Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

2012 weekend fun guide

40 ideas for your New England summer weekends

There never seem to be enough of them in New England’s too-brief summer. Here are things to do to make each one fabulous.

Linzie Hunter and Greg Klee

JIM TURNER

Gaspee Days Weekend.

> June 8-10

 GASPEE DAYS WEEKEND

RHODE ISLAND/JUNE 8-10

Boston can’t claim all the Revolutionary glory. In 1772, Rhode Island patriots burned the British revenue schooner Gaspee, and Friday night’s fireworks evoke the explosion of the ship’s powder magazine. Visitors can get a feel for military life at the re-created Colonial encampment and watch the Ancient Mariners Fife & Drum Corps and other bands march in Saturday’s parade. Various locations, Warwick and Cranston, 401-781-1772, gaspee.com

Continue reading below

 

PIRATE FESTIVAL

VERMONT/JUNE 9-10

Kids can make pirate hats or parrots to perch on their shoulders before they watch a mock naval battle, board a replica 1776 gunboat, try their hands at juggling, and follow the clues in a treasure hunt at this fun — and even educational — event at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. 4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes, 802-475-2022, lcmm.org

> June 15-17

MUSICAL CHAIRS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP & FESTIVAL

Continue reading it below

MASSACHUSETTS/JUNE 16

With as many as 2,600 contestants in each of four heats, organizers hope to set a Guinness world record for participants in a game of musical chairs. Contestants must be at least 18 — and are advised to wear closed-toe shoes and refrain from overly aggressive behavior. Amesbury Sports Park, 12 Hunt Road, Amesbury, 978-226-5295, musicalchairswc.com

 

JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION

CONNECTICUT/JUNE 16

The New Britain Museum of American Art marks the end of slavery in the United States with this annual event featuring art exhibits, a screening of short films, music and dancing, Southern food specialties such as jambalaya and corn bread, and a Juneteenth punch that organizers describe as “ultra-delicious and then deadly.” 56 Lexington Street, New Britain, 860-229-0257, nbmaa.org

> June 22-24

 DEWEY THE DOG AND FRIENDS

NEW HAMPSHIRE/JUNE 23

Let your dog show his stuff in such games as “biscuit toss” and “digging for bones,” or simply enjoy the walking trails at 690-acre Canterbury Shaker Village on this doggie day dedicated to one of the village’s most beloved canine companions. 288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, 603-783-9511, shakers.org

CAPE ANN ARTISANS OPEN STUDIO TOUR

MASSACHUSETTS/JUNE 23-24

Get off the beaten path and enjoy the Cape Ann landscape as you look for pink banners marking 18 studios where you can meet 21 artisans and view their work in pottery, painting, photography, sculpture, and more. Rockport and Gloucester, 978-281-3347, capeannartisans.com

SMOKIN’ AT THE BALLPARK

MAINE/JUNE 23-24

Things heat up on Saturday night when competitors in this state-sanctioned barbecue contest start preparing chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and pork ribs. On Sunday, visitors can sample and vote for their favorite pulled pork, enjoy live entertainment, ascend in a tethered hot air balloon, and admire the restored Old Orchard Beach Ballpark. 1 Ballpark Way, Old Orchard Beach, 207-590-4201, oob365.com

David L Ryan/Globe Staff

The USS Constitution in Charlestown is part of Boston Harborfest.

> June 29-July 1

 BOSTON HARBORFEST

MASSACHUSETTS/JUNE 28-JULY 4

This year’s edition of the Harborfest commemorates the War of 1812 and the heroic exploits of Boston’s own USS Constitution. On Friday evening at the Charlestown Navy Yard, there will be a sunset parade with pipe-and-drum companies and a US Navy marching band honoring “Old Ironsides.” The Charlestown Navy Yard will also host a flotilla of 17 visiting tall ships for OpSail (boarding hours to be announced), which runs through July 5. Various locations, Boston, 617-227-1528, bostonharborfest.com, navyweek.org/boston2012

PORTLAND PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL

MAINE/JUNE 28-JULY 1

Portland’s new festival starts with a splash when Maine performance artists EepyBird demonstrate the creative uses of Diet Coke and Mentos. (Not familiar with the phenomenon? Look it up on YouTube). Look also for a world premiere play, contemporary dance concert, jazz band performance, and classical guitar solo concert. Local artists keep things lively with puppetry, pop-up concerts and dance, and street theater. Portland Arts District, Portland, 207-370-7806, portlandfestival.org

 

Valentyn Volkov/istockphoto

New England Brewfest.

