Discovering the Vibrant Culture of Hampden County, MA

As an expert on the local community, I am excited to share with you the various types of cultural events that take place in Hampden County, located in western Massachusetts. From festivals and fairs to concerts and art exhibitions, there is always something happening in this bustling county.

The Rich History of Hampden County

Before we dive into the different cultural events, let's take a moment to appreciate the rich history of Hampden County. The county was established in 1812 and was named after John Hampden, an English politician who opposed King Charles I. It is home to several historic sites, including the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, which played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution. Over the years, Hampden County has become a melting pot of cultures, with a diverse population that celebrates its heritage through various community events.

Cultural Events in Hampden County

One of the most popular cultural events in Hampden County is the Big E Fair.

Held annually in September, this 17-day fair celebrates the six New England states with food, music, and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy traditional New England dishes like clam chowder and lobster rolls while browsing through local crafts and products. The fair also features live music performances from renowned artists and a variety of rides and games for all ages. Another community event that draws large crowds is the Bright Nights at Forest Park. This spectacular holiday light display has been a tradition in Springfield for over 25 years.

The park is transformed into a winter wonderland with over 650,000 lights, creating a magical experience for visitors of all ages. The event also features horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa, and delicious holiday treats. For those interested in the arts, the Springfield Museums offer a variety of cultural events throughout the year. The museums include the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Springfield Science Museum, and the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts. These museums host exhibitions, lectures, and workshops that showcase local and international artists and their work.

Music and Festivals

Hampden County is also known for its vibrant music scene and hosts several music festivals throughout the year.

The Stone Soul Festival, held in Springfield every summer, celebrates African American culture through music, food, and art. The festival features live performances from local and national artists, as well as a variety of food vendors offering traditional African American dishes. Another popular music festival is the Hoop City Jazz & Art Festival, which takes place in Springfield's Court Square Park. This free event showcases jazz musicians from around the country and also features local artists displaying their work. Visitors can enjoy live music while browsing through unique art pieces and indulging in delicious food from local vendors.

Food and Drink Events

Food lovers will not be disappointed in Hampden County as it hosts several food and drink events throughout the year.

The Taste of Amherst is a four-day event that celebrates the diverse culinary scene in Amherst. Visitors can sample dishes from over 20 local restaurants while enjoying live music and entertainment. The Westfield Food Fest is another popular event that brings together food trucks, craft beer vendors, and live music for a day of delicious food and fun. This event also supports local businesses by featuring products from local farmers and artisans.


As you can see, Hampden County offers a wide range of cultural events that cater to all interests and ages. From music festivals and food events to art exhibitions and fairs, there is always something happening in this vibrant community.

So, the next time you are in western Massachusetts, be sure to check out these community events in Hampden County and experience the rich culture and history of this beautiful county.