Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Fridays For August

The Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Fridays program, offering free admission to cultural venues throughout the Bay State to all who would partake, has a great schedule of events for August, 2011.

This season, the Highland Street Foundation expands its reach west for entertainment, with Tanglewood and the Springfield Museums joining successful participants of last summer's Free Fun Fridays - including the Basketball Hall of Fame, Old Sturbridge Village and the Berkshire Museum - to provide quality, free Friday fun for a memorable summer.

Here's the schedule of sponsored Western Massachusetts events for August:

August 5:
Springfield Museums
21 Edwards Street-Springfield

August 12:
Tanglewood (BSO)
297 West Street-Lenox

August 19:
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1000 West Columbus Ave – Springfield

August 26:
Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd – Sturbridge
Berkshire Museum
39 South Street – Pittsfield

For a schedule of all Free Fun Friday events across the state and information:

Please support the McGrath family and this great organization in its awesome efforts to improve the lives of children and families in Massachusetts and beyond. To learn more, visit the foundation's website at:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Free Croquet Match at The Wicket Grounds in Tolland this Sunday

Croquet matches FREE for all backyard players ages 13 and up at The Wicket Grounds, 1043 Burt Hill Road, Tolland, Ma, Sunday, July 31, from 1 to 5 PM.

"The Bicentennial Cup II" awards three trophy cups to the top three points scorers. Bring a mallet or use one of ours. Cool, leafy, friendly afternoon of croquet in the mountains where it has been played since 1935. Free traditional strawberries and whipped cream!

For more information, contact or visit

More about the history of The Wicket Grounds and directions for getting there:

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Pittsfield Hoopla Festival Returns To Springside Park

(Pittsfield, MA - PRESS RELEASE) On Saturday, July 30, from 10am to 10pm, the Pittsfield City Hoopla festival will return to the public gardens of Springside Park - Pittsfield, Massachusetts’ largest public park, located at 874 North St - for its third year of festivities inspired by the craft, craze and creativity of the hula hoop. Boasting a full day of hoop related classes, contests, jams, art, vending and performance, the Pittsfield City Hoopla is a unique family-friendly event that celebrates the value of the movement arts in our everyday lives and community.

In addition to free hooping workshops for all ages and abilities on the lawn with professional teaching hoop dance artists from the Boston Hoop Troop and Hooping Harmony between 12 noon - 3pm there will also be more focused smaller workshops available for a fee.


Workshops with Pittsfield based movement professionals include:

10am: Openings: A Yoga Class for Entering the Hoop with Rachael Plaine of Berkshire Pure Movement and Yoga Depot

3pm Intro to HoopTap with festival maker and founder Stefanie Weber

6pm Hip Hop for the Hooper with dancer Marie Georgefils

7pm Sundown Stretch & Flow with Gillian Gorman of Radiance Yoga.


Workshops from visiting guest artists include:

11am Hoop Tutorial with Robin Rapture of Hoopium in New Hampshire

3pm Putting the Dance in Hoop Dance with Laura-Marie from Hooping Harmony in Greenfield , MA,

4pm On & Off Body Axis Flips & Twists with Lolli Hoops and Core Hooping: Navigating Between Waist and Neck with Rachel, both from the Boston Hoop Troop.

Space is limited for the above workshops and pre-registration is suggested. The cost is $10 per workshop and lower if you attend 3 or more.


Participants can begin the day by making their own hoop on site at 10am for $25 guided by Hoopla artists. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.

This year’s Hoopla will introduce some new activities for participants. ‘Yogaslacker’ Danielle Gismondi from Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams will facilitate a slackline throughout the day. According to, slacklining is the sport of walking a small, flat nylon rope between two points. It is practiced in the backyard, on college campuses and city parks, and even 3000 feet above the ground. Some people do it for fun, others for the obvious athletic benefits, and others still for a meditative purpose, in seeking a higher state of mind. Since slacklining’s development in the late 1970s, slacklining has grown into an international craze, and is a common and popular pastime within the outdoor community. Also a part of the circus arts scene, slacklining is making it way back to the stage in more creative ways.

Artist Bridgit Noone will facilitate a table for coloring mandalas. The Mandala Project, founded by Lori Bailey Cunningham, explains a "mandala" as being from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit loosely translated to mean "circle”. “Far more than a simple shape, it represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself--a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds”, she states. Both Navajo and Tibetan cultures are known for their colorful mandalas.