NEW ENGLAND BREWFEST

NEW HAMPSHIRE/JUNE 30

About 30 New England microbreweries, including Flying Goose Brew Pub and Peak Organic Brewing Co., will be pouring at this eighth annual celebration of craft brewing. Pace yourself by visiting the home-brewing demonstration, listening to live music, and voting for your favorite slider cooked by local restaurants. Village Shops, Main Street, Lincoln, 603-745-6621, nebrewfest.com

 

> July 6-8

WICKFORD ART FESTIVAL

RHODE ISLAND/JULY 7-8

Wickford Village is a picture-perfect setting for this waterfront juried fine art show that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. You won’t see jewelry or teapots, but with more than 200 visual artists presenting work, you might find the perfect painting, print, or photograph. Brown, Main, and West Main streets, Wickford Village, North Kingstown, 401-294-6840, wickfordart.org

Pat Wellenbach/AP/file

The L.L. Bean Bootmobile.

100th ANNIVERSARY HOMETOWN CELEBRATION

MAINE/JULY 4-7

Maine’s most famous footwear, Leon Leonwood Bean’s “better boot,” was first marketed to folks “from away” in 1912. The mega-outfitter’s centennial party culminates on Saturday with what organizers promise will be one of the state’s largest fireworks shows. While you wait, peruse crafts for sale, enjoy live entertainment, and conquer the 25-foot climbing wall. Various locations, Freeport, 877-755-2326, 100.llbean.com

 

FAIRHAVEN BICENTENNIAL GRAND PARADE

MASSACHUSETTS/JULY 8

The town of Fairhaven is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the bicentennial of its incorporation. During the two-hour parade there will be marching bands and floats, of course, but really making it grand will be a team of Clydesdale horses, motorized and horse-drawn antique fire equipment, active military units, and Revolutionary and Civil War reenactors. Begins at Livesey Park, Fairhaven, 508-979-4085, fairhaven200.org    

> July 13-15

 13th ANNUAL INTERTRIBAL POWWOW

NEW HAMPSHIRE/JULY 14-15

Expect more than 150 dancers in beautiful regalia and representing tribes from all over North America to perform during this two-day event at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. Check out the drum competitions and displays of traditional crafts. 18 Highlawn Road, Warner, 603-456-2600, indianmuseum.org

NEWPORT KITE FESTIVAL

RHODE ISLAND/JULY 14-15

Southerly winds make Newport a great spot for kites. Bring your own or purchase one at this high-flying event. Organizers offer free kite lessons and even fly some supersized models, including one as big as a bus. Brenton Point State Park, Newport, 401-244-5264, newportkitefestival.net

Green River Festival.

GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL

MASSACHUSETTS/JULY 14-15

Of all the celebrations of the 100th birthday of legendary folk musician Woody Guthrie, none will be more heartfelt than the performance by his son Arlo Guthrie and the Guthrie Family Reunion, scheduled for Saturday. Three stages provide plenty of room for everything from zydeco to rockabilly, balladeers to string band jazz. And don’t miss the extras such as craft vendors and hot air balloon rides. Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, 413-773-5463, greenriverfestival.com

>July 20-22

YARMOUTH CLAM FESTIVAL

MAINE/JULY 20-22

Both amateurs and professionals compete in Saturday’s clam-shucking contest, so start practicing now if you want to beat the record of 25 clams per minute. Organizers expect 3 tons of clams to be consumed, so do your part by savoring fried clams or clam cakes as you check out the crafts exhibits, carnival rides, and Saturday night fireworks. Yarmouth, 207-846-3984, clamfestival.com

 

ROCK RIVER ARTISTS ANNUAL STUDIO TOUR

VERMONT/JULY 21-22

This small community of artists was hit hard last August when Irene blew through. But they are up and running again and eager to receive visitors. Within a 10-mile radius, you can view the work of 14 artists and discover the lush gardens and spectacular views that nurture their spirits. Starting point: Old Schoolhouse, junction of Auger Hole and Dover roads, South Newfane, 802-348-7865, rockriverartists.com

 

DAY LILY DAYS

VERMONT/JULY 21-22

If you think all day lilies are orange, you’re in for a colorful surprise. At Cider Hill Gardens and Gallery, some 100 varieties should be blooming in fields and display gardens Saturday and Sunday. Best of all, the gardeners advise that this symbol of summer will require little care in your garden; there will be several varieties available to buy. 1747 Hunt Road, Windsor, 802-674-6825, ciderhillgardens.com

> July 27-29

Kayana Szymczak/file

Lowell Folk Festival.

LOWELL FOLK FESTIVAL

MASSACHUSETTS/JULY 27-29

The world comes to downtown Lowell for this vibrant event where you can hear music by French Canadian accordionists or a traditional klezmer band, watch Hawaiian hula dancers, or listen to the nearly lost urban tavern music of Smyrna. The food choices are just as eclectic, while this year’s folk crafts displays will focus on traditional headgear and footwear. Downtown Lowell, 978-970-5000, lowellfolkfestival.org

 

YORK DAYS FESTIVAL AND LIGHTING OF THE NUBBLE

MAINE/JULY 28-AUGUST 5

Sohier Park is the best place to view and photograph iconic 1879 Nubble Light outlined with white lights. The Sunday illumination is the highlight of the first weekend of York Days, a nine-day smorgasbord of activities, including a 5K road race, craft fair, and fireworks. Various locations, York, 207-363-1040, parksandrec.yorkmaine.org

 

BANG ON A CAN: 2012 SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL

MASSACHUSETTS/JULY 12-31

Contemporary music meets contemporary art at this nearly three-week festival of pop-up and scheduled recitals in Mass MoCA’s galleries. 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, 413-662-2111, massmoca.org

> August 3-5

istockphoto

Maine Lobster Festival.

MAINE LOBSTER FESTIVAL

MAINE/AUGUST 1-5

There’s a full roster of entertainment and contests for this blowout that’s been held since 1947, including the highly anticipated lobster-crate race across the harbor. But the favorite spot every year is the Eating Tent, where festivalgoers can feast on boiled lobster (served with corn on the cob), as well as steamed clams, crab cakes, and other seafood delights. Harbor Park, Rockland, 800-562-2529 or 207-596-0376, mainelobsterfestival.com

NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL

RHODE ISLAND/AUGUST 3-5

Since it was founded in 1954, this pioneering festival has been the site of plenty of legendary performances — McCoy Tyner’s in 1963 made him a star. This year, there’s always a chance someone will play another career-defining concert, whether it’s John Ellis on tenor sax (or ocarina!), Pat Metheny on guitar, or revolutionary drummer Dafnis Prieto. Fort Adams State Park, Harrison Avenue, Newport, 401-848-5055, newportjazzfest.net

 

Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival.

TASTE OF THE CARIBBEAN AND JERK FESTIVAL

CONNECTICUT/AUGUST 4

Fabulous costumes are the order of the day when Hartford’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza is transformed into a Caribbean village. Salsa and merengue dance lessons will help you work up an appetite for a taste of the islands from more than 20 food vendors. 300 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, 860-713-3131, riverfront.org

 

SECOND ANNUAL MAINE COMEDY FESTIVAL

MAINE/AUGUST 2-5

Ayuh, Mainers have been the butt of so many jokes that it’s surprising nobody thought of this sooner. But the producers are not joking when they claim that this is Maine’s first and only comedy arts festival. Men and women get equal billing in the five comedy shows. For more yucks, sign up for Friday’s charity golf tournament. A heckler will be on the course to (comically) dis your stroke. Bethel Inn Resort, Bethel, 207-824-2175, mainecomedyfest.com

 

26th ANNUAL QUILT EXHIBITION

VERMONT/AUGUST 1-SEPTEMBER 23

Find out how the folks in Windsor County keep busy during the winter months at this juried exhibit of more than 50 handmade quilts at the Billings Farm & Museum. Route 12 and River Road, Woodstock, 802-457-2355, billingsfarm.org

 

League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair.

LEAGUE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE CRAFTSMEN’S FAIR

NEW HAMPSHIRE/AUGUST 4-12

For decorating ideas, check out the Living With Craft display rooms before you peruse the work of more than 350 craftspeople. Study the artists themselves for tips on how to accessorize with their scarves, jewelry, and leather goods. Mount Sunapee Resort, 1398 Route 103, Newbury, 603-224-3375, nhcrafts.org

> August 10- 12

 BURT DOW, DEEP WATER MAN

MAINE/AUGUST 9-19

As part of the celebration of the Stonington Opera House centennial, Opera House Arts reprises its original musical based on Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s tale inspired by a Deer Isle fisherman. Community members join professional actors to bring the story to life. 1 School Street, Stonington, 207-367-2788, operahousearts.org

 

ADDISON COUNTY FAIR & FIELD DAYS

VERMONT/AUGUST 7-11

If your kids are enchanted by the animals in the Children’s Barnyard, be sure they watch the 4-H’ers show off their prize cows, sheep, and chickens. Billing itself as the largest agricultural fair in Vermont, it also features tractor pulls, live entertainment, and a demolition derby. 1790 Field Days Road, New Haven, 802-545-2557, addisoncountyfielddays.com

 

Jawfest: The Tribute.

