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Are We There Yet?: Holding On To Summer
By Rebecca Dravis On: 12:43PM / Thursday August 21, 2014
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This can't possibly be the last weekend before Labor Day weekend ... can it?

Boy, the summer flew by, especially with the kiddos out of school so late. There was hardly any "Mom, I'm bored" time at all. (Hope I didn't just jinx myself for next week!)

But with another nice weekend on the horizon, there's still time to enjoy some summer fun.

If you don't mind a little drive, the epitome of summer fun is happening just over the mountain to our east in Cummington: the 146th annual Cummington Fair. The fair actually starts tonight, Thursday, Aug. 21, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22-24, though this weekend's weather looks better than tonight or tomorrow's for sure. Gates open at 4 p.m. Thursday and will be open 4-9:30 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

What's at the Cummington Fair? All the usual fair stuff: midway rides, fried food, agriculture, craft barn and exhibit halls, as well as a comedian, classic cars and much more. Visit the fair's website for more details.

If you're looking to stay closer to home, wherever in the Berkshires "home" may be, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, the Lenox Library holds its annual book sale. Yes, I know, books make you think of back to school, but there's bound to be a lot of good beach reads in the thousands of books the library will have for sale. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the library is right on Main Street in Lenox.

Also on Saturday, Aug. 23, in South County is the last chance to see a free Inside/Out performance at Jacob's Pillow in Becket. You can bring a picnic and watch METdance, a contemporary jazz company based in Houston. Showtime is 6:15 p.m. but come earlier to enjoy the lovely Pillow grounds.

On Sunday, Aug. 24, the Hubbard Avenue Barnes and Noble will present a special storytime and signing with Christine Sulborski, author of "Alex's Winter Adventure." This is to get you past summer AND fall and right into thoughts of winter! This free event is at 2 p.m.

One last Sunday event to mention: Motorama in downtown North Adams from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Main, Holden and Eagle Streets will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic as downtown North Adams fills with hundreds of cars, trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles and tractors. Attendees can enjoy music, 50/50 raffles, food, shopping and more. The Downtown Celebration last week had lovely weather and a great turnout, so here's hoping Motorama can duplicate that.

As for me, well ... I actually haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I love a weekend where I can go wherever the wind takes me!
 


Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Are We There Yet?: Summer or School?
By Rebecca Dravis On: 11:56AM / Friday August 15, 2014
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Well, it's still summer, but the feeling of fall is in the air ... both in Mother Nature and in the stores, where aisles are lined with colorful signs of school.

I personally could not be more thrilled with the weather. A day of blue skies, 70-degree temperatures and a light breeze is perfect, in my eyes. Heat and humidity? Who needs it!

That said, I do hope Saturday, Aug. 16, will be slightly warmer, as I will be spending the day at Sand Springs Pool in Williamstown, the first half of the day with a Girl Scout gathering and the second part of the day for a birthday party. if summer does reappear and you're looking for a fun way to cool off, do consider Sand Springs. Check out their website here.

If swimming is not appealing on a cool-ish Saturday, here's another fun family idea: the 74th annual 4-H Youth Fair at the Berkshire County 4-H Fairgrounds in Pittsfield, which is located on Utility Drive, off Holmes Road. This fair is put on for all youth by 4-H’ers. There is no parking fee or entry fee, and the fair features animals, hall exhibits, entertainment, food booth, goat milking contest, the sheriff's horses and more.

I have to admit that although of course I have heard of 4-H, I was not exactly sure what it offered for kids. So I did a little research online, and here's what I found:

"Based on the Eight Essential Elements of Positive Youth Development, 4-H helps young people learn life skills under the guidance of trained, screened volunteers in non-formal educational settings such as clubs, camps and after-school programs. ... The Eight Essential Elements are: A positive relationship with a caring adult; a safe environment; an inclusive environment; engagement in learning; opportunity for mastery; opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future; opportunity for self-determination; and opportunity to value and practice service for others."
All that and some cute animals to boot! Saturday's fair runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you can find out more information on their Facebook page here.

