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Hilltown Spring Festival entertains, benefits residents

The musical lineup is tuning up for the 7th annual Hilltown Spring Festival, which will feature a range of performers, vendors, exhibits and children’s activities, while raising funds for Hilltown Community Development Corp. The Chesterfield agency provides services and programs to Hilltown residents, including low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

As it has in the past, this year’s fest will feature band and musicians from throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond. Performers will include percussionist Tony Vacca’s World Rhythms, the acoustic string band Appalachian Still, singer-songwriter Heather Maloney, the Lonesome Brothers, Hot Day at the Zoo, the Walkin’ Blues Band and Daniel hales, and the frost heaves. Music for children will be performed by Mister G, David Grover and Terry A La Berry. Family workshops will be led by percussionists Aimee Gelinas and Tony Vacca, Jim Armenti of the Lonesome Brothers and Mariam Massaro.

New this year, amateur performers of all ages are invited to entertain at an open microphone, serenading attendees as they check out the offerings at food booths and displays of sustainable living products and services. Festivalgoers will find farmers selling starter plants, local craft vendors, Morris dancers, horse-training demonstrations, exhibits by local organizations, as well as an alternative energy exposition. Children’s activities are planned throughout the day, including a children’s festival, Maypole dancing at noon, young people selling their crafts and a performance by 8-foot-tall puppets.

The June 1 festival will be held at the Cummington Fairgrounds at 97 Fairgrounds Road. Gates open at 10 a.m.; music begins at 11 a.m. Admission is $8; children 12 and under are free. For information and to view the music schedule, visit www.hilltowncdc.org.

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Fertile ground

Usually when people think of the iconic British writer Virginia Woolf, they conjure up her books “Mrs. Dalloway,” “To the Lighthouse” and “Orlando” or her famous essay, “A Room of One’s Own.”

A talk Friday by Cummington resident Madeline Zadik, who supervises education and outreach services at Smith College’s Botanic Garden in Northampton, will present another perspective of Woolf: the presence of plants and flowers in her life. Zadik’s “A Botanical Perspective” will highlight the gardens and botanical artwork of Woolf’s family and friends, and Woolf’s written botanical descriptions. The presentation is sponsored by Worthington Gardeners and the Worthington Historical Society.

“We know she is somebody who struggled with depression, and was influenced by the Bloomsbury group,” a group of intellectuals, Zadik said in a recent phone interview. But from a very young age, Woolf’s daily life also included the frequent image of her mother, Julia Duckworth, in the garden.

“Inklings of plant and garden show up in her writing and the book covers her sister designed,” she said, referring to her sister Vanessa Bell’s floral designs.

Previously presented in conjunction with the International Virginia Woolf Conference held at Smith College in 2003, the talk will be held on Friday at the Worthington Historical Society. The society is located at the corner of routes 143 and 112. A $10 donation is suggested.

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Community event

On Saturday, a Family Community Service event will offer folks the chance to build a birdhouse or fashion catnip toys as part of a number of free, hands-on service projects to support animal welfare organizations, conservation efforts and food security. Hilltown Families, a family-oriented website based in Chesterfield, organized the event that will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Leeds School. Participating families will get a “Community Service Passport,” stamped at each of the seven project stations, and will be able to continue their community service together from home.

Service projects will include building bluebird houses for the Franklin Land Trust, making catnip toys for the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society and learning how to grow an extra row of food in your garden to give to local food pantries. Participants will also create native wildflower seed dirt bombs to promote natural habitats for pollinating birds, transform used T-shirts into bags used at home to collect food for local pantries or animal shelters, and learn how to write letters of appreciation or in support of campaigns. Leeds School is located at 21 Florence St. off Route 9 in Leeds. For information and to preregister, visit www.hilltownfamilies.org.

Laura Rodley can be reached at lrodley.gazette@gmail.com.

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