Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 09/10/07


Here’s what’s coming up in New England.

TONIGHT! College Night at the Museum of Science, Boston. Free with a college ID.

Also free: admission to the Southwick’s Zoo, for those with an ID from Rhode Island. Sep 15.

Also free, it’s the Harvard University Museums Community Day, Monday Sep 17. This refers to the Fogg, Busch, and Sackler museums. Not sure about the Harvard Natural History Museum but I don’t get that sense.

The weird event of the week is Hoot & Howl Night at Wolf Hollow! Sep 15 they will have a BBQ and you get an hour lecture on wolves and even get to howl along with them. I’ve been twice and it’s fantastic! Rain date Sep 22. Ipswich, MA.

Also in Ipswich! It’s the Ipswich ChowderFest. You would think that this event would be pretty simple. You show up, eat chowder, and leave. But no! They will have karate demonstrations and face painting. And nearby attractions include Crane Beach and Castle Hill.

Highly weird, there are a number of full-sized statues made from hay. These “hay sculptures” can be found at an exhibition called “Scarecrows in the Garden”. Although it’ll be open for a while, the day to go is Sep 16 which is artists demonstration day. Berkshire Botanical Gardens, Rtes. 102 and 183, Stockbridge, MA, which is also where the Norman Rockwell Museum is.

What’s better than eerie human-shaped shrubs? Pirates! An interactive dinner theatre event featuring pirates. Check out Pirates: Rum, Rogues & Romance, Friday September 21, in Boston.

If you prefer to do the pirating personally, you may want to go to the Back to School Scavenger Hunt at the Boston Public Library, Sep 14, conveniently timed at 3pm so that most of us can miss it. Kids will solve clues and puzzles throughout the library. Prizes will be awarded.

One-upping this event, the Society for Creative Anachronism will even give you a sword to swing. I’m not sure Pirates are allowed, however, you may have to dress as Prince Charming or Princess Decadent. The “Fall King’s & Queen’s Champions of Arms Tournament” is Sep 14-16, in Spencer, MA. Inspired by Chaucer’s Tales, you’ll meet pilgrims, see archery, and they’ll be lots of steel on steel fighting.

This week’s best pirate event though is bound to be the Salem Pirate Faire, Sep 15-16, at Winter Island Park in Salem. There’s an interactive theatre group who I’ve seen before and they are sensational. They’re going to have an ongoing storyline happening throughout the weekend.

The New England Fringe Festival is a celebration at various venues of dance, performance, and music, Sep 15-30. It costs less to buy tickets in advance. Two of them I’d like to single out. First, they’ll have a choreographed fight dance performance.

Second, they’ll have a professional storyteller, Laura Packer, give three shows. Sep 15, 8pm, “Sex and other misadventures”, Sep 22, 6pm, “Love (not the mushy kind)”, Sep 29, 9pm – “Death (because we all end up there)”. That’s in Roxbury. I haven’t seen her perform but I hope to and the buzz is all that she’s fantastic.

Open Studios are events where local artists open their private homes and art studios to the public. Yes, it’s pretty commercial and everything is for sale. However, it’s fun to walk around some neighborhood and interact with the original artists, not just a merchant reseller. This weekend there is one with two names. It’s either the Boston Open Studios, or the United South End Artists Open Studios, depending on who you ask. It’s possibly the best of the lot, check it out.

The Wings of Freedom Tour is a traveling airplane show, Sep 12 – 24, visiting Lincoln, RI; New Bedford, MA; Plymouth, MA; Beverly, MA; and NH.

With so many cultural festivals, let’s not forget Africa. There’s going to be an African Cultural Festival on Sep 15 in Worcester.

Also there’s a Polish Harvest Festival, Sep 16,

Every year there is a folk festival at UMass Boston. It’s called the Boston Folk Festival, Sep 15-16. They’ll have a songwriting contest, which is nearly sold out, so buy your tickets in advance. Features a ton of really famous people inside the folk music community that those of us outside haven’t heard of.

There are a lot of agricultural faires in New England where you get to pet sheep and see pie baking competitions. The largest of them all is the Big E, or Eastern States Exposition, and I’m sorry to say that some tourists fly in for the Big E and leave, and that’s all they’ll ever see of New England. The Big E is Sep 14-30, and they’ll have parades, amusement park rides, and tons of vendors and animals. I went one year and it was interesting to see how the other half lives. They have a stellar horse show. It was also a little like strolling through an hicksville infomercial and I was glad to leave.

Here’s how they do it in upscale Acton instead. No horses or pie. But add a moonbounce, an Aerosmith tribute band, marionettes, and fireworks! It’s “Acton Day 2007 at NARA Park”, Sep 15.

