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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.

Kalon Farms - 339 Seven Bridge Road Lancaster, MA, 01523 Phone: 978-424-5483

Sample dozens of cuisines at this farm-based festival

Venture to the farm-rich center of Massachusetts for the August 26 Clustertruck Food Festival, where you can dig deep into a variety of foods that span many specialties, from trucks serving bacon or barbecue, right on to crepes and Asian fusion. Located at Kalon Farm in Lancaster, the food truck festival will rely heavily on local farms and food producers, which you can support economically with every bite you take. This is not about food only. Wachusett Brewery will selling beer and Kalon Farm will be offering wine tasting. You can give your taste buds a rest by taking the kids aside for bungee racing, laser tag, and shopping the works of local artisans. Bring a canned food donation for the Worcester County Food Bank.

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.

Nashoba Valley ski area, 79 Powers Road Westford, MA Phone: 978-692-3033

August 19-20, 2017

Blues N Brews is a two-day live music festival with beer tastings. Musci by top blues bands along with craft beers, barbecue, brisket, pulled pork, and grilled chicken, as well as raffles, games, crafts, and vendor booths. Held rain or shine. Admission: $50. Time: Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

35 Panhandle Road West Tisbury, MA Phone: 508-693-4343

August 17-20, 2017

Rides, games, shucking contests, skillet toss, horse pull, woodsmen competition, fiber-arts tent, dog and livestock shows, midway. Time: 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily except closes at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Cost: Adults, $10; children age 5-12 and seniors age 62 and older, $5; children under age 5 admitted free.

207 Boston Street, Route 1 Topsfield, MA Phone: 978-887-5000

September 29-October 9, 2017

America's oldest county fair has the traditional event down to a T, and offers guests a broad menu of New England tastes, sights, sounds, and animal experiences. Animal events include a horse show, horse and oxen pulls, a petting zoo, and more. Special events in 2017: Swifty Swine Racing Pigs all week; Dock Dogs, September 29, 30, October 1; Monster Truck Show, September 30, 4 and 7 p.m.; New England Rodeo, October 4 and 5 at 6 p.m; Village People, October 5 at 7 p.m.; Disney’s Choo-Choo Soul With Genevieve!, October 7 at 11 a.m.; The Flying Wallendas, October 7, 8, and 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. Hours: Open daily at 10 a.m. Cost: $9-$25; parking, $10; extra fees for some shows. September 29-October 9, 2017

Brant Point and Children’s Beach Nantucket, MA Phone:

September 30, 2017

The festival celebrates maritime activities on and beside the sea that surrounds it. The festivities will be going on at Children's Beach and at Brant Point. There will be build-your-own boat races, shucking contests, entertainment by local musical groups, art projects, and face painting. Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Main Street Wellfleet, MA Phone:

October 14-15, 2017

This two-day street party celebrates Wellfleet's famous oysters, clams and shellfishing traditions and brings together locals and visitors alike for a weekend full of hometown flavor and big time fun. Highlights include local cuisine, arts and crafts, children's activities, educational exhibits, live music, and the Oyster Shuck-Off competition. There are a number of satellite events planned like beachcombing and bird walks. Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Tom Nevers Field, 130 Tom Nevers Road Nantucket, MA Phone:

September 16-17, 2017

Enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun at the Annual Island Fair. There will be weigh-in and contest for the biggest pumpkin, a scare crow building contest, livestock , contests, food, a mini disc golf course, corn-husking and watermelon eating contests, skillet-toss and egg-and-spoon race. Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $15 a car and $5 for bikers and walkers.

Hancock Shaker Village, 1843 West Housatonic Street Pittsfield, MA Phone: 413-443-0188

September 23-24, 2017

Celebrate the harvest season with food trucks, a farmer’s market and crafts — all for sale! Listen to live music, watch farming demos, and even dive into a pile of hay. Harvest of Quilts opens on Friday with exquisite quilt exhibits and sales. Watch the raising of a timber framed building built using 18th and 19th century tools and techniques. Time: Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $20; seniors, $18; youths ages 13-17, $8

Sampas Pavillion, 500 Pawtucket Blvd Lowell, MA Phone:

August 19, 2017

More than 60,000 people from around the U.S. and the world come to Lowell to celebrate the importance of water as it is celebrated in Southeast Asia. They come for the blessings, food, crafts, performances and the long boat races. The Festival is held at the Sampas Pavilion along the Merrimack River. Time: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Various venues around Route 20 Sturbridge, MA Phone: 508-347-2761

August 16-20, 2017

C-Mass Geofest is the region's major geocaching festival. Enthusiastic geocachers comb the region in search of geocaches. Other events will entertain children and families between forays into abundant trails and scenic spaces. Activities in natural and exhilarating surroundings will familiarize visitors with the historical, dining and shopping finds as well. Admission: free.

Nantasket Beach, Nantasket Avenue Hull, MA Phone:

September 16, 2017

With food, live music, shopping, and kid's activities, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Entertainment includes Entertainment a kids chalk art contest, hula hoop contest, daddy's hot dog eating contest and music by Johnny Bluehorn & the Caretakers, Erin’s Guild, and The Fat City Band. Free admission and free parking. Time: Noon-5 p.m.

Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina, 10 White Street Salem, MA Phone: 617-666-8530

August 26-27, 2017

A rare chance to see vintage motor yachts and sailboats of all kinds from elegant 1920s-50s era mahogany runabouts and cabin cruisers to sloops, sharpies, yawls and schooners. Tour the vessels. Meet skippers and crews and vote for your favorite boat! A crafts market, artists, old time band music and the "Blessing of the Fleet" all add to this colorful event. Hours: Friday, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

358 George Carter Road Becket, MA Phone: 413-243-0745

June 21-August 27, 2017

Jacob's Pillow, America's longest-running dance festival, brings audiences, dancers, choreographers, composers, teachers, experts and novices together to enjoy the art of dance. This year, come to see the explosive footwork of the powerhouse Miami City Ballet, modern dance ensemble Paul Taylor Dance Company, UK-based artist Aakash Odedra, Camille A. Brown, and Japanese-born artist Eiko Otake in a special, site-specific piece during a limited engagement on the Pillow grounds.. Free Inside/Out Performances on Wednesday evenings. Also: talks, exhibits, tours, classes, and dining.

Stage Fort Park, Hough Avenue, Gloucester Gloucester, MA Phone:

August 19-20, 2017

Over 200 juried artisans, craftspeople, food vendors, authors and musicians from throughout the United States will display and sell their American made works. Come and sample an array of gourmet delights. Enjoy free entertainment including live music and various performance arts. The North Shore Car Club will display over 75 antique automobiles on Sunday. The Gloucester Waterfront Festival is free admission and held rain or shine. Friendly pets on leash are welcome. (Time: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.