Summer Festivals in Massachusetts

Summer is a beautiful time of year in New England and a wonderful time to enjoy the warm weather by attending an outdoor festival.

If you’re looking to see some live music, enjoy some great food or celebrate some local culture, the various summer festivals in Massachusetts are guaranteed to be a good time.

Have you been to any of these festivals? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of them!

The following is a list of summer festivals in Massachusetts:

JUNE:

Salem Arts Festival

Website: salemartsfestival.com

The Salem Arts Festival is an annual arts festival that features live art, music, dance and theater performances throughout downtown Salem.

The festival often features visual arts exhibitions showcasing the work of local and regional artists. These exhibitions may include paintings, sculptures, photography, and other visual art forms.

The festival also features onsite art-making, art sales, pop-up art exhibitions and a live mural slam on Artists Row. These exhibitions include paintings, sculptures, photography, and other visual art forms.

Boston Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Website: www.bostondragonboat.org

The Boston Dragon Boat Festival is an annual Chinese festival, commemorating the life and death of the ancient Chinese patriot and poet Qu Yuan, that features cultural performances and demonstrations, food vendors, arts and crafts and Dragon Boat racing.

The central highlight of the festival is the dragon boat races themselves. Teams of paddlers, often representing local organizations, businesses, or communities, compete in colorful dragon boats adorned with decorative dragon heads and tails.

The festival typically offers a diverse array of food vendors, allowing attendees to sample a variety of Chinese and Asian cuisines. Additionally, there may be market stalls selling crafts, artwork, and other items.

The festival usually kicks off with an opening ceremony that includes speeches, traditional ceremonies, and symbolic rituals.

Boston Pizza Festival

Website: www.bostonpizzafestival.com

The Boston Pizza Festival is an annual event in Boston celebrating the love of pizza by bringing together pizza vendors, enthusiasts, and the community.

The Boston Pizza Festival features live music, more than 60 food vendors serving all types of pizza as well as be beer, wine, and gelato. It is an opportunity for attendees to sample a variety of pizza styles, explore different flavors, and enjoy a festive atmosphere.

The festival also features cooking demonstrations, live music and surprises.

North Shore Pride Parade and Festival

Website: https://northshorepride.org/parade-festival/

The North Shore Pride Parade and Festival is an annual gay rights celebration in Salem that features a parade, music, dancing as well as food and goods vendors.

The event typically kicks off with a vibrant parade through the streets, followed by a festival that features entertainment, activities, and community engagement.

Boston Pride Parade

Website: www.bostonprideforthepeople.org

The Boston Pride Parade is an annual gay rights celebration on Boston Common and City Hall Plaza.

The parade route usually winds its way through the streets of Boston, typically starting at Copley Square or another central location and concluding at City Hall Plaza. The route may vary from year to year.

Live music and marching bands are common features of the Boston Pride Parade. These groups add energy and excitement to the procession.

The parade is often a central event within a broader Pride Week celebration in Boston. Throughout the week, various events, performances, and activities may take place, emphasizing the themes of pride, diversity, and equality.

The Strawberry Festival

Website: topsfieldhistory.org/strawberry

The Strawberry Festival in Topsfield is an annual event that celebrates the arrival of strawberry season. The festival features food, music, children’s games, historic house tours and over 60 vendors selling art, pottery, jewelry, woodwork, clothing and more.

The festival is known for its abundance of strawberry-themed treats. Attendees can enjoy fresh strawberries, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry ice cream, strawberry pies, and other strawberry-infused delights.

The festival often features live entertainment, such as musical performances, dance acts, or other forms of artistic expression to enhance the festive atmosphere.

Bunker Hill Day Parade

Website: www.facebook.com/BunkerHillDayParade

The Bunker Hill Day Parade is an annual parade and historical event in Charlestown that celebrates the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War.

The Battle of Bunker Hill, fought on June 17, 1775, was a pivotal moment in the early stages of the war, and the parade honors the historical significance of this event.