Every Sunday through Sep 30, the Longfellow National Historic Site has an “arts in the park” festival. They encourage participants to soak up the natural beauty of the park and draw or paint. And they’ll read Longfellow’s poetry. 1-4pm. Free. (671) 876-4491.

While you’re in the metro northwest area, check out Billerica’s Yankee Doodle Homecoming Weekend is Sep 14-16, They’ll have a parade, a crafts fair, a battle of the bands, a military display, and other things worth stopping by but only if you’re already in the area.

On the South Shore, the Quincy Arts Fest is Sep 14-16, it appears to be a juried art exhibition with crafts and artist demonstrations. Hopefully including metalworking. or

Also on the south shore, and appearing to be much more interesting, The Endless Summer Waterfront Festival, in Hull, MA. Sep 15. Where else can you go for a chalk drawing competition, a hot dog eating contest, a sandcastle competition, and event a police “K9” dog show. 12-6pm. Free. Artists, bands, food, sandcastle building.

Then in the evening! While you’re in Hull, go to Earthdance Boston, Sep 16, 12-6pm. Apparently it’s the world’s largest “synchronized dance”, which I guess means they’ll be using the Internet to stream from one DJ’s iPod.

I regret to inform you that the “Samuel Adams Octoberfest” will take place in September. Apparently they couldn’t wait to get you drunk. This is a one-item event, very much like chowderfest except frat boys don’t eat chowder and then tip your car over. Sep 15. Castle at Park Plaza, Boston.

Apparently they can’t wait in Harvard, MA either because they’re already having the “Harvard Fall Festival”, Sep 15-16. They’ll have a crafts fair, barbecue, oh, and fireworks too!

While you are way out there on Rt 2, also in the “can’t they find something better to celebrate” category is the North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival, Sep 15-16. Orange, MA. Actually this one looks surprisingly interesting, with horse rides and music.

Another one-item event, the Harwich Cranberry Festival, on Cape Cod, Sep 15-16, (508) 430-1165,

The “British Invasion Weekend” is the largest British auto show in New England, and it’s conveniently located 5 hours away in Stowe, Vermont.

The Greater New England Guitar Festival is more than just a big flea market. You can take workshops and jam with others. Sep 15-16, Bayside Expo Center in Boston,

Please avoid the Boston Gift Show, which is like a temporary mall where a convention center used to be, also in the Boston Expo Center, Sep 15-18,

If you’re on the wagon, try instead the American Heart Association’s “Heart Walk”. Sep 15. 8:30am registration, walk at 10am. 1mi, 3mi, or 6mi route along the Charles River.

Don’t feel left out if you’re busy, on Sep 16 it’s the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk instead.

Three free outdoor movies:

— Somerville, MA. Auto Da Compadecida, Sep 14, with English subtitles. Brazil’s top grossing feature film.

— Sandwich, MA. “Charlotte’s Web”. Sep 14.

— Durham, NH, which is only an hour from Boston. Shrek the Third, Sep 15,

Genesis, the group that got Phil Collins started, plays tomorrow, Sep 11 at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Reservations for the “Free Night of Theatre” may go on sale TODAY, September 10, keep checking their Web site at

The Atheist at the Huntington Theatre Company, Sep 12-21 in Boston, is about a journalist who writes about and then gets caught up in a scandal.

BU is also producing Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”, which they say is a spy novel mixed in with Monty Python. Sep 17-23, Boston.

Continuing events, King Richard’s Faire, to Oct 21, weekends only, Romeo & Juliet to Sep 16, “Walk Inside the Camera” to Sep 14, Wicked, Sep 12 – Nov 11.

Heads up, they’ll have a Guitar Hero Competition at the Boston Public Library, Sep 18. 3:30pm in the Young Adult Room. Does that include me?

Last week I mentioned that Suzanne Vega is performing Sep 20 at the Somerville Theatre. Well, so is Stevie Wonder, Sep 20, at the Bank of America Pavilion.
Also a heads up, the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival is Sep 23, on Landsdowne Street in Boston. They always sell out so if you want to spend $40 to sample meals from various restaurants, buy in advance. 11am-4pm, next to Fenway Park.

This is just about the weirdest thing going on NEXT week. Heads up, the MIT Geology department (ok, “Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Science”) has a field trip coming Sep 22-23. It’s free and you get to camp overnight with them as they head to Western MA to see dinosaur footprints and explore and learn about rocks. Because really, what’s more important than rocks. Non-MIT people can attend but only with an MIT person guesting them. For questions, and to RSVP, email

That’s nearly 50 ideas on what to do in New England. Please don’t waste it mowing the lawn. Let the basement stay dusty and munch some summer.