Fun in the Sun
Beyond Hooplandia, the region offers a wide variety of cultural and recreational happenings for the whole family, from baseball to beer tastings; fireworks to festivals; jazz to jubilees. Here are 20 such upcoming events, and where to find out more about them. Enjoy!
Valley Blue Sox
MacKenzie Stadium, 500 Beech St., Holyoke
Admission: $5-$7; flex packs, $59-$99
Now through July 29: Western Mass. residents don’t have to trek to Boston to catch quality baseball. The Valley Blue Sox, two-time champions of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, play the home half of their 44-game schedule close to home at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke. Frequent promotional events like postgame fireworks and giveaways help make every game a fun, affordable event for the whole family.
Bullens Field, 181 Notre Dame St., Westfield
Admission: $10; flex packs, $99
Now through Aug. 6: Still can’t get enough baseball? Celebrating their fifth season of action, the Starfires, a member of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, play a slightly longer schedule (56 games) than the Blue Sox. The team plays at Bullens Field in a city with a rich baseball history, and peppers its games with plenty of local flavor and fan experiences.
IRONMAN 70.3 Western Massachusetts Triathlon
Admission (for spectators): Free
June 11: Springfield will host the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Western Mass. triathlon, which consists of a 70.3-mile journey as athletes will take on a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run. Athletes will start with a downriver swim in the Connecticut River. Once out of the water, athletes will transition to the bike at Riverfront Park in downtown Springfield for the 56-mile ride around the region’s biking areas. Once back in Riverfront Park, the race will conclude with a run using the riverwalks and downtown streets of Springfield.
June 16-18: Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the U.S. two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Juneteenth in Springfield will celebrate this holiday with three days of activities, including a flag raising at the Black Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Mason Square and an adult block party at Level 5 restaurant on June 16; a family fun day featuring music, kids’ activities, youth and business award presentationsl, complimentary food from Black-owned restaurants, and more on June 17; and a Father’s Day brunch at the Dunbar Center on June 18.
Worthy Craft Beer Showcase
201 Worthington St., Springfield
June 17: Smith’s Billiards and Theodores’ Booze, Blues & BBQ, both in the city’s entertainment district, will host more than two dozen breweries at an event that also features live music from the General Gist and others, and plenty of food. The event will also feature a home-brew contest; Amherst Brewing will make the winner’s beer and serve it at next year’s Brew Fest. Designated drivers pay reduced admission of $10.
Green River Festival
One College Dr., Greenfield
Admission: Weekend, $169.99; Friday, $59.99; Saturday, $74.99; Sunday, $74.99
June 23-25: For one weekend every summer, Franklin County Fairgrounds hosts a high-energy celebration of music; local food, beer, and wine; handmade crafts; and games and activities for families and children — all topped off with hot-air-balloon launches and a Saturday-evening ‘balloon glow.’ The music is continuous on three stages, with more than 35 bands slated to perform.
June and July: Western Mass. communities will host numerous fireworks events around the Fourth of July this year. Sites include Szot Park, Chicopee, June 24; Quarry Hill School, Monson, June 24; Look Memorial Park, Northampton, June 24; Westfield Middle School, June 25; Holyoke Community College, June 30; UMass Amherst McGuirk Stadium, July 1; Beacon Field, Greenfield, July 1; Smith Middle School, South Hadley, July 1; Six Flags New England, Agawam, July 1-3; and Riverfront Park, Springfield, July 4.
Berkshires Arts Festival
380 State Road, Great Barrington
Admission: $7-$15; ages 9 and under free
July 1-3: Ski Butternut plays host to the Berkshires Arts Festival, a regional tradition for more than two decades. Thousands of art lovers and collectors are expected to stop by to check out and purchase the creations of 155 jury-selected artists and designers from across the country, in both outdoor and air-conditioned indoor exhibition spaces. The family-friendly event also features demonstrations, food, and live music.
Main Street, Monson
July 4: In 1979, a group of parishioners from the town’s Methodist church wanted to start an Independence Day celebration focused on family and community, The first Summerfest featured food, games, and fun activities. With the addition of a parade, along with booths, bands, rides, and activities, the event has evolved into an attraction drawing more than 10,000 people every year. This year’s parade steps off at 10 a.m. on Main Street, followed by activities, music, and a beer garden later in the day.
Southwick Pro Motocross National
The Wick 338, 46 Powder Mill Road, Southwick
July 8: The Southwick National is back on the schedule at the Wick 338. This historic racetrack makes its return to the circuit on July 8 and will serve as the sixth round of the 2023 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. Gates open at 7 a.m., and ticket prices span a wide range of viewing opportunities, including preferred and VIP options.
