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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Old Sturbridge Village, Apple Outings
An event every week that begins at 12:00 am on Sunday and Saturday, repeating until October 4, 2020
- Smell the cider being pressed in the ox-powered Cider Mill and learn about the importance of cider in early 19th-century New England
- Learn about historic food preservation and the importance of preserving heirloom varieties
- Enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage
All visitors and members will be required to purchase and/or reserve their tickets online to manage capacity in accordance with Massachusetts reopening guidelines. Available tickets will be released weekly on each Wednesday prior and arrival time blocks must be chosen. Purchase or reserve your tickets and see our current policies here.
Putting the Museum Collection On Display
Since most gallery spaces at Old Sturbridge Village remain closed due to state restrictions, curatorial staff are making an effort to make the museum collection accessible to visitors in other ways. On Saturday mornings for the past month, staff have set up a table in the Salem Towne House front doorway and invited visitors to view a selection of objects related to a topic of the staff member’s choosing.
- Curator of Mechanical Arts Tom Kelleher exhibited some of his favorite firearms, none of which are normally on view. His display included two burglar alarms, a cane gun, the Jenks breech-loading carbine (made under contract for the then-independent Republic of Texas), Salem Towne’s Colt Navy revolver, model 1851, a seven-barreled rifle made by Henry Harrington, and a John Eastman cased buggy rifle.
- Collections Manager and Curator of Textiles Rebecca Beall focused on the Village’s collection of samplers and needlework from the 18thand 19th The samplers she displayed ranged from simple alphabet samplers to elaborate pictorial samplers and silk needlework pictures, including examples by Sturbridge makers Mary Arnold, Mary Child, and Amy Fiske. The program highlighted needlework pieces by makers as young as six and as old as sixty-six!
- Curatorial Fellow Brittany Guerrette’s program focused on dance and music in the 18thand early 19th She discussed the different places where people would hear music (in churches and parlors and at dances and balls) and the ways in which music passed from person to person. Objects on display included small instruments such as a flageolet (a cross between a recorder and a flute), broadside music, several handwritten music books, and Sally Towne’s piano books.
- On Friends Day, Librarian Amy Hietala brought ephemera (materials that are usually used for a short time then discarded) from the OSV Institutional Archives. On display were Village map guides from 1961 through 1984, postcards, and broadsides of past Village events.
- Assistant Curator Katherine Fecteau displayed a selection of daguerreotypes from the museum collection, including images of the Fenno House, Thompson Bank, and a portrait of Pliny Freeman (though sadly the image is poor quality and his face is obscured!).
Coming up on September 26, Amy will be bringing out materials from the Salem Towne collection. Salem Towne Jr. was a farmer and businessman, and his papers shed light on his farm and the efforts associated with it. The table will include agricultural certificates, broadsides, and letters discussing his farm – don’t miss it!
Did you know?
- The most common fruit in 19th century New England was the apple. Most farms had orchards of 100-300 trees or more!
- Early apples produced a cider that fermented in six weeks to two months.
- Early New England cider had an alcohol content of 4 – 8 percent, which preserved the cider throughout the year.
- Most 19th-century farm families went through 10 barrels of apple cider a year, each containing 32 gallons.
- Even children drank “hard” cider, although it may have been watered down for younger children.
- Most popular apple varieties of the early 19th-century were different from today. Some of the most popular were Winter apples, Porter apples, Pearmain apples, and Sopsavine apples.
Fall was a busy season for early 19th-century New Englanders as farmers worked tirelessly to harvest corn, potatoes, apples, squash, and more from their fields. Families also worked hard to preserve the harvest by drying, pickling, sugaring, and other preservation techniques, never knowing quite how long the winter would last.
As the leaves change color and the temperatures become cooler, we hope you will visit Old Sturbridge Village, where you can experience the best of fall in New England – past and present!