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Magazine

Weekend Fun Guide 2013

Make the most of New England’s short summer by hitting the road for can’t-miss celebrations right through Labor Day.

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ryan snook for the boston globe

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Featuring food fests, music bashes, country fairs, and more of New England’s greatest celebrations.

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in Vermont.

Brian H. MacDonadl

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in Vermont.

JUNE 7-9

>VT / BURLINGTON DISCOVER JAZZ FESTIVAL

THROUGH JUNE 9

Bring your Ray-Bans and porkpie hat to Burlington’s coolest festival. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Discover Jazz showcases local talent and international stars in performances throughout the city. The final weekend of the 10-day event, which began May 31, features a Dixieland cruise on Lake Champlain and a block party at Church Street Marketplace. Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band will merge Latin jazz, swing, bebop, and salsa into a rousing festival finale. Various locations, Burlington, 802-863-7992, discoverjazz.com

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>NH / INN TO INN SPRING HERB TOUR

JUNE 8-9

If you’re thinking of planting a kitchen garden, this tour of White Mountains inns will give you inspiration. Eleven lovely properties in the Mount Washington area will be open on either Saturday or Sunday. At each one, the innkeeper will offer guests a tasty herb-flavored dish along with recipes and a plant or packet of seeds. Ticket sales end Wednesday. Various locations, Mount Washington Valley, 603-356-9025, countryinnsinthewhitemountains.com

JUNE 14-16

> RI / NORMAN BIRD SANCTUARY’S 7th ANNUAL 5K

JUNE 15

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Beautiful beach views attract more than 350 runners and walkers to this Father’s Day-weekend outing that begins and ends at the 325-acre Norman Bird Sanctuary. Kids who complete a fun run of about a half mile receive a voucher for a free ice cream from the nearby Frosty Freez stand. 583 Third Beach Road, Middletown, 401-846-2577, normanbirdsanctuary.org

> CT / THE BIG DAY NATURE PROGRAM

JUNE 15

It’s hard to imagine a more lovely spot to conduct a “bioblitz” than at Hill-Stead Museum’s country estate just west of Hartford. The resident naturalist promises no stone will be left unturned as volunteers search gardens and meadows and stream, swamp, and pond in a quest to identify everything that walks, creeps, swims, crawls, or flies. 35 Mountain Road, Farmington, 860-677-4787, ext. 112, hillstead.org

 The work of a master carver at the annual sand sculpting competition on New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach.

Toby Talbot/associated press

The work of a master carver at the annual sand sculpting competition on New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach.

JUNE 21-JUNE 23

> NH / 13th ANNUAL HAMPTON BEACH MASTER SAND SCULPTING COMPETITION

JUNE 20-22

With more than $15,000 in prize money, sand sculpting is not just kid’s play. You can sign up for a free lesson on Saturday (seats are limited) or simply scrutinize the work of 10 master carvers before casting a vote for your favorite. Fireworks follow the Saturday evening awards ceremony. View sculptures through July 7. Hampton Beach, north of the Seashell Stage, 603-926-8717, hamptonbeach.org/sandcastle-competition.cfm

> RI / NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW

JUNE 21-23

There’s always a big wow factor at this floral extravaganza held on the grounds of and inside Rosecliff, a mansion completed in 1902 and modeled after the Grand Trianon at Versailles. This year adds a touch of exoticism with displays and lectures channeling the traditions of the East. Even those with pocket gardens can pick up tips on easy-care perennials or deer-resistant peonies. 548 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, 401-847-1000, newportmansions.org

 Yoga and other serene activities at the Wanderlust Festival in Vermont.

Ali Kaukas

Yoga and other serene activities at the Wanderlust Festival in Vermont.

