Get your orange pens ready to mark up the calendar because the October 413 Family Events Calendar is now LIVE on The413Mom! There are SO many fun seasonal events happening this month. I hope these calendar listings help your family make wonderful memories this fall. Happy October!
I've never been the type of mom to worry whether someone got dirty. I don't often complain about muddy knees. Or glitter on the carpet. Or marker covered shirt cuffs. Fortunately, I actually enjoy doing laundry. However, I don't always get to it right away. We might be too busy cleaning up a river, painting a masterpiece, or chasing a muddy dog.
Which is why my go-to laundry savior is BIZ Liquid Stain Fighter. It's a super simple laundry booster -- it helps any laundry detergent work harder. Just add a capful to any load. It also works as a great pre-treater (when I remember) applied directly to a clothing stain. BIZ works on all types of stains: blood, grass, paint, grape juice, chocolate, mud...whatever a creative/outdoorsy family can dish out.
Cleans up to 80% BETTER than detergent alone
MORE STAIN FIGHTERS than other brands
Fights tough stains BETTER THAN OXI CLEAN guaranteed!
Contains a UNIQUE blend of enzymes which quickly dissolves stains and odors
Made with BIODEGRADABLE surfactants (a substance that tends to reduce the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved)
Pre-treat stains directly with BIZ liquid by wetting the area with warm water and applying BIZ. Rub gently and wait 5-10 minutes then wash as usual. Or, add BIZ to every load to boost the power of your detergent.
You can learn more about this little miracle product here. Locally, you can find BIZ Liquid Stain Fighter at Wal Mart and you can even download a coupon for $1 off. Your laundry will thank you!
September 28: Fall Foliage Children's Parade, 4:30-6:30 p.m., costume parade, theme is "Year of the Dog," prizes awarded, see link for details, Downtown North Adams, FREE.
September 28: Family Fun Night, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Pictionary, corn hole, bowling, games, pizza, popcorn, cookies, more, Melha Shriners, 133 Longhill St., Springfield, FREE.
September 29: Fall Source to Sea Cleanup, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., gloves and trash bags provided, help clean up the banks of the CT River, meet at the Green River Bridge in Westfield or Pynchon Point in Agawam, FREE.
September 29: Kids Club Fall Leaf Sign, 10 a.m. - noon, DIY fall owl project for ages 3 and up, all Michael's Crafts stores. Admission: $2-$5 depending on project.
September 29: DIY Story Stones, 10 a.m. - noon, for ages 7-11, make decoupaged stones, please BYO stones, Whately Public Library, 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, FREE.
September 29: Escape from New Gate, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Revolutionary War re-enactment, canon demo, kids activities, more, Old New Gate Prison & Copper Mine, 115 Newgate Road, East Granby, CT. Admission: $5.
September 29: Valley Kids Festival & Craft Fair, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., petting zoo, pony rides, bounce house, make a scarecrow, games, crafts, craft show, food, more, rain or shine, Amherst Town Common, Amherst, FREE.
September 30: Festival of the Hills, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., live music, parade, food, kids activities, games, road race, craft fair, more, Conway Ballfield and Town Center, Conway, FREE admission.
Through Thanksgiving: Art in the Orchard, dawn to dusk, orchard sculpture trail, PYO apples, Park Hill Orchard, 82 Park Hill Road, Easthampton. Admission: FREE; however $5/person, $20 family max suggested donation is appreciated.
September 21-23: Camp Anime 7.0, Friday evening - Sunday afternoon, summer camp-like event for anime enthusiasts, panels, cosplay, instruction, boating, archery, rock climbing, camping, more, see link for details, 42 Woodstock Road, Woodstock, CT. Admission: single day, multi-day and overnight packages available -- see link for details.
September 22: FREE Museum Day Live, all day, FREE admission to over 1,000 museums around the country, see link for details and local venues, FREE.
