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Bits & Bytes: Hidden Gardens tour; Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention; Hopped Up for Health; ‘Art for a Fragile Planet’

Adhering to the concept of 'participation is preservation,' the Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention will feature the Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen as the host musicians

Spencertown Academy to celebrate ‘Hidden Gardens’

Spencertown, N.Y. — Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s 15th annual Hidden Gardens is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, accompanied by an array of events for garden enthusiasts. The theme of this year’s tour is “Artful Landscapes.”

The festivities will begin with the Academy’s traditional Twilight in the Garden party Friday, June 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Meg and Bill Stratton’s 1845 Greek Revival home. Cocktails, sparkling beverages, hors d’oeuvres and a light supper are served. Andres Sarmiento, bar manager of John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont, Massachusetts, will concoct a special signature cocktail for the occasion.

Jenny Elliot, owner and lead grower at Tiny Hearts Farm in Copake, will give a talk titled “Growing Cut Flowers for Your Garden and Home” Saturday, June 15, at 9 a.m. in the Spencertown Academy auditorium. Audience members will enjoy home-baked goodies while learning what they can do now to incorporate cut flowers into all sizes and styles of gardens.

The self-guided tour will occur Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will showcase private gardens in Spencertown and Old Chatham. Also taking place Saturday will be a garden market with plant and food vendors, artisans, garden furnishings and more, plus the “Gardens of Delight” art exhibit featuring works by Stephanie Anderson, Amy Bergeron, Marilyn Orner, Mary Ellen Riell, Laura Shore, Pamela Stoddart and Marianne Van Lent.

Tickets range fro $15 to $110 depending on the event. For more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact the Spencertown Academy Arts Center at (518) 392-3693 or


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Hancock Shaker Village to host second annual Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention

The Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen. Photo: Giles Clement

Pittsfield — Hancock Shaker Village and Oldtone Productions will present the second annual Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention Friday, June 14, through Sunday, June 16, at Hancock Shaker Village.

A film screening of two of the films “Musical Holdouts” and “Post Industrial Fiddle” by John Cohen will open the weekend. Adhering to the concept of “participation is preservation,” the Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention will feature the Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen as the host musicians. The band will perform as well as teach workshops on banjo, fiddle, guitar and storytelling. Berkshire Strings founder Erika Ludwig will teach a beginning fiddle class and co-ordinate the instrument and band contests. Workshops will start Saturday morning. Instrument contests will start in the afternoon, followed by an early-evening band contest. The festivities will continue with a concert by the Down Hill Strugglers and a square dance called by Alex Kramer. On Sunday, the Down Hill Strugglers will play old time gospel songs.

In addition to the musical events and opportunities to jam, Hancock Shaker Village will offer a variety of workshops and demonstrations, which are also open to Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention participants. Sky View Farm and Seeds Cafe will have locally sourced food available.

Tickets range from $10 for film screenings to $70 for an all-access, three-day pass. Camping is available for an additional charge. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Hancock Shaker Village at (413) 443-0188 or


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Hopped Up for Health to benefit VIM Berkshires

Sheffield — Big Elm Brewing will host “Hopped Up for Health” Saturday, June 15, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The event is open to all who would like to run, walk or bike in support of Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires. The course will traverse beautiful country roads and includes a 5K or 12K run/walk, and a 50- or 20-mile bike ride. Official race times will be recorded through Berkshire Running Center. Prizes will be awarded with T-shirts for the first 200 registrants. There will also be first-come, first-served massage post-race, as well as a free custom-brewed beer for each adult finisher compliments of Big Elm Brewing.

Entry fees are $29–$49 for the bike rides, $40–$45 for the 12K and  $25–$30 for the 5K. All race proceeds will benefit VIM Berkshires. For more information or to register, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact VIM Berkshires at (413) 528-4014 or


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Berkshire Environmental Action Team to present ‘Art for a Fragile Planet’

‘Flying a carrot’ by Michael Wolski. Image courtesy Berkshire Environmental Action Team

Dalton — Berkshire Environmental Action Team will hold an opening reception for the group exhibit “Art For A Fragile Planet” Thursday, June 13, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Stationery Factory Gallery.

The opening reception will feature a conversation with Meredyth Babcock of Wild & Scenic Westfield River at 6:30 p.m. Babcock will present about her work on the Westfield River using science, art and the power of community. Refreshments will be served. Curated by local artist Sandy Leonard-Houseman, the show features work by Myla Jill Blum, Beth Carlson, Betsy Cook, Mary Ellen Devanny, Donna Estabrooks, Paula Gottlieb, John Houseman, Elizabeth Orenstein, Jenn Pazienza and Michael Wolski.

“Art For A Fragile Planet” will run from Thursday, June 13, through Saturday, July 13. A portion of all sales will support BEAT. For more information, contact Elizabeth Orenstein at (413) 717-1255 or



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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.