Community

Scarecrow in the Park: Happening This Weekend!

Looking for something fun and fall-y to do this weekend? Head to Bernardston for the 6th Annual Scarecrow in the Park, hosted by the Bernardston Kiwanis Club! This two-day event, happening Saturday, October 20th and Sunday, October 21st has become an annual tradition, where Cushman Park becomes filled with artists and craftspeople, live music, food vendors, a Halloween dance party, and of course, handcrafted scarecrows, on top of much more.

The scarecrow contest is a signature part of this event, where participants can pay $10 to enter their scarecrow and could win a cash prize. This year, scarecrows will be judged based on the categories of scariest, funniest, prettiest, most interesting use of materials, and best art. The radio station, Bear Country 95.3, also gives a prize to the best “Bearcrow.” Enter your own specially made scarecrow or simply walk around and enjoy viewing all of the amazing ones made by other people. For more information on the contest, click here.

Be sure to bring the whole family because there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Browse the artists’ booths, featuring fiber arts, preserves, gourd art, seasonal decorations, home adornments, and more. Listen to live music by local favorites Appalachian Still and enjoy a live performance by Celtic Heels, local Irish step dancers, as well as the Tractor and Rag Shag Parade. There will also be hay rides, a visit and demonstration with local canine police officers, and face-painting and balloon-sculpting by Melha Shriners clowns.

For more information on Scarecrow in the Park, visit their Facebook page. Don't miss this awesome event!



 

Fall Festivals in Franklin County!

It’s October! That means pumpkins, cider, foliage, and Fall Festivals! Next weekend, October 6 and 7, Ashfield’s main street will be filled with people for the Ashfield Fall Festival. Admission is free to this annual event, which started in 1970. Celebrate Ashfield and browse over 50 arts and crafts exhibitors, book sales, and tag sales. Enjoy locally-grown and prepared foods, live music, and dancing. There will also be plenty of kids’ events, including the annual Pumpkingames! For more information, visit www.ashfieldfallfestival.org.

Another great fall festival that you won’t want to miss is the Great Falls Festival aka Pumpkinfest in Turners Falls on October 20th. From 2 to 9 pm, Avenue A in Turners Falls will be filled with over 150 food and craft vendors, 3 live music stages, 2 performance stages, a beer garden and of course, a pumpkin display! Bring your own pumpkin to add to the beautiful pumpkin display or carve one there for free. There will also be free kids activities. For more information check out their Facebook page.

Here are some other exciting fall festivals in Franklin County coming soon:

8th Annual Riverside Blues, Brews, and BBQs - October 6 - Greenfield

Old 78 Festival - October 6 - Orange

Scarecrow in the Park - October 20 - Bernardston

24th Annual Franklin County Cider Days - November 2-4 - Various locations throughout Franklin County

 

Painting for Bid to Benefit Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls

If you stop by Salmon Falls Gallery this month, you will see a special painting on display. “Light Showers” a 42 by 64-inch pastel work has been donated by the artist Peter London for silent auction. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Bridge of Flowers’ maintenance and upkeep. The bidding started at $500 but London estimates the work to be valued at $2,500.

London has had much success in his career as an artist, becoming internationally known and having his work exhibited in galleries across the country. Him and his wife, Marion, have a home in Shelburne, where she is also a volunteer gardener on the Bridge of Flowers. London has also taught workshops at Rowe Conference Center.

If you are an art lover/collector and want to support the beautiful Bridge of Flowers, Salmon Falls Gallery is accepting bids by telephone, email, or in person at the gallery, 1 Ashfield Street in Shelburne Falls. The bidding will close on Sunday, September 30 at a floral themed gala at the gallery. All are invited to attend and are encouraged to come dressed in “floral finery.” There will be refreshments and live music by Einstein’s Little Homonculus.

Contact Salmon Falls Gallery at 413-625-9833 or salmonfalls@megaplanet.com. Visit them online at www.salmonfallsgallery.com.

 

It's That Time of Year for Festivals and Fairs!

As summer winds down, fairs and festivals are popping up all over Western Mass. Last weekend, hundreds came out for the 101st Heath Fair. This coming weekend marks the 150th Cummington Fair in Cummington, MA. The Fair was started in 1868 but was initiated in 1883 as the Hillside Agricultural Society. Today, the Cummington Fair remains true to its agricultural roots with events based around livestock and tractors, such as the livestock shows, horse draws, and antique engine and tractor shows.

