Upcoming Events In Western Mass
We strive to post the most current and accurate event information but changes and cancellations do occur so please check the official event website to confirm all details.
When you think back to some of your favorite childhood moments, very few of them probably happened when you were sitting at home watching TV. Instead, your most poignant memories probably revolve around that time you ended up with the home run ball at a baseball game, and the crowd cheered and you felt like a rock star, or at least like Babe Ruth.
Or maybe it was that time your family attended The Big E together and your dad bought you cotton candy and let you get all sticky-faced, and you watched your mom beat the midway games, and you felt like your heart was going to overflow with contentment and happiness.
In Western Massachusetts, events bring us together to celebrate our successes and recollect on our heritage. We’ve put together a list of some of the top yearly events in Massachusetts, things we and our local friends love doing to feel connected to our area and our community.
Top Yearly Western Massachusetts Events
Because of the beautiful area where we live, there are distinct Western Massachusetts-specific events that take place in each and every season. From leaf peeping in the fall to river rafting in the spring to skiing in the winter, you can find a wide range of things to do throughout the year, and some of our local events reflect the joyous beauty of our seasons.
Top Western Massachusetts Events for Spring
Springfield Annual Pancake Breakfast
Does anything scream “neighborly get-together more than a pancake breakfast? If your mouth is already watering over the thought of fluffy, buttery, syrupy goodness, you’re not going to want to miss the Springfield Annual Pancake Breakfast, typically hosted in May in downtown Springfield.
Bring your appetite, because it’s billed as the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast, and be ready to feast on both good food and friendly conversation.
Paradise City Arts Festival (Northampton)
This Paradise City Arts Festival is ranked among the best in the country, and includes exhibits from more than 250 artists in all mediums. Artists flock to Western Massachusetts from around the country to be part of this visually dazzling display.
Come out to enjoy the weather that’s not quite summer, not quite spring, and stay to buy way too much from the vast selection of contemporary art pieces on display.
Brimfield Outdoor Antique Show
With spring in the air, you’ll want to get out and enjoy the largest outdoor antique and collectible show in the country. The Brimfield Outdoor Antique Show features over 5000 dealers throughout the quaint country town of Brimfield. And once is never enough – they do this in July and September, too!
Top Western Massachusetts Events for Summer
Baseball Season Opening Night
Baseball is the quintessential American pastime, and there’s really nothing that can top the nostalgia of being present on opening night.
The Westfield Starfires and Valley Blue Sox will kick off their seasons right at the start of the summer, and both promise to bring plenty of excitement to the community. Be sure you arrive ahead of gametime to root, root, root for the home team.
Yankee Candle Christmas in July
We love the unforgettable scents of the holiday season. Fir and balsam, spicy gingerbread, warm apple cider – the list could go on and on.
So naturally, Christmas in July is a must. At the flagship Yankee Candle Village, you can enjoy the holiday season, snap selfies with Santa (who might have traded in his traditional red velvet for a more relaxed Hawaiian shirt vibe) and enjoy crafting with Mrs. Claus.
It’s just what you need to get a little dose of holiday spirit and deal with the fact that you probably won’t be decorating your tree for at least a couple more months.
Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement
Meet Basketball’s best in the birthplace of the sport! Each summer, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrines the best in the sport in Springfield. Rub elbows with the greatest to play the game and save time for a tour of the Hoop Hall.
Top Western Massachusetts Events for Fall
The Big E
Would this even be a reliable listing of Western Massachusetts events if The Big E weren’t included? The community gathering, more formally known as the Eastern States Exposition, is the biggest and best county fair you could imagine.
Every fall, The Big E brings together amazing food, parades, musical entertainment, agricultural exhibitions, car shows and more. There’s so much to see, do and taste – you’ll need more than one day to fully enjoy all The Big E has to offer.
Six Flags New England’s Fright Fest
Each autumn, Six Flags New England transforms into a fright-filled funzone for teens and adults. You’ll find scary shows, walk-through attractions and thrill rides that make the most of the season.
Top Western Massachusetts Events for Winter
The Springfield Thunderbirds are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League affiliated with the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. Based in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Thunderbirds play their home games at the MassMutual Center.
