Balloon & Santa Parades, Fireworks, LEGOs, Thanksgiving re-enactments, Sing-a-long

Happy Kick Off to Xmas Merchant Events! For the next month I will list all the nighttime holiday light displays in New England. Please let me know if you know of any others, and please check out my other blog where I’m trying to set a world record this week, and I’m giving away an HP Envy laptop, worth $1,700. See

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The Week in Weird
Wheel Questions Video Blitz & Laptop Giveaway 11/21 – 11/28 Various
I’m more than half-way now to trying to collect as many deep questions about life as I can in a single week, an art project that has me out on the street with a video camera and an installation every day this week. And I’m giving away an HP Envy laptop (thanks, sponsors!). Click to subscribe to the blog and enter the contest to win.
See website for tour, Various. more
Springfield’s Parade of the Big Balloons 11/27 Western Mass
Probably the best event after Thanksgiving is the parade in Springfield. The non-metro towns that try the hardest to lure in tourists are Springfield, Quincy, Salem, and Lowell. You can bet whenever an event happens in any of these places, it’ll be good.
Main Street, Springfield, MA.413-733-3800. more
Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction 11/27 Boston Metro
But what I have my heart set on is this contest to build elaborately complicated machines called Rube Goldberg devices. That’s when the candle heats the air going into the balloon, which bursts, surprising the bird who tips over a bucket, sending water onto a cat, who yowls and pulls a string, releasing a bowling ball to roll… you get the idea. 1-4pm.
MIT Campus, Rockwell Gymnasium, 120 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA. more
LEGO Extravaganza @ Acton 11/27 Metro West
They’re also building giant sculptures in Acton, with LEGOs. Make sure to bring hand sanitizer!
177 Main St, Acton, MA.978-264-4200. more
Sing-a-Long Mary Poppins 11/27 – 11/29 Boston Metro
I prefer the events that are participatory. Here’s another. Mary Poppins, the classic musical is being shown in Arlington along with printed lyrics so you can sing along. How fun!!
Regent Theatre, Arlington, MA. more
The Rocky Horror Show Live! 11/29 Boston Metro
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is theatre show that takes place in front of a movie screen. It’s a tale of lust and encounters that is intellectual and off-beat, rather than porntastic. 8pm.
Club Oberon, 1 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA. more
Thanksgiving Contra Dance 11/26 Boston Metro
Some fun exercise is this folk dance in Watertown. I’ve been to many contra dances, which are line dances meant to facilitate people meeting each other, and they tend to attract intelligent and classy people. It’s easy to pick up and, unlike ballroom dancing, if you do it wrong you just laugh and get back in place and nobody seems to mind. Highly recommended.
Church, 80 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA. more
Thanksgiving & A New England Wedding at OSV 11/26 – 11/28 Worcester
You should never need an excuse to visit my favorite re-enactment museum, Old Sturbridge Village, which is holding some authentic 1830s style Thanksgiving dinners. And they’re re-creating an 1830s wedding on Nov 28.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.508 347-3362. more
Wined & Dined in 1809 11/27 Metro West
For a reasonably small museum, this historic mansion in Waltham has a ton of creative events. This one goes back to 1809 with their feast. Reserve in advance.
52 Gore Street, Waltham, MA.781-894-2798. more
Historic Thanksgivings at The Old Manse 11/28 Metro West
And the Old Manse is getting in on the act, as well.
269 Monument Street, Concord, MA.978-369-3909. more
A Season of Thanks, in Deerfield 11/28 Western Mass
Also re-enacted is a 17th century Thanksgiving celebration with old timey handcraft demonstrations and music by the Springfield Society.
Hall Tavern Visitor Center, Deerfield, MA.413-775-7127. more
Winter Celebration @ Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum 11/28 New Hampshire
I’ve been to this museum, and, well, it is very authentic, but also really small. However, if you’re traveling up to the White Mountains for skiing, or back, it’s worth stopping by for this festival.
Warner, NH.603-456-2600. more
The Capitol Steps 11/28 Boston Metro
I don’t normally list performances, but if you are a news junkie, this is an evening of musical political satire called the Capitol Steps. I’ve seen it and it’s way more cerebral and clever than anything you’ve seen on Saturday Night Live. Definitely check this out! I insist.
Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA.617-496-2222. more
Literacise exchibit at Boston Public Library 10/3 – 3/30 Boston Metro
This museum exhibit at the Boston Public Library has mazes (?) and “tunnels” to explore, combining a love for books with a physical play space.
700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. more

Also Fun
Half-Price Day at Franklin Park Zoo & Stone Zoo 11/27 Boston Metro
The day after Thanksgiving used to be free at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. Now, it’s half-price. The Franklin Park Zoo especially is nice in the winter, open all year ’round, with both indoor and outdoor locations.
1 Franklin Park Road, Boston, MA & Stoneham, MA.617-541-5466. more
New England International Auto Show 12/2 – 12/6 Boston Metro
Most auto events in New England focus on the past, but if you want to see the cars of the future, here’s where to go.
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston, MA, Boston, MA. more
Castleberry Fair – Wilmington 11/27 – 11/29 Northern Mass
I have decided not to list merchant events. But here’s one that has some “festival” along with the crafts & foods fair. See Web site for coupon.
Shriner’s Auditorium, Wilmington, MA. more
Ice Skating Statewide 11/27 – 3/14 All Over
And this is a reminder that there are tons of ice skating rinks across New England.
All Over. more

Ho Ho Holidays
Santa Parade and Fireworks over Choate 11/28 Metro West
Thanksgiving isn’t even over but here I am writing about Christmas! Let’s start with one that has fireworks. Parade is 5pm Holliston St to Choate Park, with fireworks sometime after 6pm.
Choate Park, Medway, MA. more
Lowell City of Lights Parade & Holiday Art Stroll 11/28 Northern Mass
And this one has a parade! Holiday Art Stroll, 12-4pm. Various merchants and museums will be open. Trolley rides. Then at 4:30pm, parade from Jackson Street to City Hall with more than 70 groups and performers. 30,000 people will come. Then Santa Claus & Mayor light City Hall. Then @ 6:30pm, concert and afterparty hosted by 92.5 The River at the Village Smokehouse. What, no website photo?
Merrimack & Central Streets, Lowell, MA.978.446.7162. more
Quincy, The Christmas Lights Festival 11/27 – 11/29 South Shore
Quincy is spacing theirs out, with a lighting ceremony Nov 27 with 10,000 lights, Santa arriving by parachute Nov 28, and a parade Nov 29. It’s more of a draw if you put all this stuff together into one day, in my opinion.
Quincy, MA.617-773-3317. more
Santa Arrives in Salem 11/27 North Shore
Santa’s also coming to Salem. Quincy, Lowell, and Salem are the most active in attracting tourists to Boston’s suburbs. Springfield’s event is smarter though because it’s non-secular. Anyway, they will have carolers (possibly participatory?). Santa will descend ‘off’ the Hawthorne Hotel. What, from the roof? In a reversal of the traditional Santa gift-giving role, then Santa will lead everyone to a place they can spend money.
Salem, MA. more
Santa’s Arrival at Roger Williams Park Zoo 11/28 Rhode Island
Get this!! Santa is arriving BY HELICOPTER at this one, clearly the event to see. It’s at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which I’ve seen and is excellent. Because it’s at a zoo, not a shopping district, it’s bound to be more or less non-commercial.
1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI.401-785-3510. more
Gloucester’s Santa Parade & Tree Lighting 11/29 North Shore
Santa is a busy elf, also coming to Gloucester. Parade & participatory Christmas carols. Fill out a holiday card to troops overseas and get some free popcorn and hot chocolate.
Downtown Gloucester, Gloucester, MA. more
Newburyport Santa Parade & Tree Lighting 11/29 North Shore
Santa arrives on a US Coast Guard boat! 3pm parade from boardwalk through downtown. 4pm tree lighting.
Newburyport, MA. more
Winthrop Holiday Lighting Festival 11/27 Boston Metro
Winthrop is hosting some horse-drawn sleigh rides and Santa will arrive on a fire engine. Santa knows how to make an entrance! Plenty of costumed friends will be there, too. This outdoor event will be cancelled if raining.
Winthrop, MA. more
Copley Square Tree Lighting 12/2 Boston Metro
OK, now we’re ready to return to metro Boston. No parade here. With a flick of the switch, Boston is lighting a tree. But they’ll have music and dance performances in Copley Square. Santa will be there, and free refreshments.
Copley Square, Boston, MA. more
TubaChristmas Concert at Fanueil Hall 11/28 Boston Metro
I really want to see this one. It’s a concert with over 200 tubas! And other shows this month in Ayer, New Bedford, Shelburne Falls, Worcester: see website.
Boston, MA.617-523-1300 x7021. more
Macy’s Christmas Tree Lighting 11/27 Boston Metro
Facepainting and lots of people in costumes will be present, including Mayor Menino.
Boston, MA. more
Holidays at Heritage Museum 11/27 – 12/13 Cape Cod
This one is also not to be missed. The Heritage Museum & Gardens have an expansive grounds with lighted paths for walking, with an auto museum, an arts museum, an outdoor maze, and a lot more. This event is free. Take photos with Santa in an old Model T car. Crafts and live music, too.
67 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA.508-888-3300. more
Mass Horticultural’s Festival of Trees 11/20 – 12/4 Metro West
They’re having a big party with decorated holiday trees, and a sale, all to benefit people who love plants.
900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA. more
Rockport Santa Arrival & Tree Lighting 12/5 North Shore
Santa arrives by boat!
Rockport, MA. more
Smolak Farms Tree Lighting & Santa Visit 11/28 – 11/29 North Shore
They’ll have a train ride, carolers, the ubiquitous face painting, and Santa lights the tree at 4:30pm.
315 South Bradford Street, North Andover, MA.978-682-6332. more
New England Handbell Ringers Holiday Concert 11/29 North Shore
I really want to see this: a genuine handbell concert. 4pm. There are a bunch of other dates & locations, too.
Rogers Center for the Arts, Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA.978-837-5355. more

Recurring Events
1627 Harvest Dinner @ Plimoth Plantation 11/7 – 11/28 South Shore
Plimoth Plantation invites you to join a re-enactment of the original Thanksgiving dinner, with authentic foods, table manners, and hymn singing. Reserve in advance.
137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA.508-746-1622. more
The Nutcracker 11/27 – 12/27 Boston Metro
And… It’s The Nutcracker. If you’re ever going to check out ballet (I haven’t), this would probably be it.
Opera House, Boston, MA. more
Shaker Supper @ Hancock Shaker Village 11/28 Western Mass
You get a tour by re-enactors, an authentic dinner, and a cappella Shaker music from the 1830s.
34 Lebanon Mountain Rd., Hancock, MA. more
Harvard Square Holiday Crafts Fair 11/28 – 12/23 Boston Metro
Here’s one that looks promising: a church selling goods. I seem to recall that made Jesus angry. Whatever, they’re Unitarians!
Church at corner of Church St & Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA. more


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