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.
Springfield Museums, Heroes in Healthcare
January 5 - January 24
The Springfield Museums present Heroes in Healthcare: Celebrating Springfield’s Medical Community at the Wood Museum of Springfield History, on display through January 24, 2021.
This exhibit traces the history of healthcare in Springfield and highlights some of its many heroes. From the Civil War through present day, doctors and nurses, public health employees, social workers and philanthropists have contributed significantly to improving the health of this community with their skills, compassion and vision. With the WHO’s declaration of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, we dedicate a part of this exhibit to celebrating the city’s nurses, and with our Wall of Healthcare Heroes, we honor the courageous and dedicated work of our hospitals’ front line responders.
As stewards of Baystate Medical Center’s Archives, including its Training School for Nurses, we draw upon that collection to tell its story, with its rich assortment of photographs and institutional history. The Visiting Nurses Association Archives held at the Wood Museum also allows us to share their wonderful history of providing community care. We are also grateful for the kind assistance of Mercy Hospital and the Archives of the Sisters of Providence in documenting the history of their organization.
As stewards of the Baystate Medical Center Archives, including materials from their Training School for Nurses, Museums staff were able to gather a rich history of healthcare in Springfield, said Maggie Humberston, Curator of Library and Archives for the Springfield Museums. “We drew on that collection with its assortment of photographs and institutional history to recount a story of outreach and care,” she said, “and a long history of striving to meet the public need.”
The Visiting Nurses Association Archives is also held at the Wood Museum. Humberston delved into that collection to share remarkable stories of how visiting nurses traveled to the homes of people of all economic backgrounds to not only treat disease, but also to offer wellness training, child care advice, and, often, a sympathetic ear!
As she researched the local response to the Spanish Influenza of 1918, Humberston discovered similar efforts to our own today as we work together to stem the spread of Covid-19 by wearing masks and keeping at social distance. “Gauze masks and open air were deemed very important in combating the Spanish Influenza,” Humberston said. “Social distancing was practiced, and people were encouraged to walk to reduce crowding in railroad and streetcars, while streetcars were disinfected every night. The clergy decided to close the churches, and the Board of Health closed just about everything else.”
With the World Health Organization’s declaration of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the Museums dedicate a part of this exhibit to specifically celebrating the city’s nurses. The Museums also present a Wall of Healthcare Heroes to honor the courageous and dedicated work of our hospitals’ front-line responders.
“When we brought the Hall of Heroes to the Museums, we knew how important it would be to celebrate real-life heroes with a complementary exhibit,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “Our healthcare heroes are helping us all face these unprecedented times with endless examples of heroic service and compassionate care. Thank you to our Healthcare Heroes!”
Note: The Museums are also grateful for the kind assistance of Mercy Hospital and the Archives of the Sisters of Providence in documenting the history of their organization.