Celebrate Holyoke

Aug. 23-25: Celebrate Holyoke, a three-day festival drawing an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people to downtown Holyoke each year, will take place at Heritage State Park. This year’s festival will include live musical performances, food and beverages from local restaurants, and goods from local artists and makers. The event’s new fiscal sponsor is Holyoke Community Media Inc., a nonprofit that seeks to promote all voices in the community through media. This year, songwriter, social commentator, storyteller, actor, and activist Arlo Guthrie returns to Holyoke on Aug. 24. The Celebrate Holyoke planning committee welcomes alcohol distributors, food trucks, restaurateurs, artisans, nonprofits, and community organizations to apply to be a part of Celebrate Holyoke at Volunteers are greatly needed for shifts throughout the weekend of the event.

Real-estate Sales Licensing Course

Sept. 4 to Oct. 3: The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley will sponsor a 40-hour, 14-class, sales licensing course to help individuals prepare for the Massachusetts real-estate salesperson license exam. Tuition is $400 and includes the book and materials. The course curriculum includes property rights, ownership, condos, land use, contracts, deeds, financing, mortgages, real estate brokerage, appraisal, fair housing, consumer protection, Massachusetts License Law, and more. Classes meet Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. at the association office, 221 Industry Ave., Springfield.

Ribbon Cutting at Ohana School of Performing Arts

Sept. 5: Ohana School of Performing Arts will celebrate its new location, 41 Sheridan St. in Chicopee, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by refreshments. Expected attendees will include Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos and state Rep. Joseph Wagner. The journey to the new location was a chaotic road for Ohana, after being forced to relocate from its previous building in South Hadley less than two months before its annual end-of-year showcase in June. The building the previous studio occupied was sold abruptly in the spring, leaving Ohana only six weeks to find a space, renovate, and move. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will celebrate not only a new chapter for the studio, but an expansion in studio size and class offerings. Classes include ballet, tap, hip hop, musical theater, contemporary, parent/child combo classes, adult-level classes, fitness, and more. While quality education is crucial, it’s even more important at Ohana that each student leaves the studio having learned to value kindness, compassion, and inclusivity, said owner and Creative Director Ashley Kohl.

Car-wash Fundraiser for Chris Thibault

Sept. 7-8: Mercedes-Benz of Springfield is hosting a car-wash fundraiser benefiting Chris Thibault and his family. Thibault helped Mercedes-Benz get its start in Western Mass. more than two years ago, producing all its local commercials. “He is a very talented filmmaker and storyteller,” dealership owners Michelle and Peter Wirth said. “He touched our lives, and we want to help him as much as we can as he battles cancer.” Chris Thibault and his wife, Missy, own and operate Chris Teebo Films, a local production company. Chris has been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer and is fighting hard for his life. He recently lost his younger brother, Brandon, to cancer as well. So far, his cancer has been unresponsive to the past three treatments. He is currently undergoing a fourth treatment as well as alternative treatment options. The car wash will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, 295 Burnett Road, Chicopee. If you would like to donate time or services to the event, contact Michelle Wirth at [email protected].

HCC Foundation Golf Classic

Sept. 9: Registration is now open for the Holyoke Community College Foundation’s 32nd annual fundraising golf tournament at Springfield County Club in West Springfield. Proceeds from the annual tournament will support student scholarships and academic-equipment purchases through the HCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of Holyoke Community College. The golf outing begins with an 11:30 a.m. buffet lunch followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. The $185 fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner, and refreshments on the course. After golf, participants can enjoy cocktails on the clubhouse porch with scenic views of the Pioneer Valley, followed by dinner and the opportunity to enter raffles and bid on dozens of items, including restaurant gift certificates, Red Sox memorabilia, wine baskets, golf outings, and more. Over the past 31 years, the annual HCC Foundation Golf Classic has raised more than $500,000 for HCC scholarships and educational technology for HCC classrooms. Participants can arrange their own foursomes or sign up as singles. To register, visit Sponsorship opportunities are also still available.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Law Briefing

Sept. 10: Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. will host a morning briefing for employers about the final Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) regulations in Massachusetts and what employers must do to prepare. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m., and the program will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel on Boland Way. Presenters, including attorneys at Skoler Abbott and guest speakers Michael Doheny of the executive office of Labor and Workforce Development and Mark Adams from the Employers Assoc. of the NortheEast, will discuss changes made in the final PFML regulations and what employers must do to prepare for the new law. Topics will include a summary of the PFML’s coverage and leave provisions, with discussion on intersection with federal FMLA and other laws like the Massachusetts sick-time law; review and analysis of the final regulations; important deadlines for employers; key components of the new law and how they will impact organizations and employees; calculating and collecting contributions from the workforce; notifying employees about the new law; and exemptions and how to apply for them. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. The fee to attend the seminar is $25 per person, which includes a continental breakfast. To register, employers can visit For more information, call (413) 737-4753.

