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 April 25, 2021
We miss you! Come check out our three new exhibitions, enjoy storytime at The Carle or online, or create something in the Art Studio. Now open Thursday through Sunday! Book your visit ahead online and learn more here.
Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books
This exhibition is the first of its kind to delve into the events, people, and themes of the civil rights movement as told through picture books. More than 80 artworks evoke the power of the era that shaped American history and continues to reverberate today. Picture the Dream presents three thematic sections exploring the forces that sparked the civil rights movement, its key players and events, and stories about the reemergence of activism in contemporary America. From Brown vs. the Board of Education and the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the March on Washington and Black Lives Matter, the picture books’ topics bridge the past and present, emphasizing how historical moments and leaders continue to inspire the struggle for equal rights.
Picture the Dream is co-organized with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where the exhibition debuts on August 15, 2020. Curated by Andrea Davis Pinkney, a Carle trustee and New York Times-bestselling and award-winning children’s book author, the exhibition features work by 44 artists including Benny Andrews, Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, Floyd Cooper, R. Gregory Christie, Ekua Holmes, Kadir Nelson, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, and Faith Ringgold.
Inside-Outside Dinosaurs: Creating a Book with Roxie Munro
Roxie Munro travels back millions of years to explore a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Young paleontology fans will recognize some of their favorite prehistoric creatures, and perhaps discover new ones. In her book Inside-Outside Dinosaurs, Munro alternates illustrations of dinosaur skeletons with vivid primeval landscapes teeming with life. The exhibition reveals the book-making process, featuring preliminary sketches, thumbnails, book dummies, and correspondence alongside the published art. Munro donated all materials related to the publication to The Carle’s permanent collection in 2019.
Little Books, Big Feelings
Feelings are powerful, mysterious forces. Though we sense them deeply, they can be hard to define. The picture books in this exhibition explore a range of complex emotions. Happiness, grouchiness, grief, anger, and love are just a few of the feelings young visitors and caregivers can learn about. Whether celebrating good times or navigating tougher times, the stories in this show inspire strength and care in readers of all ages.
Click here to view and purchase books in the exhibition.
Every Day Art Project: Your Art, Your Voice
April 8 – May 16, 2021
Free with Admission
Inspired by the exhibition Picture the Dream: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement through Children’s Books, create paintings that share the changes you want to see in the world.
In the Art Studio by appointment, take-away bag at the Admissions Desk, or via curbside pickup.
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 – 4:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.