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Weekend Fun Guide

Things to do around New England every weekend of summer 2014

Your complete guide to the hottest, coolest, jazziest, beachiest, blueberry-est summertime festivals.

john s. dykes

View the Weekend Fun Guide in a sortable calendar.

WEEKEND OF JUNE 20 — 22

> BLACK HISTORY WEEKEND/ Massachusetts

June 21-22

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Old Sturbridge Village stretches the Juneteenth celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation over two days. Storytellers in the African-American oral tradition will bring strong women to life and trace the history of slaves and their descendants. Visit the schoolhouse to see how African-American children learned to read, write, and cipher in 19th-century Boston. 1 Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, 800-733-1830, osv.org

> NEMBAfest ’14 / Vermont

June 20-22

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Organizers of the New England Mountain Bike Association’s Festival at Kingdom Trails promise that novices and experts alike will feel as if they’ve conquered the world after sampling the 100-plus miles of trails through “gentle, super-fun, roller coaster-like terrain.” Save time for the bike expo, skills clinic, stunt show, and kids’ games. Bands play late into the summer solstice night. 2059 Darling Hill Road, Lyndonville, 800-576-3622, nemba.org

> 25th ANNUAL POCKET GARDEN TOUR / New Hampshire

June 20-21

The 12 gardens on a 3-mile walking loop through Portsmouth’s Little Harbor neighborhood range from petite plots to a “sidewalk farm.” Most gardeners will be on hand to share tips. Look also for musicians, visual artists, and refreshment stands with lemonade, cookies, and sunscreen. The tour takes place rain or shine. Various locations, Portsmouth, 603-436-4762, southchurch-uu.org

> VERMONT HISTORY EXPO / Vermont

June 21-22

Demos of basket making, woodcarving, and other traditional skills headline the arts and crafts theme of this year’s festival. You can also watch Vermont-bred Morgan horses go through their paces, cheer vintage baseball teams, explore a Revolutionary War army encampment, and listen to old-time fiddle music. Borrow a drum or kazoo to march in the daily parades. Tunbridge Fairgrounds, 1 Fairgrounds Lane, Tunbridge, 802-479-8500, vermonthistory.org/expo

WEEKEND OF JUNE 27 — 29

> WATERFIRE PROVIDENCE / Rhode Island

June 28

WaterFire marks 20 years of illuminating Providence rivers with 11 full lightings through November, including Saturday’s fire dedicated to peace, love, and justice. More than 80 braziers will brighten the night sky, while living-statue gargoyles and fire-spinners add to the magic. Waterplace Park and Riverwalk, Providence, 401-273-1155, waterfire.org

> 11th ANNUAL ASIAN FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

June 29

You need go no farther than Worcester to be immersed in the rich traditions of 12 Asian countries at an event that draws several thousand visitors each year. Arrive when the fest begins at noon to enjoy a couture fashion show, traditional music and dance performances, a shopping bazaar, and the food court. Six Lion Dance troupes from around New England begin their colorful competition at 5 p.m. 28 Mulberry Street, Worcester, 508-791-4373, seacma.org

> PROVINCETOWN PORTUGUESE FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

June 26-29

Red and green dominate as Provincetown salutes its Portuguese heritage and the fisherman’s life. The festival is packed with a blessing of the fleet, decorated boats, a children’s fishing derby, a parade, traditional dances, fado music, and an all-you-can-eat feast of clams prepared every which way but fried. Competitions include rowboat races and, new this year, lobster crate races. Various locations, Provincetown, 508-246-9080, provincetownportuguesefestival.com

WEEKEND OF JULY 4 — 6

> GREAT SCHOONER RACE / Maine

July 4

Stake a spot on the granite-block Rockland breakwater for the best views of nearly two dozen historic schooners racing in from Islesboro. Depending on the wind, boats should start arriving by early afternoon. (If you’re spending the night, sunrise in Rockland is stunning, and schooners set sail the next morning as early as 7 o’clock.) Islesboro to Rockland, 800-807-9463, sailmainecoast.com

> CLARK ART INSTITUTE GRAND OPENING / Massachusetts

July 4

Art and history are both cause to celebrate in Williamstown this year. Following the Independence Day parade, hot dogs will be served on the lawn of the Clark Art Institute. At 1 p.m., the museum opens the doors of its stunning new Visitor Center and galleries. Make a day of it by hiking the trails before a free concert and fireworks on the museum campus. 225 South Street, Williamstown, 413-458-2303, clarkart.edu