> VT / WANDERLUST FESTIVAL

JUNE 20-23

Wanderers of all types will find serenity at this Stratton Mountain Resort gathering. Days revolve around yoga and meditation, augmented by musical performances as well as lectures and film screenings that explore spirituality and the quest for a mindful life. Hikes, mountain biking, and stand-up-paddleboard yoga promote a healthy body. To bring it all together, musicians accompany morning hikes to a scenic spot and play while hikers meditate. Stratton Mountain Resort, Bondville, 855-926-3375, stratton.wanderlustfestival.com

JUNE 28-30

> CT / MIDSUMMER FANTASY RENAISSANCE FAIRE

JUNE 22-JULY 7 (SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS ONLY)

At the Renaissance Faire in Connecticut, the mood tends more toward the martial.

Eric M. Dinnen

At the Renaissance Faire in Connecticut, the mood tends more toward the martial.

Calling all fans of Dungeons & Dragons and World of Warcraft. Immerse yourself in an interactive fantasy world of elves, fairies, and goblins at this war between the Northland Contingent and the Cuulayne Allied Legion. Sword fights, Renaissance ballads, magic acts, juggling, and medieval torture reenactments are served with large doses of tongue-in-cheek humor. Vendors offer custom capes, armor, and lots of food, while the tavern serves beer, hard cider, and mead. Warsaw Park, 119 Pulaski Highway, Ansonia, mfrenfaire.com

> MA / STRAWBERRY THANKSGIVING FESTIVAL AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION

JUNE 29-30

 The strawberry festival at Plimoth Plantation includes Native American music and dance.

getty images

The strawberry festival at Plimoth Plantation includes Native American music and dance.

Plimoth Plantation and its Wampanoag Homesite give visitors a glimpse of Native American life around the time that the Pilgrims arrived in the 17th century. The celebration of the first harvest of the new growing season features traditional Native American music and dance, ballgames and wrestling, and river races in mishoons (hollowed-out log canoes). Complete your celebration with chilled strawberry soup and strawberry shortcake at the Henry Hornblower II Visitor Center’s Patuxet Cafe. 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, 508-746-1622, plimoth.org

JULY 4-7

> ME / 40th ANNUAL BATH HERITAGE DAYS

JULY 3-7

Even if you miss the parade on July 4, you can still take in the weekend whoopie pie eating contest, chili-chowder fest, carnival, arts and crafts exhibits, fireman’s muster, live entertainment, antique car show, boat procession, and fireworks. Various locations, Bath, 207-442-7291, bathheritagedays.com

> MA / NEW BEDFORD FOLK FESTIVAL

JULY 6-7

More than 50 musical acts will explore all the strains of contemporary, traditional, and Celtic folk music as they perform on seven stages throughout New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center. But there’s still room for about 90 artists and craftspeople to display their wares and for food vendors to sell their treats. 33 William Street, New Bedford, 508-493-3872, newbedfordfolkfestival.com

> ME / 20th ANNUAL NATIVE AMERICAN FESTIVAL & BASKETMAKERS MARKET

JULY 6

Traditional ash and sweet-grass baskets are highly prized by collectors, and this is a great opportunity to meet the artists who make them. Carvings, beadwork, and other objects are also for sale. Watch for craft demonstrations, dance, music, and storytelling throughout the day. College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, 207-288-3519, abbemuseum.org

JULY 12-14

> MA / WEST SIDE STORY

JULY 13

The 1961 movie won 10 Academy Awards. Recapture the magic as the BSO performs Leonard Bernstein’s score to accompany a large-screen high-definition projection of the remastered film. Tanglewood, 297 West Street, Lenox, 617-266-1200, bso.org

> ME / MAINE WINDJAMMER PARADE, NORTH ATLANTIC BLUES FESTIVAL

JULY 12-14

Two events add up to one great weekend in Rockland. You can see the Maine windjammer schooner fleet up close as it unfurls its sails for a parade past the Breakwater Light on Friday afternoon. Musicians take over the public landing on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday evening the very popular Club Crawl along Main Street features five street bands and 17 bands wailing inside clubs. Various locations, Rockland, 800-807-9463, sailmainecoast.com, and 207-691-2248, northatlanticbluesfestival.com

 In Easton, Connecticut, a demonstration of “base ball” as it was originally played.

