Recreation

Celebrate the River at Deerfield Riverfest!

The Deerfield River is a beautiful landmark of our area. It draws people from all around to take advantage of its majestic waters, abundance of fish, and relaxing shorelines. Celebrate the Deerfield River this weekend with Zoar Outdoor and American Whitewater at the Deerfield River Festival in Charlemont, MA. 

All weekend long, Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30, Zoar Outdoor is offering free mini clinics for paddlers with some experience, seeking to improve their skills. This is a great opportunity to connect with other canoeists and kayakers and to pick up some tips from the Zoar instructors. Various outdoor sales representatives will be hanging out too, showing different boats and gear. You can pre-register for the clinics at Zoaroutdoor.com/demofest.

Then, on Saturday night, there will be a big party at the Charlemont Fairgrounds in celebration and appreciation of the Deerfield River. Enjoy live music, beer, and food, while you bid on auction items to support American Whitewater, the primary advocate for protecting whitewater rivers throughout the United States. You can also watch raft guides compete in the raft guide olympics, a series of rafting themed competitive events. Pitch a tent and camp at the fairgrounds after the festival. 

More information at americanwhitewater.org.

zoar outdoor demofest deerfield river american whitewater

 

 

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

Compete, Volunteer, or Cheer at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon

This is an amazing time of year where Winter and Summer overlap in our area. You can be skiing in the mountains in the morning and biking on the roads or kayaking the rivers in the afternoon. This makes it the perfect time of year to hold a pentathlon, combining five outdoor activities into one event. The 8th Annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is this Saturday, April 6, starting and finishing at Berkshire East Mountain Resort.

The race has five legs- a 4 mile trail run, 16 mile road bike, 2 mile river paddle, 2 mile obstacle course run, and finally a climb up Berkshire East to a ski/snowboard down to the finish line. Participate in the pentathlon on your own as a “Braveheart” or as part of a team of two or five people. There is a special category for family teams, as well! The pentathlon is a fun way to challenge yourself in a variety of sports in the same race. After the race, all participants are welcome to a free meal at Berkshire East and a free beer from Berkshire Brewing Company!

You can also be part of the fun as a volunteer! The Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is still seeking volunteers to help time and monitor the course. Volunteers are crucial to making this event happen and receive a free T-shirt and meal to say thanks for their help. Sign up for a volunteer role here.

Of course, supporters are always needed to boost up the participants. Come out and cheer on the participants as they challenge themselves. There are several great viewing areas for different legs of the course. Check out the best places to spectate here. Participants will meet at 10:15 am and the race starts at 11:00 am.

For more information and to register for the Pentathlon, click here.

Good luck to all the racers!



 

Staying Fit: Workout Centers in Franklin County

Was your new year’s resolution to get in shape? The middle of winter can be a tough time to get into a workout routine. The good news is Franklin County has many exercise facilities with a variety of offerings to tailor to your style. So you can stick to your New Years resolution this year!

YMCA in Greenfield

Whether you’re looking for a single or family membership, the YMCA can suit you. They offer different levels of membership and even daily passes if you’re not looking for a commitment. The Y is great for people who are looking to exercise in a variety of ways. They have a full workout room with machines and weights, a pool, a gym, plus they offer classes ranging from spin to aqua aerobics. There are plenty of programs for kids, as well, such as sports teams like gymnastics, and school-aged child care. 

Common Ground Fitness Center

Common Ground Fitness Center is perfect for adults who could use some support getting into and maintaining a healthy workout routine. While you can drop in and use the equipment at your own desire, they promote attendance of their group workout classes and use of personal trainers to help you keep coming. Common Ground offers high intensity workout classes such as TRX, PIYO, and boxing, as well as low-intensity ones like elasticize and yoga. Plus, their memberships are very affordable with tiered levels ranging from $30 to $70 a month.

Riverside Fitness Studio

Sometimes, the best way to take control of your workout routine is by having a personal trainer, someone to hold you accountable for showing up. For those who live in West Franklin County, there is a great personal fitness studio right in Shelburne Falls - Riverside Fitness Studio. Personal Trainer Tim, has been in the fitness industry for over 6 years and has been holding his own steady workout routine for over 10. He offers one-on-one or one-on-two training sessions that give results. 

I hope this list is helpful in your start towards physical health and wellness this new year! Happy training!

 

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.

K9 Keg Pull at the Greenfield Winter Carnival | February 2nd - 4th

The 96th Annual Greenfield Winter Carnival is happening this weekend with fun events scheduled for the entire family. Here are just some of the events to look forward to, but check their website or Facebook page for a full listing of events.

Starting on Friday, browse the various live ice carvings on display throughout Downtown Greenfield. Then, vote for your favorite sculpture at the ballot box on Town Common. At 7:00 pm, look towards the sky for a fireworks show, being shot from Poet's Seat Tower. 

On Saturday at 10 am, runners will line up for the Sleigh Bell Run, a 4 mile scenic road race. Then at 2 pm, the bicyclists will come out for the Fatbike Group Ride, led by the local bike shop, Bicycle World.

On Sunday, enjoy Breakfast with Olaf at The 99 Restaurant. Then work off your meal with a Snowshoeing Trek, meeting at Highland Park at 10 am. 

Other events for the Winter Carnival will include youth basketball games, an art exhibit, face painting, photography contest, dancing, parade of lights, and so much more. 

Greenfield Winter Carnival Coldwell Banker Upton Massamont RealtorsYou will especially not want to miss the popular K9 Keg Pull starting Sunday at 1:00. Dogs of all sizes will be racing to pull kegs (empty ones, of course) across the finish line. The agents at Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont will be handing out this attractive bandana (photo left) being modeled by Millie! Stop by to say hello and pick one up for your furry friend. 

Ongoing events throughout the weekend will include sledding, outdoor ice skating, snowman village, snow sculpture contest, and marshmallow toasting by the warming fire.

Click here for more information about this weekend's events.

Greenfield Winter Carnival February 2-4

 

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!