The primary purpose of the parade is to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill and pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in the battle. It serves as a way to honor the sacrifices made by early American patriots.

St. Peter’s Fiesta

Website: stpetersfiesta.org

St. Peter’s Fiesta is an annual five-day festival in Gloucester honoring the patron saint of fishermen St. Peter. The festival features a parade, live music, food vendors, a blessing of the city’s commercial fishing fleet, an open air mass, a carnival and the greasy pole contest.

The festival, deeply rooted in the local fishing community, is a vibrant and multi-day event that typically takes place in late June. Gloucester, known for its rich maritime heritage, hosts this lively celebration that combines religious traditions, cultural events, and festive activities.

The festival features religious observances to honor St. Peter. This often includes a Mass or religious procession, where a statue of St. Peter is carried through the streets of Gloucester.

One of the central events of St. Peter’s Fiesta is the seine boat races, where teams of rowers compete in traditional wooden fishing boats known as seine boats. These races are a highlight of the festival and attract both participants and spectators.

Perhaps the most famous and iconic event of the Fiesta is the Greasy Pole Contest. Participants attempt to walk across a heavily greased and slippery pole extending over the water to capture a flag at the end. It’s a challenging and entertaining competition that draws large crowds.

As part of the festival, there is often a Blessing of the Fleet ceremony, where local fishing vessels receive blessings for safe and prosperous journeys at sea. This ceremony underscores the festival’s connection to Gloucester’s fishing industry.

St. Peter’s Fiesta often features live music, concerts, and various forms of entertainment. The festival grounds may host performances by local musicians, bands, and cultural groups.

Visitors to the festival can enjoy a variety of traditional Italian and seafood dishes. Food stands and vendors offer a taste of local culinary delights, adding to the festive atmosphere.

The St. Peter’s Fiesta is a beloved tradition in Gloucester, reflecting the strong ties of the community to its maritime roots. It brings together residents, visitors, and participants in a spirit of celebration, camaraderie, and cultural pride.

Newburyport Lantern Festival

Website: www.ocawareness.org/lantern-festival

The Newburyport Lantern Festival is an annual event held in Newburyport, Massachusetts, celebrating community and remembrance. Inspired by traditional Asian lantern festivals, this event features floating chinese lanterns on the Bartlett Mall Frog Pond.

The event is a fundraiser for the Greater Newburyport Ovarian Cancer Awareness organization. The event is free to attend with a $10 suggested donation per lantern.

JULY:

Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival

Website: www.capecodchamber.org/events/featured-events/cape-cod-hydrangea-fest/

The Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival is an annual 10-day festival held on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, celebrating the iconic hydrangea flowers that flourish in the region. Typically taking place in July, the festival features a variety of activities and attractions centered around these beautiful blooms.

The festival features garden tours where visitors can explore private and public gardens throughout Cape Cod, showcasing stunning hydrangea displays and diverse landscaping styles. The festival also offers workshops and lectures presented by leading horticulturists.

Boston Jerk Fest

Website: bostonjerkfest.com

The Boston Jerk Fest is an annual culinary event held in Boston that celebrates Jamaican and Caribbean flavors, particularly the popular Jamaican cooking technique known as “jerk.”

The festival features live reggae music, Jamaican jerk dishes for purchase, a Jerk Cook-off, a Seafood Throwdown, craft vendors, VIP Reggae Lounge and a Kids & Culture stage.

Attendees can sample a variety of jerk-inspired dishes prepared by local chefs and vendors. This can include jerk chicken, jerk pork, and other Caribbean-inspired foods.

Revere Beach Sand Castle Sculpting Festival

Website: www.internationalsandsculptingfestival.com

The Revere Beach Sand Castle Sculpting Festival is an annual beach celebration in Revere that features sand sculptures, entertainment and food.

