochure the day of to find out what’s happening around the village.

It's Cold Outside: Fun Things To Do Indoors in Franklin County

As the days get shorter and darker, many of our favorite outdoor activities become less appealing. Fortunately, we live in an area with a variety of things to do, even when it’s dark and cold outside.

Candle Villages

With the holiday season fast approaching, Yankee Candle Village and The Shoppes at Kringle Candle, are both packed with great gifts, holiday decorations, and holiday-themed events. Starting now through December 23, you can have photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Yankee Candle Village, located in South Deerfield. Then, meander through the various shops and eateries, which spans over 90,000 square feet.

At Kringle Candle in Bernardston, there is plenty to see and do, as well. Pick out your favorite scent of their brand of candle, Country Candle. Visit the Shoppes at Kringle Candle to find unique gifts, home decor, toys, gourmet foods, and more. Then, sit down for a nice meal at The Farm Table, a gourmet restaurant which serves brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Galleries

Now is a great time to check out the many local artist galleries in Franklin County. Shelburne Falls boasts several great artists shops and galleries, including Salmon Falls Gallery, which sells Josh Simpson glass planets, amongst other local works of art. The Shelburne Arts Co-op, which is run by local artists, is constantly rotating the works for sale, and features different exhibits monthly. Also, in Shelburne Falls, you can find beautiful handcrafted art in Ann Brauer Quilt Studio, Wandering Moon, A Heart for Art, and more.

If you find yourself in Greenfield, take a walk through the Greenfield Gallery, a boutique art gallery featuring fine art and collectibles. You will also find great local works of art at Artspace Community Arts Center, a non profit educational and creative space or people of all ages. Their gallery shows off the works of local artists and has rotating exhibits. Down the road in Montague, is Sawmill River Arts Gallery, a quaint gallery on the Sawmill River, by the waterfall and next to the Montague Book Mill.

Bowling and The Movies

Of course, there’s always the classic favorite way to spend time indoors - bowling and the movies! In Franklin County, you can still support local businesses while you do. In Erving, visit the French King Bowling Center, or go to the second oldest bowling alley in the country, the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley! This alley uses duck pins and you keep your own score. Around the corner from the bowling alley in Shelburne Falls is Memorial Hall, where Pothole Pictures has some great films lined up over the next few months, including Julie and Julia, Ratatouille, and Babette’s Feast. Arrive early for some live music before the film starts. For new releases, go to the Greenfield Garden Cinemas in Greenfield.

So, although it is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, remember there is still plenty to do and ways to get out of the house and enjoy all Franklin County has to offer!

 

Historic Deerfield Hosts Fun Fall and Holiday Events for All

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to head over to Historic Deerfield. They have a variety of upcoming events and demonstrations that are great for the whole family and for the cold weather. Located in South Deerfield, Mass, Historic Deerfield is an outdoor museum that exhibits life and culture of early New England and the Connecticut River Valley.

Every weekend, there is something exciting to do at Historic Deerfield. This weekend and next (November 10-11 and November 17-18), their Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration will be all about pie. Come and learn about savory and sweet pies, a fall/winter treat since early New England. While you’re there, you can also check out the hands-on workshop about brooms. Learn about brooms and broom making, try sweeping with a handmade broom and even make your own whisk broom to take home. You can drop in to this workshop, titled A Clean Sweep, any time between 12 and 4:30 pm and entry is included with the price of admission.

Later on this month, Historic Deerfield has even more awesome events planned. On Friday, November 23 from 10 am to 4 pm, see live historic trade demonstrations by local artists. Learn about redware pottery with Stephen Earp and paper marbling with Regina St. John from Chena River Marblers. There will also be a lot of great events for the holidays in late November/early December, such as wreath making, gift making, horse drawn wagon rides, and make your own hot chocolate mix.

But that’s not all there is to do at Historic Deerfield. Go any time of the year and take a tour through twelve preserved antique houses dating from 1730 to 1850 with authentic furniture, art, textiles, and other original decorative pieces on display. You can also view exciting exhibits at the Flynt Center for Early New England Life and do some research of your own at the Henry N. Flynt Library, which has over 21,000 volumes on the history and culture of the region.

For the calendar of events and more information on Historic Deerfield, visit their website.

 

Drive Off the Beaten Path to Crafts of Colrain Open Studio Tour

Franklin County is a wonderful place to explore a variety of art and handmade crafts, since it is home to so many artists and creatives. Colrain, specifically, is a very concentrated area of talented artists and craftspeople, since it is such an inspiring place, with beautiful rolling hills, and preserved natural areas. Every year, the artists of Colrain open their doors to the public for a self-guided open studio tour. This year, Crafts of Colrain will take place Saturday and Sunday November 10 and 11 from 10 am to 5 pm both days.

Grab a map and drive through Colrain to as many as 18 artisans’ studios. You’ll see a wide variety of art, from craft beer to woodworking, fiber art to photography, and more. Kedalby Farm, home of Moonshine Design, raises angora goats to provide the mohair for their hand-dyed, hand-woven goods. Visit their farm and learn about this process, which takes place entirely on-site. See a variety of art in one stop at stop #17- Sarah and Hans Schoedel. Hans makes scratchboard illustrations and prints, wooden bowls using wood from local trees, and decorative and functioning fishing lures. While Sarah makes handwoven baskets and jewelry using recycled fence wire, copper, silver, and gemstones. If you’re a collector or even just an admirer of pottery and stoneware, you’ll want to check out Cliff Daniels’ studio. Cliff’s original and decorative designs uses a broad color palette and durable glazes.

Before you hit the road, be sure to print out a map, located here. You can also find all the participating artists, sponsors, and partners at craftsofcolrain.com. Support local artists and farms, while you enjoy the beautiful scenery of Colrain, hopping around to these open studios.

 

24th Annual Franklin County CiderDays

For a long time, cider has been the traditional drink of New England. Right here in Franklin County, we are lucky to be surrounded by wonderful orchards and cideries, who make this delicious fall drink. For 24 years, Franklin County has celebrated cider with their Annual CiderDays. This 3-day event, always occurring on the first full weekend in November, brings together cider lovers across the county. This year, CiderDays is happening November 2-4 and includes 19 participating venues.

From Friday evening to Sunday evening, there will be a wide variety of events all based around cider, but not necessarily just based around drinking it. There will be talks around cider and apples, demonstrations and cider-making workshops, orchard rides, cider and cheese pairings, and more. You can view the full schedule of events at CiderDays.org, but here are some highlights:

The Shelburne Buckland Community Center will hold talks, tastings, and workshops Saturday and Sunday for beginner through advanced cider lovers. The events at the Community Center will be FREE!

Check out the world’s longest-running hard cider tasting at the Cider Salon in Unity Park, Turners Falls. There will be two sessions on Saturday (3:30-5 and 5:45-7:15) where you can try 120 different ciders from across North America and Europe. Make sure you purchase your tickets for the salon soon because this event sells out.

Bring the whole family to the Cider and Apple Festival, hosted by New Salem Preserves and Orchards on Saturday and Sunday. Attend free workshops, child-friendly apple pressing, and browse local artisan exhibits and farm products.

For the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets for specific events, visit ciderdays.org.