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Massachusetts Fairs & Festivals create festive fun in all seasons

For more fun activities, see Massachusetts Events page

Massachusetts folks celebrate their history and heritage all year round. Make a cozy inn your lodging headquarters and head out for fun, inspiration, and adventure. You’ll find fairs and festivals with competitions, animal encounters, reenactments, fireworks and parades, barbecue dinners and pancake breakfasts. There are religious and ethnic events, hot air balloon rides, great music and dance; on the Fourth of July join the Boston Pops to celebrate Independence Day. Then keep on celebrating through the cranberry harvest and the winter holidays.

61 Market Street, Unit 1C Lowell, MA, 01852 Phone: 978-459-6150

Festivals celebrate Merrimack’s legendary history and characters

Greater Merrimack Valley is a deeply historic part of New England with a delightful variety of ethnicities, all with unique stories. Probably its best-known celebration is Patriots’ Day in mid-April, when Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord hosts re-enactments of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. The city of Lowell turns out some marvelous annual events, like the annual Lowell Folk Fest, serving up outdoor music all around the city, and the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, honoring the city’s famous writer. The Southeast Asian Water Festival is among several fests that celebrate the city’s ethnic heritage. The Yankee Doodle Homecoming Festival honors patriot Thomas Ditson of Billerica, the inspiration of the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Harvest, Christmas, October fests take their places in the seasonal lineup.

Royal Plaza Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Road West (Route 20) Marlborough, MA Phone:

March 24-26, 2017

One hundred seventy-five outstanding exhibitors display the best in American artistry and craftsmanship. With live music, special exhibits, two cafes and demonstrations. Time: Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $14; seniors, $12; students, $8; three-day pass. $16; children age 12 and younger admitted free.

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road Sturbridge, MA Phone: 800-733-1830

March 4-26, 2017

Come to Old Sturbridge Village on weekends in March to see maple sugaring as it was done in early 19th-century rural New England at a real working sugar camp. See the entire sugar-making process, from tapping the trees to "sugaring off." See demonstrations of the traditional Native American methods, early 19th-century New England, 20th century metal buckets, and contemporary tubing. Costumed historians will also cook period foods made with maple products by the hearth at the Village’s Freeman Farm. Dates: March 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26.
Admission: Adults, $28; seniors age 55 and older, $26; children under 18 free through March 30 when accompanied by an adult.
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Various Locations Nantucket, MA Phone: 508-228-1700

April 28-30, 2017

The Daffodil Festival's grand event, held on Saturday, is the Annual Antique Car Parade of more than 100 daffodil-bedecked antique cars, followed by the Daffodil Tailgate Picnic. Held on the lush lawns leading into the village, the picnic boasts fare ranging from elaborate gourmet cuisine served on fine china to box lunches and burgers. Other highlights include the Nantucket Garden Club's Annual Daffodil Show, Children's Daffodil Parade, Daffy Hat Pageant and Daffodil Dog Parade. 

Look Park, 300 N Main Street Northampton, MA Phone: 413-862-8095

July 15, 2017

Festival activities include Highland dance competition, Highland athletic competition, pipe and drum competitions, individual pipe and drum competitions, Scottish food and vendors, two entertainment stages, and lots more. New this year: The Brigadoons, and more music by Albannach, Screaming Orphans, The Brigadoons, and Charlie Zahm. Cost: Adults, $16; children age 6-12, $5. Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Various locations Provincetown, MA Phone:

June 14-18, 2017

The Provincetown International Film Festival is dedicated to showcasing new achievements in independent film and honoring the work of acclaimed and emerging directors, producers and actors. Location: Various around town. Times and Costs: vary; consult event website. 

Downtown Rockport, MA Phone:

May 20, 2017

The Motif No.1 Day Festival -- named after the humble fishing shack that has inspired work from many painter and photographer -- honors the arts in Rockport. Come enjoy film, poetry, dance, music, art-making activities, historical presentations and more, along with the Motif No.1 Day 5k and Fun Run. time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

52 Gore Street Waltham, MA Phone: 781-894-2798

April 29, 2017

Shearers demonstrate modern and traditional shearing techniques. Herding dogs give demonstrations of controling a flock. The crafts fair offers hand-crafted goods by fine crafters. Also come to enjoy: live music, country dancing, an historic military encampment, traditional crafts, spinners, weavers and more. Time: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Admission: $20. Children aged 12 years and under, free. 

Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf Boston, MA Phone:

January 13-March 31, 2017

The Boston Wine Festival, hosted by Daniel Bruce, executive chef of the Boston Harbor Hotel, features a series of intimate winemaker-hosted dinners, seminars and receptions. After 28 seasons, the festival has evolved into a world renowned series. Major events of the 2-month festival include the Grand Opening Reception on January 13, and the Valentine’s Dinner Dance on February 11 and the Valentine’s Jazz Brunch on February 12. Schedule of events.

Mansfield High School, 250 East Street, and other area schools Mansfield, MA Phone:

April 21-23, 2017

The annual New England Folk Festival returns with music sessions, dance, crafts, workshops and international foods. Dance performance and participation, including square dancing, international folk dancing, swing dancing, clogging; food booths and trucks; music everywhere; crafts, bazaar, activity room for kids and adults; discussion, family events. See website for lineup and details.