Ever since we attended our first Illinois State Fair many, many moons ago, we’ve loved these grand agricultural festivals and their sideshows (fun rides, games, live music, and other performances). So we’ve had this event inked on our calendar since January: the annual Marshfield Fair, set to begin its 152d iteration on Friday.
Presented by the Marshfield Agricultural and Horticultural Society, the 10-day fair at the Marshfield Fairgrounds, 140 Main St., is arguably the premier event of its kind in Southeastern Massachusetts. As in years past, the main component will have hundreds of competitors in various 4-H, arts and crafts, agricultural, and horticultural show-offs. Expect giant pumpkins (last year’s winner, grown by a Sharon engineer, weighed 1,602 pounds) and beautiful farm animals, as well as colorful plants, knickknacks, and baked goods.
But there will be many other attractions beyond the farming-oriented activities, including games for families, food stations, rides, a model railroad, demolition derby, Civil War reenactment, various pulls, demonstrations/shows involving lumberjacks, blacksmiths, glassblowers, acrobats, raptors, and magic, and numerous live concerts.
You just won’t have enough time to see and do it all. For more information, visit marshfieldfair.org, and check the weather before you go.
Erin go ball!: Now that the Red Sox are just about toast (and we hope we are wrong), perhaps it’s time to go see and listen to a specialist talk about a completely different facet of this ever-interesting game: the roles and influences of the Irish in the growth of baseball in the 19th century. Brian Sheehy, captain of the Essex Base Ball Organization, will speak on the subject at The House of the Seven Gables in Salem on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., in the fifth lecture in the Seven Lectures at Seven Gables Series. Sheehy will talk about how baseball, once played only by the upper class, became a faster, rowdier sport when second-generation Irish boys took to the diamond. Sheehy is described by Seven Gables, 115 Derby St., as “a sports historian who has traveled all over the country giving presentations on 19th-century baseball and its connection to American culture [and] is also the history department coordinator at North Andover High School where he teaches AP European History, Sports of the Past, and Sports in American Culture.” Visit 7gables.org.
Miscellany: In Concord, Verrill Farm’s annual “Corn & Tomato Festival” takes place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The century-old farm, at 11 Wheeler Road, says it’ll have more than 30 varieties of tomatoes to sample at its signature event, along with varieties of corn on the cob and dishes made with the harvest. Monadnock Bluegrass will play live. Visit verrillfarm.com.
The 39th Annual Gloucester Waterfront Festival on Saturday and Sunday will include more than 200 juried artisans, artists, food vendors, authors, and musicians from all over the country, according to its organizers. It all happens, rain or shine, at Stage Fort Park, 24 Hough Ave., starting at 9 a.m. Visit capeannchamber.com.
In Hull and Cohasset beginning Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, 35 artists will open their home studios – 23 in all — for visits during Hull Artists’ 24th annual “Open Studios” tour. The group, based in Hull at 121 Nantasket Ave., says the open studios have attracted thousands of visitors to artists’ homes since 1995 to learn more about the artists and their work and maybe buy original pieces of fine art and unique wearable jewelry and fiber arts. Visit hullartists.com.
And here are the attractions to which the Highland Street Foundation is sponsoring free admission on Friday for its “Free Fun Fridays” program: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum and USS Constitution Museum, both in Boston; Berkshire Theatre Group, Stockbridge; Cahoon Museum of American Art, Cotuit; Discovery Museum, Acton; Fruitlands Museum, The Trustees, Har vard; Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton; Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, Cambridge; Paragon Carousel, Hull; and Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Visit highlandstreet.org.