> 54th ANNUAL JURIED OUTDOOR ARTS AND CRAFT SHOW and the 36th ANNUAL LOBSTERFEST AND CHICKEN BARBECUE / Connecticut

July 5-6

The Niantic Lions Club has a winning two-part formula for a relaxing day: “See some great art and then have a great shore dinner.” More than 150 fine artists and craftspeople take part in this venerable art show. When hunger strikes, steamed lobsters and barbecued chicken await. East Lyme Town Hall Grounds, Niantic, 860-691-1257, nianticlions.org

WEEKEND OF JULY 11 — 13

> SALEM WILLOWS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

July 11-13

A few big eaters can test their lobster roll-eating endurance against Patriots defensive tackle Joe Vellano, while everyone else can sample fish tacos, stuffed clams, chowder, and lobster wraps from 20 or more food vendors. Culinary demonstrations, a lobster plunge, arts and crafts booths, fireworks, and nonstop live entertainment round out this inaugural event at the Salem Willows amusement park. 187 Fort Avenue, Salem, 603-918-3385, festeventsne.com

> MOXIE FESTIVAL / Maine

July 11-13

Moxie was first marketed in Massachusetts in the late 1800s as a “nerve food,” but found enduring popularity in Maine as a soft drink. It’s definitely an acquired taste — best tried in the company of ardent fans and after enjoying the fireworks, parade, road and river races, car show, and powwow at this celebration of New England’s quirkiest beverage. Various locations, Lisbon, 207-992-8997, moxiefestival.com

> NANTUCKET YOGA FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

July 11-13

Whether your island getaway fantasies involve kicking back or revving up, top yoga instructors will guide you in techniques for better sleep or stress reduction, help you sharpen your athletic skills, and unlock your creativity. Sessions begin with meditation on the beach and include free community classes. Most events take place at Bartlett’s Farm. 33 Bartlett Farm Road, Nantucket, 508-901-1355, nantucketyogafestival.com

WEEKEND OF JULY 18 — 20

> CIRCUS-PALOOZAand theVERMONT CHEESEMAKERS FESTIVAL / Vermont

July 20

Two events make for one busy day. To complement its circus collection, Shelburne Museum pitches a big top where aerialists, jugglers, and slack-line walkers thrill audiences. Musicians and circus artists also roam the grounds. Up the road at Shelburne Farms, more than 40 Vermont cheesemakers offer samples to pair with local wines, spirits, and craft beers. Workshops include a comparison of Vermont cheeses with their European inspirations. Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, 802-985-3346, shelburnemuseum.org; Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne, 800-884-6287, vtcheesefest.com

> NATIONAL SAND SCULPTING FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

July 18-20

Originality, degree of difficulty, and “wow factor” are three of the criteria for judging the creations of the 15 first-rate sand sculptors at this Revere Beach competition. Each begins with 12 tons of sand and must be done by 2 p.m. Saturday. That evening’s awards ceremony, including people’s choice, is followed by fireworks. Other highlights of the weekend include sculpting lessons and live entertainment. 781-902-9742, reverebeachpartnership.com

> UNCANOONUC MT. PERENNIALS OPEN HOUSE / New Hampshire

July 19-20

The 23d installment of this literal garden party is held during one of the most colorful weeks of the year, when day lilies, roses, phlox, bee balm, and more are in profuse bloom. The walk-through display garden even has color themes. Retire to a bench with cookies and lemonade to mull the 900 varieties of plants, including many low-maintenance perennials, for your own garden. Informal talks feature practical advice. 452 Mountain Road, Goffstown, 603-497-3975, uncanoonucmt.com

WEEKEND OF JULY 25 — 27

> OLD LYME’S MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL / Connecticut

July 25-26

A French village-style outdoor farm market and an artisan fair highlight this two-day festival in one of Connecticut’s most painter-friendly towns. If you consider eating an art, check out the barbecue, craft beer, and lobster kielbasa from the food vendors. Kids love the Parading Paws Dog Show. Various locations, Old Lyme, oldlymemidsummerfestival.com

