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 New England Air Museum, Santa Claus
December 12, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm EST
On this day, the New England Air Museum will host Jolly St. Nick!
Santa is not letting anything stop him from coming to see all his friends at the Museum. He will be available to speak to each child while maintaining social distancing. Santa is not coming empty handed; his bag will be filled with a special gift for each child.
This will be the last day for our Marine Toys for Tots Toy Drive. We ask that you help us collect new unwrapped toys for those less fortunate. This year the need is greater than ever, bring a new unwrapped gift for someone and share the Christmas Magic with others.
This program is free with general admission. Admission is $16.00 for ages 15 and up, $14.00 for seniors 65 and up and $10.00 for ages 4 to 14. New England Air Museum members and children under 3 are admitted free. Free admission is available for Veterans thanks to our partnership with KeyBank.
The New England Air Museum will host a Toys for Tots Toy Drive from Friday, November 27th through Saturday December 12th. The museum will be collecting new, unwrapped toys in support of the program to bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate by way of a new toy.
Purchasing an admission to the Museum is not required to make a Toys for Tots donation. If you do wish to visit while here, admission is $16.00 for ages 15 and up, $14.00 for seniors 65 and up and $10.00 for ages 4 to 14. New England Air Museum members and children under 3 are admitted free. Free admission is available for Veterans thanks to our partnership with KeyBank.
Rare Aircraft Now on Display
The New England Air Museum (NEAM) has been active this fall making highly anticipated moves to bring additional aircraft and artifacts to the exhibit hangars. The most notable of these is the Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster – a one-of-a-kind aircraft that has recently been fully restored by our restoration team over the past 8 years.
Built in 1945 by the Canadian Car and Foundry, the CBY-3 was the last of Vincent Burnelli’s “lifting fuselage” aircraft – the fuselage is in the shape of an airfoil which allows it to assist the wings in providing lift. It could carry a ton more payload than a DC-3 and needed only 650 feet to takeoff. A prolific designer, Burnelli believed that his design was stronger, safer and more efficient than conventional designs at the time. The CBY-3 was acquired by the Museum in 1972 after having sat abandoned for more than ten years at Friendship Airport in Baltimore, MD.
NEAM’s popular Grumman F-14B Tomcat has also come out of storage for the first time in over 5 years. The Tomcat was a supersonic, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft made famous by the 1986 film Top Gun. The Museum’s example served with fighter squadrons VF-142 and VF-143 and accumulated more than 4,600 flight hours before it was decommissioned and donated to NEAM in 2005.
Visitors can also see two pristine WWII training aircraft back on display in the B-29 Hangar – a Stearman PT-17, finished in the same color scheme and markings as the aircraft used at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama, and a Ryan PT-22A the first monoplane trainer used for primary pilot training by the United States Army Air Corps and its successor, the United States Army Air Force.
In addition to these new aircraft displays, NEAM’s largest and perhaps most interesting jet engine, the Pratt & Whitney J58, is also back on view. This afterburning turbojet engine was the force behind the SR-71 Blackbird, capable of speeds in excess of 2,000 mph.
The public is invited to see all of these exhibits, as well as over 50 additional aircraft currently on display, and learn about each of them from our docents.