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.
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September 24, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
A number of regional experts report a pronounced increase in the number of rare birds and insects at the site of intensive habitat restoration by MassWildlife. The public is invited to a site walk at Montague Plains WMA on September 24 at 4 p.m.
Hear about the management activities and results of restoration by walking the property. Meet at the Lake Pleasant Road entrance (click here for directions). Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes for walking. Participants will be asked to wear face masks at all times and keep 6 feet away from other attendees.
Over the past 20 years, MassWildlife has conducted a number of habitat management projects at Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Montague, MA. This location—a regionally and globally rare type of pine barrens habitat—was in need of restoration. Recent scientific monitoring conducted by MassWildlife and other experts confirms that the sustained and ongoing restoration effort is paying off for both rare wildlife and nature-lovers alike. Thanks to ongoing habitat management practices like tree cutting, mowing, and prescribed fire, Montague Plains now presents a unique opportunity for professional researchers, citizen scientists, volunteers, and the general public to experience imperiled habitats and the wildlife that live there.
Native bees are important pollinators and many plants depend on bees for pollination. Both the number of bee species and the number of individual bees have increased in response to habitat management activities at Montague Plains. “In fact,” noted Dr. Joan Milam, a researcher from UMass Amherst, “more bee species have been found at Montague Plains than at any other site across the Commonwealth. Incredibly, more than 50% of all native bee species known in Massachusetts now occur at Montague Plains.” Butterflies and moths on the Massachusetts Endangered Species list have also responded positively to habitat management at the Plains, as have declining songbirds and native game birds like ruffed grouse and American woodcock.
Prairie warblers and other native songbirds that use shrubland habitats are declining regionally, making sites like Montague Plains especially important for restoration. According to Environmental Researcher Mike Akresh from Antioch University New England, “Creating new areas of shrubland habitat with tree harvests at Montague Plains allows for young birds to colonize and breed because the thick shrub cover provides both protection from predators and a thriving, protein-rich insect community to feed on.” U.S. Forest Service Researcher Dave King added that “Thinning canopy trees at this site provides habitat for high-priority shrubland birds such as the Eastern towhee and prairie warbler at the cost of modest reductions in numbers of forest birds whose regional aggregate population is large.” Both Dr. King and Dr. Akresh have documented positive responses to management at Montague Plains by the eastern whip-poor-will, a species of special concern in Massachusetts. “We have found that whip-poor-wills readily nest in open-canopy managed areas compared to closed-canopy unmanaged areas,” said Dr. Akresh. Birders have also taken notice. MassAudubon leads birding trips to Montague Plains, which has become a hotspot with local birders, drawing crowds for irruptions of winter finches and annual late-spring pilgrimages to hear whip-poor-wills and woodcock at sunset.
Public recreational opportunities at Montague Plains include hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, foraging, horseback riding, and more. Low-bush blueberry and other shrubs respond quickly to thinning of the forest canopy and removal of competing vegetation, producing abundant flowers for native pollinators and berries for wildlife and humans.