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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Norman Rockwell Museum, Exhibits
January 14 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm EST
An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until January 17, 2021
Returning to New England this fall after a 6-city international tour is the first comprehensive exhibition devoted to Norman Rockwell’s iconic depictions of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want. Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom explores how the 1943 paintings came to be embraced by millions of Americans, providing crucial aid to the War effort and taking their place among the most indelible images in the history of American art. The power of images to shape cultural narratives is revealed in this exhibition, which invites viewers to trace the origins and legacy of the Four Freedoms from the trials of the Great Depression and World War II to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and the call for freedom today across racial, gender, ethnic, and religious lines.
Imagining Freedom includes an expansive array of artworks from the 1930s to today in addition to Rockwell’s celebrated Four Freedoms. Throughout, historical documents, photographs, videos, artifacts and immersive settings bring each era to life while drawing connections to our times.
through May 2021
ROCKWELL PAINTING OF RUBY BRIDGES INSPIRES VIRAL KAMALA HARRIS IMAGE
A visual image is worth a thousand words. Millions have recently seen and shared the powerful meme of Vice President Elect, Kamala Harris, walking in the silhouetted shadow of a young girl, an homage to an earlier historical marker of equity and social justice created by Norman Rockwell. Norman Rockwell Museum is home to the original painting, The Problem We All Live With, which marked the civil rights journey of young Ruby Bridges, and which resides in the Museum’s permanent collection.
A contemporary reference to this image showing Kamala Harris walking in Ruby Bridges footsteps, created by Bria Goeller, went viral as preliminary election results were announced over the weekend, celebrating two historic moments that broke glass ceilings for women and BIPOC. This work created originally for Look magazine in 1964 is a signature image of the landmark global exhibition, Norman Rockwell: Imagining Freedom, now on view at Norman Rockwell Museum. The exhibition illustrates the power of images to inspire and motivate progressive societal change in the past and present.
“At the pinnacle of his career, Norman Rockwell put his brush to work for equity and social justice with his bold portrayals of the Civil Rights Movement, creating in 1964 the iconic image The Problem We All Live With, which memorialized a young Ruby Bridges’ walk as the first black child to integrate her elementary school in New Orleans. One hundred years after white women secured the right to vote, and sixty years after Ruby’s courageous walk, and just 45 years after the amended Voting Rights Act of 1975 (first enacted in 1965) enshrined the right to vote for ALL women, Kamala Harris, a woman of African American and Indian-American heritage, is elected the first woman to serve the White House as Vice President. She walks in the footsteps of the Suffragists, of Ruby Bridges, and so many others, like President Barack Obama, who broke barriers of equality, often against a tide of fierce racist rhetoric and physical threats to their lives,” commented Laurie Norton Moffatt, director/CEO of Norman Rockwell Museum.
“Norman Rockwell recorded this moment sixty years ago, and today, a brilliant artist, Brio Goelle of the African American-owned design firm, Good Trubble, paid homage to the historic moment, referencing Rockwell. She immortalized the progress of this exciting moment for BIPOC women and all women, by using Rockwell’s immediately recognizable iconic image as the symbol to measure today’s pivotal historical shift. Visual images are powerful markers of history, and it is remarkable that of all the artists in America’s history, Norman Rockwell now imprints two key moments in America’s stride toward social justice for BIPOC citizens and for women,” Norton Moffatt noted.
Ruby Bridges always credited her mother with the courage to send her daughter to integrate the first school in New Orleans. The courage of parents taking a stand to advance equality is reflected in the family’s trust in the U.S. Marshall’s to keep their daughter safe. On her Instagram account Tuesday evening (November 10, 2020), Ruby Bridges said of her mother, Lucille Bridges’ passing, “Today our country lost a hero. Brave, progressive, a champion for change. She helped alter the course of so many lives by setting me out on my path as a six year old little girl. Our nation lost a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement today. And I lost my mom. I love you and am grateful for you. May you Rest In Peace.” Our hearts go out to NRM trustee emerita Ruby at this time. Her mother’s courage, and that of so many mothers and fathers, made possible Kamala Harris’ and this nation’s progress toward equity and justice,” added Norton Moffatt.
Visitors are invited to reflect on the original Rockwell piece with timed advance tickets available at NRM.org.
The Museum is Open and Ready for You! Reserve Your Ticket
Thursday – Monday: 10am-5pm
Seniors and Immunocompromised Patrons: Thursday – Friday: 10am -12pm
Temporary Closure January 19 through February 3 For Exhibition Turn-Over
Norman Rockwell Museum announces it will be closed for two weeks beginning Tuesday, January 19 to change over exhibitions and will re-open on Thursday, February 4.