JAWSFEST: THE TRIBUTE

MASSACHUSETTS/AUGUST 9-12

Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water, Martha’s Vineyard relives its glory days as “Amity” during this four-day immersion in all things Jaws. Highlights include an exhibit of photos and memorabilia from the making of the 1975 film, a Jaws-related trivia hunt, outdoor film screening, and live reenactments of unforgettable scenes. Various locations, Martha’s Vineyard, jawstribute.com

> August 17- 19

21st ANNUAL STEEPLE CHASE BIKE TOUR FUND-RAISER

CONNECTICUT/AUGUST 18

Set your own pace at this charity bike race (for two area social service agencies) featuring routes of 10 to 100 miles, all past the woods and stone wall-lined farms of this idyllic northeast corner of Connecticut. However far you pedal, you’ll have plenty of fuel with pre-ride snacks, rest stops at churches, and snack wagons on every route. ECSU Athletic Complex, 69 Mansfield City Road, Mansfield, 860-450-7122, www.perceptionprograms.org/steeple

 

Washington County Fair.

WASHINGTON COUNTY FAIR

RHODE ISLAND/AUGUST 15-19

Of course you’ll find horse and tractor pulls, 4-H livestock shows, and a big midway at Rhode Island’s largest agricultural celebration. But the fair is best known for its country music acts, this year including up-and-comer Casey James, singer-songwriter Darryl Worley, and Branded, a country band that rocks. Route 112, Richmond, 401-539-7042, washingtoncountyfair-ri.com

 

Festival of Fireworks.

FESTIVAL OF FIREWORKS

NEW HAMPSHIRE/AUGUST 18

Atlas PyroVision Productions has designed fireworks displays around the world, and they bring all that explosive talent back with them for this annual show in their hometown. Gates open at 4 p.m., and you can enjoy live music and a sky-diving exhibition before the heavens light up with a 45-minute show set to music. Jaffrey Airport, Route 124, 190 Turnpike Road, Jaffrey, 603-532-4549, jaffreychamber.com

> August 24-26

HMS PINAFORE

CONNECTICUT/AUGUST 24-25

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore finds a real-life setting as performers tread the decks of the Joseph Conrad, an 1882 square-rigged ship at Mystic Seaport. Arrive early to stroll around the re-created 19th-century maritime village. 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, 860-572-5302, mysticseaport.org

FAMILY CONCERT

MASSACHUSETTS/AUGUST 25

This year marks Tanglewood’s 75th anniversary, and the renowned festival looks to the future with this concert that introduces children to the joys of music. Guest ensemble Classical Tangent plays folk music from around the world. Pack a picnic to spread out on the lawn. 297 West Street, Lenox, 888-266-1200, 617-266-1200, bso.org

 

CAPE COD FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL

MASSACHUSETTS/AUGUST 25

Falmouth is one of the stops on this year’s traveling food truck tour of New England. Organizers advise diners to come early and hungry to enjoy a sample from each of about 25 trucks from around the region. Expect barbecue, grilled cheese, Jamaican jerk chicken, wood-fired pizza, cupcakes, artisanal ice cream, and more. Advance ticket purchase suggested. Barnstable Fairgrounds, Falmouth, 617-782-7117, foodtruckfestivalsofne.com

> August 31-September 3

 WOODSTOCK FAIR

CONNECTICUT/AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 3

Traditional agricultural and homemaking skills are celebrated at this fair where contestants vie to grow the largest pumpkin, bake the best apple pie, or stitch the best quilt. Between judgings, check out the midway rides, go-kart races, live entertainment, and more than 100 food vendors. Routes 169 and 171, South Woodstock, 860-928-3246, woodstockfair.com

 

Rhythm & Roots Festival.

RHYTHM & ROOTS!

RHODE ISLAND/AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 2

Bring your own blanket to spread on the lawn at this roots music festival even though, with two dance floors beckoning, you may spend more time on your feet than sitting down. The lineup includes Cajun, zydeco, Tex-Mex, blues, bluegrass, and vintage rock. Ninigret Park, 4890A Old Post Road, Charlestown, 888-855-6940, rhythmandroots.com

 

Ellen Harasimowicz/file

Bread & Roses Festival.

BREAD & ROSES FESTIVAL

MASSACHUSETTS/SEPTEMBER 3

The 1912 Bread and Roses strike by Lawrence’s textile mill workers is a milestone in labor history. For this centennial, a performance by A Besere Velt, a Yiddish community chorus of more than 80 voices, will unravel the story. Other highlights include performances by Bread and Puppet Theater and folk musician and labor organizer Si Kahn. Campagnone Common, Lawrence, 978-794-1655, breadandrosesheritage.org

Patricia Harris and David Lyon write about food, travel, and art from Cambridge. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com