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31 outdoor events in New England to fill every summer weekend with fun

Warm weather is almost here, and the weekends are brimming with opportunities for fun. Here’s how to get outside and experience the season in every New England state.

Kathleen Fu/for the Boston Globe

Weekend of June 10-12

Tribes from New England and beyond will participate in the 48th Annual Native American Pow-Wow in Attleboro.From The Wollomonuppoag Indian Council

1. Worcester Tercentennial

Massachusetts, June 10-12

Worcester is throwing quite a party for its 300th birthday. Fireworks at Polar Park light up the sky on Friday night. The next morning, a festive parade celebrating Worcester’s cultural and ethnic diversity makes its way from Grove Street to City Hall. On Saturday afternoon, the Worcester Common hosts live music, food trucks, artists, and crafts vendors. On Sunday, enjoy a free Worcester Bravehearts baseball game. Various locations, worcestertercentennial.com

2. 48th Annual Native American Pow-Wow

Massachusetts, June 11-12

About a dozen tribes from New England and beyond participate in this gathering. Expect storytelling early in the day before drums signal the beginning of the dances, some of which visitors may join, including a “candy dance” for children. It’s a good way to work up an appetite for a fry bread taco. La Salette Shrine Fairgrounds, 947 Park Street, Attleboro, 508-838-4478


3. Connecticut Sea Music Festival

Connecticut, June 10-13

Sea music is more than just endless verses of Drunken Sailor. An academic symposium launches this inaugural festival, but the emphasis quickly turns to performance with a Friday evening concert under the main stage Connecticut River Museum tent. Saturday’s workshops, storytelling, and music culminate with another evening concert. Sunday morning launches with revival-style hymn singing. Don’t miss Vienna Carroll’s songs and stories about pre-Civil War African American seafarers known as Black Jacks. Various locations in Essex, Connecticut, ctseamusicfest.org

Weekend of June 17-19

The Harry’s Happening festival in Maine features a wide variety of music from rock and reggae to bluegrass.Linda Foster Kennedy

4. Harry’s Happening

Maine, June 16-19

A sitar player welcomes the sunrise on Saturday morning, but more folks will likely gather around the evening community fires to hear stories and listen to bands ranging from rock and reggae to bluegrass and hip-hop. Fire spinners perform each evening and festival-goers can learn some basics and join in. A kids zone keeps youngsters busy all day. Everyone can enjoy a dip in the spring-fed pond. Harry Brown’s Farm, 45 Abijah Hill Road, Starks, Maine, 207-232-0333, harryshill.net/harrys-happening/


Jazz artist Christian Sands is scheduled to perform at the Juneteenth Jubilee on Martha’s Vineyard.ANNA WEBBER

5. Juneteenth Jubilee

Massachusetts, June 17-19

This “celebration of freedom and joy” on Martha’s Vineyard, marking the day in 1865 that enslaved Texans learned that slavery had been abolished, is highlighted by a marquee event beginning Saturday afternoon at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. Speakers and performers include journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, actress Lynn Whitfield, and jazz musician and composer Christian Sands. A statue of Nancy Michael, a formerly enslaved woman thought to have powers over the fate of whaling voyages, will be unveiled Sunday at an event called “The Stories of the Enslaved.” While you’re on the island, take in the Oak Bluffs Harbor Fest of arts and crafts on Saturday. Various locations in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven, inkwellbeach.com/events

Weekend of June 24-26

6. Rose Arts Festival

Connecticut, June 25

Step back in time at the Vermont Renaissance Faire, which features jousting, music, and plenty of costumes.Vermont Gatherings

Festival organizers want people to “find their own fun” at this family-friendly event, and there are plenty of activities to please everyone. During the day, Chelsea Parade park features stages for live music and other performing arts, a kids zone with magic shows, a teen hangout space, and creative stations with free art classes. Food trucks, a culinary competition, and about 100 artisan vendors fill out the scene. If you want more, evening activities shift downtown, with many performances indoors. Chelsea Parade park and other locations in Norwich, Connecticut, roseartsfestival.com

7. Vermont Renaissance Faire

Vermont, June 25-26


Step out of modern life and spend a day among Vikings, fairies, knights, jesters, and pirates at this medieval fair in an idyllic setting. Jousting tournaments are the big draw, but historic demonstrations, musicians, dancers, acrobats, and magicians keep things lively. Visitors are encouraged to dress in costume. Enhance your look with offerings from medieval-inspired artisans and craft vendors. Mayo Event Fields, 80 Weeks Hill Road, Stowe, Vermont, 802-778-9178, vtgatherings.com