Sunday, Aug. 17, is another slow day for planned family activities, and since the weather doesn't look great, consider a show: the last production of "Seussical" at The Colonial in Pittsfield for younger kids; the last production of "The Old Man and the Old Moon" at Williamstown Theatre Festival for kids 7 and up; and also for the older kids, an evening production of the hysterical "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)," entering its last week at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.

Or, just go shopping for those school supplies. Remember this weekend is Tax Free Weekend in Massachusetts. Why not a save a buck or two on all those backpacks, lunch bags, notebooks and pencils?

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Are We There Yet?: Relax This Weekend
By Rebecca Dravis On: 11:28AM / Friday August 08, 2014
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This weekend is the perfect weekend to kick back, relax, think about back to school, spend some unstructured outdoors and just ... breathe.

There are a few scheduled activities that might interest your family: Project Native in Great Barrington is holding its Family Fun Fest from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 9; the annual Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, at Bowe Field in Adams; and Kaith Harris will lead a talk for children on bicycle safety at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, in the gymnasium at the Pittsfield YMCA. You can find details on all those in our calendar of events.

But a quiet mid-summer weekend with a great weather forecest - sunny and temperatures around 80 - just begs for some play time. We asked for people's favorite swimming holes on Facebook earlier this week, and we got three replies: Bellevue Falls in Adams, Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams and Fish Pond (formally known as Windsor Lake) in North Adams.

I will add two to the list: As a Pittsfield native, I love what the city has done with Onota Lake. The beach there is fantastic for kids, with plenty of nearby parking, a playground, bathrooms and a snack shack with awesome hot dogs. As a current Williamstown resident, I love Margaret Lindley Park, a no-frills kind of place but one that now has real bathrooms, thanks to the Williamstown Conservation Commission.

Post something for us here if you have any other places you like. Or if it's a nice quiet watering hole that you want to keep secret so it stays quiet, that's OK, too.

Maybe this is the weekend to head to the top of Mount Greylock and have a picnic lunch. Or maybe it's the weekend you just hang out in the hammock, savoring the peace before the craziness of a new school year begins.

Whatever you do, have fun!

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Are We There Yet?: Everything IS Awesome
By Rebecca Dravis On: 11:03AM / Friday August 01, 2014
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Have you seen "The Lego Movie"?

I admit I was skeptical about it going into the theater and I did come out of the theater the first time I saw it thinking it was goofy but kind of fun. When it came out on DVD, we purchased it, and my daughter has since watched it at least 30 times, many of those in the car on her iPad. Which means I have HEARD "The Lego Movie" about 30 times, and I have to say, listening to it and instead of watching it has given me a new appreciation of the clever one-liners that are sprinkled throughout the movie. One of my favorites: The female lead (voiced by Pittsfield native Elizabeth Banks, FYI) says to the bad guy: "He would rather die than turn it over." To which the meek and mild hero of the movie replies, "I would not rather he die."

Well, maybe you have to see it to really get how funny it is. Luckily, that's the movie being shown Friday night, Aug. 1, at one of my favorite events of the year: the kickoff celebration to the annual "Movies Under the Stars" series in the town of Adams. The gala opening, sponsored by Adams Community Bank, will take place on the lawn in front of the Town Hall starting at 6 p.m. and “The Lego Movie” will be featured at dusk. This event is free and open to the public. The rain date will be on Saturday, Aug. 2.

In conjunction with the movie is the 12th annual community appreciation event. Free hot dogs, popcorn, fried dough, soft drinks and other refreshments will be served. Kids of all ages will have a chance to catch some cash in the cash cube and participate in other games and giveaways. Face painting will be provided by Magic Brushes and balloon art by Bowie the Clown.

Make sure to bring a blanket or chairs for the movie, and prepare to be entertained.

Speaking of entertainment in Adams, remember that the Aggie Fair runs all weekend. I will be there Saturday morning, Aug. 2, as my daughter ends her reign as Aggie Fair Princess and crowns the new princess. Being the Aggie Fair Princess was highlighted by the ride in the convertible in the Fall Foliage Parade (oh, and the $50 prize money that just came - sweet!).