But that’s not the only reason to go to the Cummington Fair. This year’s 4-day event will include a bike stunt show, fireworks, a craft barn, demolition derby and more. The stages will fill with live entertainers such as Zoe Darrow, Presley and Taylor, Jose Duddy, and others. Plus, there will be all sorts of vendors selling food, crafts, and other items. The Cummington Fair starts Thursday, August 23 and runs through Sunday, August 26. Purchase tickets online and get more information at cummingtonfair.com.

Here are some other great festivals and fairs coming up soon:

 

The Heath Fair Returns for a Weekend of Community, Food, Music, and Agriculture

The Heath Fair is one of the few country fairs still around that stays true to its agricultural roots. For over 100 years, it has offered events such as the ox draw, sheep shows, and various trade demonstrations to teach the community about agriculture in an engaging way. Every year the residents of Heath and visitors from surrounding towns look forward to this end of summer event. This year, the 101st Heath Fair will take place this weekend, Friday, August 17th to Sunday, August 19th.

It is truly incredible to see how a large event like this with a variety of activities comes together in such an organized way. It is because of the commitment of volunteers who run each of the events that the Heath Fair is so successful. This year’s lineup of events include the antique tractor pull, rabbit show, goat show, horse draw, truck pull, and sheep show. Bring the kids because there will be so much for them to do too like the zucchini races, wagon rides, demonstrations, and the parade!

Make sure you come hungry because there will be plenty to eat! Join the organized meals such as the Church Ladies Ham and Bean Supper on Friday, the Heath Firefighters Association BBQ on both Saturday and Sunday, or the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast on Sunday. There will also be a great group of vendors selling food, including Lucia’s Latin Kitchen, Kailash Kitchen, and of course Hager’s Farm Market’s fried dough and maple cream.

A country fair needs music and this year’s artist lineup is spectacular. On Friday night, check out Upstate Rubdown and then join in on the square dancing, led by Doug Wilkins. On Saturday, the music starts at 11 am with The Uncles of the Pioneers and continues through the day with The Green Sisters, Li’l BeeDee & The Doo-Rites, and The Whiskey Treaty Road Show. On Sunday, the Ageless Waves of Rhythm will kick off the day with their drumming, followed by the Shelburne Falls Military Band, and Banish Misfortune.

For the full schedule of events, visit heathfair.org. The Heath Fair is presented by the Heath Agricultural Society. Admission is only $8 or $6 for seniors and free for children 9 and under. See you at the Heath Fair!

 

Celebrate Shelburne's 250th Anniversary this Weekend!

Celebrate with Shelburne as it turns 250 years old! There is a full weekend of events planned including dinner, dancing, farm tours, a parade, food and craft vendors, live bands, square dancing, children’s games, militia re-enactment, fireworks, book sale, and more. It is sure to be a great time for family, community members, and anyone else who wants to join in the celebration of this wonderful town.

Shelburne is located in Franklin County, west of Greenfield along the Mohawk Trail (State Route 2). It was first settled in 1756 as part of Deerfield, MA and was later incorporated as a town in 1775. Much of the history of Shelburne is based in the vicinity of Shelburne Falls, a small village composed of part of Buckland and part of Shelburne. Shelburne has been largely an agricultural town. However, the manufacturing industry thrived in Shelburne Falls due to the railroad through town and the existence of Lamson and Goodnow, a cutlery manufacturing company. Today, Shelburne Falls is geared more towards the tourism industry with a variety of shops, galleries, and eateries. The rest of Shelburne remains beautifully natural, with dairy farms, sugarhouses, orchards, and majestic rolling hills.

Don’t miss the chance to celebrate this milestone for Shelburne this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Here is the full schedule for the weekend:

Friday, June 22

5:15 p.m. Opening Ceremony, Baptist Corner Lot, Main Street

6-10:30 p.m. Reception dinner and dancing at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center, tickets $25

Saturday, June 23

All day - self-guided tours of 100-year old farms

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - crafts & skill from yesteryear on display, plus quilt show at First Congregational Church

1 p.m. - militia camp set-up at Shelburne Historical Society

3 p.m. Parade starting at Cricket Field and ending at Buckland Elementary School

4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Food & craft vendors, children's games, square dancing, live bands at Buckland Shelburne Elementary School

9:30 p.m. Fireworks

Sunday, June 24 (rain date for Saturday events)

10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Militia re-enactment - 10th MA Volunteer Infantry Militia Company C

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open House at Historical Society

Click here for the event flyer.