Weekend of July 1-4

Peruse the work of local artisans at the 4th of July Weekend Craft Fair at Gunstock.Joyce Endee

8. 4th of July Weekend Craft Fair

New Hampshire, July 2-3

Bring your dog to this show nestled at the base of Gunstock Mountain, where there are sure to be plenty of leashes and toys among a huge selection of crafts. About 90 New England artisans will display everything from leather or beaded jewelry to woven baskets, quilts, wall hangings, and cedar furniture. For a break, Gunstock Mountain Resort offers lift rides to the summit for magnificent views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Gunstock Mountain Resort, 719 Cherry Valley Road, Route 11A, Gilford, New Hampshire, 603-387-1510, joycescraftshows.com

A couple takes a photo of the center traffic line painted in red, white and blue before the Bristol Fourth of July parade begins in this photo from 2020.David Goldman/Associated Press

9. Bristol 4th of July Celebration

Rhode Island, July 4

Weeks of Bristol 4th of July celebrations — billed as America’s oldest — lead up to the main event: a high-spirited paradethat follows a red, white, and blue stripe marking the 2.5-mile route. Expect civic officials, fire and police contingents, military units, marching bands and drum corps, veterans, and politicians. Floats compete for prizes including Most Beautiful, Most Patriotic, and Most Original. Check out the pop-up at State and Hope streets for souvenir hats or T-shirts. From Chestnut and Hope streets to the reviewing stand on High Street, Bristol, Rhode Island, fourthofjulybristolri.com


Weekend of July 8-10

Take in brilliant colors and curated gardens at the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival.Cape Cod Chamber

10. Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival

Massachusetts, July 8-17

Hydrangeas bloom so beautifully in the Cape’s seaside light that they earned their own festival. This weekend marks the kickoff of the 10-day celebration, which features tours of more than 60 private gardens as well as gardening workshops. You might encounter artists painting at some of the properties or garner tips and ideas for your home garden. Various locations, 508-362-3225, capecodhydrangeafest.com

11. Dead of Summer Music Festival III

Vermont, July 9

Old hippies, young hippies, and everyone in between will turn out to hear bands play music in the spirit of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and others. Among the performers, Rick Redington & the Luv will play “homegrown Green Mountain rock and rastabilly,” while Deadgrass takes you on a “string band adventure through Jerry Garcia’s musical world.” Bring a folding chair, but you may spend more time dancing than sitting. Magic Mountain Ski Area, 495 Magic Mountain Access Road, Londonderry, Vermont, 802-824-5645, magicmtn.com

Weekend of July 15-17

12. Family Beach Day

Massachusetts, July 16

Don’t pack a book — there won’t be time to sit and read at this fun-filled day at Onset Beach. Buckets, rakes, and shovels will be available (on a first-come basis) to build sandcastles or any other sculpture that strikes your fancy. Local celebrity Rodney the Sandman will offer tips and encouragement. Kids can also make and decorate a kite or draw chalk designs on the pier. Onset Beach, Onset, 508-295-7072, onsetbay.org


Focus on health at Maine YogaFest.Laura Genese

13. Maine YogaFest

Maine, July 15-17

Organizers of this festival believe that a little yoga can go a long way toward making people feel better. More than 40 classes held outdoors under big tents welcome everyone from first-timers to experienced practitioners. Get out on the water with a stand-up paddle yoga class or paddle a kayak to Fort Gorges for a workshop in the middle of Casco Bay. Vendor and healing villages, food, and live music round out the offerings. 195 North Street and East End Beach, Portland, Maine, maineyogafest.com

Craft Brew Races Newport combines running with local beers and food.Jonathan Clancy/Craft Brew Races

14. Craft Brew Races Newport

Rhode Island, July 16

Work up your thirst with a scenic 5K run through Fort Adams State Park. Then, head to the parade field inside the walls of the 19th-century fort, where about 30 local and regional breweries will be waiting to pour you a cold one. A handful of vendors will have food to accompany your brew. Feel free to walk the race course — or just show up for the beer. 21-plus event. 84 Fort Adams Drive, Newport, Rhode Island, craftbrewraces.com

Weekend of July 22-24

15. Farm to Ballet

Vermont, July 23

Dancers perform in Farm to Ballet in 2017.Brandon Parrish

Ballet Vermont’s outdoor performance series is inspired by the state’s farms and our connection to nature. If children in attendance are so excited by the dancing pigs and cows, carrots and tomatoes, that they can’t sit still, they are welcome to dance on the sidelines. Pack a blanket and a picnic or purchase a snack pack at the farm. Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vermont, 802-222-6894, balletvermont.org

16. Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival

Massachusetts, July 22-24

Artists from around the world will converge on Revere Beach for the International Sand Sculpting Festival.jeff pinette

This year’s festival theme, Wonders of the World, should provide plenty of inspiration for 15 sand sculptors from around the globe. Their creations will be illuminated each night and should look spectacular as fireworks burst overhead on Saturday. Vote for your favorite for the people’s choice award. Revere Beach, Revere, internationalsandsculptingfestival.com

Weekend of July 29-31

17. Sunflower Festival

New Hampshire, July 30-August 7

A huge field of sunflowers greets visitors to this small family farm where most of the festival activity happens over the two weekends. Once you’ve snapped enough photos in the field, you can listen to live music, peruse craft vendors, and enjoy the wine garden and food vendors. Early risers can catch first light hitting the blooms during Sunrise Field Hours (5:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m.) on July 31. Coppal House Farm, 118 North River Road, Lee, New Hampshire, 603-659-3572, nhsunflower.com

Take in the views at Coppal House Farm, home of Sunflower Festival in Lee, New Hampshire.JOHN GISIS

18. Lowell Folk Festival

Massachusetts, July 29-31

Take a trip around the world at this festival celebrating the vibrant global traditions alive and well in America. A brass band leads Friday night’s kickoff parade. Musicians on four stages showcase musical traditions including Irish, Puerto Rican bomba and plena, Argentine tango, Persian santur, and bluegrass and blues. Craft demonstrations focus on how instruments are made, while culinary presentations emphasize comfort foods. Nearly 20 food vendors will serve specialties from around the world. Various locations in Lowell, lowellfolkfestival.org

Weekend of August 5-7

Celebrate Indigenous art and culture at the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival.Gilis MacDougall

19. Pocumtuck Homelands Festival

Massachusetts, August 6-7

Situated in an area that once hosted Native gatherings, this festival highlights both traditional and contemporary Indigenous art and culture. Performers include flute-maker and musician Hawk Henries and Native American rock pioneer Keith Secola. Visitors can join in social dances then take a break to peruse baskets, jewelry, drums, quillwork and other goods created by Native American artisans. Unity Park, 56 1st Street, Turners Falls, nolumbekaproject.org

20. American Whitewater’s Deerfield Fest

Massachusetts, August 6-7

Come celebrate the Deerfield River, beloved by paddlers for its regularly scheduled white-water releases and beautiful scenery. Off the water, enthusiasts can enjoy food and music, peruse gear vendors, and bid for merchandise in a silent auction. Zoar Outdoor will offer boat demos and paddling clinics. For a change of pace, check out Berkshire East’s bike park and zip line. Berkshire East Mountain Resort, 66 Thunder Mountain Road, Charlemont, americanwhitewater.org/deerfieldfest

Reggae musician Addis Pablo performs at the Green Woods Roots & Culture Revival in 2021.Tizzy Tokyo

21. Green Woods Roots & Culture Revival

Maine, August 5-7

Spend a weekend chilling in the woods to the beats of reggae and related roots music. The family-friendly festival timed with Jamaican Independence Day will have two stages of nonstop music until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and ending around 6 p.m. on Sunday. DJs, some accompanied by singers, will have their own Riddim Stage. Enjoy a beer garden and complimentary yoga and outdoor games. Among the food vendors, Portland’s Yardie Ting will dish jerk, curries, patties, and other Jamaican flavors. Thomas Point Beach & Campground, 29 Meadow Road, Brunswick, Maine, 207-560-4204, greenwoodsreggae.com

Crafts artist Linda Jacque with one of her works. More than 200 artists are expected to display their wares at the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair in New Hampshire.Windwood Productions

22. 89th Annual Craftsmen’s Fair

New Hampshire, August 6-14

The creativity of New England craft artists is always on display at this venerable fair. More than 200 artists will display their wares, while others demonstrate such skills as blacksmithing, weaving, pottery, and quilt-making. There’s a scavenger hunt for kids, and the Art, Craft & Design exhibition will give you ideas for enhancing your home or wardrobe. Mount Sunapee Resort, 1398 Route 103, Newbury, New Hampshire, 603-224-3375, nhcrafts.org

Weekend of August 12-14

23. Civil War at Fort Trumbull: Fights for the Forts

Connecticut, August 13-14

Civil War-era Fort Trumbull will stand in for North Carolina’s Fort Macon and South Carolina’s Fort Wagner during a living history weekend of encampments and reenactment battles. Actors will portray President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and two string bands will perform period music. Battle participants include reenactors of the Eighth Connecticut Volunteers and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was portrayed in the film Glory. Fort Trumbull, 90 Walbach Street, New London, Connecticut, 8cv.org