A trip to Adams not in the cards? How about Williamstown! This just in: St. John's Episcopal Church at 35 Park St. will host two Community Art Days,  where kids of all talents and ages will have the chance to create art. Art supplies of all kinds will be provided, but participants are asked to bring one donation (a stick of glue, a roll of ribbon, a tube of paint, a used picture frame, etc.), to add to the variety of materials available. Then, on Aug. 16, the art will be made available to the public at the St. John's Church "Kids Art for Kids" auction. A quilt raffle in conjunction will benefit the Northern Berkshire Early Intervention "Social Sprouts" program, a play group for children who have aged out of Early Intervention, but aren't old enough for school aged services. This unique group does not receive the same funding as Early Intervention, therefore, donations are needed to support this effort.

The Arts Days will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, and Wednesday, Aug. 6; come anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Call 413-458-8144 for more information.

And can you believe it's August already?



     
Are We There Yet?: Book It To These Events
By Rebecca Dravis On: 11:07AM / Thursday July 24, 2014
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I've got Pownal on my mind.

I know, strange, right? It's a little town in the corner of Vermont. What's so special about Pownal?

This Saturday, July 26, the annual Pownal Valley Community Fair will be held behind the post office on Route 346, starting at 10 a.m. The fair features kids games, an exhibit hall, crafts and vendors, food for sale, horseshoe tournament and more. The day ends with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

But more personally, my daughter and I just finished reading Williamstown author Elizabeth Winthrop's "Counting on Grace," a book about a girl in the early 1900s who has to work in a cotton mill in North Pownal. The book is inspired by a photo taken by Lewis Hine, who is famous for documenting child workers for the National Child Labor Committee. We adored the book and now are looking forward to heading down to Adams to see "The Mill Children" exhibit at the new 5 Hoosac St. Gallery. The exhibit of Hines' photos, many taken in our own region, has been seen here before, but somehow I missed it. Reading "Grace" has inspired me to check it out when it opens in early August.

Speaking of books, another one of my daughter's favorites is the Magic Tree House series. So this week I'm skipping over a couple days and highlighting an event being held at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield on Tuesday, July 29, at 10 a.m. Author Mary Pope Osborne herself will present "A Visit from Mary Pope Osborne" in which she will discuss her inspiration for the series and answer some questions. This 45-minute family event is free.

We have a history with Mary Pope Osborne. When my daughter was 4, we saw the staged reading of Pope Osborne's version of "A Christmas Carol" at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, where we sat right in front of the author and got a book signed by her afterward. Last year, we attended a special performance at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, which was part of the Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Friday series. My daughter was the one on stage singing along with Jack and Annie, of course. We just can't get enough of the Magic Tree House.

Oh, and speaking of Free Fun Fridays, please don't forget them this summer. Every Friday different venues across the state open their doors to families to experience different things for free. This Friday, July 25, no local venues are participating, but next Friday, Aug. 1, Hancock Shaker Village is free, as is this year's offering at the Mahaiwe: a celebration of the spirit of vaudeville and the early days of the Mahaiwe Theater featuring a Slapstick Symposium including silent movies and vaudevillian circus tricks as well as activities for children of all ages. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For the complete schedule, click here.

Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at rdravis@iberkshires.com.



     
Page 1 of 16 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11 ... 16  
News Headlines
'The Giver': Once More Into the Apocalypse
Motorama Roars Into North Adams For Fourth Year
Pittsfield Firefighters Champs in Annual Pizza Contest
Pittsfield Sets Community Conversation on Violence
iBerkshire Tag Sales: Aug. 23-24
Williamstown ZBA OKs Phased Completion of Weston Field
Pittsfield Parks Commission Questions Lack of Capital Funds
BRPC Developing Community Plan For Reuse of Lee Mills
State, FAA Put Off Finishing Details for North Adams Airport
Stamford School Bus Routes 2014-15

 




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Are We There Yet?: Everything IS Awesome
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