 

Register Now for the 2018 Hilltown Youth Theatre Summer Workshop

The Pioneer Valley is a hub for the creative arts. It’s a place where many musicians, artists, performers, and creatives come to gain inspiration for their work and to find an artistic community where they can thrive. This is not only true for adults, but for children and teens as well. There are many opportunities in the Valley for kids to follow their artistic intuitions and to gain experience working as a team to create something wonderful. One opportunity in particular is right here in Franklin County, specifically in Charlemont. Since 2010, the Hilltown Youth Performing Arts Programs has been running their Hilltown Youth Theatre Summer Workshop. Their mission is to build a supportive community for youth to develop personally and artistically and to train and collaborate on theatrical productions at a high level, therefore giving them an appreciation for hilltown life and a passion for the arts.

This program, for youth aged 10-18 years old, is an intensive arts experience for aspiring actors, musicians, dancers, and set designers. Guest artists and master teachers, direct participants to create performances which incorporate movement, puppets, mask making, voice work, circus arts, and work on large apparatus such as stilts, aerial fabrics, spools, flying trapeze, and more. At the end of the workshop, the performance takes to the streets, or rather the mountains for audiences to enjoy. This year’s production of Avatar: The Last Airbender will be hosted by Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont.

The 2018 Summer Workshop runs from July 16 to August 8, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Registration is open now and financial assistance is available. No previous experience is necessary but the ideal candidates will be artists, musicians, athletes, or any other active creative types. For more information, visit their website here.

Northfield Drive-In Celebrates 70 Years

As a lifelong resident of Franklin County, I always appreciate seeing older businesses that are still running strong. One in particular is the Northfield Drive-In, located on the Northfield, MA/Hinsdale, NH line. In August of 1948, the Northfield Drive-In began showing their “movies under the stars.” Now, they will celebrate 70 years of business with their opening for the 2018 season. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 25th, 26th, and 27th, Northfield Drive-In will be showing Solo at 8:50 pm and Avengers: Infinity War at 10:50 pm.

This drive-in is 1 of only 20 drive-in theaters still in operation in New England, and the only one remaining of the 15 that the original owner, Carl Nilman, owned. Although the original screen was damaged by a hurricane in 1951, the second screen built kept the same dimensions and is still the one that exists today. In 1967, Northfield Drive-In changed ownership to the Shakour family, who still operate it today. They pride themselves in having a family-run business, where even the children would lend a hand at the snack stand and ticket booth on summer nights.

So take a drive out this weekend to the Northfield Drive-In and support this locally-owned gem. They are located in a beautiful scenic area and have a variety of delights at their snack bar. Plus, the rates are much lower than any indoor movie theater. Tickets are only $12 for adults and $7 for children (cash only). Visit their website for more information and to see what other films they will feature throughout the season.

 

Attend the Auction, Support Your Local Businesses!

As a former board member of the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association (GSFABA) and a resident of the hilltowns, I love to support this association. The work they do benefits the hilltowns of West Franklin County, by boosting tourism, exposing businesses, and working together with the towns to make it a great place to live.

That is why I am excited that this Saturday, April 7, GSFABA will host their 22nd Annual Auction. Attend the auction and bid on exciting items donated by local businesses such as getaways, glass by Josh Simpson, and bike passes to Berkshire East’s Thunder Mountain Park. There will also be a variety of local food and beverage gift baskets and restaurant gift certificates.

The evening starts at 6 pm at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center with a silent auction, followed by an exciting live auction. Plus, enjoy live music and local food, beer and wine while you bid.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. The proceeds from the auction will go towards GSFABA’s non-profit subsidiary, West County Arts & Culture, which supports the region’s creative economy. Contact Angela Varilly at 413-775-8281 for more information or visit shelburnefalls.com.

 

Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant Opens for the Season

It’s March! For New Englanders, this means sugaring season is upon us. One of my personal favorite places to visit in Franklin County for delicious maple syrup is Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant. I highly recommend taking a scenic drive there on the weekends to enjoy their homemade breakfast or lunch.

Fresh Maple Syrup

When you visit the restaurant, you can see the sap evaporation process first hand. Their sap comes from over 3,500 taps on their property. Once the sap is made into maple syrup, they use the syrup to make maple spread, maple covered nuts, maple sugar candies, maple lollipops, maple granulated sugar, and more. Of course you can also buy the pure maple syrup to take home or sit down for breakfast and enjoy it atop pancakes, waffles, or french toast.

Family-Owned and Operated

The farm dates back 200 years and has been in the Davenport family since 1913. Davenport Maple Farm was founded by Russell and Martha Davenport.  Today the farm is run by Norm and Lisa Davenport and their daughter Meagan and her husband Nate own and operate the restaurant business. 

Located down scenic Tower Road in Shelburne, the restaurant is now open every Saturday and Sunday 8 am to 3 pm through the end of April. So head over to Shelburne soon for delicious Davenport Maple Syrup.

Check out their website or follow them on Facebook!