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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Springfield Museums, Ubora & Ahadi Awards Ceremony
November 14, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EST
The Springfield Museums announce the winner of the 29th Ubora and 11th Ahadi award winners: Representative Bud L. Williams and Kareem Wedderburn. The Ubora Award and the Ahadi Youth Award—conferred by the African Hall Subcommittee annually—are awarded to African-American people from Greater Springfield who have—above and beyond—demonstrated commitment to fields of community service, education, science, humanities and/or the arts.
ABOUT BUD L. WILLIAMS
Representative Bud L. Williams received five nominations for this prestigious award. All who nominated Rep. Williams commended his devotion to civic duties, his unflinching advocacy for the people he represents, and his unrelenting activism for social justice for all people. Currently serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the Eleventh Hampden, consisting of Springfield: Ward 2: Precinct H, Ward 3: Precinct A, Ward 4, Ward 5: Precincts A, B, E, F, Ward 6: Precinct E, Ward 7: Precinct A, Ward 8: Precinct C, he is also a member of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.
The nominators spoke of Rep. Williams with glowing praise:
- “Bud Williams has been a major asset to Springfield. This starts with the youth and extends to the elders,” said Dr. Bobbie L. Rennix.
- “His name is synonymous with COMMUNITY SERVICE in the greater Springfield area,” said Emurriel Holloway.
- “His fight to keep banking services in our community has been a true blessing to the entire community. Mr. Williams works hard to make Springfield a safe and good community for all of us living in the city. He is an advocate with a ‘heart of gold’,” said Mary B. Moore.
His full bio is here:
Representative Bud L. Williams, a lifelong resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, exemplifies community service through his devotion to civic duties, his unflinching advocacy for the people he represents, and his unrelenting activism seeking social justice for all people.
A graduate of Putnam High School, where he demonstrated academic success in the classroom and demonstrated good character and sportsmanship on the basketball court, Rep. Williams received accolades and offers from many colleges but chose to continue his education in Springfield so he could also care for his mother and younger siblings.
After earning a Bachelor of Education degree from Springfield Technical College and Westfield State University, Rep. Williams continued his studies to earn a Master of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts. As an elementary school teacher and later as a probation officer, he helped many young people establish positive life goals. “Bud Williams has been a major asset to Springfield. This starts with the youth and extends to the elders,” said nominator Dr. Bobbie L. Rennix.
Elected to Springfield City Council in 1993, Rep. Williams was recognized as “the People’s Council” by many who appreciated his steadfast support on their behalf. Currently serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the Eleventh Hampden, consisting of Springfield: Ward 2: Precinct H, Ward 3: Precinct A, Ward 4, Ward 5: Precincts A, B, E, F, Ward 6: Precinct E, Ward 7: Precinct A, Ward 8: Precinct C, he is also a member of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. Another nominator, Emurriel Holloway said: “His name is synonymous with COMMUNITY SERVICE in the greater Springfield area.”
“His fight to keep banking services in our community has been a true blessing to the entire community. Mr. Williams works hard to make Springfield a safe and good community for all of us living in the city. He is an advocate with a ‘heart of gold’,” said nominator Mary B. Moore. Rep. Williams was instrumental in stopping TD Bank from closing the Mason Square bank branch—a closure that would have negatively impacted poor and underserved residents, particularly senior patrons. “He is a champion for justice,” said nominator Mary A. Worthy.
Rep. Williams’s fight to address the injustices of subpar housing and support for displaced residents of Bergen Circle housing complex is another example of his work on behalf of the community. Rep. Williams assisted the elderly, providing transportation, and making certain that residents were treated with dignity as they sought out shelter and other services. “Bud works tirelessly on behalf of the entire Springfield community as he addresses issues that may negatively affect the health of the community. He is unafraid to speak out in the face of adversity for the betterment of the community-at-large,” said nominator Robert Cee Jackson.
Representative Bud L. Williams is a champion for justice and a healthy community.
ABOUT KAREEM WEDDERBURN
Kareem Wedderburn was nominated for the Ahadi Youth Award by his school counselor John M. Szymczyk of Springfield Central High School. Szymczyk recommended Wedderburn for his open mind and studious nature. And most especially for his rare blend of academic exploration, analytical abilities, and interpersonal skills.
“He attacks all aspects of his life with a calm considered determination that shows incredible responsibility and focus. Clearly, he has the values and integrity to always do the right thing,” Szymczyk said.
Wedderburn was surprised by the honor. He said: “I really didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone chosen for this award. Looking back at the work I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished so far, I understand why I have earned this award, and I am extremely grateful for the recognition.”
One of seven close-knit siblings raised by their mom, Wedderburn challenged himself throughout his Springfield Central High School career with advanced placement coursework, leadership in the school theater productions, and a pivotal Upward Bound program in social justice. “I am a proud alumni of Northfield Mount Herman Upward Bound,” Wedderburn said. Upward Bound’s mission is to enable first-generation and low-income students to succeed in high school and enroll in college. The program also has a significant social justice element. “UB’s social justice program has allowed me to have productive dialogue on a variety of current issues, developed me as an activist, and in general made me more aware of the struggles that black people and other oppressed groups face,” Wedderburn said.
Wedderburn became passionate about public transit when he started taking the PVTA to school every day. Since then he has studied, written about, and photographed transit as a hobby. He has also made it his career focus. Currently he is a freshman at Westfield State University, majoring in Regional Planning. “Frequent and effective transit is a key factor in improving cities and rural areas,” Wedderburn said. “It’s especially important for poor people and people of color to have access to good public transit, as it provides affordable means to get to schools, jobs, medical care, and more. I plan on having a career in the transit field and help improve transit systems.”
Wedderburn’s drive for success, his zest and enthusiasm for learning, and his keen hope to make a positive difference in the world all add up to the qualities honored by the Ahadi Youth Award.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
True to the Swahili word that comprises its name, the Ubora Award recognizes an adult of African heritage who exemplifies excellence in their commitment to creating a better community through service. In 2019, the Ubora Award was given to Andrew R. Cade, Vice President of the Urban League of Springfield.
Named for the Swahili word for “promise,” the Ahadi Youth Award is presented to a young African American who excels in academics and performs admirable service to the Greater Springfield community. Eligible candidates must be age 19 or younger, live in or have strong ties to the Greater Springfield area, and be currently enrolled in grades 10, 11, or 12. In 2019, the Ahadi Award was given to Michael Denson Jr.
The African Hall Subcommittee is a volunteer group comprised of educators, business people, and community leaders from the African-American community. The group has administered this annual award since 1992. A full list of the awardees can be found on the Springfield Museums website.