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 Zoo in Forest Park, Summer!
September 7, 2020 - September 11, 2020
Three cheers for three more weeks of Zoo Camp! Hip hip hooray! Due to delayed school openings, we’re excited to offer three more weeks of Zoo Camp to children ages 6-13. Whether you’re in need of child care or your kiddo just loves animals, they’re invited to come spend their last few weeks of summer with us.
Zoo Camp | Ages 6-13
Zoo Camp runs weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an option for before-care at 8 a.m. Campers have the opportunity to take part in limited animal care, animal enrichment activities, diet prep demonstrations, arts & crafts, scavenger hunts and much more! Click here to register your child. Click on Summer 2020 Zoo Camp Registration Packet and download the form. Registrations will be accepted until 3 p.m. the Thursday prior to the start of your session.
For more information on the latest news, please visit www.forestparkzoo.org/tours-trips/zoo-camp.
- Animal Circle – meet a new highlighted animal each day
- Diet Prep Demonstrations – see what goes into preparing diets for over 200 animals at The Zoo
- Enrichment Activities – create toys and foraging games for the goats, sheep, birds and other animals!
- Scavenger Hunts
- Arts & Crafts
- And much more
- Nonmembers 1 week session: $250
- Members 1 week session: $230
- Daily rates (based on availiablity): $60 nonmember/$55 member
- Before-care (drop-off at 8 a.m.): $10/per day
Extended ZOo Camp Session Dates:
Week A: FULL
Week B: FULL
Week C: September 7 to September 11 (Note: Zoo Camp will operate on Labor Day)
The Zoo now offers guided tours!
Our 30-minute walking tour, led by a knowledgeable Zoo staff member, is available to groups of nine or fewer and costs $10/person. A guided tour must be booked ahead of your visit.
Buy a shirt. Help us feed our animals.
Represent your favorite Zoo animals, support the Zoo’s mission AND help us feed our animals all with the purchase of a Zoo t-shirt. T-shirts come in adult and youth sizes.
Members: Use your member access code to receive your member discount on the shirts.
Visiting the Zoo – How to purchase tickets to The Zoo:
- Visit The Zoo’s virtual box office at buytickets.at/forestparkzoo.
- Select the date in June you would like to visit The Zoo.
- From the drop down menu, select the time of your visit. (PLEASE NOTE: Tickets will only be honored for the date and time indicated on the ticket.)
- Select how many adults, children and/or seniors are in your party. Each time slot is limited to 10 visitors.
- Arrive at the front gate five minutes before your scheduled ticket time to check in. Since space is limited, guests who arrive late may be denied entry without a refund.
We recommend arriving to Forest Park 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled entry time to allow enough time to enter the park, park and walk to the gate. Ticket times are strictly enforced!
What changes can you expect?
The Zoo in Forest Park has implemented new rules and regulations to ensure all guests, staff and animals are protected during this time.
- Guests are required to wear masks inside The Zoo.
- Guests must keep a 6-foot distance between themselves and other parties.
- Guests must follow the one-way path around The Zoo.
- All indoor activities are currently closed including The Barn, The Discovery Room and the gift shop.
- No touching, petting or feeding the animals.
- Guests are asked to limit their time in The Zoo to two hours.
- Ticket times are strictly enforced and guests who miss their time slot may be denied entry without a refund.
For updated information on dates and times we are open, as well as memberships, special events, birthday parties and Zoo on the Go programs, visit www.forestparkzoo.org. We look forward to another Zoo-tastic season!
Do you have fresh produce or meat at home that you would like to donate?
Check out our wish list of produce and meat here.
If you have something to donate, please reach out to Caroline via email at [email protected] or via phone at 413-733-2251, ext. 305.
The Zoo in Forest Park began in 1894. For a time it was run by the father of Theodor Seuss Geisel, who took the job after Prohibition closed the family brewery. The young Dr. Seuss lived nearby and the Forest Park Zoo clearly inspired his 1950 children’s book “If I Ran the Zoo.” The zoo will work this year with the Springfield Museums and its The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum to make the public more aware of the connection.