It is one of the largest sand sculpting festivals in the United States and attracts sculptors from around the world. The festival typically takes place over several days and includes various activities centered around the creation of intricate and massive sand sculptures.

The main highlight of the festival is the sand sculpting competition, where skilled artists and sculptors create stunning and elaborate sculptures from the sandy shores of Revere Beach. These sculptures often feature intricate details and creative designs.

A panel of judges evaluates the sand sculptures based on criteria such as creativity, technical skill, and overall impact. Awards are typically presented to the top sculptures, and winners may receive prizes for their achievements.

AUGUST:

Bolton Fair

Website: www.boltonfair.org

The Bolton Fair is an annual agricultural fair in Bolton that features midway rides, food, entertainment, crafts, a farmers’ market, animal shows, exhibits, demolition derbies and educational demonstrations.

The fair typically takes place over a weekend and features a variety of activities and attractions that celebrate the agricultural heritage of the region.

One of the central features of agricultural fairs is the exhibition of livestock. Farmers bring their animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, and rabbits, to be judged based on various criteria like breed standards and overall health.

Farmers and gardeners often participate in agricultural competitions, showcasing their best produce, flowers, and crops. These competitions can include categories such as best vegetables, fruits, and floral arrangements.

The Bolton Fair offers a range of entertainment options, including live music performances, dance acts, and other forms of artistic expression. Some fairs feature well-known artists or bands.

St. Anthony’s Feast

Website: www.stanthonysfeast.com/schedule.html

St. Anthony’s Feast is an annual Italian street festival honoring St. Anthony, a beloved Catholic saint known for his kindness, piety, and miracles, and is the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England.

These feasts are particularly popular in Italian and Portuguese communities where Saint Anthony is venerated.

The celebration features over 100 food vendors and a procession featuring floats and marching bands, cooking demonstrations, an open air mass, a blessing of the relic of Saint Anthony and the distribution of blessed Saint Anthony Bread.

The centerpiece of St. Anthony’s Feast is often a grand religious procession that takes place through the streets of the neighborhood. A statue of Saint Anthony is carried through the streets by devotees, accompanied by clergy, musicians, and participants dressed in traditional attire.

The feast typically includes religious services, Mass, and special prayers dedicated to Saint Anthony. Devotees gather to express their faith and seek the intercession of the saint.

St. Anthony’s Feast is known for its abundance of traditional Italian and Portuguese foods. Food vendors and local restaurants offer a variety of culinary delights, including pasta dishes, seafood, pastries, and other specialties.

The feast may feature live entertainment, including music performances, dance acts, and cultural displays. The music often includes traditional Italian and Portuguese tunes.

August Moon Festival

Website: No website

The August Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional Chinese and East Asian celebration that takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar.

The festival is marked by the full moon and is celebrated by various East Asian communities around the world, including those in Boston, Massachusetts.

The festival features live music and performances and vendors selling food, gifts and souvenirs.

Mooncakes are a central element of the festival. These are round pastries filled with sweet or savory fillings such as lotus seed paste, red bean paste, or nuts. They are often shared among family and friends during the celebration.

Festivities often include cultural performances such as traditional Chinese music, dance, and martial arts demonstrations. These performances showcase the rich cultural heritage of East Asia.

Have you been to any of these summer festivals? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

About William Briscoe

William Briscoe is a seasoned travel blogger and adventurer based in Massachusetts. With a passion for exploring hidden gems and sharing his travel experiences, Briscoe's website, "Mass Attractions," has become a go-to resource for those seeking seasonal attractions in Massachusetts. In addition to his website, William has contributed travel stories and articles to various travel publications, and his work has been featured in several magazines and online platforms. He also collaborates with tourism boards and travel companies to promote sustainable and responsible travel practices. William enjoys exploring the scenic beauty of New England, spending time with his family and two rescue dogs, and experimenting with classical New England recipes in his kitchen. He holds a degree in English Literature from Boston University, which he believes laid the foundation for his writing skills.

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