Paid Family and Medical Leave Seminar

Sept. 12: Over the past few months, Massachusetts-based employers have been inundated with information about the upcoming Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave requirements. Unfortunately, this deluge of information has done little to answer employers’ pressing questions. To date, most of this information has been speculative or otherwise subject to change before implementation. The good news is there are some things we do know for sure, and there is still some time before employer obligations go into effect. Due to the recent postponement of payroll contributions to Oct. 1, there is now more time to understand the new law and its implications. Royal, P.C. will host a discussion of the steps employers can begin to take to prepare for the implementation of Paid Family and Medical Leave. The event will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at 270 Pleasant St., Northampton. The price is $30 per person, and registration is limited. For more information or to register, contact Heather Loges at (413) 586-2288 or [email protected].

RVCC Golf Tournament

Sept. 13: River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC), a multi-faceted mental-health agency, will hold its fourth annual golf tournament fundraiser at 10:30 a.m. at East Mountain Country Club in Westfield. The event is presented by Action Ambulance Services. The funds raised will help RVCC to continue providing mental health and other essential supportive services to more than 7,000 individuals yearly throughout the Pioneer Valley. The cost per golfer is $100 and includes greens fees, a golf cart, gift bag, lunch, and dinner. Golfers will also be able to participate in a raffle and silent auction. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. There will also be contests on the course, with prizes donated by Marcotte Ford and Teddy Bear Pools. Other tournament sponsors include HCN, Unidine, PeoplesBank, CINTAS, Goss & McLain Insurance, Marsh & McLennan Agency, BMC HealthNet Plan, and Jefferson Radiology. For more information on sponsorships, in-kind donations, and registration, contact Angela Callahan, RVCC’s Marketing and Development specialist, at (413) 841-3546 or [email protected]. Information is also available at or by visiting River Valley Counseling Center’s Facebook page.

United Arc Annual Gala and Auction

Sept. 14: The United Arc will host its annual gala and auction from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell St., Hadley. The evening will feature a cocktail hour with open bar and hors d’ouevres, silent and live auctions, live music by Chris Eriquezzo, and dinner and program. Included once again in the raffles will be the ‘mystery box,’ valued at $400. Tickets cost $70 each. Proceeds support for the work of the United Arc, helping people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve the universal goals of inclusion, choice, and independence. Tickets may be purchased online at

Golf Tournament to Fight Childhood Hunger

Sept. 30: Feed the Kids will hold its second annual charity golf tournament to benefit No Kid Hungry and the HPS Weekend Backpack Program at Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. No Kid Hungry is a national organization that raises funds to support school breakfast programs, summer meals, afterschool meals, and more for children throughout the country. The HPS Weekend Backpack Program distributes bags of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals to children at the end of each week that they can enjoy over the weekend. Feed the Kids is currently seeking donations for the tournament’s silent auction, individual and corporate sponsors, and, of course, golfers. Check-in for the scramble-format tournament will begin at 10 a.m., with a shotgun start at noon. The fee is $160 per golfer, which includes greens fees, driving range, cart use, lunch, cocktail hour, dinner, and a gift bag. There will also be prizes, a raffle, and an auction. To make a cash donation, donate an item for the raffle or auction, learn more about sponsorship opportunities, or register to golf or for the dinner, visit

Healthcare Heroes

Oct. 17: The third annual class of Healthcare Heroes will be honored at the Sheraton Springfield from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Healthcare Heroes, a recognition program involving the Western Mass. healthcare sector, was launched in 2017 by HCN and BusinessWest. The program was created to shed a bright light on the outstanding work being done across the broad spectrum of health and wellness services, and the institutions and people providing that care. The class of 2019 will be profiled in the Sept. 2 issue of BusinessWest, and will be feted at the Oct. 25 gala. Tickets will go on sale in August. Healthcare Heroes sponsors include American International College (presenting sponsor), Baystate Health/Health New England (presenting sponsor), Development Associates (partner sponsor), Comcast (partner sponsor), Elms College (supporting sponsor), Keiter Builders (supporting sponsors), and Bulkley Richardson (supporting sponsor). Additional sponsorship opportunities are available.