> AUTOS OF THE WORLD / Rhode Island

July 26-27

Known as the “car show for car people,” this event combines four separate shows (Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, and an “open” category for all makes) and two truck shows. The 60 Best of the Best judging focuses on cars built before 1980, but other categories are open to vehicles ranging from horseless carriages to hot rods to new cars. A craft show and parts swap is also held all weekend. Goddard Memorial State Park, 345 Ives Road, Warwick, 401-647-2731, autosoftheworld.us

> CENTENNIAL OF THE CAPE COD CANAL / Massachusetts

July 25 - August 3

Navigators began dreaming of a canal for Cape Cod three centuries before it opened on July 29, 1914. A century later, 10 days of activities salute this engineering marvel. The first weekend features tours of the US Coast Guard sailing ship Eagle, a clambake, sailboat races, a Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game, a music fest, and a parade of lighted boats through the waterway. Various towns, 508-759-6000, capecodcanalcentennial.com

WEEKEND OF AUGUST 1 — 3

> 23d ANNUAL WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

July 26-August 2

Screenings of more than 100 feature films, shorts, and documentaries over eight days shine the spotlight on independent filmmakers, who are usually on hand for post-show discussions. The final Saturday features a two-hour showing of 20 short films and an awards ceremony followed by a big party for everyone. “We pretty much have a big party every night,” says founder Judy Laster. Various locations, Woods Hole, 508-495-3456, woodsholefilmfestival.org

> SOUTHERN VERMONT ART & CRAFT FESTIVAL / Vermont

August 1-3

About 140 artists and artisans display their handiwork, while specialty food producers offer maple syrup, chocolate, wines, and other goodies. The entertainment keeps things lively, and the food court keeps everyone well fed on everything from hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches to wood-fired pizza and homemade ice cream. Big tents guarantee this show goes on rain or shine. Camelot Village, 66 Colgate Heights, Bennington, 802-442-5758, craftproducers.com

WEEKEND OF AUGUST 8 — 10

> NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL / Rhode Island

August 1-3

The grand idea to “do something with jazz” was hatched at Boston’s Storyville club, and 60 years later the Newport Jazz Festival is still going strong. From the start, the festival has celebrated masters and encouraged up-and-comers. Look for performers including Wynton Marsalis, Pedrito Martinez, Berklee College of Music’s Danilo Perez, Texas-bred Snarky Puppy, and many more. Fort Adams State Park, 401-848-5055, newportjazzfest.org

> FLY FISHING FESTIVAL / Vermont

August 9

Free admission to the American Museum of Fly Fishing is a perk of this celebration of the most contemplative of sports. On the museum grounds, vendors offer antique and new equipment, baked goods, and artwork. Kids learn to tie clown flies, while anglers of all ages can try to master the subtle physics of casting at the museum’s pond. 4104 Main Street, Manchester, 802-362-3300, amff.com

> MODEL YACHT REGATTA / Connecticut

August 7-10

Like all enthusiasts, model yacht skippers are eager to make converts. Express the slightest interest, and you might be handed the controls of a meticulous model of an America’s Cup competitor. About 40 model yachts compete for national or regional bragging rights at Mystic Seaport; viewers are encouraged to root for their favorites. Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, 860-572-0711, mysticseaport.org

> 34th ANNUAL PUERTO RICAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL / Massachusetts

August 10

With more than two dozen vendors supplying pigeon peas and rice, roast pork, and all manner of fritters, no one goes hungry at Lowell’s annual island shindig. No one sits still very long, either, as local and Puerto Rican bands fill the air with salsa, merengue, bachata, and other Latin beats. Sampas Pavilion, Lowell Heritage State Park, 500 Pawtucket Boulevard, Lowell, 978-869-2142

WEEKEND OF AUGUST 15 — 17

> DINOSAUR PARK DAY CELEBRATION / Connecticut

August 16

In 1966, a bulldozer operator unearthed dinosaur footprints in the sandstone of central Connecticut. Dinosaur State Park marks the discovery with a day of dinosaur-themed crafts and games, live animal programs, and face-painting with dino designs. Enter the geodesic dome to view 500 of the tracks — one of the largest on-site displays in the world. 400 West Street, Rocky Hill, 860-529-5816, dinosaurstatepark.org