September 22: WHOA Day, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., kids of all ages with adults welcome to come explore rock climbing, geocaching, mountain biking, shooting sports, blacksmithing and more, use link to register Horace A. Moses Scout Reservation, 310 Birch Hill Road, Russell. Admission: $10/child, $15/adult (ages 10 and up).
September 22: Kids Club Fall Leaf Sign, 10 a.m. - noon, Klutz air dry clay project for kids ages 3 and up, all Michael's Crafts stores. Admission: $2-$5 depending on project.
September 22: Touch a Truck, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Brown's Harvest, 1911 Poquonock Ave., Windsor, CT. Admission: $5/person.
September 22: A Fairy Went A-Marketing Story Walk, 10:30 a.m., nature walk with touch table activities, Hitchcock Center for the Environment, 845 West St., Amherst, FREE (use link to register).
September 22: Alumni Weekend Celebration, 2-8 p.m., hay rides, volleyball game, football game, bonfire, BBQ, explore tractors, visit with farm animals, kids activities, more, Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, 80 Locust St., Northampton, FREE admission.
September 22 & 23: Lenox Apple Squeeze, see link for schedule, live entertainment, food, kids activities, 5K run, wagon rides, games, vendors, more, Downtown Lenox, FREE admission.
Smithsonian Magazine is offering free admission to over 1,000 museums around the country on Saturday, September 22 and you can register for your free admission now. This year, Museum Day will showcase Women Making History: Trailblazers in the arts, sciences, innovation & culture.
Just visit smithsonianmag.comto see a list of local participating venues. Participating kid-friendly museums in Massachusetts and Connecticut include the Springfield Museums, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford and the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT. There are many more to chose from, browse the list to see what would be a good fit for your family. You have to chose which museum to visit when you reserve your ticket. A few years ago we visited the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Mashantucket, CT -- it was a-maz-ing. Highly recommend! I think we're going to head to the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, CT this year.
I don't know if many folks don't know about this program, or if museums are just not that popular in September but we've taken advantage of this program several times and the venues were never overcrowded. In fact, we pretty much had the museum to ourselves last year. So please don't pass on this idea because you think the venues are going to be overwhelming. I've never found that to be the case.
Each ticket is good for two free admissions on Sept. 22. This offer is limited to one ticket per household/email address. You can reserve your ticketshere.
Free is for Me! Thanks, Smithsonian! #MuseumDay #WomenMakingHistory
All aboard for a unique weekend explore in Chester!
Anyone interested in New England history and/or railway history needs to visit the Chester Railway Station & Museum. Did you even know that our area is home to the first keystone arch bridges built in America? AND that at the time this railway was laid it was the longest and most difficult railroad project ever completed?
I'm always highlighting my status as a New England History Nerd with these posts, but I just can't help it. I love learning about firsts. And this little museum is a gem of New England history. You can not only learn all about this revolutionary railway line, there is a great collection of lanterns, uniforms, photographs and other memorabilia.
To be honest, the museum collection might be found lacking by the youngest train enthusiasts (there's no Thomas here) but the kids will LOVE to explore the caboose, run around the grounds, and my six-year-old was fascinated by the Keystone Arches diorama inside.
Here's perhaps the coolest thing about the Chester Railway Station: you can rent out the caboose for an overnight stay. How fun would that be?! What a great family camping adventure. You can reserve the caboose for only $60/night including grill, firewood, and electricity is available. We're definitely putting this on next summer's bucket list.
The Chester Railway Station & Museum is open Saturday & Sunday from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., July through September. You can also request an appointment to view the museum by calling 413-354-7878. The museum is located at 10 Prospect Street in Chester. There is plenty of free on-site parking and several restaurants withing walking distance for lunch. The entire building is ADA compliant (including the very clean bathrooms).
Admission is by donation only -- please be generous -- it would be such a shame if this truly unique New England gem was not operable. You can follow their Facebook page for special event updates.
After you learn all about railway history in Western Mass you can drive two miles down the road to visit the history in person by hiking the Keystone Arches Trail. This is a moderate, 2.5 mile trail (five miles total if you completely hike in and back out) but you certainly don't have to hike the whole thing to get a feel for the history of railway. You'll find the trail head on Middlefield Street at Herbert Cross Road in Chester.