Karen O’Maxfield

In Easton, Connecticut, a demonstration of “base ball” as it was originally played.

> CT / VINTAGE BASE BALL

JULY 13

In ye olden days, fielders played barehanded, and by 1861 rules, a ball caught on the first bounce was an out. These are just some of the things you’ll learn about the evolution of America’s pastime when the Friends of Vintage Base Ball reenactors take the field for two fast-moving exhibition games (rain date July 20). Kids can try swinging bats during intermission. Veteran’s Park, 366 Sport Hill Road, Easton, 203-261-2090, historicalsocietyofeastonct.org

JULY 19-21

CT / LAUNCH OF THE CHARLES W. MORGAN

JULY 21

After a bottle is broken over her bow, the Charles W. Morgan will be lowered into the Mystic River as Mystic Seaport celebrates the relaunch of its flagship vessel after a long restoration. The last remaining wooden whale ship in the world, built in New Bedford in 1841, made 37 voyages over 80 years. Shipwrights will talk about the restoration, and musicians will perform sea chanteys. There’s a ticketed pre-launch party with dancing on Saturday night. 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, 860-572-0711, mysticseaport.org

A cold, frosty welcome awaits at the Vermont Brewers Festival.

Jeremih Johnson

A cold, frosty welcome awaits at the Vermont Brewers Festival.

> VT / VERMONT BREWERS FESTIVAL

JULY 19-20

More than 40 craft breweries will be represented at this convivial festival along the banks of Lake Champlain. That means you can compare the approaches of Burlington-based Switchback Brewing with Quebec’s Hopfenstark or Lagunitas Brewing of Petaluma, California. Because more than 150 beers will be available for tasting, organizers advise selecting your choices in advance — and bringing a designated driver. Waterfront Park, 10 College Street, Burlington, vtbrewfest.com

> RI / SOUTH COUNTY HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL

JULY 19-21

Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Win McNamee/getty images

Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Weather conditions tend to be best in the early morning and early evening, so the hot-air balloons are scheduled to fly at approximately 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and approximately 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There is plenty to keep you busy the rest of the time, including live music, carnival rides, and wild animal shows. The dusk “balloon glows” on Friday and Saturday are the favorite photo ops. Need more? There’s a barbecue competition on Sunday afternoon. Festival proceeds go to charity. URI athletic fields off Route 138, Kingston, southcountyballoonfest.com

 Circus Smirkus, a troupe made entirely of kids and teenagers, will appear at Gore Place in Waltham.

Robert Sanson

Circus Smirkus, a troupe made entirely of kids and teenagers, will appear at Gore Place in Waltham.

JULY 26-28

> MA / CIRCUS SMIRKUS

JULY 26-28

Be warned: Your kids will probably want to run away and join the circus when Circus Smirkus Troupers, all ages 10 to 18, wow them with juggling, clowning, acrobatics, and wire walking. As part of the 2013 summer tour, the circus will pitch the big top at Gore Place for six shows. Buy tickets from Circus Smirkus in advance. Gore Place, 52 Gore Street, Waltham; tickets: 877-764-7587, smirkus.org

> ME / 13th ANNUAL NEW ENGLAND COUPLES GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

JULY 26-28

Thirteen could be your lucky number. The Bethel Inn Resort, which opened in 1913, hosts its 13th annual couples golf championship this 2013 weekend. The resort’s package includes lodging, meals (with a four-course dinner and a poolside lobster bake), live entertainment, and 18-hole rounds of golf on Saturday and Sunday. 21 Broad Street, Bethel, 207-824-2175, bethelinn.com

AUGUST 2-4

NH / CHESHIRE FAIR

JULY 31-AUGUST 4

Whether your interests run to baking contests or demolition derbies, there’s something for everyone at the 75th anniversary of this old-fashioned fair (who doesn’t love midway rides and a good pig scramble?). Don’t miss the celebratory parade on Saturday. Fairgrounds, 247 Monadnock Highway, Swanzey, 603-357-4740, cheshirefair.com

One course of Rhode Island’s famous seafood festival.