> GREAT VERMONT PLEIN-AIR PAINT-OUT / Vermont

August 15-16

It’s easy to spot the 50 or so artists spread throughout picturesque Waitsfield Village. Just stroll and look for balloons tied to easels. Artists happily pause from painting the covered bridge, iconic white church, or lush fields and flower gardens for a friendly chat. All display and sell their work on Saturday afternoon. Various locations, Waitsfield Village, 802-496-6682, vermontartfest.com

> IN-CON-CEIVABLE 2014 / Massachusetts

August 15-17

Channel your inner Princess Leia, Bilbo Baggins, Batman — or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. The Pioneer Valley’s riposte to other comic, fantasy, and sci-fi cons, the brand new In-CON-Ceivable brings fans together with guest authors, illustrators, and media and movie figures. Show up in costume (prizes given) to revel in the futuristic, the obscure, and the downright fantastic. Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 1 Atwood Drive, Northampton, in-con-ceivable.com

> WHITE MOUNTAIN BOOGIE N’ BLUES FESTIVAL / New Hampshire

August 15-17

A Pemigewasset Valley pasture makes a relaxed setting for this rollicking festival that features young bloods like Samantha Fish and Gracie Curran, rising stars like the Native American blues band Indigenous, and old hands like Jeremiah Johnson and the Sliders. Bring your RV or tent and enjoy the music and the Saturday night fireworks around the glow of your own campfire. 2010 N.H. Route 175, North Thornton, 603-726-3867, whitemountainboogie.com

WEEKEND OF AUGUST 22 — 24

> UNION FAIR MAINE WILD BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL / Maine

August 16-23

The final stretch of the eight-day Union Fair, which houses the Maine Wild Blueberry Festival, launches with a blueberry pancake breakfast and free individual pies on Friday. Children’s day on Saturday features a parade, a pedal-tractor pull, and more. Adults might enjoy the samples in the wine pavilion. The farm animals, vegetable displays, and truck-pulling amuse everyone. Fairgrounds Lane, off Route 17, Union, unionfair.org

> SCHEMITZUN / Connecticut

August 23-24

In the Pequot language, schemitzun refers to a harvest festival, and this event assembles tribes from across the Northeast. Visitors can glimpse life in a 17th-century village and see how traditions have been passed down through music, dance, crafts, and (of course) food. Shuttle service from Mashantucket Pequot Museum, 110 Pequot Trail, Mashantucket and other locations, 860-396-2136, schemitzun.com

> AMERICAN FOLK FESTIVAL / Maine

August 22-24

This spirited Bangor festival revels in the great American melting pot. Performances of Brazilian dance and African, Cuban, Quebecois, and Vietnamese music share four stages with Cajun and bluegrass. Don’t miss Bill Kirchen, the master of “dieselbilly” — rockabilly for truck drivers. Traditional crafts and a world of food round out the event. Waterfront, Bangor, 207-992-2630, americanfolkfestival.com

WEEKEND OF AUGUST 29 — SEPTEMBER 1

> NORTH BRANCH BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL / Vermont

August 28-31

Bring your own instrument to this folksy, family-friendly festival. In addition to nonstop performances, musicians offer 16 free workshops where you can pick up some hot new licks. Festival grounds nestle among mountains, with a brook for a refreshing dip on a hot afternoon and a bowl of stars overhead at night. Off Bridgewater Center Road, Bridgewater, 802-672-3042 before 9 p.m., nbbluegrass.com

> CLASSIC YACHT REGATTA / Rhode Island

August 29-31

Newport is the final stop of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, and about 50 gorgeous vintage boats are expected to compete in the Saturday and Sunday regatta. Best viewing is from Fort Adams State Park. For Sunday’s more stately parade of yachts and other vessels, claim a spot on Bowen’s Wharf or Bannister’s Wharf. Saturday night’s cocktail party is open to all. Fort Adams State Park and other locations, Newport, 401-848-5777, iyrs.edu/museumofyachting

> LABOR DAY WEEKEND FIREWORKS / New Hampshire

August 31

Send off summer with a bang. Lake or ocean, take your pick. Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee and Hampton Beach on the Atlantic will launch fireworks Sunday night — a perfect ending to a day relaxing on the sand. Both have boardwalks for good viewing, or you can spread a blanket on either beach if you prefer to take your fireworks lying down. Weirs Beach, 603-520-5082, weirsbeach.com; Hampton Beach, 603-926-8717, hamptonbeach.org

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