After you park in the small parking area and head down the hill, you'll very quickly come upon a beautiful waterfall. There is access to the water here which the kids will love on a hot day. (The West Branch of the Westfield River is easily accessible throughout the trail with alternating calm and rapid water, but there are plenty of safe, splashable spots for little hikers). After you pass the waterfall, look for a narrow path on the left heading down to the river -- follow this and you'll have a beautiful view of the first set of keystone arches. If you have not-so-enthusiastic outdoor enthusiasts in your party, you can hike in and out pretty quickly and still feel like you've seen what you came for. But if you keep going on the trail there's plenty more to see. There are five keystone arches you can hunt for along the trail.
The trail is clear but rocky. You cannot bring a stroller through here. We hiked a day after rain and much of the trail was wet and muddy -- make sure everyone has water resistant footwear. There are lots of opportunities for water play even without going in the river so definitely bring a change of clothes for the littles. Some of the bridges on the trail are open -- do NOT let the kiddos run ahead. While some sections of the trail feel very secure, it's not a lazy family hike. You need to stay alert for changes in terrain.
You can easily visit the museum and hike a section of the trail within a few hours -- 2 to 5 depending on how long you want to hike for. There are plenty of restaurants in Chester center to grab some lunch or pack a picnic and eat it at the museum or on the trail. This is a beautiful way to spend a weekend afternoon. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. See you on the trail!
Mark your calendars for mid-September folks, because you do NOT want to miss next year's Granby Open Farm Day in Granby, CT.
The event is held annually in and offers the public access to a dozen working farms around the town complete with a backstage look at the animals, machinery, gardens, grounds and of course the farmers.
We attended yesterday and we were able to visit with chicken, goats and horses; we made some crafts and learned about robotics with the Granby 4-H kids; we took a hike, shopped for amazing produce, ate some ice cream and admired fields of beautiful flowers. It was a perfect family Saturday.
Each year the Granby Agricultural Commission prints up a map and passport highlighting all of the participating locations. You can follow the map to chose the locations you want to visit and at each farm you can collect a stamp in the passport. At the end of your stay you can turn in the passport for a chance to win some fun prizes. But of course the real prize is being outdoors in the beautiful mid-September weather spending time together as a family and supporting our local farmers.
Follow the Granby Agricultural Commission on Facebook to find out when future events will be held and pencil it in on the calendar for next year -- you won't be disappointed. #eatlocal #livelocal #supportyourfamers
I once again snuck out to the Big E this morning without the girls (I'm taking them after school so they don't mind too much) because I wanted to be able to give you a 2018 tips and tricks guide for when you visit with your kiddos. The good news? The Big E is just the same as it was last year. And the year before. And the year before that. But there are a few new things to note so here ya go:
We'll start off at the back of the fairgrounds near Gate 9:
Milkshakes for only $1.50 at the 4-H Milk Booth near the butter sculpture (Mallary Complex) -- these are really more like flavored milk but kids can choose from chocolate, vanilla or strawberry.
Also, look for the Christmas tree display near the Mallary Complex -- cute photo ops with wooden elf cutouts and also a nice place to let the kids free to explore -- it's never too busy back here. There is a lovely pond landscape and some paved pathways where toddlers can safely get some stroller freedom and stretch their legs.
If your kids love the animatronic veggie show in the Farm-A-Rama building don't miss the singing refrigerator show in the Mallary Complex.
This is also where you can see all the livestock being shown at the fair -- it's worth a walk through as many farms participating also have educational displays for the kids. Here you can see live sheep shearing daily at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. You can also see goat milking at 9:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m.
Swift Swine Pig Racing is back here and free to watch.
Look out for the Stella's Milk & Cookies food cart back here which offers a great value for feeding a crowd: a bucket of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies for $16.
The Orphaned Wildlife Center is worth a look (big wooden trailer that reads Bear Country). Admission is only $2/person or 2/$3 to go inside the trailer and look at some bears; however, even without paying the entry fee there is a neat educational display about rescuing and rehabilitating injured or abandoned wildlife.
The Wine & Cheese bar is also located in this area of the fairgrounds. There is a FREE wine tasting daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tons of Pokemon, Teen Titans a giant Beanie Boo-looking plush as prizes on the Midway so be prepared for that battle with the kids.
There are a few new kiddie rides and some new fun houses. Brand new this year: you can purchase a Midway Express Access Wristband for $15 which grants your kids an express line for rides -- a separate line just for kids with express wristbands. Note: you still must buy ride tickets OR a ride wristband. This $15 fee is in addition to ride cost.
Giant slide is still $2/ride (don't forget to save your post slide coupon for a FREE medium french fry at New England McDonald's locations).
Avenue of the States:
Omar Coffee at the entrance to the Avenue of States -- best cup of coffee at the fair. (Can't beat the large coffee and ginormous apple fritter for $6.00 -- enough to share).
The Camel Kingdom show runs daily at noon, 2:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. It's at the top of the Avenue of the States. It's worth a gander.
NO LEGO booth at the CT Building. I repeat -- there is NO LEGO booth at the CT Building this year. Do NOT tell your kids they can play LEGO at the fair (there was a rumor it would return this year but that rumor was wrong).
There is a fun CT Yard Goats inflatable pitching station the kids will enjoy.
There are cups of fresh raspberries or dried cranberries for only $1 in the MA Building near the talking cow.
There are also bucket sundaes for only $6.50 near Henrietta (the talking cow). This is a steal if your kids are good sharers. Much cheaper than buying individual ice creams. Plus you can reuse the cute little bucket they come in.
The Massachusetts building has a great DCR booth with lots of freebies the kids will love (pencils, stickers, activity books). There is also a beautiful exhibit here celebrating the Wampanoag tribe presented by Plimoth Plantation.
Cups of fresh milk are only $1.25 in the VT Building.
At least one food vendor in each of the state buildings sells bottled water for $1. Grab it here. Bottles of water are $2 and $3 at other food vendors outside the Avenue of States.
Some good food deals for kids in the VT building: $1 bottles of milk; single-serve Cabot cheese squares $.75 each or 3/$2; individual servings of maple sugar candy for $1; a large apple cider slushie for $3.
Apple cider donuts at Sweet Madeline's Cider Donuts are only $1 on the exterior side of the CT Building.
New Hampshire Building food deals: roasted ears of corn on the cob are $3.50 and chocolate dipped fruit is $6.
Two "Ultimate Maine Hot Dogs" for $8.00 located outside the back of the Maine Building.
Another great deal if feeding a crowd: a 5-pound chocolate or pumpkin Wicked Whoopie pie for $16 inside the Maine Building.
I always love the backyards of the state buildings as a great place to relax and let the kids run around in the grass. It's never overwhelmingly busy and you can usually find a spot at a picnic table.
Don't wait in line for the kettle corn behind the New Hampshire Building. Walk down to the kettle corn stand behind the Rhode Island building -- no wait and better taste, IMHO.
Farm A Rama (Stroh Building):
Farm A Rama deserves it's own category since this is where you can really sneak in some learning time for the kiddos.
The Big Y Farm to Table exhibit is a great place to let the littlest fair goers stretch their legs and play. They can grab a shopping basket and harvest some potatoes and apples and do some other produce shopping. They can grab an egg from a hen and milk a cow (pretend, of course). It's really fun.
Shiny apples (love, love, love the ladies who shine the apples) are still only $.50.
Chick Hatchery! Enough said.
Mama pig and her piglets are a-dor-a-ble.
Baby goats. Enough said.
Honey sticks are $.25 each at the Beekeeper's table.
The agriculture display are really top notch this year. The kids will love to see the crazy gourds, painted pumpkins and landscape vignettes.
The Stroh Building offers bathrooms and a large, separate diaper changing station. You can wheel the stroller right into the space and there are lots of clean counter tops.