Janet KNOTT /globe file

One course of Rhode Island’s famous seafood festival.

RI / 29th ANNUAL CHARLESTOWN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL

AUGUST 2-4

For such a diminutive state, Rhode Island has some big events, including this celebration of Ocean State seafood. Look for lobster rolls, clam cakes, steamers, chowder, fish and chips, and a raw bar. Live entertainment and a car show on Sunday offer a break between meals. Ninigret Park, 4890 Old Post Road, Charlestown, 401-364-4031, charlestownrichamber.com

> VT / SUMMER DOG PARTY

AUGUST 4

It’s hard to tell if dogs or their humans have more fun at this high-spirited event. But only dogs can compete for the title of best swimmer, best dancer, or best singer. Dogs can also go leash-free at the ponds, trails, and obstacle course on 150-acre Dog Mountain, also the site of late artist Stephen Huneck’s Dog Chapel. Stephen Huneck Gallery, Dog Mountain, 143 Parks Road, St. Johnsbury, 800-449-2580, dogmt.com

AUGUST 9-11

> CT / MYSTIC OUTDOOR ART FESTIVAL

AUGUST 10-11

There is plenty of room for 275 fine artists and craftspeople to set up their wares near the drawbridge in downtown Mystic. One of the oldest arts festivals in the Northeast, Mystic attracts artisans from around the country — as well as more than 100,000 visitors. Organizers advise coming early on Saturday to beat the crowds. Downtown Mystic, 860-572-9578, mysticchamber.org

> MA / RUN & SHOOT FILMWORKS MARTHA’S VINEYARD AFRICAN-AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

AUGUST 6-10

Screenings of up to 50 feature-length, documentary, and short films shine the spotlight on emerging and established African-American artists on both sides of the camera, including Jono Oliver’s feature-directorial debut, Home. The schedule has no overlapping events, so you can see them all. Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, mvaaff.com

> MA / LOWELL QUILT FESTIVAL

AUGUST 8-10

“Images,” a juried exhibition of more than 100 quilts, is the centerpiece of this citywide celebration of needle art. The exhibit and a marketplace will take over Lowell Memorial Auditorium, while the New England Quilt Museum and other venues will mount special shows. A free shuttle bus stitches the locations together. Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell, and other locations, 978-265-3722, lowellquiltfestival.org

 Dwight & Nicole will perform at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival.

Erwin Caluya

Dwight & Nicole will perform at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival.

AUGUST 16-18

> MA / SALEM JAZZ AND SOUL FESTIVAL

AUGUST 17-18

In the 1920s, major jazz artists played at Salem Willows seaside park. This festival builds on that legacy and throws in some soul, blues, and funk for good measure. This year’s roster includes the Salem High School Jazz Band, the Brooklyn-based “funk army” Turkuaz, the Soul Review Project, and Boston’s “Queen of the Blues,” Toni Lynn Washington. Salem Willows, 167 Fort Avenue, Salem, salemjazzsoul.com

> MA / CARNIVAL 2013

AUGUST 17-23

P-town’s annual parade.

Dominic Chavez/globe file

P-town’s annual parade.

Some would say that every summer day is a party in Provincetown. But if you’re one of those who believe that more is more, head to the 35th birthday of P-town’s carnival celebration. This year’s theme is Viva Las Vegas — expect lots of showgirls and Elvises at the parade on August 22. Organized activities end the next day, but Provincetown will continue rocking the rest of the weekend. Various locations, Provincetown, 508-487-2313, ptown.org/carnival.asp

> NH / FIFTH ANNUAL LIVING HISTORY EVENT

AUGUST 17-18

Ease your kids back into their studies by proving that history can be fun. They can try their hands at panning for gold, learn to play the pennywhistle, or watch magic tricks, falconry demonstrations, and reenactments of battles from the French and Indian War. Readers will want to keep an eye out for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Mark Twain. Various locations, Hillsborough, 603-478-0809, livinghistoryeventnh.com

 Pirate garb is welcome at the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival.

