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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UMass Athletics, Flagship Forum
October 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving, UMass Hall of Famer and 1996 Naismith National Player of the Year Marcus Camby, 2020 Calder Trophy winner Cale Makar and former UMass women’s lacrosse captain and current Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins will serve as panelists when the university hosts Flagship Forum presented by UMass Five.
Flagship Forum, a night with some of the best to ever wear the maroon and white, will be held virtually and begin at 7 p.m. (ET) as part of UMass Amherst Homecoming 2020 @HOME. The event will also include a live question and answer session with the panelists for registered attendees.
The event will be hosted by ESPN’s Kevin Connors, who currently works for the network as a studio analyst for college football, college basketball and Major League Baseball. Connors is also the host of Baseball Tonight, a SportsCenter anchor and hosts a variety of programs on ESPN Radio.
During the event, attendees are invited to submit questions to be answered live via the Q&A function.
All are welcome. No cost to participate.
Julius Erving – Men’s Basketball – 1969-71
Unquestionably the greatest known athlete in UMass history, Julius Erving, known simply to the world as “Dr. J,” played basketball for two seasons under legendary head coach and fellow UMass Hall of Famer Jack Leaman from 1969-71. During his two seasons, Erving averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per contest. Incredibly, only once in his 52 career games did he fail to record a double-double.
Erving turned pro following his junior year, but not before leading UMass to two Yankee Conference titles and its first two appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). He set UMass records, both of which have since been broken, in both scoring (1,370 points) and rebounding (1,049), in just two seasons, and his No. 32 hangs in the rafters of the Mullins Center as one of just five former basketball players in school history to have their number retired.
Erving went on to be one of the greatest players in both ABA and NBA history, leading the then New York Nets to ABA titles in 1974 and 1976, and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers to the 1983 NBA championship. During his 16-year professional career, Erving was a five-time ABA All-Star, 11-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBA First Team selection. He was inducted into the UMass Hall of Fame in 1980, and the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Cale Makar – Ice Hockey – 2017-19
Makar, the 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner as the most outstanding player in college hockey, helped elevate Massachusetts hockey to unprecedented success during his two-year career, including the 2018-19 campaign with the program’s first-ever Frozen Four and national championship game appearance. He finished his collegiate career with 70 points (21 goals, 49 assists) in 75 career contests and is the school record holder for career plus-minus at +41.
Chosen as the Hockey East Player of the Year by unanimous selection in 2019, Makar also received the Leonard Fowle Award as New England Player of the Year and the Bob Monahan Award (New England’s Best Defenseman) in addition to being named a Hockey East First-Team All-Star and a New England All-Star that season.
The 2018-19 Massachusetts alternate captain guided the Minutemen to their first No. 1 ranking in school history in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, and the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The highest draft pick in program history (fourth overall in the 2017 NHL Draft), Makar signed with the Colorado Avalanche following his sophomore season, and led all first-year defensemen in goals (12) and was second in assists (38) and points (50) during his rookie season in 2019-20 en route to the 2020 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
Marcus Camby – Men’s Basketball – 1993-96
One of the most decorated athletes UMass has ever produced, Camby lettered from 1993-96 and led the Minutemen to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and a 35-2 record, the most successful season in program history. He was named a consensus first-team All-American that season as he averaged 20.5 points to lead the Atlantic 10. In his three seasons at UMass, he was a two-time NABC All-District selection, an Atlantic 10 First-Team pick twice and the league’s Freshman of the Year in 1994.
He left UMass as the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots in a career (336) and single-season (128). Camby scored 1,387 points in his career to rank in the top 10 after his final season in the maroon and white. The Minutemen won the Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament championship in each of his three seasons. Camby was named to the ESPN Silver Anniversary All-Time Atlantic 10 Team in 2004.
He is the highest NBA Draft Pick in UMass history, being taken second overall by the Toronto Raptors in 1996. He played 17 seasons in the NBA, and was named Defensive Player of the Year during the 2006-2007 season. Camby was also a four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team, is 12th on the NBA’s all-time career blocks list, and led the NBA in blocked shots in a season three times.
He was inducted in the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame with the Class of 2010 and had his No. 21 retired in 2013.
Rachael Rollins – Women’s Lacrosse – 1990-94
Rollins, a former captain for the UMass women’s lacrosse team who scored 70 goals and 19 assists during her career with the Minutewomen, is currently the Suffolk County District Attorney and chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop.
She was the first woman elected as District Attorney in Suffolk County and the first woman of color ever elected to serve in the role in Massachusetts. An attorney for 20 years, she previously worked as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, as an associate at the law firm Bingham McCutchen and as a federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston.
Rollins was appointed by former Governor Deval Patrick to the Judicial Nominating Commission, was a past president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and also served a three-year term on the Boston Bar Association Council.