Monday May 14, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN

‘Such healthy natural tumult as proves the last day is not yet at hand," Henry David Thoreau wrote in "A Week on the Con cord and Merrimack Riv ers," describing a windy day voyage on the Concord River with its blowing reeds, "ducks by the hundred," muskrats, mice, moles, titmice and cranberries. Windy tumult is what we’re into, too.

Healthy bodies in a healthy environment -- what could be more fitting for the month of May? The first North Berk shire BIKEfest will be held May 13-19, followed May 26 by the Hoosic River Watershed Association’s 21st annual River fest, celebrating a three-state re source, the Hoosic River. And the Massachusetts Muse um of Contemporary Art opens its "O, Canada" exhibit that evening.

BIKEfest, presented by Bike North Berkshire and touted as "the largest series of biking events in the commonwealth for Bay State Bike Week," is a series of fun and educational events designed to promote safe biking for recreation, for physical fitness and for environmentally friendly transportation. It will raise awareness of bicycling in this lovely land.

The highlight will be a free Bike Rodeo, Saturday, May 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at MASS MoCA, with safety checks, education, obstacle course and prizes. (Rain date May 20.) The bike week includes films, exhibitions and lectures, in cluding special offers from 25 North Adams and Williams town merchants when riders show their bike helmets. Fur ther information is available at tinyurl.com/BIKEfest2012.

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The other fest, Riverfest, will be held the next Saturday on Williams College’s Cole Field in Williamstown, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There, too, area business offer strong support of over $3,000, plus donating some $2,000 in prizes. Riverfest tickets -- $5 in advance, $7 at the gate, 10-and-under free -- enter purchasers into a raffle for an Old Town kayak, a mountain bike or outdoor clothing; dozens of additional bucket raffle prizes are available, many green and growing.

The day, intended to draw people to the shores of -- or even on -- an ever more appreciated resource, features river-related critters, raft rides on the Hoosic, exhibitors, riverside art, music and food. New this year is Healing Winds, a not-for-profit Native American cultural and educational organization, which will set up a teepee and invite children to help in erecting a wigwam. These will provide a setting for drumming, dancing, storytelling and games.

Area naturalists will provide a 7:30 a.m. bird walk, a 11:30 a.m. critter walk, a 1 p.m. botanical walk and a reptile visit at 2 p.m. Further information is available at the HooRWA.org.

"O, Canada," with its opening reception ($10) at MoCA at 5:30 p.m. the 26th, will showcase art from that country, spanning all media and crossing generations and geography. So we can take the kids to Riverfest and then shed them for the evening. The complete day, full of healthy, natural tumult. The end has not yet come.

At least that’s how it looks from the White Oaks.

A writer and environmentalist, Lauren R. Stevens is a regular Eagle
contributor.