Family To-Do List

Published: 7/25/2017 2:44:58 PM

In 2009, the Newton-based philanthropic organization known as the Highland Street Foundation created its Free Fun Fridays initiative, a summer program that offers visitors no-cost admission to cultural venues throughout Massachusetts. This summer, each week for 10 consecutive Fridays, continuing through August 25, multiple sites have been opening their doors gratis to the public.

“The institutions participating in this initiative have the opportunity to inspire, engage and educate children and adults — ranging from babies to seniors and everyone in between,” says Anita Walker, director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council: “Equally important, Free Fun Fridays helps introduce the cultural community to diverse audiences.”

Locally, the public will have free access to the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst and Historic Deerfield on July 28; the Children’s Museum at Holyoke andthe International Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke on Aug. 4; the Smith College Museum of Art on Aug. 11; and the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst on Aug. 18. Visit for more information.

Circus at the fairground

Thanks to the sponsorship of Sunderland’s North Star: Self Directed Learning for Teens, Circus Smirkus will be returning to the Pioneer Valley for four performances of its new show, “Midnight at the Museum,” Aug. 1and 2 at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton.

Set in a museum that magically springs to life when the clock strikes midnight, “Midnight at the Museum” promises Jurassic jugglers, astonishing aerialists, courageous clowns and wily wirewalkers.

Show times are 1 and 6 p.m. each day. $22 ages 13 and older; $18 ages 2–12; lap children under 2 free. Tickets available locally at River Valley Co-Op (330 N King St, Northampton) and A2Z (57 King St, Northampton) or online at

Night of utter nonsense

Aug. 4-6 the Ko Festival of Performance will be welcoming the Team Sunshine Performance Corp for an interactive performance event titled “The Society of Civil Discourse”: “In an era where facts don't matter, in an area where fractious town meetings are the rule, and in a time when we have lost all sense of the humanity of those who disagree with us — we invite you to an evening of utter nonsense, an interactive night of debate, appreciation, hating and rhetorical excess. It’s all about style, not substance.”

Attendees may come and just quietly watch or they can take the opportunity to show off their rhetorical skills. After a brief period of mingling and beverages, all are invited to join the fictitious Society of Civil Discourse and to circulate between three or four talking stations where trained facilitators will guide participants in a combination debate, gripe session and mutual appreciation exercise: “Pick a card with silly opposing views on it. Defend one. You listen to others make noises of appreciation or disagreement. And you might even be tapped for the Great Debate that concludes the evening.”

Shows at Amherst College’s Holden Theater are Aug. 4-5 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. $17 general admission; $11 people with SNAP or EBT cards. 542-3750,

— Dan DeNicola

Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Valley Advocate Newsletter
Daily Hampshire Gazette Dining & Entertainment


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy