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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The Eric Carle Museum, Exhibits
An event every week that begins at 12:00 am on Sunday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until November 29, 2020
Let’s Talk! Animals from the Collection
August 8, 2020 – January 24, 2021 Frog and Toad, Stuart Little, Peter Rabbit, and Noisy Nora are some of the beloved picture book characters visitors will meet in Let’s Talk! Animals from the Collection. The exhibition examines the longstanding tradition of anthropomorphism—giving human characteristics to animals—in children’s literature. Let’s Talk! features art from The Carle’s world-class holdings. Included are E. H. Shepard’s watercolors of Winnie-the-Pooh, Beatrix Potter’s exquisite drawings of Peter Rabbit, curiosities from Alice in Wonderland, as well as familiar faces from Aesop’s Fables and Little Red Riding Hood. Historical gems by Jean de Brunhoff, Alice Bolam Preston, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, Maurice Sendak, William Steig, and Garth Williams are featured alongside contemporary illustrators such as Ashley Bryan, Petra Mathers, Jerry Pinkney, Rosemary Wells, and Mo Willems.
Eric Carle: Just for Laughs
September 17, 2020 – February 28, 2021 An orange elephant, a fish in a birdcage, a snake entwined in spaghetti—Eric Carle’s sense of humor shines through in his picture books. This exhibition features comical collages from The Mixed-Up Chameleon (1975), The Grouchy Ladybug (1977), The Greedy Python (1985), and The Nonsense Show (2015). On view for the first time are four of Carle’s amusing illustrations from the 1971 book The Scarecrow Clock. A selection of illustrated letters and thank you notes further reveal Carle’s wit and personal relationships.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Hsin-Yi Foundation.
Eric Carle’s Angels: An Homage to Paul Klee
July 22 – November 29, 2020 At the age of 87, Eric Carle embarked on a series of found-object collages depicting angels. He dedicated these abstract assemblages to the artist Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940), who created over 70 drawings and paintings of angels during his lifetime. “Klee and his angels have become my strange and mysterious passion,” says Carle. “Several years ago I began to feel the need to honor Klee’s angels in visual form.” Carle created 20 angels in a spirit of playful improvisation, unbound from the restraints of a picture book. Exhibited for the first time, the angels reveal his artistic interests and influences. Carle’s angels—singular, bold, three-dimensional—are testament to the expressive power of collage in the hands of a master.
Black Voices: Picture Books as Antiracist Resources
August 5, 2020 – January 3, 2021 This exhibition features recent picture books by Black artists and writers that empower the reader to reflect on and celebrate the complexity of their identities. In addition to bringing joy and discovery, these books encourage honest discussion of race and racism. They honor a range of Black lives and experiences and advocate for solidarity in the struggle for social justice and equity.
Print Materials and Activities
A kit including a Museum scavenger hunt, activity sheets, and colored pencils will be provided to each family/group at the Admissions Desk upon arrival. Colored pencils should be returned to the Admissions Desk at the end of a visit so they can be disinfected.
Each family/group checking in at the Admissions Desk will be asked if they wish to schedule a timed session in The Art Studio. A set number of 20-minute sessions are available throughout the day.
If all timed sessions in the Art Studio are booked, families/groups can pick up an Art Project To Go! bag, which includes the same materials used in the Art Studio project. These take-away art project bags can be enjoyed out in Bobbie’s Meadow or back at home.
The Museum Bookshop will allow 8 visitors at a time. If the shop is at capacity, visitors can wait in a socially distanced line until they are able to enter.
Visitors can also shop online at https://shop.carlemuseum.org and arrange for home delivery or curbside pickup. While debit or credit cards are preferred (to reduce cash handling), cash will be accepted.
Thursday, Friday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.