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, Winter Warmth and Cheer
February 23 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EST
An event every day that begins at 9:00 am, repeating until February 23, 2020
Visitors to Old Sturbridge Village in February will be treated to a festive story experience in which residents of a 19th century New England town prepare for a seasonal celebration – a winter ball, filled with “warmth and cheer!” Each trade shop, home, and business on the Village Common will be brought to life by costumed historians as they talk about how 19th- century folks would have prepared for such a lively event. While such occasions were relatively rare, rural balls most typically took place in winter when there was less pressing work on the farm. Visitors will gain insight into how people in early New England planned for an evening of dancing, socializing, and fun.
No detail will be overlooked as visitors watch a printer prepare invitations to the ball, play games, learn about the latest fashions, listen to 19th-century music, and enjoy popular libations of the time. Guests will also learn about early hairstyles and cooking for company on an open hearth.
Fare & Cheer at the Bullard Café
Stop by Bullard to purchase some hot stew or chowder, a fresh panini, or baked goods! Sprits, wine, and beer will also be available for purchase.
Beef Stew $7.50
served in a bread boule $9.50
New England Clam Chowder $5.50
served in a bread boule $7.50
Panini $8.50, your choice of:
Thanksgiving Panini – Turkey, cranberry stuffing and cranberry mayonnaise
Reuben Panin – Corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing
Grilled Vegetable Panini – Grilled Vegetables with a basil pesto spread
BBQ Pulled Pork & Cheddar Cheese Panini
According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, early New Englanders stayed warm and productive during the fall and winter despite dwindling daylight and long hours of darkness. With light and heat coming only from candles, oil lamps, lanterns, and fireplaces, 19th-century families gathered around the fire and played music, games, or listened quietly as someone read aloud by candlelight. In contrast, today’s hectic schedules rarely allow for quiet time like this in the evening – unless the power goes out in a snowstorm.
On Display in Bullard Tavern – “The Age of Emotion: Love & Loss”
Curatorial Fellow Brittany Guerrette has installed another small exhibition in Bullard Tavern, this one on friendship, mourning, and love. This display sprang from Guerrette’s interest in the changes to rituals of mourning, courtship, and marriage that occurred between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. George Washington’s death on December 14, 1799, had a significant impact on mourning rituals in the United States. As Guerrette states:
“Washington’s death occurred alongside the growth of Classicism and Romanticism, which stemmed from stresses of the changing industrial world, increasing population and disparity in wealth, and the separation of work and the home. This led to an idealization of the home and of heaven. The afterlife no longer held the fear of judgement, instead it was a haven where families were reunited. Overgrown graveyards became manicured cemeteries, art and jewelry were created to memorialize loved ones, and mourning acquired rules and codes.”
Guerrette said reading courtship letters was her favorite part of preparing this exhibition. As she describes, reading these letters allowed her a glimpse into the minds of young people in the nineteenth century and enabled her to better understand their concerns about love and marriage. The display includes a series of letters between Sarah Plimpton (1825-1898) of Sturbridge and Lucius Benham (1824-1891) of West Haven, Massachusetts. As was somewhat common during this period, Sarah and Lucius kept their letters secret from their parents and relied on friends to carry the letters back and forth. Sarah later wrote to her brother, Salem, asking his advice about her relationship with Lucius. Salem warned his sister about the life she would live if she chose to marry Lucius, but ultimately suggests that love is the most important factor in a marriage since, “without such affection married life will be a most miserable life.” Salem’s counsel reflected a growing trend among young people in the nineteenth century who, influenced by the Romantic movement, believed one should marry for love and nothing else.
“The Age of Emotion: Love & Loss” will be on display in Bullard through May, so make sure to take a look during your next visit to the Village!