Returning again this year, David Frazier from the Vincent Hebert Arboretum will be leading walks along the trails at Springside Park for any one interested in learning more about the trees, gardens, and history of the grounds.

At 5pm the Hoopla will offer its first-ever hooping contest featuring prizes from local businesses. Sign-ups for the contests will occur through out the day and are open to all interested.

Food will be available for purchase on site and vendors will be selling handcrafted hoops and other creative items.

The grand finale of Pittsfield City Hoopla begins at 8pm with an “enchanted illuminated spin extravaganza” featuring live drumming by Aimee Gelinas and her Rhythm Keepers from Pittsfield, and fire hoop and dance performances by Lita Lundeen-Setchfield, Angyl Fyre, Maria Mariposa and more.

Pittsfield City Hoopla is created by Stefanie Weber/Creatures of Habitat in partnership with Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development and is supported in part through funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council and Greylock Federal Credit Union. Additional community supporters and sponsors include Mark Tomasi, Day Mountain Sound, The Earth Shoppe, BerkshireGirl, Elm St. Barber Shop, New Image Salon, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Community Day, Lenox Community Center and Berkshire Dance Theater.

The 3rd annual Pittsfield City Hoopla festival will be held Saturday, July 30th, from 10am to 10pm, rain or shine. For more information visit To pre-register for a workshop email or call 413.281.6734.

Pittsfield City Hoopla festival
Free, family friendly, outdoors, rain or shine
Saturday, July 30th, 10am to 10pm
Springside Park
874 North Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201

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Monday, July 25, 2011

A Memorable RV Vacation in Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts is home to exactly the kind of attractions avid RV campers like to find. Historic settings, first-class outdoor recreation venues and heart-stopping scenery promise a memorable RV vacation. Here's a three day itinerary that includes something for everyone.

Day One: Pittsfield State Forest

Start your trip near the New York/Massachusetts border at Pittsfield State Forest, home to excellent campgrounds and a whole host of outdoor play possibilities. Bring your fishing poles to fish Berry Pond and plan to hike at least one of the forest trails to find waterfalls and other Taconic Mountain mysteries. The Taconic Crest Trail, in particular, draws hikers and mountain bikers from all over America.

Day Two: Historic Western Massachusetts

Just down the road from the state forest you'll find the historic town of Pittsfield, sometime home of literary legend Herman Melville. Melville's Arrowhead is the farm on which he finally settled with his family and wrote Moby Dick, as well as other famous works. You can tour Arrowhead and also enjoy the venue's fascinating historical exhibits.

Once you've enjoyed Arrowhead, turn the RV toward another of the area's historic sites, Hancock Shaker Village. This living history museum, on the outskirts of Pittsfield, celebrates the life of the Shakers, who came to America in the late 1700s seeking religious freedom. Visit the exhibits, watch live demonstrations of crafts and skills and hike the Village's trails that lead into the surrounding Berkshires.

And then it's time to travel I-90 east about an hour to visit Holyoke Heritage State Park. An urban historic park in the canal-lined mill town of Holyoke, it offers visitors the chance to see regional history exhibits, ride the antique carousel and tour the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Stay to walk the charming streets of Holyoke and enjoy the quaint architecture.

Day Three: Massachusetts Small Town Charm

The final day of our Western Massachusetts RV itinerary takes you back west on I-90 to the town of Lee, Massachusetts which bills itself as the "Gateway to the Berkshires." You'll find excellent hiking, boating and fishing opportunities at nearby October Mountain State Forest, as well as an RV campground. Nature photographers will enjoy the stunning scenery at Goose Pond Reservation, ten minutes south of Lee. You can catch a ride on the vintage Berkshire Scenic Railway four miles away in Lenox, MA, or you can decide to slow things down on your final day and simply enjoy the small town charm for which Lee is famous.

Decide to spend some time RV camping in Western Massachusetts and you'll gain singular vacation memories to treasure. The beauty of the Berkshires and the region's historic villages come together to make this region one you won't soon forget.

About the Author

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. Be sure to check out their new Professional Football (NFL) Tailgating and RV Tailgating Tailgating to College Football Games pages in preparation for the upcoming seasons.