Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011
Berkshire Museum Nov. 18- Jan. 2
By: Ariel Petrova - Nov 11, 2011
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 at Berkshire Museum. The 27th annual holiday event, featuring more than one hundred dazzling, decorated trees filling the Museum’s galleries, begins with a gala Opening Night Party on Friday, November 18, 2011, and runs through Monday, January 2, 2012. Special exhibitions of vintage circus memorabilia and photography add to the exciting Big Top atmosphere. Bring the whole family to the most thrilling Festival of Trees ever!
More than 100 community organizations, businesses, and schools sponsor the creatively decorated holiday trees, inspired by this year’s circus theme. The annual Festival of Trees is an important fundraiser for Berkshire Museum; the proceeds benefit the Museum’s education programs, serving more than 15,000 students every year. Donna Krenicki and Elizabeth Sherman are the co-chairs of this year’s Festival of Trees Committee. Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 is proudly sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union.
Berkshire Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. During the Festival of Trees, the Museum will be open for extended evening hours on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m., from November 25 to December 30. Berkshire Museum will close at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 24 and Saturday, December 31. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Special Festival of Trees pricing is $15 adult; $7 child; Museum members $5 adult, $3 child; children under 3 free. Admission includes Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 and all Museum galleries. First floor and aquarium free to Museum members.
The Opening Night Party for Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 will be held Friday, November 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The evening of exhilarating entertainment and fantastic food for the whole family includes performances by a troupe of atmospheric aerialists, a nimble contortionist, and towering stilt walkers. Partygoers will be among the first to enjoy the breathtaking spectacle of dazzling, decorated trees as Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 marks the beginning of the holiday season in gala three-ring circus style!
Opening Night Party tickets are $65 adult, $30 child; Museum members $50 adult, $20 child. For reservations, call 413.443.7171, ext. 45, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 Events and Programs
An exciting exhibition of circus memorabilia and posters will be on view during Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011. Extraordinary artifacts including General Tom Thumb’s boots will be displayed, as well as vibrant circus posters in all their bright hues. Historic circus photographs by Harry A. Atwell, who documented the world of the circus between 1910 and 1950, will also be shown during the Festival of Trees, evoking a poignant sense of nostalgia with scenes of clowns and acrobats, horses and elephants, and a lovely tightrope walker with her parasol held high overhead. Prepare to be fascinated by an assortment of oddities and curiosities from Berkshire Museum’s own collections that have been assembled into a sideshow of unusual natural phenomena.
Aerial Circus workshops with SHOW Circus Studio; Saturday, November 19, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Ever wonder what it would feel like to fly through the air under the Big Top? SHOW Circus Studio is bringing their aerial rigging and years of professional circus performances to the museum for a truly unique experience, as the lucky workshop participants try their skills aloft. Ages 8 to 16; workshop size limited to 10 per session. Registration required: call 413.443.7171, ext. 10. $45, Museum members $30 (includes Festival admission). Workshop participants must be accompanied by an adult (Festival admission price applies).
Downtown Pittsfield Holiday Weekend
On Friday, December 2, admission to the Museum will be half-price from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy free cider and donuts and warm up in the Museum after the tree lighting in Pittsfield’s Park Square! The Taconic High School Honors Chorus, under the direction of Jessica A. Passetto, will perform before and after the tree lighting.
Gallery talk; Saturday, December 3, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Kathy Maher, director of the Barnum Museum, presents a gallery talk, “P.T. Barnum: The Man, the Myth, the Legend.” Free with Festival admission.
Santa visits the Museum; Sunday, December 4, noon to 2 p.m.
Santa makes a special stop at Festival of Trees! Parents, bring your cameras and snap a picture of your children with Santa Claus as they share their holiday wishes. Free with Festival admission.
Cookie Decorating Workshop; Friday, December 9, 7 p.m.
Valerie Peterson, author of Cookie Craft Christmas, leads a cookie decorating workshop for adults. Open to both the novice and the professional looking to spice up their holiday culinary offerings, the class features artful and tasty cookie decoration techniques straight from the pro. All supplies and a signed copy of Cookie Craft Christmas included. Workshop size limited to 20. Registration required: call 413.443.7171, ext 10. $30, Museum members $20. Presented in partnership with Storey Publishing.
Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 Family Day; Saturday, December 10
Bring the family to enjoy the sounds, sights, and tastes of the holiday season with a visit to Under the Big Top and a full day of merriment! All activities are free with Festival of Trees admission.
At 11 a.m., a family performance will be given by juggling troupe A Different Spin. This laugh-a-minute, high-skill, and audience-interactive performance by professional trio A Different Spin features juggling, acrobatics, and a little bit of danger, making this circus act a must-see holiday event. Ticketed event: Limited tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 a.m. day of the show at the Museum visitor’s service desk. Family performances are underwritten by the Sol and Rita Toscher Memorial Fund.
At noon, try cookie decorating. This delicious twist on a Berkshire Museum tradition features artful and tasty cookie decoration with a circus theme in mind. Cookies and craft supplies are complimentary, but supplies are limited; first-come, first-served.
And at 1 p.m., enjoy the voices of the Blafield Children’s Chorus and Berkshire Singers performing an array of tuneful holiday favorites.
Juggling Workshop with SHOW Circus Studio; Saturday, December 17, 11 a.m.
Juggling is one of the oldest circus arts around and it’s surprisingly easy. SHOW Circus Studio’s juggling professionals will have you ready for the big show in no time with 2- and 3-object juggling techniques. Ages 8 to 16, workshop limited to 10 per session. Registration required; payment must be received to guarantee space in workshop: call 413.443.7171, ext. 10. $45, Museum members $30 (includes Festival admission). Workshop participants must be accompanied by an adult (Festival admission price applies).
Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make with Katherine Casey; Wednesday, December 28, 1 p.m.
This sewing workshop features practical yet funky sewing projects for kids ages 5 and up. Back by popular demand, Katherine Casey will guide participants in the creation of a small mime or clown doll based on the Sewing School Little Monster pattern. All materials provided. Copies of Sewing School are available for $16.95. One adult must accompany children during the workshop, and all are encouraged to participate! Workshop size limited to 20. Free with Festival admission. Call for advance registration: 413.443.7171, ext 10. Remaining tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the workshop at the Museum visitor’s service desk. Presented in partnership with Storey Publishing.
Stories Under the Big Top presented by Berkshire Children’s Theater; Thursday, December 29, and Friday, December 30, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day
The Berkshire Children’s Theater entertains with laughter and lively storytelling as the players perform a variety of well-known tales such as “The Bremen Town Musicians,” “The Billy Goats Gruff,” “The Lion and the Mouse,” “Monkey See, Monkey Do” and “The Magic Fish.” $18 adult, $9 child; Museum members $8 adult, $5 child; children under 3 free. Includes Festival admission. Family performances are underwritten by the Sol and Rita Toscher Memorial Fund.
Performances of Stories Under the Big Top are dedicated to the memory of Jack Fitzpatrick.
New Year’s Eve Circus Spectacular; Saturday, December 31, 11 a.m.
Come one, come all and spend New Year’s Eve (morning) enjoying an awe-inspiring performance from SHOW Circus Studio. The museum stage will be filled with thrilling acts of acrobatics, juggling, and contortion. This spectacular is a one-of-a-kind performance created solely for Under the Big Top: Festival of Trees 2011 and is not to be missed! $18 adult, $9 child; Museum members $8 adult, $5 child, children under 3 free. Includes Festival admission. Family Performances are underwritten by the Sol and Rita Toscher Memorial Fund.
Berkshire Museum’s Littlecinema is proud to bring you this holiday favorite.
The Nutcracker from the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, Russia; Sunday, December 18, 2 p.m., and Tuesday, December 20, 7 p.m.
The most-beloved holiday ballet, beautifully performed by the internationally acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet Company to the magnificent music of Tchaikovsky, is a seasonal tradition to be treasured. 135 minutes, including one intermission. $14, Museum members $12.50.
Berkshire Museum is located at 39 South St. in Downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.berkshiremuseum.org