24. Denali Challenge

New Hampshire, August 12-14

North America’s highest peak, Denali, rises 20,310 feet. But you don’t have to go to Alaska to reach those heights. Instead, summit five Waterville Valley Resort peaks totaling 20,000 feet this weekend. Sixty or more hearty souls take the Denali Challenge each year. Register in the town square for a T-shirt, hiker’s card, and map. In the evening, socialize in the village center with other hikers. Around Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, 800-993-3149, waterville.com

Weekend of August 19-21

Revisit the era of horse-drawn carriages at the Weekend of Coaching event in Newport.John E.Corbett/From the Preservation Society of Newport County

25. A Weekend of Coaching

Rhode Island, August 19-21

Newport’s Gilded Age elite would ride to polo matches in carriages drawn by four horses. About a dozen such teams visit Newport this weekend. Learn about the horses and carriages during an exhibition on the grounds of The Elms on Saturday or keep an eye out for carriages driving past some of the mansions and along other streets. Brenton Point State Park is a favorite picnic spot to view the horses pulling carriages with passengers in all their finery. The Elms, 367 Bellevue Avenue, and other locations, Newport, Rhode Island, 401-847-1000, newportmansions.org

26. Heath Fair

Massachusetts, August 19-21

Your cellphone may be out of range at this old-fashioned agricultural fair, but the sheep, rabbits, goats, cows, chickens, horses, and oxen manage just fine. Catch the antique tractor, truck, horse, and oxen pulls for demonstrations of farm muscle, or watch the herd dog trials for the uncanny coordination of human and canine shepherds. Chow down on fair fare or chicken barbecue. The beer tent is close to the live music. Heath Fairgrounds, Colrain Stage Road, Heath, heathfair.org

27. Enduro World Series

Maine, August 19-21

Some of the world’s top riders will tackle newly cut trails at Sugarloaf during this premier mountain bike race series. Spectators will find many viewing areas, including near the base lodge. Non-competitors can enjoy group fun rides, a beer garden, afternoon live music at the Beach, an outdoor venue, and evening concerts. Sugarloaf, 5092 Sugarloaf Access Road, Carrabassett Valley, Maine, 800-843-5623, sugarloaf.com

28. Belfast Harbor Fest

Maine, August 19-21

All things nautical dominate the Belfast waterfront on this late summer weekend. Teams entered in the National Boatbuilding Challenge construct a 12-foot wooden skiff in less than four hours, then compete in a rowing race. Add in a pancake breakfast, a 5K run/walk, races on Belfast Bay, and Sunday’s hilarious Cardboard Boat Challenge for a full weekend. Steamboat Landing and Heritage Park, Front Street, Belfast, Maine, belfastharborfest.com

Weekend of August 26-28

Sister Funk is slated to perform at this year’s Stargaze Festival.Camille Garzon

29. Stargaze Festival

Massachusetts, August 26-28

Inspired by Burning Man, Stargaze seeks to foster similar solidarity and creativity in the LGBTQ+, nonbinary, and women’s communities. Pack your camping gear, food, drinks, and grill along with costumes and dress-up clothes for evening dance parties and the glow-in-the-dark celebration and laser show. Spend the days lounging on the beach, taking part in an open mic, or joining yoga and workout sessions. Camp Timber Trails, 1266 East Otis Road, Tolland, 617-417-0186, stargazefestival.com

30. Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Music Festival

Maine, August 25-28

Devoted fans love this fest because the picking continues around the clock at the campground. (Hot showers and spectator tents in case of rain don’t hurt, either.) This year’s lineup features such favorites as the Gibson Brothers and Zink & Company, up-and-coming acts, and the Blistered Fingers host band. Performers often sit in on jam sessions. The Sunday gospel concert sends folks home on a high note. Litchfield Fairgrounds, Plains Road, Litchfield, Maine, 207-873-6539, blisteredfingers.com

Weekend of September 2-4

Bluegrass band Della Mae at the Rhythm & Roots Festival in Rhode Island in 2019.SETH JACOBSON PHOTOGRAPHY

31. Rhythm & Roots Festival

Rhode Island, September 2-4

A beloved music festival returns under new ownership but the same twangy vibe. Expect boogie-woogie, Cajun music, Delta blues, honky-tonk, klezmer, polka, swing, swamp pop, and zydeco — or cross-pollinated hybrids. The Rhythm stage hosts seven bands a day, while the intimate Roots stage features musical workshops and up-close seating for extended performances and jams. Ninigret Park, 4890A Old Post Road, Charlestown, Rhode Island, rhythmandroots.com


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Patricia Harris and David Lyon are frequent contributors to the Globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com