DinoFest organizers ‘find new stories to tell’ in seventh year

Attendees of the second annual DinoFest in Greenfield in 2019 observe a display of fossils. The seventh annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday.

Attendees of the second annual DinoFest in Greenfield in 2019 observe a display of fossils. The seventh annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Pema Crigler, then 6, puts on her best dinosaur impression after finishing a puzzle during DinoFest in Greenfield in 2021. The seventh annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday.

Pema Crigler, then 6, puts on her best dinosaur impression after finishing a puzzle during DinoFest in Greenfield in 2021. The seventh annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Attendees of the second annual DinoFest in Greenfield in 2019 observe a display of fossils. The seventh annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday.

Attendees of the second annual DinoFest in Greenfield in 2019 observe a display of fossils. The seventh annual event will be held Saturday and Sunday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 12-14-2023 3:05 PM

GREENFIELD — DinoFest returns for its seventh year on Saturday with a day of events celebrating the Pioneer Valley’s history.

“We’re continuing to evolve and find new stories to tell and new ways to tell them,” said Piti Theatre Co. Artistic Director Jonathan Mirin, who organizes the event each year. “The root of it is still connecting young people and people of any age with our local history and offering a glimpse into a different time.”

Mirin organizes the event annually in collaboration with the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association in Deerfield.

“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,” PVMA’s Executive Director Tim Neumann said in a statement.

The event kicks off Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Garden Cinemas with a film preview of “The Princes of Deerfield,” which expands the focus of DinoFest to look at history in Deerfield in the late 1700s. The film blends documentary with a story that imagines a group of children gathering at the former Deerfield barn of Abijah Prince and Lucy Terry Prince, known as the first published Black poet.

“It’s always fun to see something you’ve worked on, and to see the kids’ reactions when they watch themselves on the big screen in the Garden,” Mirin said.

“The Princes of Deerfield” preview will also screen on Zoom on Sunday evening. More information and free registration can be found online at ptco.org/dino. The complete movie will be done in the spring, Mirin added.

“I’m excited about all of it but the thing that we’ve been working on the most in preparation for this is the ‘Princes of Deerfield,’” Mirin said of the highlights of this year’s DinoFest. In addition to the documentary footage, he said, “we’ve been filming a group of kids and adult actors over the last three months or so out here in Charlemont.”

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Following that, from noon to 1:15 p.m., there will be a reception and a dino-themed version of “Story Wizards” at the Greenfield Public Library.

Later that evening, at 7 p.m. at The LAVA Center, Christopher Janke will perform The Everlasting Gobstopper with “a new twist.” Janke’s sculptural performance is about the Connecticut River, lollipops and deep time.

“He’s got something in store for the older crowd,” Mirin said. “We’re trying to serve different audiences.”

Following the show, special guest Greenfield Community College Professor Emeritus Richard Little will give a short presentation about Jurassic armored mud balls, a rare geological formation found locally. The Jurassic armored mud balls will also be on display before the 7 p.m. show.

For more information about DinoFest, visit ptco.org/festivals/dino.

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