Dinosaurs for the holidays! Piti Theatre Company & Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association are bringing DinoFest back to town – and to much of the rest of the world online –  on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 & 11. Blending science, arts, and community-building, DinoFest 2022 will feature Piti Theatre’s film exploring exploring African-American history in Franklin County at the time of the dinosaur discoveries in the mid-1800’s, a new exhibit about citizen scientist Dexter Marsh, Jurassic Jeopardy, a dino-themed Improv workshop and performance and a Zoom Presentation by a ten year old budding paleontologist. Free tickets and info: ptco.org/dino  

Saturday, December 10th 

@ Garden Theater, 361 Main Street, Greenfield 

11 am – 12 pm: Film Sneak Preview: “Night at the Deerfield Museum” an original movie for all ages with most roles played by Piti Theatre’s Youth Troupe and featuring William Forchion (The Polar Express, The Bronx is Burning). A take off on “Night at the Museum”, this sneak peak takes a look at the lives of Greenfield’s John Putnam, Colrain’s Charles Green and Amherst’s Angeline Palmer in the mid-1800’s. The final film will premiere in spring, 2023. 

@ the Historical Society of Greenfield 

12:30 – 2:00: Jurassic Roadshow’s Sarah Doyle has created a new exhibit called “Fossil Discovery in Greenfield!” about Dexter Marsh and James Deane, two citizens of Greenfield in the mid-1800s who were deeply involved in the discovery of dinosaur footprints, a local discovery of international importance for paleontology. Sarah will be on-hand and the exhibit features real fossils on loan to HSG. 

The Lava Center, 324 Main Street, Greenfield 

2:30 – 3:00: Informal fossil Q&A with Jurassic Roadshow’s Sarah Doyle  

3:00 – 3:30: Jurassic Jeopardy with special guest Kay Lyons featuring 30 dino-themed trivia questions and prizes.  

3:30 – 4:00: Dino Improv – play improv games with Piti Theatre (recommended for ages 6 – 11). 

4:15 – 4:45: “Once Upon a . . . Dino” – a preview performance of Piti Theatre’s latest family audience show called “Once Upon a . . .” where two actors create a brand new story based on audience suggestions. This event will feature pre-historic themes and enormous guest stars. 

Sunday, December 11th: Virtual Events – registration @ ptco.org/dino 

4:00: Nope! Not a Dinosaur – Efraim Weinbarber, 4th grader and dinosaur enthusiast, will discuss various animals that have been wrongly believed to be dinosaurs. Efraim brings a lot of knowledge about prehistoric animals to his teaching and encourages everyone to participate in the session.  

7:30: Night at the Deerfield Museum Live Stream with Q&A on Zoom.

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

Dawn of DinoFest 

Intrigued by Piti Theatre’s New England-wide Bee Week program and the annual BeeFest launched by Greenfield’s Second Congregrational Church, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association’s long-time Executive Director Tim Neumann and Piti’s Co-Artistic Director Jonathan Mirin discussed how to bring dinosaur history to life for local residents. Neumann states, “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.” 

In 2017, the Great Greenfield DinoFest was born. The Festival is particularly indebted to the extraordinary lives of Greenfield’s Dexter Marsh, a day laborer who noticed what looked like bird footprints in the flagstone from Montague he was using to lay sidewalk near Town Hall in 1835 – seven years before the word dinosaur was invented – and James Deane, the first person to treat the strange impressions as objects of scientific interest. Marsh’s keen eye and Deane’s analysis piqued the interest of Amherst College’s Professor Edward Hitchcock, who became the first scientist to study dinosaur tracks and interpret their meaning. Hitchcock died believing the tracks had been made by giant prehistoric birds, but nevertheless, Marsh, Deane, and Hitchcock played important roles in the birth of the new branch of paleontology called ichnology. This year, we are widening the lens to look at important stories from local history that played out at the same time as the fossil discoveries. 

DinoFest 2022 is supported in part by grants from the Greenfield and Leyden Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency as well as a variety of local business sponsors, the Expand Mass Stories Initiative from Mass Humanities with funding from the Mass Cultural Council, The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and New England Foundation for the Arts Resilience Fund. Special thanks to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the Greenfield Business Association. 

About Piti Theatre Co. 

Piti Theatre Company is an award-winning touring troupe based in Shelburne Falls and Les Ponts-de-Martel Switzerland, founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Godeliève Richard and Jonathan Mirin. Piti (pronounced “pea-tea”) is an ancient Indian (Pali) word translated as “joy” or “rapture.” Piti creates original performances and community-building events that accelerate local transformation towards joy, sustainability and justice.  

About Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

Founded in Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1870 as the first historical society in Western Massachusetts, today the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association is a vibrant regional organization, supporting the Memorial Hall Museum and Library, Deerfield Teachers’ Center, Indian House Children’s Museum, and Community Outreach projects. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: