‘Dexter and the Dinosaurs’ screening highlight of this year’s DinoFest

  • Jurassic Roadshow brought fossils for children to look at as well as other exhibits from local experts in geology and local history at the 2018 DinoFest in Greenfield. The event returns Saturday and Sunday. Staff File Photo/Melina Bourdeau

Staff Writer
Published: 12/7/2021 2:51:03 PM
Modified: 12/7/2021 2:50:36 PM

GREENFIELD — DinoFest is returning for its fifth year this weekend, with a variety of events for participants of all ages to get involved in.

“For us, the project we’ve been preparing the most is the movie version of ‘Dexter and the Dinosaurs,’ which is a play we created for the original DinoFest,” said Jonathan Mirin, artistic co-director at Piti Theatre Co., which co-hosts the weekend of events with the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA). “We’ve basically been filming it since the end of August through mid-November with a group of kids, and we’re pretty excited about it.”

The movie, which will be premiere at the Garden Cinemas at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, tells the story of Dexter Marsh, who was laying stones across from the current City Hall in 1835 when he discovered a set of unusual tracks or impressions.

“That was the beginning of Dexter finding lots of tracks up and down the Connecticut River … and part of the birth of paleontology,” Mirin explained. “The word ‘dinosaur’ hadn’t even been invented yet, so they were theorizing giant birds.”

Mirin said because of Marsh’s lack of formal education, he never got the credit he deserved.

“The movie tells the story of his life with songs,” he said.

Mirin said Tim Neumann of PVMA, who approached Mirin about the potential for an event similar to DinoFest, believed the history of Marsh was worth celebrating. The first DinoFest was held in 2017.

“I thought that the rich intersection of deep time and local history might merit a new celebration around a great scientific contribution from Greenfield’s history,” Neumann said in a Piti Theatre Co. press release.

Other events on Saturday include a visit to the pocket park beside the Olive Street parking garage, where Sarah Doyle of Jurassic Roadshow will lead children in a walk throughout the park and teach them a game.

On Sunday, aspiring paleontologist and dinosaur enthusiast, 9-year-old Efraim Dean Weinbarber, will lead a Zoom class for both children and adults. The webinar can be watched via a Zoom link, or in-person at The LAVA Center at 324 Main St.

The weekend-long event, which is free and open to the public, is supported in part by grants from the Greenfield and Leyden cultural councils, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the New England Foundation for the Arts Resilience Fund.

A list of events can be found below. For more information and to reserve free tickets, visit ptco.org/dino.

Saturday schedule

■10:15 a.m. — Film premiere of “Dexter and the Dinosaurs,” at the Garden Cinemas.

■11 a.m. — Dino walk and discovery game with Sarah Doyle of Jurassic Roadshow, at the Dino Pocket Park (on Bank Row by the Olive Street parking garage).

Sunday schedule

■2 p.m. — Q&A with Sarah Doyle of Jurassic Roadshow, at The LAVA Center.

■2:30 p.m. — Dino Improv with Piti Theatre Co. and Kay Lyons, at The LAVA Center.

■3:30 p.m. — An Exploration of Dinosaurs with 9-year-old Efraim Dean Weinbarber, at The LAVA Center and via Zoom.

■5:15 p.m. — “Dexter and the Dinosaurs” livestream with Q&A, via Zoom (online only).

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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