Wicked New England – Outdoor Festivals

Don’t you just love summer and all the outdoor activities? Aside from the beach,   we’re so lucky here in New England to have so many cool outdoor festivals. There really is something for everyone – jazz, seafood, cars, art, lobster, the list goes on. So Wickeds, what kind of festival will you fight the crowds and the heat to attend?

Edith: We went to the Lowell International Folk Festival last Saturday, as we do

The Seamus Egan Project playing Irish

every year. All of downtown Lowell is closed to vehicle traffic. Musical groups from all over the world fill five venues, and dancing is encouraged. International food is served hot, smelling delectable, from Filipino to Cambodian to Portuguese to Greek. And this year it wasn’t 95 degrees, but a comfortable 75. The festival is free!

Julie: Does going to outdoor theater count? I saw Romeo and Juliet on the Boston Common last week. It is Commonwealth Shakespeare’s 22nd show on the Common. Free, and runs through this weekend (Aug 6). I went with friends, my sister, and the nieces. It is a wonderful production, and I was more than happy to be part of a crowd experiencing the show.

Jessie: I don’t really attend festivals usually but I do love Illumination Night in Ocean Park, Maine. It occurs of the first Saturday of August every year and most of the houses in the community are decked out with twinkling lights. It is a magical experience to wander through the pokey little lanes peeping at all the displays and mingling with the crowds.

Liz: I love art festivals. There was one in town a few weeks back, and in addition to the lovely art, there’s always such cool jewelry! You meet such great people, and dogs are welcome so that’s even better. And this weekend, there’s another art festival right on my street, which will be so fun.

Barb: Our town of Boothbay Harbor, Maine has lots of celebrations and festivals. Windjammer Days is the last week in June, when old wooden schooners make a stately appearance in the harbor. The Claw Down in September is a lobster cooking competition and related fun activities. And the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens festival of lights called Gardens Aglow runs through the entire holiday season. We stay pretty busy here.

Windjammer Days, Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Photo by Bill Carito

Sherry: Wow, now I want to go to all of these festivals and activities! And I love the photograph, Barb! Bedford used to have an Apple Festival on the town common that was fun to attend. One year I met the town historian there and he was fascinating! I also love to go to flea markets like the one below!

Readers: Do you have a favorite festival?

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Wicked New England – The Best Summer Events

IMG_1124Since we have to make the most of summer and extend it as long as we can, here in New England we tend to cram a lot of fun events into the summer months: seafood festivals, outdoor concerts, barbecues, sunflower mazes, lighthouse cruises. As we stare September in the face, let’s remember the very best of our summer days! So Wickeds, what’s your favorite New England-y thing to do in the summer?

Liz: I live in what’s referred to as Mystic Country, which has a whole host of things to do in the summer. One of the really cool offerings are the Sentinels on the Sound lighthouse boat tours. Guests jump on a boat and get a tour of area lighthouses. They have night tours, too, which are way cool – especially the full moon ones!

Jessie: In Ocean Park, ME they host something called Illumination Night. All over the tiny community they light up their houses and yards with fairy lights and candles. The effect is magical. People from all over wander down the narrow streets enjoying the way the shadows play and the lights twinkle.

Edith: In my town they have Amesbury Days at the end of June. There’s a big block party downtown, an annual farmers’ market where I typically sell lots of books at my table, an antique car show, and lots more. But the best part is the fireworks a couple of miles up the Fireworks2015road at the town-owned Woodsom Farm (this year held on July 3). Everybody brings blankets and chairs and spreads out on a huge hillside. The fireworks go off from a field across the way, so the viewing is perfect. They close the road to cars afterwards so what feels like the entire town walks back together. It’s such a cool event I decided to place a murder during the fireworks — in 1888!

IMG_3523_2Julie: Well, I’m a sucker for the many events that happen outside in the Summer. Commonwealth Shakespeare’s King Lear was terrific. Landmarks Orchestra does a bunch of wonderful free concerts, Outside the Box was terrific, and there are festivals all the time in and around Boston/Somerville/Cambridge. There are tons of fun things to do in the summer, but I’ve got to confess, some of the best “summer” events happen in September, just under the summer wire.  I’m talking about the Scallop Festival in Bourne, the Fluff Fest, and (I’ve been told, looking forward to finding out) the Big E.

 

IMG_4233Sherry: There’s a Fluff Fest?! Sign me up! Summer must do’s in New England include a Red Sox game, a drive up the Maine coast for a lobstah roll, and a trip (okay, trips) to Bedford Farms Ice Cream. The picture to the right shows the kiddie size cup of ice cream — you should see the large! Now that we live in Virginia we cram all of those things into every summer trip.

Readers: What’s your favorite summer event, in New England or elsewhere?