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. 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 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 are all in the seasonal lineup.

Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf Boston, MA Phone: 617-330-9355

January 12-March 30, 2018

The Boston Wine Festival presents a lineup of intimate winemaker hosted dinners, seminars and receptions from January through March. It is the longest running food and wine festival in the nation. Featured events are Grand Opening Reception on January 12; the Valentine Champagne Dinner Dance on February 10, and the Valentine's Jazz Brunch on February 11. Receptions are walk-about events presenting 40 wines of a particular theme; dinners are four-course dinners hosted by a winemaker or winery owner; Seminars are themed, on topics like barrel samples, vertical tastings, horizontal tastings and blends. Festival brochure and schedule of events.

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

April 28, 2018

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. 

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

March 4-25, 2018

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 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25.
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.

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

April 20-22, 2018

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.

Cummington Fairgrounds, 97 Fairgrounds Road Cummington, MA Phone:

May 26-27, 2018

All Massachusetts sheep producers and woolcraft enthusiasts are invited to participate in this event. Chosen by Yankee Magazine as one of the top 20 things to do in Massachusetts. Camping is available on the grounds for vendors and exhibitors. There is a $20 charge for campers and a $10 charge for tents. Hook-ups are first come first serve.
Admission to fair: Parking is $10 per car; $15 for a two-day pass

North Bridge Visitor Center, 174 Liberty Street Concord, MA Phone: 978-318-7825

April 16-19, 2018

Patriot’s Day, on April 16, commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War, and is a state holiday in Massachusetts. Much of the activity takes place at or near the Minute Man National Historic Park. Saturday, April 14 The Lexington Minutemen reenact various parts of the Battle retreat on Battle Road Trail behind Minute Man Visitor Center, Lexington. Watch hundreds of re-enactors, musket firing and fast-paced battle action. 1 p.m.
Monday, April 16 Lexington & Concord. Events in Lexington begin with a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington on the Green. 5:30 a.m.
Commemoration of the North Bridge Fight at the North Bridge, Concord, at 8:45 a.m. The Concord Patriot’s Day Parade will arrive about 9:30 a.m. The Concord parade begins in Concord Center, crosses North Bridge and returns to Main Street.
Thursday, April 19
Dawn Salute at North Bridge, Concord. The Concord Minute Men and the Concord Independent Battery observe the opening battle of the Revolution in a 21 gun salute with musket and cannon fire. 6 a.m.
See more events at Battle Road website

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

April 27-29, 2018

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. 

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

March 23-25, 2018

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.