Wednesday, June 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Bits & Bytes: Handmade Holiday Festival; ‘Dreams That Money Can Buy’; Hawthorne Valley Yuletide Fair; Whimsy at the Whit; ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Ventfort Hall

“Dreams That Money Can Buy” combines the real setting of a gallery with the simplicity of bidding on work through Instagram.

Roots Rising’s Handmade Holiday Festival supports local artisans

Dalton — Roots Rising’s Handmade Holiday Festival will celebrate its 11th year by filling the first floor of the Stationery Factory with over 60 artisans, farmers and food producers Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

From pottery and jewelry and gourmet food items to body care products and handmade wreaths and clothes, the Handmade Holiday Festival is a testing ground for new artisans and a way to support local entrepreneurs. Shoppers can enjoy locally roasted coffee and delicious prepared food to keep them feeling festive and fueled, and a children’s craft-making zone will run throughout the weekend so that every budding artisan can leave with a homemade gift.

The $2 entrance fee will support Roots Rising’s mission to empower youth and build community through food and farming. For more information and a vendor/activity list, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Roots Rising at (413) 344-0816 or


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Avalanche Art Space hosting experimental group show 

Chuck Agro, ‘Thingness Study,’ 2017. Image courtesy Avalanche Art Space

Great Barrington — Avalanche Art Space is hosting the experimental group show “Dreams That Money Can Buy,” which features the work of 26 established and emerging area artists. An opening reception will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Dreams That Money Can Buy” combines the real setting of a gallery with the simplicity of bidding on work through Instagram. The aim of the show is to promote the visibility and accessibility of the artist’s works by engaging audiences near and far. The show is produced as collaboration between Ken Habarta and Gabriel Adams.

All bids start at $100, and the bidding period for the auction will run through noon Sunday, Dec. 15, which is also the final day of the show. Ten percent of purchases will benefit Railroad Street Youth Project. For more information, contact Avalanche Art Space at


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Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School to hold annual Yuletide Fair

A gingerbread house creation at a recent Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School Yuletide Fair. Photo courtesy Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School

Ghent, N.Y. — Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School will hold its annual Yuletide Fair and gingerbread house auction Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The school’s assembly hall will be transformed into a winter wonderland with dozens of original gingerbread creations on display. Artisan vendors will fill the school’s classrooms with beautiful handcrafted items. The fair will also include activities for children such as candle dipping and stained glass making, a community craft room for handcrafted items, a Hand-to-Hand Room for gently worn wool clothing and wooden toys, tasty treats in the Cozy Café, a silent auction and more.

The Magical Puppet Tree will perform “Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place” presented in silk marionette theater with music by HVWS Grade Three class teacher Scott Esty and storytelling by Grade One class teacher Rachel Loshak. Performances will take place at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the Morningstar Kindergarten Theater. Admission is $4.

Children and adults are invited to enter this year’s gingerbread contest, a perennial favorite of the fair. Friends, families, and neighbors will have an opportunity to bid on their favorite entries at the gingerbread auction and take home an original work of gingerbread art to support the school.

The Yuletide Fair is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School at (518) 672-7092.


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Whitney Center for the Arts to host seventh annual Whimsy

The Dust Bowl Faeries. Photo courtesy Whitney Center for the Arts

Pittsfield — The Whitney Center for the Arts will host an opening reception for its seventh annual Whimsy art exhibit Saturday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. A concert with dark-carnival band Dust Bowl Faeries will follow at 8 p.m.

Whimsy will include work by Pittsfield painter Michael Carty, Common Folk Artist Collective curator Misa Chappell, Dust Bowl Faeries frontwoman Ryder Cooley, and Common Folk artist Katherine Haig.

New York-based Dust Bowl Faeries draw inspiration from circus, post-punk and Eastern European folk music. Accordion, singing saw, ukulele, lap-steel, guitar and percussion combine to create the band’s otherworldly sound. Featuring musicians Rubi LaRue, Jon B. Woodin, Liz LoGiudice and Andrew Stein, the band was founded by interdisciplinary artist Cooley and Hazel, a disembodied taxidermy ram who performs with the Fairies as their mascot/spirit animal.

The reception and concert are free and open to the public. The show will run through January 2020. For more information, contact the Whitney Center for the arts at (413) 443-0289 or


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Gerald Charles Dickens performing ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photo courtesy Vaillancourt Folk Art

Actor Dickens to perform ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Ventfort Hall

Lenox — British actor Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of literary legend Charles Dickens, will present a one-man theatrical performance of his ancestor’s classic work “A Christmas Carol” Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec 8, at 3:30 p.m. at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. A Victorian tea will follow the performance.

In 1993, Dickens created as his first one-man show, “A Christmas Carol,” inspired by Charles Dickens’ own energetic readings of the 1860s in the United States and elsewhere. Using his own adaptation of the classic Christmas tale, Dickens plays 26 characters using his vocal and physical talents to bring each scene to life. Dickens has worked both on- and offstage as an actor, director and producer. A fascination with the life and works of his ancestor led him to write and direct other one-man shows including “Mr. Dickens Is Coming!”, “Nicholas Nickleby” and “Sketches by Boz.” Dickens performs regularly in major theaters and arts centers, as well as at several arts and literary festivals in the United Kingdom and has entertained cruise passengers worldwide since 2007.

Tickets are $50. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating. For tickets and more information, call Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206.



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