Family finds: Movies, fairs, ghosts and more

Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BIG SCREEN CLASSICS: For a last blast of summer, you can throw down a blanket on the lawn of the Forbes Library in Northampton tonight and enjoy a free viewing of “Back to the Future” (1985; rated PG), 7 to 9:30 p.m. This classic is about a teenager who accidentally goes 30 years back in time and must make sure his high school-age parents meet in order to save his own existence.

Or, if you prefer an indoor experience, head to the Amherst Cinema tonight instead, for a 7:30 p.m. showing of the 1952 musical “Singin’ in the Rain.” Tickets are $8.75, or $7.75 for students and seniors.

STONE SOUL FESTIVAL: The 26th annual Stone Soul Festival celebrating African-American arts and culture takes place Aug. 29 to 31 at Blunt Park in Springfield. The festivities include amusement rides, kids’ activities, grilled foods, gospel music and more. Free; all welcome. http://ssfestival.weebly.com/

HOST FAMILIES: MacDuffie School students from around the world — including Turkey, Thailand, China and Brazil — are seeking Home Stay families in and around Granby for the coming school year.

Visiting students are treated as members of the family and are included in the host’s daily routine, meals, traditions and family events just like any other family member. To learn more contact Kevin Hillman at khillman@macduffie.org.

FAIR WARNING: If you missed the Cummington Fair, or need more rides, fried dough and other indulgences, two more fairs are coming right up. The Three County Fair in Northampton (Aug. 29 to Sept. 1; www.threecountyfair.com ) and the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield (Sept. 4 to 7; www.fcas.com) promise Frisbee dogs, racing pigs, magic, demolition derbies, agricultural exhibits and more. “Local” is the buzzword this year: The Northampton event includes a new local music festival; the Greenfield fair this year offers a local talent show.

KIDS’ CRUISE: Children can get a closeup view of the French King Gorge and the rocky cliffs along the Connecticut River during a children’s cruise Sept. 6 on board the Quinnetukut II Riverboat. The 40-minute trip departs from the Northfield Mountain Environmental and Recreation Center in Millers Falls. The cost is $6, with tour times at 11 or 11:50 a.m. To pre-register, call (413) 659-4426.

CHALK MARKS: The fifth annual Northampton Chalk Art Festival will be held Sept. 12, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., as part of the city’s Arts Night Out. Selected artists are invited to create drawings in chalk on 5-by-5-foot cement canvases located throughout downtown until 4 p.m.; the public can watch the pieces develop or view the finished ones during the city’s gallery walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Artists can apply to participate by Aug. 29 (applications are available at the Guide Art Supply on Main Street). Artists receive stipends and compete for cash prizes.

GHOST TOURS: Valley Ghost Tours offers 90-minute, family-friendly walks through Northampton neighborhoods Sept. 5 to Oct. 31. The tours include local ghost stories, which tour-giver Annie Keithline says may be scary but not gory. “People on the tour will come away with knowledge about other kinds of ghosts, and a much more subtle understanding about what ghosts mean, what keeps them here, what they do and why,” she says. $15, or $10 for students, seniors and children. Half-price tickets available the first week. www.valleyghosttours.com.