Dad's day out: Hancock Shaker Village welcomes fathers, families

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Photo Gallery | Father's Day at Hancock Shaker Village

PITTSFIELD — Jim Szalkucki was forging eyebolts before a captive audience of five celebrating Father's Day at Hancock Shaker Village.

Charlie Phillips, wife Nichole and three children, Austin, Charles and Amber watched intently as the blacksmith demonstrated his skill of heating and pounding into shape the iron hardware.

"Everyone likes the blacksmith," Szalkucki said.

The vacationing Phillps family from Taunton were making their first-ever visit to the living museum which treated the dads to special activities on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm enjoying it with my whole family [who] gave me to lunch," Mr. Phillips said.

Dad would return the favor at supper time, according to his spouse.

"He's going to cook burgers on the grill later," noted Mrs. Phillips.

Aside from the blacksmith demo, woodworking, baby animals and the other mainstays at Hancock Shaker Village, the dads' day out included several scheduled tours, water turbine demonstration, Shaker music and dance and the beer basics of home brewing.

Chris Flynn from Rensselaer, N.Y. brought some of the basic equipment and ingredients from his beer making operation that, after 10 years, remains a work in progress.

"The issue at the hobby level is getting a consistent product," he said. "The stouts I have more success with, they hide their flaws more easily."

The museum also wanted the fathers to taste what the Berkshires has to offer.

Big Elm Brewing of Sheffield was on hand offering to tourists — and possibly some locals — their first ever sip of the locally produced alcoholic beverage.

Savory Harvest Catering served up sausage to go with the local brew, the upscale catering known for it strong connection to local agriculture as they buy from several Berkshire-area farms.

For the new dad on the block, Hancock Shaker Village was an opportunity to watch a toddler explore his/her world.

Ben Wallace visiting from New York City, along with wife Kae, smiled as they watched their son Torii play with the toy animals in the Discovery Barn.

"It's amazing watching him grow up," he said. "It's more fun as he learns to talk and understands things."

The 18-month old boy is definitely a hands-on learner, much to his father's delight.

"He doesn't mind tearing things off the table," Wallace noted.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233


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