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, Open Labor Day
September 3 - September 6
Summer is quickly coming to an end, but there is still time to get outdoors and explore history! The Village will be open for all of Labor Day Weekend.
Saturday will be Muster Day!
This Saturday, join us for a recreated Muster Day. Don’t miss the Justice of the Peace hearing, the Ladies temperance tea, or the sham battle. The day is also packed with martial music, cannon demonstrations, militia drills, a striped pig, and so much more!
To supplement the meager armed forces, most early 19th-century farmers and craftsmen were required by law to serve in local militia units – the forerunner of today’s National Guard. Fall militia musters often saw the various militia companies of several towns coming together for a regimental muster. These would have been grand spectacles with townspeople coming out to view visiting militia companies in their dashing uniforms. Come and join us for our fall muster day and cheer on your favorite militia company!
- Talk to members of two uniformed volunteer militia companies.
- Listen to early 19th-century martial music.
- Watch musket and cannon firing demonstrations
- See a “Sham Fight” as rival militia companies square off against each other in the field.
- Our young visitors will get the chance to learn early 19th-century drill and marching with the militia officer’s instruction and a toy gun.
- See the “striped pig” and learn how it was used to skirt the early 19th-century liquor laws.
PLUS: Kids Get In For FREE! Up to three kids, 17 and younger, are admitted FREE when accompanied by an adult paying full admission ($28) through Labor Day.
End of Summer
September may mean back-to-school time for modern-day scholars in the United States, but that wasn’t always the case. In early 19th-century rural New England, school terms were typically three months in the winter and three months in the summer. Older children sometimes only attended winter term, since they might be needed for summer work on the farm.
Students ranging in age from about 3 or 4 to 16 would attend school in one-room buildings like the District Schoolhouse (c.1810) now at the Village. By this time, there were numerous free or nearly free schoolhouses in New England. The literacy rate in early 19th-century New England is estimated to be somewhere in the 90th percentile! Of course, all these estimates of literacy rates are just that – estimates. Some historians question the representativeness of samples used and what reading level is considered “literate.”
Throughout the Village, kids and adults alike enjoy playing old-fashioned games like les graces, battledore and shuttlecock, trundling hoops, and more. Many days, we also have a game of 19th-century baseball for guests to take part in!
These simple games are a fun respite from the digital world for all ages.
As the end of summer and the beginning of fall approaches, it’s a great time to take a trip to the Village to relive childhood memories and learn something new. It’s a great field trip for learners of all ages! There is always more to see, do, and learn. PLUS, Kids Get In For FREE through Labor Day! Up to three kids, 17 and younger, are admitted FREE when accompanied by an adult paying full admission ($28) through Labor Day.*