Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 07/31/07


Here’s the week in weird activity listings.

One of the biggest re-enactments of the year is “From Redcoats to Rebels” at Old Sturbridge Village. You don’t need an excuse to go to OSV. It is a fantastic living history village representing the 1840s and is highly recommended. Adding this event on top makes it irresistable. It’s not just one time period; this is a re-enactment of 300 years of military history. Parade, fife & drum, camp cooking, cannon demo, kids activities. Aug 4-5.

While you’re in Sturbridge… Did you miss the free Shakespeare on the Common? Check out “The Comedie of Errors”, by New England Shakespeare, on the Sturbridge Town Common, Sturbridge, MA.

I have heard that there are bioluminescent (but not stinging) jellyfish off Cape Cod who come out in August and you can swim among them. I met someone once who had done this. Someone please send me information about the “Common northern comb jelly” so that I can post it for everyone!

Need an excuse to visit the Mass Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA)? Here’s one, the Sing-a-Long Fiddler on the Roof @ Mass MoCA. Aug 4.

Another Balloon festival! That’s one’s the Pittsfield Balloon Festival, in Pittsfield, NH, which is 1.7 hrs from Boston. Aug 3-5. They’ll have helicopter rides, fireworks, and an event called “Plop Happens” which is described as a “Cow Chip Bingo Raffle”. Sometimes, you want to know. Sometimes, you don’t want to know. and

The Beatles are still cool! It’s amazing. A tribute band, “Get Back! Beatlemania” is playing Aug 7, at the North Shore Music Theatre,

The 2nd largest annual quilt festival is the Lowell Quilt Festival, Aug 2-5, in Lowell. I’ve been to a quilting festival and some of the artwork is really engaging. It’s not just about the crazy old cat lady.

August 5, It’s the August Moon Festival in Chinatown, also known as the Boston Chinatown Festival! August Moon is the 2nd biggest Chinese holiday. It’s celebrated with vendors and performances, and is really worth going. I went one year and they have adults but also super cute kids dancing and doing martial arts demonstrations. Chinatown Main Street. (617) 350-6303.

The Salem Maritime Festival is Aug 3-4, at 174 Derby Street in Salem, MA. 978-740-1650. Saturday at 12pm it features my other favorite folk band, Atwater-Donnelly. Come and see demonstrations of sailmaking, blacksmithery, silversmithing, and model boat building. A bunch of ‘tall ships’ will be in attendance.

The largest Portuguese festival in the US is the Feast of the Blessed Sacrement. Aug 2-5, at Madeira Field in New Bedford, MA. 508-992-6911. There’s a parade, live music, a road race, etc.

The Northeast Kingdom Music Festival is Aug 3-4, way north at Chilly Ranch in Albany, VT. Come camp for a whole weekend for this world music festival. Tell ’em Johnny sent you and they will stare at you blankly in incomprehension.

Obviously getting on the “not reading the calendar of competing folk festivals” bandwagon is the Champlain Valley Folk Festival, Aug 3-5, at Kingsland Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. 877-850-0206. Another camping concept. This one feels like a more participatory, homey festival rather than basically a big concert series.

Much closer to home, the Nashua Valley Folk Festival is Aug 5 at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, Route 117, in Lancaster, MA. Arlo Guthrie will be there!

Also competing for the attention of people with homemade floral print shirts, the Newport Folk Festival is Aug 3-5, in Newport, RI. Featuring Linda Ronstadt, the Allman Brothers Band, and many others. Oh! And Ralph Stanley, the guy from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack who sung that haunting song about death.

Lynn is having their “Annual Festival of the Arts”, Aug 4, which effects the response, they have arts in Lynn? Yes, they do. They’ll have local music and theatre performances, vendors, and face painting, but the real draw is that they’re turning the town common into a temporary mini-golf course! 11am-4pm in Lynn’s Central Square. I think you can pretty safely skip this.

There is purportedly a “World Music Festival” and “Peace 2007 Hip Hop Festival” at Boston’s City Hall Plaza, Aug 4, about which I can find no information. Call (617) 635-3911

The Pan Mass Challenge is a bicycle race for charity, Aug 4-5.

But why watch people in awkwardly unfashionable yet aerodynamic speedos when you can go watch bellydancing for charity!! The Bellydance Benefit for Jane Doe charity is Aug 5. Dance Complex, 536 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA. 1-5pm. $12. This is preceded Aug 4 by a day of bellydance workshops.

A thinly disguised marketing event, but one at which you could save some bucks, is Boston Restaurant Week (Summer), Aug 5-10, 12-17. That is actually two weeks so it should read “Boston Restaurant Two Weeks” but let’s not pick nits here. Eat at some of the most expensive places for only a still expensive $33.

Much better I think to go to the Red Bones Annual Pig Pickin’! This is a street festival at everyone’s favorite BBQ restaurant in Somerville. August 6. A southern-style hog roast and street festival to benefit charity. Live music. 6-9pm.

Cambridge “National Night Out Against Crime” is August 7. I think the idea is to get police and “yutes”, I mean “youths” playing together. Amusement park and pony rides, safety demonstrations, a performer described only as “a roaming clown”, exotic reptiles and Oooo — McGruff the Crime Dog is coming. I just know some MIT pranksters need to show up and hack McGruff. Am I right? If you end up in the slammer, it wasn’t me who suggested it. Take a bite out of crime at

Are you dying to see some alpaca? They have ’em down on the farm. Petersham, MA.

Here’s the update on free outdoor movies. By the way, I went back to the Mendon Drive-In and found out that you pay once and can stay for both films if you want to! That Web site is

— What’s better than free movies? A costume competition! Mayor Menino’s Monday Night Movies & Costume Mania starts on August 6, showing The Wizard of Oz, in Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand, at Dusk.

— Cambridge! Aug 1, TBD at Sennott Park, preceded by Davey the Clown. Aug 8, Donnelly Field, preceded by Alice Johnson, Andy Holiner. Call for info, 617-349-6200.

— Jamaica Plain, “First Thursdays”, Aug 2, “Big”, at 12 South Street,

— Movies by Moonlight at Boston Harbor Hotel, 8/3 A Man For All Seasons,

— WBZ Free Friday Flicks @ Hatch Shell, 8/3 Back to the Future,

— City of Somerville, 8/2 Rent at Seven Hills Park,

— Dorchester, 8/2, Ice Age 2.

— Wincester, 8/2, Spiderman 2

— Fitchburg, MA. 8/3 Flushed Away,

— Springfield, MA. 8/1 Hoot.

— Onset, MA, Onset Bay Movie Co, 8/2, Charlotte’s Web.

The Rhode Island International Film Festival is Aug 7-12, in Providence, RI. 401-861-4445. It’s “the largest public film festival in New England”, but still a terrible idea to take one of the 12 hot weeks of the year and spend them indoors. There is a “Film Forum” Aug 8-9 which may be interesting if you want to learn about film-making, though.

Ongoing events I’ve mentioned before: Circus Smirkus, July 31-August 1 in Revere. Chimpanzee exhibit at the Museum of Science, to Aug 28, Misalliance to Sep 9 and Romeo & Juliet to Sep 16, The Roxbury Film Festival, Aug 1 – 6. Maine Lobster Festival, Aug 1-5, Yankee Homecoming Festival to Aug 5, The “Send Off to Nationals” of the Boston Poetry Slam is Aug 1, “The Lion in Winter”, to August 4,

Ciao, baby. You’re beautiful.