Local Farmer Awards

Through Jan. 31: Farmers in Western Mass. are invited to apply for Local Farmer Awards of up to $2,500. These awards are for capital and infrastructure improvement projects related to planting, growing, harvesting, and processing that will help farms compete in the marketplace. The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF), in partnership with Big Y and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, along with the support of other funders, is entering the 10th year of the awards program, which has helped more than 260 farmers carry out a total of 572 projects. The Three County Fair is a new addition to the group of funders this year. The awards have helped farmers make necessary improvements, such as upgrading electric fencing, purchasing no-till equipment, expanding irrigation, installing frost-free water systems, purchasing feed troughs, and applying shade cloths for greenhouses. To be eligible, farms must have gross sales of $10,000 and be located in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, or Berkshire County. For a full list of eligibility requirements and application information, visit The deadline for applying is Jan. 31.


40 Under Forty Nominations

Through Feb. 16: BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2023. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Feb. 16. Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be as detailed and thorough as possible, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed online at Nominations will be weighed by a panel of judges, and the selected individuals will be announced and profiled in the April 29 issue of BusinessWest and honored at the 40 Under Forty Gala in June. Event sponsorship opportunities are available.


Margaritaville at Herrell’s

Jan. 21-28: Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton will celebrate its annual Margaritaville. Some of the flavors being served this year will be winning flavors from the UMass ice-cream-making competition from the last several years. These flavors have become popular rotating flavors at Herrell’s and are often served during summer months. The Margaritaville flavors this year will include Berry Tequila Tango (UMass), Mango Sorbet, Mango Ice Cream, Coconut Chocolate Chip, Piña Colada, Aloha Sunrise, Key Lime Cream, Sublime (UMass), Strawberry Banana, and Spicy Pineapple Margarita (UMass).


Free Music Fridays

Jan. 26 to Feb. 23: MGM Springfield is once again bringing summer inside. The popular Free Music Fridays Summer Concert Series on the MGM Springfield Plaza will move into MGM Springfield’s ARIA Ballroom beginning Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Kicking off the 2024 indoor series is the Blushing Brides, billed as the original tribute to the Rolling Stones. The lineup also includes ’80s rock and metal band Aquanett, local modern country music fan favorite Trailer Trash, party band Darik and the Funbags, and, closing out the series, the Eagles Experience tribute show. Beer, wine, mixed drinks, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available during the shows. Guests also can enjoy MGM Springfield’s diverse food and beverage offerings before or after the concerts, with options including the Chandler Steakhouse, Costa, Tap Sports Bar, and South End Market. For additional details on the Free Music Fridays Concert Series, including lineup updates, visit


Difference Makers

April 10: The 16th annual Difference Makers Gala will be held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Since 2009, BusinessWest has been recognizing the work of individuals, groups, businesses, and institutions through this recognition program. The 2024 Difference Makers will be announced, and their stories told, in the Feb. 19 issue of BusinessWest and at Event ticket information will follow. The Royal Law Firm is a partner sponsor of Difference Makers this year, and other sponsorships are available.