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
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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The Eric Carle Museum, Exhibits
March 2 - March 13
The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children, November 10, 2019 – April 5, 2020. Under the Sea with Eric Carle, September 7, 2019 – May 31, 2020. Now & Then: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art, December 14, 2019 – May 10, 2020. Ireland’s Eye: Picture Book Views of Ireland, August 13, 2019 – August 2, 2020.
Your health and safety–and that of all our guests and staff–are critically important to us. Our decision follows the recommendations from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to limit programs and events to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
We continue to welcome guests to the Museum and are open during our normal visiting hours. We have taken the following precautions to keep The Carle a safe and healthy space to visit:
* The Museum has increased its cleaning.
* Staff and guests are encouraged to frequently wash hands and use hand sanitizer.
* Bilingual hand-washing fact sheets are posted in the Art Studio and restrooms.
* Hand-sanitizer stations are located throughout the Museum.
* Staff members are here to help clean surfaces as requested.
* Some toys and hard-to-clean items have been removed.
In the coming weeks, we will reevaluate programs that have been scheduled after April 5. If you have questions or concerns, please email us at [email protected].
Our thoughts are with everyone in our wonderful community, near and far, during this challenging time
The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children
November 10, 2019 – April 5, 2020 The Pursuit of Everything presents a colorful panorama of Maira Kalman’s picture-book career. Perhaps best known for her quirky New Yorker covers and as a pioneering visual journalist for The New York Times, Kalman has also published 18 acclaimed children’s books. She illustrates the comic adventures of Max Stravinsky, the dog-poet in Max Makes a Million (1990), and the escapades of a gluttonous canine named Pete in What Pete Ate from A-Z (“Really!”) (2001). The exhibition features Kalman’s kaleidoscopic paintings from Next Stop Grand Central (1999) alongside illustrations from her recent publications Beloved Dog (2015) and Cake (2018). Kalman addresses important historical figures and events in Looking at Lincoln (2012), Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote (2018), and the 9/11-inspired Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey (2002). Balancing the ridiculous and the profound, Kalman’s beautifully crafted paintings and witty word play delight audiences of all ages.
The Pursuit of Everything is curated by Jane Bayard Curley. It premiered at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (June 22 – September 15, 2019).
This exhibition is made possible with generous support from Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books.
IN THE WEST GALLERY
Under the Sea with Eric Carle
September 7, 2019 – May 31, 2020 Dive in for an underwater adventure! This exhibition showcases original art from 11 Eric Carle picture books, including his popular titles A House for Hermit Crab (1987) and Mr. Seahorse (2004). See penguins in arctic waters and jellyfish in tropical seas, along with playful dolphins, seals, turtles, and whales. Also on view are Carle’s illustrations of mythological sea creatures—mermaids, leviathans, and the legendary kraken. A reading rowboat and an immersive puppet stage provide inspiration for creative play.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Hsin-Yi Foundation.
Exhibition design by Katie Craig.
IN THE CENTRAL GALLERY
Now & Then: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art
December 14, 2019 – May 10, 2020 Will you grow up to be an artist? Co-curators Grace Lin and Jarrett J. Krosoczka honor childhood creativity in the exhibition Now & Then, in which they display artists’ childhood drawings next to their published illustrations. The pairings inspire young visitors to make connections to their current creations—and future potential. In addition to Grace and Jarrett, the featured artists are Cece Bell, Nidhi Chanani, Jason Chin, The Fan Brothers, Julie Flett, Jeff Kinney, Elisa Kleven, Barbara Lehman, Rafael López, Oge Mora, Juana Martinez-Neal, Raúl the Third, Shadra Strickland, Don Tate, Evan Turk, and Tillie Walden.
This exhibition is curated by Grace Lin and Jarrett J. Krosoczka.
IN THE READING LIBRARY
Ireland’s Eye: Picture Book Views of Ireland
August 13, 2019 – August 2, 2020 An exhibition of digital reproductions
While the music and literature of Ireland have reached audiences worldwide, few of the country’s picture book are known beyond its shores. Ireland’s Eye highlights the traditions, stories, and landscapes of Ireland, and the unending inspiration artists have found on the island nation.
Curated by Elizabeth Goldrick, 2019 Trinkett Clark Intern