Brimfield Outdoor Antiques Show
Route 20, Brimfield
July 11-16, Sept. 5-10: After expanding steadily through the decades, the Brimfield Antique Show now encompasses six miles of Route 20 and has become a nationally known destination for people to value antiques, collectibles, and flea-market finds. Some 6,000 dealers and close to 1 million total visitors show up at the three annual, week-long events; the first was in May.
Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival
300 North Main St., Florence
Admission: $5-$22; age 5 and under free
July 15: Held at Look Memorial Park, this 28nd annual festival celebrating all things Scottish features bagpipes, heavy athletics, Celtic dance, drumming, vendors, historical demonstrations, musical guests, children’s events, and much more. For the second straight year, guests can also attend a whiskey-tasting master class ($30) where they can sample and learn the differences and complexities of single-malt scotch whiskey, as well as learning the history of the spirit and how it is made.
Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival
Stearns Square, Springfield
July 21-22: The annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival descends upon Stearns Square and surrounding streets this summer, offering a festive atmosphere featuring locally and internationally acclaimed musical artists. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend. The musical lineup will be announced soon on the website.
Springfield Dragon Boat Festival
121 West St., Springfield, MA
Admission (for spectators): Free
July 29: The sixth annual Springfield Dragon Boat Festival returns to North Riverfront Park. Hosted by the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club, this family-friendly festival features the exciting sport of dragon-boat racing and will include music, performances, food, vendors, kids’ activities, and more. The festival is an ideal event for businesses and organizations looking for a team-building opportunity, and provides financial support for the Riverfront Club.
Brew at the Zoo
The Zoo in Forest Park, Springfield
Admission: $50-$75; designated drivers $25-$35
Aug. 5: Brew at The Zoo is a fundraiser at the Zoo in Forest Park, featuring unlimited craft-beer samples from local breweries, a home-brew competition, live music, food trucks, games, and, of course, animal interactions. The fundraiser supports the general operating costs of the more than 225 animals that call the zoo home, many of which have been deemed non-releasable by a wildlife rehabilitator for reasons relating to injury, illness, permanent disability, habituation to humans, and other factors.
Admission: Varies; check websites
August and September: As regional fairs go, the Big E (thebige.com), slated for Sept 15 to Oct. 1, is still the region’s main draw, and there’s something for everyone, whether it’s the copious fair food, livestock shows, Avenue of States houses, parades, local vendors and crafters, or live music. But the Big E isn’t the only agricultural fair on the block. The Middlefield Fair (middlefieldfair.org) kicks off the fair season on Aug. 11-13, followed by the Westfield Fair (thewestfieldfair.com) on Aug. 18-20, the Cummington Fair (cummingtonfair.com) on Aug. 24-27; the Three County Fair in Northampton (3countyfair.com) on Sept. 1-4, the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield (fcas.com) on Sept. 7-10, and the Belchertown Fair (belchertownfair.com) on Sept. 22-24, to name some of the larger gatherings.
22 St. George Road, Springfield
Sept. 8-10: Every year, St. George Cathedral offers thousands of visitors the best in traditional Greek foods, pastries, music, dancing, and old-fashioned Greek hospitality. In addition, the festival offers activities for children, tours of the historic St. George Cathedral and Byzantine Chapel, vendors from across the East Coast, icon workshops, movies in the Glendi Theatre, cooking demonstrations, and more.
Mattoon Street Arts Festival
Mattoon Street, Springfield
Sept. 9-10: Now celebrating its 50th year, the Mattoon Street Arts Festival is the longest-running arts festival in the Pioneer Valley, featuring about 100 exhibitors, including artists that work in ceramics, fibers, glass, jewelry, painting and printmaking, photography, wood, metal, and mixed media. Food vendors and strolling musicians help to make the event a true late-summer destination.
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams
Admission: three-day pass, $64-$184; age 6 and under free
Sept. 22-24: The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is known for its musical events, and the FreshGrass festival is among the highlights, showcasing dozens of bluegrass artists and bands on four stages over three days. This year, the lineup includes Dropkick Murphys Acoustic, Lukas Nelson + POTR, Sierra Ferrell, Rhiannon Giddens, the Devil Makes Three, and many more.
Old Deerfield Craft Fair
8 Memorial St., Deerfield
Admission: $7, age 12 and under free
Sep. 23-24: This award-winning show that closes out the summer tourism season has been recognized for its traditional crafts and fine-arts categories and offers a great variety of items, from furniture to pottery. And while in town, check out all of Historic Deerfield, featuring restored, 18th-century museum houses with period furnishings, demonstrations of Colonial-era trades, and a collection of Early American crafts, ceramics, furniture, textiles, and metalwork.