My family was first introduced to Jack and Annie of the Magic Tree House series in a most unlikely way: Wendy's.
A few years ago, well before my 7-year-old could read, Wendy's gave away CDs of Mary Pope Osborne reading her popular series with their kids' meals. We scored "Good Morning Gorillas" and proceeded to listen to it in the car over and over — and over again.
Thus began her love affair with Magic Tree House. We attended a reading in Stockbridge a couple years ago of the Christmas book that Pope Osborne herself attended. We have purchased and borrowed from the library many of the other books, and they have sparked my daughter's imagination as well as questions about historical issues that the books address. (Try explaining to a kindergartner about slavery and the Civil War. Tricky!)
So we are thrilled to head south to Great Barrington to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center this Friday, Aug. 2, when the Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Fridays brings Jack and Annie to life. (For those of you not familiar with Free Fun Fridays, click here for all the details for the rest of the summer, including many Berkshire sites.)
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the event will feature arts and crafts, movement explorations, and Spanish-language activities offered for the entire family. In addition, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., there will be a 25-minute tribute to the magic of reading involving a captivating performance by Jack and Annie with lively audience participation and original songs. Having trouble getting your child to keep reading over the summer? Maybe this is something to jump-start the fun! Visit mahaiwe.org for details.
The rest of the weekend's family fun is packaged nicely up in Adams, where the 39th annual Adams Agricultural Fair at Bowe Field right off Route 8 will feature Battle of the Bands on Thursday at 6 p.m., dancing on Friday (6 p.m.), all-day events on Saturday starting at 10 a.m., and events kicking off at 11 a.m. Sunday, including the demolition derby at 2 p.m. For more info, visit adamsfair.com.
My personal connection with this extremely kid-friendly event is the Adams Aggie Fair Princess Contest, which my daughter entered at age 5 and then again at age 6, losing both years to 7-year-olds. Now that she is 7 this year, this is her last chance, and my fingers are crossed that this will be the year. A true ham who loves to be on stage, she has been amazing both years, answering the questions in a loud, clear, confident voice — all the while looking amazingly cute, if I do say so myself! The princess (and prince, though that competition is usually less fierce, as sometimes only a couple boys enter) will be crowned Saturday at 11 a.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Humane Society's new monthly television talk show, "Purr, Wag, Adopt ... with the Berkshire Humane Society" debuted on Tuesday on Pittsfield Community Television.
The 30-minute show, which is scheduled to run on Tuesdays at 4:30 and 8:30 p.m and Wednesdays at 4:30 and 8:30 a.m. on Channel 16 is hosted by Executive Director John Perrault.
"This is something that we've wanted to do for a long time," Perrault said in a phone interview. "Our hope is that you'll learn something new every time you tune in. We'll be addressing current events issues, basic pet health and behavioral health plus we'll be highlighting animals available for adoption."
Different pet themes such as Adopt-a-Bunny and Prevent-a-Litter will be the focus of each new episode as will individual pets in need of good homes.
"We want to bring more awareness to people about the animal situation and, of course, we'd like to promote more adoptions," Perrault said. "People want to do the right thing with their pets but in this economy many can't afford it. Last year, we served more than 700 families from our food bank. That's not including our satellite locations. We're not going to hide behind this."
Since 1992, the BHS has placed more than 16,000 animals into new homes. While it has had no trouble bringing awareness to the younger generation of school-aged pet owners, Perrault said it is time to reach the "the grown-ups" and the best medium for this is television.
"This is definitely going to reach more adults," he said. "We hope to be able to air the show on CTSB and other local stations as well. We want to stay relevant."
The cupboard is bare again at the Adams Friends of Animals' Pet Food Pantry. The year-old group of volunteers has been providing pet food to families in distress in cooperation with the Berkshire Humane Society.
Board member Roy Thompson said the pantry serves up to a dozen pet owners each week, helping them ensure the four-legged members of their families are fed properly.
But the donations have dropped off even as the need has increased; people on fixed incomes or those out of work are having trouble caring for their pets.
"We run out every week now and when we get it, we get it in small doses," said Thompson of food donations. "We use to give it out every 30 days, now we're considering 60 days."
People can drop off food at 64 Summer St., the Berkshire Visitors Center or at the transfer station, where Thompson works part time.
"What we're finding out from the Berkshire Humane Society is a lot of people are turning in their animals because they don't have the money for food," he said. "They say they don't have time but it comes down to money."
Too often, people don't realize the costs associated with having a pet, said Thompson, especially dogs. "I have a TV show (on Northern Berkshire Community Television) and I tell them, 'don't take an animal unless you can do it.' It's sad, it really is."
Those in need of food can pick it up at 64 Summer St. or at the Berkshire Humane Society on Barker Road in Pittsfield.
For more information about the Adams Friends of Animals can be found here.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Town Clerk's office wants to remind residents that it's time to license your dog.
All puppies age 3 months and older must be licensed, and all dogs over the age of 6 months must have an active rabies vaccination in effect in order to get a license. The town will not issue a license without proof that the dog has received a rabies shot.
Licenses for non-spayed or non-neutered dogs are $20 each; the cost for spayed or neutered dogs is $8 each.
If your dog is newly spayed or neutered, bring a statement from your veterinarian, and you'll be eligible to receive the lower-priced license.
Licenses not purchased by June 15 are subject to a $10 late fee in addition to the cost of the license. To purchase a license, visit the clerk's office at 8 Park St.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Do you know a kid who loves animals? You might want to register them for the 2010 Camp Humane Summer Program, which introduces children to the principles of kind and humane care of animals and what it means to be a responsible pet owner.
Animal professionals visit the camp, located at 214 Barker Road, to teach kids about nontraditional pets and other wildlife in Berkshire County. The children will be able to interact with various animals in a safe classroom environment, but not as volunteers in the kennels. A different curriculum is planned for each week and grade level, including arts and crafts projects with animal themes, demonstrations of dog agility training courses, and other outdoor activities.
Registration opens on Monday, April 5. To be eligible, children must be going into the third through the eighth grades this coming September. Class size is limited to 20 students most weeks, 10 for weeks D & T (see below).
The Summer Program schedule is as follows:
Week A: July 5-9, for Grade 3;
Week B: July 12-16, for Grade 4;
Week C: July 19-23, for Grade 5;
Week D, July 26-30, for Grade 6;
Week E, August 2-6, for Grade 7;
Week T, August 9-13, for Grade 8 (new this year)
Camp tuition is $200 per child for the full-week program, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parents provide lunch, snacks and beverages. There are a limited number of full and reduced tuition scholarships available, along with a payment plan for families in need. The scholarship form is available at the shelter.
Registration forms are available in the lobby of the shelter during their business hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 4, Thursday evenings from 5 to 8, and Sunday from 1 to 4; or visit www.berkshirehumane.org.
Tuition payment and a completed application form are needed to secure a child’s place in the desired session. A physician signed heath form is due by the first day of camp. Confirmation of a place at camp will be emailed to the parents. For current availability or any other questions, contact Karen Karlberg at 413-447-7878, ext 29 at firstname.lastname@example.org.