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?



Wicked Wednesday — Festivals

stickyWe continue to celebrate the launch of A Sticky Situation by Jessie! In the Sugar Grove, New Hampshire, the Greene family—including Dani’s irksome Aunt Hazel—are busy preparing for the annual Maple Festival. But nothing kills the festive spirit like murder…

So Wickeds have you ever helped set up a festival? Do you have a favorite one?

Liz: I’ve never done a big festival like the Maple Festival, but last year I was part of a very cool Tea and Art Fair–an indoor wellness festival. It was fun to see the event come together and meet like-minded people. And thankfully, no one was murdered!

Julie: I have never set up a festival, but I have been part of organizing a few theater festivals in my day. There could be a cozy series on festivals alone. In fact, there probably is one! It is great to see like minds coming together for a shared purpose, as Liz said. But then there’s the egos. NEVER a dull experience.

Edith: Not festivals, but I have helped organize conferences, something Barb and Julie know quite a lot about with their experience co-chairing the New England Crime Bake. I worked on a couple of academic conferences long ago, and they included much wrangling of difficult egos. I’m excited to be on a panel at the Newburyport Literary Festival with Liz and Jessie at the end of April, with Leigh Perry (Toni L.P. Kelner) moderating. It’s a fabulous all-day festival, and this year I’ll be an author instead of an attendee. Honored.


Jessie: Every year my village holds a Fourth of July parade which culminates in activities  in the park like performances by local bands and treats for the kids. One year the Friends of the Library organization put on a soda tasting. All the sodas were from local companies and the event was such fun. Participants bought a glass as a fundraiser for the library and  used it to try samples of as many different soda flavors as they liked. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of happy kids there that day. One of my personal favorites was the Maple Cream soda by Squamscot  Beverage Company.

Sherry: I haven’t ever organized a festival but I’ve attend some memorable ones around the country as we moved from place to place. The Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio — our daughter had just turned three and kept her fingers up her nose the entire time we were there because it was stinky. Stinky, yes, but the food was delicious — even the sauerkraut fudge. The National Book Festival in DC — I’ve been able to hear so many fabulous authors talk about their books. And though it’s small the Apple Festival in Bedford, Massachusetts is always a good time.

blueberryfestivalBarb: I’ve never organized a festival, either. But I did get to “research” a few. Boiled Over ($1.99 for the ebook this month, btw) takes place over a fictional Founder’s Day Weekend in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. It is very, very loosely based on two festivals in Boothbay Harbor–The Fisherman’s Festival and Windjammer Days. Also to research Boiled Over, my husband and I traveled to the Wild Blueberry Festival in Machias, Maine. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my art!

Readers: Do you have a favorite festival or have you ever organized one?