There are lots of fun freebies for the kids in this building: Hood cow visors, coloring books, temporary tattoos, etc.
Make sure you stop and talk to the FFA kids with their displays. These kids work SO hard on their projects -- take a minute to ask about their work.
The Agawam Lions Club booth offers a BBQ chicken dinner with indoor seating for only $13. They also have a family meal for $55 -- not a bad deal if you're feeding a crowd at the fair. Look for the inflatable chicken at the end of the Avenue of State as you head toward the Midway.
Utter Delights Soft Serve is very good about food allergies. If you want to get your allergy kid a soft serve -- look for the blue awnings (and sprinkles are free).
Looking for an ice cream/donut treat? There are many to chose from but the moo-nut -- an ice cream filled donut is $7 (cheapest price I saw) at Moo-licous near the big yellow slide.
The Circus shows daily at 1:00, 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. Admission is FREE (but get there early to get seats).
Pay $5 to park at Rocky's Ace Hardware ($10/weekends) in Agawam and receive a $5 off any $20 store purchase through the end of the fair. Although parking on someone's lawn in Agawam for $5 is part of the fun of the Big E.
Viewing the Budweiser clydesales when they're not in the parade is a great stop. Each horse has a placard with their name and birthday -- this is fun for the kids to see if they share a birthday with any of the gentle giants. Clydesdale tent is located near the yellow slide.
Gates open at 8:00 a.m.; however, I wouldn't recommend going that early with little kids. Even though you can get a great view of the animals this early -- there is a lot of vehicular traffic on the grounds. Delivery trucks, cars, etc. It's a little crazy. I wouldn't want to have to chase a little one during this time. All vehicles must be off the grounds by 9:30 a.m. so plan to enter fairgrounds then. All buildings open at 10 a.m.
Stroller rentals are $10/day. $15 for a double. Wagons and wheelchairs are also $15/day. Electric scooters run $50/day. The rental booth will keep your ID as collateral. Stroller rental can be found near Chevrolet Court along the main avenue or near Gate 9 in the rear of the fairgrounds.
The 4-H section of the New England Center (think Cream Puffs building) usually has some hands-on activities for the kids. Again, take a minute to talk with the 4-H kids. You'd be surprised what you can learn!
The Nursing Mothers Lounge is also located in the New England Center.
The Green at Storrowton has a lot of shade and is another great spot to let the kids run around while you decompress for a few minutes. Not only can you tour the historic buildings here, there is usually an old-fashioned game going on or a demonstration of tool making or other interpretive event around the green.
The Mardi Gras parade runs at 5 p.m., Friday - Sunday at at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays. Catch some beads and you have a free souvenir for the kids.
If you want to leave the fair and return later that day -- be very careful of your hand stamp. They wash off very easily (and who doesn't want to wash their hands multiple times after leaving the Big E?!).
September 13-16: Lee Founders Weekend, see link for schedule, parade, fireworks, live music, food, vendors, car show, magic show, inflatables, historic tours, more, Downtown Lee, FREE.
September 14: Military Appreciation Day at the Big E, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., FREE admission for military members and veterans, Eastern State Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, FREE.
September 14: Northampton Chalk Art Festival, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., chalk art masterpieces will be created all day, family drawing time from 5-7 p.m., Arts Night Out gallery viewing from 5-8 p.m., Downtown Northampton, FREE.
September 14: FREE Second Friday,4-6 p.m., create a tape resist painting, free museum tours, Smith College Museum of Art, Route 9, Northampton, FREE.
September 15: Kids Club Fall Leaf Sign, 10 a.m. - noon, DIY fall animal props for kids ages 3 and up, all Michael's Crafts stores. Admission: $2-$5 depending on project.
September 15: Granby Open Farm Day, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., 11 farms open to the public to visit, see link for locations and schedule, Granby, CT, FREE.
September 15: Corn Maze Opening Day, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., dino maze fun, The Apple Place, 540 Somers Road, East Longmeadow. Admission: $10/ages 10 and up, $8 ages 5-10, FREE for kids four and under.
September 15: Easthampton Irish Festival, 6-10 p.m., live music and dancing, food, drink, BYO blanket or chairs, Millpond Live, 2 Mill St., Easthampton, FREE admission.
September 16: Pop Up Adventure Playground, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., community unplugged play with everyday building materials, Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, 220 Main St., Northampton, FREE.
September 16: Train Ride Public Meet, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., train rides, food available for purchase or BYO picnic, Pioneer Valley Live Steamers, 108 Hillside Road, Southwick. Admission: $5/person with a $15 family max.
September 16: Hawks at Mt. Tom, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., celebrate and learn about hawk migration, games, face masks, coloring, Mt.Tom Visitors Center and Playground, 125 Reservation Road, Holyoke, FREE.
September 16: DIY A Way with Wood Personal Sign, 4-7 p.m., Cub Scout Pack 49 Fundraiser, bake sale, silent auction, use link to register to make a sign (required for craft), Trinity Church, Sumner Avenue, Springfield. Admission: $10 for sign craft.
September 7: FREE Dental Clinic, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., FREE dental cleanings and fillings available, call (860)-668-4431 for a pre-screening and to make an appointment, Suffield Village Dental, 215 Suffield Village, Suffield, CT, FREE.
September 8: Car Show, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., all makes, models and years, Hubbard Memorial Library, 24 Center St., Ludlow, FREE.
September 8: Shriners Walk for Love, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., easy 3 mile walk, BBQ, live entertainment, on site registration, Shriners Hospital for Children, 516 Carew St., Springfield. Admission: $25/adult, $5/child, $40 family max (up to 4).
September 8: Vendor & Craft Fair, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., vendor sale, craft fair, tag sale, PYO apples, Bashista Orchards, 160 East St., Southampton, FREE admission.
September 8: Kids Club Fall Leaf Sign, 10 a.m. - noon, DIY fall leaves or fall leaf banner for kids ages 3 and up, all Michael's Crafts stores. Admission: $2-$5 depending on project.
September 8: Saturday Family Science, 10 a.m., snake and turtle themed program, Hitchcock Center for the Environment, 845 West St., Amherst, FREE.
September 8: Bat Day, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., family friendly activities and demonstrations to promote bat conservation, Old Newgate Prison and Copper Mine, 115 Newgate Road, East Granby, CT. Admission: $6/adults, FREE for kids ages 12 and under.
September 8: Family Fun Day, noon - 3 p.m., FREE apple pie, ice cream and apple cider, horse drawn wagon rides, face painting, live animal encounter, live music, more, The American Inn for Retirement Living, 802 College Highway, FREE.
September 8: Railyard Rascals/Life of the American Hobo, noon - 8 p.m., live music, folklore, historical reenactment, film screening, refreshments, Chester Railway Museum, 10 Prospect St., Chester. Admission: $5/person (suggested), FREE for kids under 12.
September 8 & 9: Harvest Craft Fair, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., vendors, crafters, food, kids activities, hay maze, PYO apples, more, Brookfield Orchards, 12 Lincoln Road, North Brookfield, FREE admission.
September 8 & 9: Suffield on the Green, Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. & Sun. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., bounce house, kids activities, live entertainment, vendors, pony rides, Suffield Town Green, Main Street at Mountain Road, Suffield, CT, FREE.
September 8 & 9: Mattoon Street Arts Festival, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., food, crafts, art sale, Mattoon Street, Springfield, FREE admission & parking.
September 9: Road Rangers Truck Show, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., trucks, food vendors, live music, raffle, Melha Shriner clowns, more, 270 Main St., Agawam, FREE admission.
Valerie Smart is a average mom trying to raise average kids. She is passionate about unplugged parenting and providing her girls with an old-fashioned childhood full of outdoor play, unstructured time, creative pursuits, and making family time a priority. She is attempting to swim against the tide of hyper competitive parenting that has become the norm today. Comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for visiting!