DinoFest returns for sixth year in Greenfield 

  • A scene from the second annual DinoFest in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Visitors peruse a display of fossils at the second annual DinoFest in Greenfield in 2019. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 12/8/2022 1:51:50 PM

GREENFIELD — The sixth annual DinoFest, a weekend-long festival celebrating the Pioneer Valley’s dinosaur history, returns to Greenfield on Saturday with some yearly favorites and new opportunities.

“We haven’t run out of material yet,” said Piti Theatre Co. Artistic Director Jonathan Mirin, who organizes the event each year. “It’s about dinosaurs but also the birth of paleontology, and we haven’t run out of local stories to tell.”

The free event kicks off on Saturday at the Garden Cinemas with an 11 a.m. “sneak preview” of the original movie, “Night at the Deerfield Museum.” The film, played in large part by members of Piti Theatre’s Youth Troupe, follows the lives of John Putnam of Greenfield, Charles Green of Colrain and Angeline Palmer of Amherst in the mid-1800s. A take on “Night at the Museum,” the final movie will premiere next spring.

The film represents the organizers’ “widening the lens” to look at stories happening at the same time as the fossil discoveries, he said.

“It’s kind of a mix of documentary and narrative filmmaking,” Mirin explained. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Later in the day, before a series of activities take place at The LAVA Center, the Historical Society of Greenfield will be open from 12:30 to 2 p.m. for an exhibit by Jurassic Roadshow’s Sarah Doyle. The new exhibit, “Fossil Discovery in Greenfield,” is about Dexter Marsh and James Deane, two Greenfield residents in the mid-1800s who were involved in the discovery of dinosaur footprints. The exhibit will feature real fossils on loan to the museum.

The first DinoFest took place in 2017 and the event is organized by Piti Theatre Co. in partnership with Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. It blends science, arts and community building. In 2020, the event went remote and in subsequent years has been held in a hybrid format, allowing people “to tune in from all over the world,” Mirin explained.

The event is about “understanding the amazing history of Greenfield that doesn’t get taught in schools,” he said.

Schedule of events Saturday

■11 a.m. to noon, Garden Cinemas — Sneak preview of “Night at the Deerfield Museum.”

■ 12:30 to 2 p.m., Historical Society of Greenfield: New exhibit, “Fossil Discovery in Greenfield” about Dexter Marsh and James Deane, by Jurassic Roadshow’s Sarah Doyle available for viewing.

■2:30 to 3 p.m., The LAVA Center — Doors open, informal fossil Q&A with Jurassic Roadshow’s Sarah Doyle.

■3 to 3:30 p.m. The LAVA Center — Jurassic Jeopardy with special guest Kay Lyons featuring 30 dino-themed trivia questions and prizes.

■3:30 to 4 p.m., The LAVA Center: Dino Improv — play improv games with Piti Theatre (recommended for ages 6 to 11).

■4:15 to 4:45 p.m., The LAVA Center — “Once Upon a ... Dino” — a preview performance of Piti Theatre’s latest family audience show called “Once Upon a ...” where two actors create a new story based on audience suggestions.


Virtual events — registration at ptco.org/dino

■4 to 4:30 p.m. — “Nope! Not a Dinosaur.” Efraim Weinbarber, fourth grader and dinosaur enthusiast, will discuss various animals that have been wrongly believed to be dinosaurs.

■7:30 p.m. — “Night at the Deerfield Museum” livestream with Q&A on Zoom.

Other resources available online for home viewers include the Piti Youth Troupe’s “Dexter and the Dinosaurs,” “The Mayor of Greenpants,” and videos from the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, the Beneski Museum of Natural History, the Second Congregational Church and more.

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


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