STEVE MEASE

Pirate garb is welcome at the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival.

> VT / LAKE CHAMPLAIN MARITIME FESTIVAL

AUGUST 15-18

For Saturday’s 5K run/walk along the Burlington bike path, folks don pirate garb. That sense of fun prevails throughout the festival, with lake cruises, stand-up paddleboarding, live music, biplane exhibitions, a huge boat show, and dedicated activity areas for kids and dogs. Waterfront, Burlington, 802-482-3313, lcmfestival.com

AUGUST 23-25

> VT / BARNS & BRIDGES OF THE MAD RIVER VALLEY

AUGUST 25

This self-guided driving tour through gorgeous Mad River Valley is just one event in the monthlong Vermont Festival of the Arts. All the covered bridges along the way still carry traffic, and though some barns have been repurposed, others are on working farms and not normally open to the public. Bring a camera: Signs at each stop provide photo tips. Festival Gallery (for maps), 5031 Main Street, Waitsfield, 802-496-6682, vermontartfest.com

> ME / BLISTERED FINGERS FAMILY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

AUGUST 22-25

Bluegrass never goes out of style. Just ask folks who grew up at this family-friendly festival and are now bringing their own kids. Musicians from all over the US and Canada are on the roster, and many are happy to share a few tricks with aspiring performers. The youngsters take to the stage on Saturday afternoon. Litchfield Fairgrounds, 30 Plains Road, Litchfield, 207-873-6539, blisteredfingers.com

AUGUST 30-SEPTEMBER 2

> MA / 35th ANNUAL NEW ENGLAND ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL

AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 2

Some artisans here fashion handbags from worn-out jeans, felted mittens from old sweaters, and jewelry from broken china. Call it good old New England thrift or, as the organizers do, “vintage chic.” Artful food creations include jams, jellies, hot sauces, and honey. Craft demonstrations, live music, and puppet and magic shows for the kids round out the attractions. Topsfield Fairgrounds, 207 Boston Street, Topsfield, 603-332-2616, castleberryfairs.com

> CT / CONSTITUTION STATE FEIS

AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 1

Expect lots of flashy footwork at this Irish dance competition that draws more than 800 competitors from the United States and abroad. Live music accompanies two days of nonstop dance, featuring everyone from 3-year-old beginners to step-dancing world champions. It all takes place in a lakeside open-air theater at Quassy Amusement Park. 2132 Middlebury Road, Middlebury, 203-758-1885, horganacademy.webs.com

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TRAFFIC ADVISORY

“I actually think we’ll see July 3 as an extremely heavy travel day, perhaps the heaviest of the season,” says Mary Maguire, spokeswoman for AAA Southern New England. Blame the fact that July 4 falls on a Thursday, practically demanding scheduling of a five-day-long weekend. Many will still work on the third, and probably not happily, so best to avoid rush hour.

TICK ADVISORY

Thanks to a relatively wet and cool May, “we will see a lot of activity during June,” explains Sam R. Telford III, a Lyme disease expert at Tufts University. But Telford doesn’t expect higher tick populations than usual later this summer. Nevertheless, he says, always use DEET-based repellents, conduct tick checks, and visit a doctor for any fever that lasts more than two days.

WEATHER ADVISORY

After a rainy June, says the venerable Old Farmer’s Almanac, expect a summer that is “drier than normal, with near-normal temperatures.” With any luck, warmer and drier than average weather this autumn will pay off in good leaf peeping.

FUEL ADVISORY

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average per-gallon price for regular gas expected at US pumps this summer will be $3.53, 16 cents less than last summer. And remember this AAA pro tip: Compared with Massachusetts average prices, gas tends to be cheaper in New Hampshire; it’s always more expensive in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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

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