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Celebrate history, heritage and culture all year long in Bean Town and beyond by heading to New England for the hottest festivals and events in Massachusetts. From fairs and commemorations, food competitions, historic reenactments, fireworks and parades, barbecues and weekend music conferences, Massachusetts is exploding with action-packed events in every season.
Bostonians know how to throw great events in every season, from fall festivals to summertime clambakes. Whether you are a patriotic reveler, a sports enthusiast, or a foodie, Boston has an event for you. Sample the best seafood at the Boston Seafood Festival and clambake, held annually each August at Fish Pier. Ring in the New Year each winter by attending the First Night/First Day party in Copley Square and countdown with live performances, light displays, ice sculptures, and fireworks. For wine aficionados, savor over 200 varietals at the Boston Wine Festival and food-pairing event, each January.
With a population filled with the luck of the Irish, St. Patrick's Day is a party not to be missed. With a massive parade, green beer flowing and bagpipes playing, head to any Irish Pub for the best Shepard’s Pie and corned beef. Held on Patriots Day in April, The Boston Marathon takes to the streets for the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the country. In the spring, be sure check out Anime Boston, a three-day celebration of comic sci-fi, super heroes, and everything comic books held at The Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
Year round fairs, cultural events, festivals and special days come to the north of Boston region and the Merrimack’s Valley. Patriots’ Day in Mid April is celebrated throughout the state, but up north in Merrimack Valley, expect lively parades, reenactments and commemorative ceremonies of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. The town of Lowell brings festivities to the area with events like Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, honoring the city’s prized writer, and the annual Lowell Folk Fest, bringing outdoor music all around the city.
Over in the North Shore, summertime brings the Essex ClamFest & Clam Chowder Competition. Famous for this coastal cuisine, this annual festival can get highly competitive and pretty packed, as people vie for the winning title.
The southeastern side of the state can party just like the rest of them. Most fall events focus on ringing in the new harvest, like America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration and Parade held in November. Join in all of the fanfare featuring all-day concerts, pumpkin themed crafters village, libations and waterfront tours at Plymouth Rock.
October brings the annual Oktoberfest at the KOA where you can tap your foot to German music, sample beers from all over the globe, and feast on the best sausage and peppers around. Kids will love the hayride or can watch a Halloween-themed movie under the stars. The King Richard’s Faire in Carver, MA is also held in October, where you can party like its 1599 on 80 acres of enchanted woods. This massive renaissance festival is filled with costumed entertainers, knights, faeries, dancers and turkey legs galore.
Over in Edaville, bring the family to the Christmas Festival of Lights at Edaville Family Theme Park for a holiday extravaganza like no other. From mid November to January 1st, feast your eyes on millions of twinkly lights and some over the top decorations guaranteed to bring the Christmas spirit.
The autumn months in Western Massachusetts are when things really start to get lively. New England’s grandest fair and annual tradition, The Big E, is held in West Springfield. Bringing close to 1.5 million people to the Eastern States Exposition's grounds, this 17-day event brings live music, rides and attractions, food from each New England region, carnival games and excitement to all for the three weeks it comes to town.
The fun doesn't stop in the Berkshires. Head to Fall at the Berkshire Botanical Garden's Harvest Festival and enjoy over 130 craft and food vendors, plus tons of family entertainment set amidst the foliage in Stockbridge. Over in North Adams, bringing fun, cheer and postcard like backdrops, the Annual Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Festival and Parade takes place the last weekend of September.
Plan your next visit to Becket, and check out the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. The festival comes around every June near the middle of the month and runs through August. The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival combines a wide range of styles, forms, and traditions from all over the world, presented in the form of 200 events and performances, on average. All of the dance performances and events are free, and there are also tours, films to watch, and lectures. Many of the performances take place at the Ted Shaw Theatre.
If summertime on the islands weren’t fun enough, the fall in Cape Cod brings JazzFest Falmouth. Enjoy national, regional and local jazz artists for a week long festival of music and culture. Summer in the Cape gets even hotter with the Pier to Plate event held annually on Memorial Day weekend. Serving up some of the freshest local catch, savor the island flavors and mingle with the locals for some holiday fun.
Sample the best cuisine in Nantucket each spring and fall with Nantucket Restaurant Week. Experience exceptional food, wine and hospitality in the many great establishments located on the island.
A great way to warm up in the winter is to attend The Annual Big Chili Contest in Martha’s Vineyard. Contestants and chili fans from all over the state come to compete and judge in this chili extravaganza, complete with a Mariachi band to get the party going all day. Kick off the summer in MV with a weekend of great food, tasty wine, and plenty of good people at Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival. Not only will there be many wines to try, events range from craft beer tastings to food pairings.
The annual Wellfleet OysterFest takes place each October in Cape Cod and really brings a crowd. This two-day family festival celebrates the town's famous oysters, clams and seafood for some hometown fun. Enjoy the local cuisine, arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations, children's activities, live music, and the annual Oyster Shuck-Off competition.