Springfield, Parade of the Big Balloons
Can’t quite make it to New York City for the Thanksgiving parade? We’ve got you covered, with the Parade of the Big Balloons in downtown Springfield.
Enjoy bands, community gatherings and balloons that represent the best Western Mass has to offer – our favorite is definitely the 75-foot Cat in the Hat balloon.
Bright Nights at Forest Park
Holiday memories are made at Bright Nights at Forest Park. It’s just not the holiday season until you’ve driven through this holiday lighting extravaganza! Look for Santa’s Magical Forest, Dinosaur World and Seuss Land – it’ll become an annual tradition after the first mile.
Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Run, walk or float over to the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This celebration of Irish heritage brings more than 400,000 guests to the community for a parade, music, food and fun.
It also includes traditional performances by the Holyoke Caledonian Pipe Band and the Road Race, Western New England’s largest race (featuring a 10k, a 2 mile walk and a Kids Fun Run).
Community events help us to celebrate what we have in common – a love of the arts, of sport, of nature. The human connection these events create is so important to both mental and physical well-being.
If you’d like to learn more about these community events and dozens of others coming up in Western Mass, or about the top yearly events in Massachusetts, check out our Events listings and customize a schedule just for you. Or, contact us, and let our team of knowledgeable locals help you prepare for a fun and unforgettable Western Mass adventure.
CrabApple Whitewater, Kennebec River
June 1 - June 27
Note for 2021: all reservation groups will have their own private raft(s) and River Guide(s). Our rafts hold 8-9 people. Rafts perform much better and are more fun in Class 3-4 rapids when full, so try to plan for 6-8 paddlers (8 is ideal) in your raft whenever possible.
While a few of our Maine neighbors join us for the day, most of our whitewater rafters enjoy a comfortable night’s stay in our riverside lodging before a day of rafting. After breakfast (included with rafting and lodging packages) each rafter begins by gearing up into comfortable river gear and listening to safety instruction from the day’s trip leader.
After a short ride (shortest of all outfitters), the Kennebec River white water rafting adventure begins at Harris Station Dam and immediately enters a narrow gorge, hundreds of feet deep. Quickly picking up speed, rafts plunge through huge rolling waves and heart-pounding drops run expertly by our professional guides. Legendary Class III and IV rapids such as “Big Mama” and “Magic Falls” await you at every turn for over 7 miles.
The second part of the Kennebec River trip includes smaller rapids and opportunities to get out and float next to the raft. Water temperatures will top out in the mid-70’s in the summer making this fun for everyone. Our Kennebec rafting trip ends where it began, right back at our base—no cold, soggy shuttle ride (like all other outfitters) back to Crab Apple! Walk out of your raft and into a hot shower in your room, hot tub or our swimming pool while your guides prepare a delicious cookout. After lunch we head to our comfortable conference room to view photos and video from your day on the Kennebec.
After whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River, many of our guests stay over for a second night and enjoy relaxing time in our pool, take a walk into Maine’s highest waterfall, Moxie Falls, or join the Nightfall Paintball game that begins every day after rafting.
GENERATOR CHECK – HIGHEST DAM RELEASES OF 2021
Four days this summer Harris Station dam on the Kennebec will run at full throttle – over 8000cfs!. The action is fast and the waves are huge – the wave called “Big Mama” climbs to twenty feet! These four dates will be summer highlights.
Dates: June 12, July 5, September 11, 25
GO FOR IT RAFTS
Our 13 foot, 6 person Go For It rafts are the shortest allowed by the state of Maine. These rafts give the Kennebec and Dead Rivers a whole new look – waves and holes like “Big Mama” and “Magic Falls” swallow these smaller boats making for some of the wildest rides of the season. This trip is geared toward veteran rafters and a minimum of 4 people is required to run a Go For It trip.
Trip dates: Daily on Kennebec River (except Generator Check dates 6/12, 7/5, 9/11, 9/25). Available on Dead River June 5, September 5 and October 2.
Schedule: Our 2021 season will open on May 8 and run through October 3.