fair

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.

 

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!

 

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

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!

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!