Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 09/18/08


Here’s hoping you get in some outdoor time this weekend. This is the last weekend of summer normality before Halloween and Fall Foliage events start kicking in.

The Week in Weird
Salem Pirate Faire Sep 20 – Sep 21 Salem, MA
The weird event of the week is the Salem Pirate Faire! I’ve been to this and it’s sort of a Pirate-themed Renaissance Faire, about 5% the size of King Richard’s Faire but highly reecommended. They have a dozen live actors portraying pirates and doing a play (in segments) that lasts all day. There will be vendors of appropriately themed goods, with food and music.
Winter Island Park, 50 Winter Island Road, Salem, MA. more
Talk Like A Pirate Day @ Heritage Museums & Gardens Sep 19 Sandwich, MA
However, I did find an event in New England! There’s a celebration from 5:30-7pm at the Pirate Museum and then an outdoor movie at 7:30, “Hook”, with Robin Williams.
Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich, MA. more
Mass Ferret Friends’ “King Ranger’s Faire Sep 20 Sharon, MA
Also on the Ren Faire theme is this year’s ferret festival. I’m sure the ferrets are very cute. 11am-4pm. Outdoors. Ferret games and contests.
Borderland State Park, Sharon, MA.(781) 224-1098. more
Fall Family Festival @ Green Animals Topiary Garden Sep 20 Portsmouth, RI
Speaking of animals (you can see how easy it is to be a journalist with a weak segue like that), this is the big event of the year at this topiary, with plenty of animal-shaped shrubs. They’ll have live music, scarecrow building, sort of kid stuff but it’s a nice garden, I’ve visited, and a great excuse to stop by nearby Newport and see the mansions and cliff walk.
380 Corey’s Lane, Portsmouth, RI.401-847-1000. more
Revels RiverSing (Fall Celebration) Sep 21 Cambridge, MA
Every year this local chorus has a participatory sing-a-long along the Charles River near JFK Street. Half of you are on the Boston side and the other half on the Cambridge side. I’ve been and it was pretty fantastic. Picnic at Winthrop Park in Harvard Square at 5pm and then at 5:45 a procession to the river. Then sing 6-7:30pm. Participatory. Bring a flashlight and a blanket. Over 2,000 attend. No sign-up needed.
Weeks footbridge, Charles River, Cambridge, MA. more
Dancing on the Charles Jul 26 – Sep 20 Cambridge, MA
Also on the Charles River, this is the last week of the year for this outdoor dance in Cambridge. Sounds great. Buy tix in advance.
American Legion, 4 Gerry’s Landing, Cambridge, MA. more
The Gathering of People Pow-Wow Sep 20 – Sep 21 Jamaica Plain, MA
Although there are pow-wows (native american festivals) all over New England, this is the only one that’s actually in Metro Boston. Rain or shine. Opening Ceremony Sat @ 12pm, then Sun 12-5pm. Outdoors. Bring a blanket or chair. They’ll have singing, dancing, drumming, ethnic food and vendors.
The Native American Indian Center of Boston, 105 South Huntington Avenue, Jamaica Plain, MA.617-232-0343 x26. more
Third Annual Intertribal Powwow @ Sweetwilliam Farm Sep 20 – Sep 21 Upton, MA
I also list the major pow-wows somewhat close to Boston and here is yet another. If anything it looks like it may be bigger than the Jamaica Plain one. They’ll have drumming, singing, dancing, including a “pumpkin dance” and a “blanket dance”, storytelling. And of course it takes place on a farm, with animals, hay rides, and ice cream.
Sweetwilliam Farm, 153 North St, Upton, MA.508-529-2000. more
The New Hampshire Highland Games Sep 19 – Sep 21 Lincoln, NH
Also ethnic! I haven’t been to this one but the Highland Games I did visit last year makes me a real believer! These people know how to party! It’s at a major ski resort so they’ll probably have gondola rides and hiking trails. They’ll have a fiddle championship, band marching, athletics & dance competitions, tons of music and vendors, and “sheepdog trials”. I wonder what happens to the sheepdogs they find guilty?.
Loon Mountain Ski Resort, Lincoln, NH. more
BioBlitz at the Seacoast Science Center Sep 20 Rye, NH
Have you ever wanted to know how to identify animals and seem super smart to people? While you’re in New Hampshire, join this “marathon” where volunteers and naturalists roam around finding and counting animals, presumably for some kind of biodiversity research.
570 Ocean Blvd., Rye, NH.(603) 436-8043. more
MP3-EXP (iPod Dance Party) Sep 20 Boston, MA
These iPod dance parties are becoming quite popular. I went to the one last week and it was so much fun! Basically you wear an iPod for music (instead of listening to loudspeakers) and dance around in a place that (to passersby) looks totally quiet. This one’s outdoors. Aquarium stop on the blue line. Download their MP3 before coming.
Christopher Columbus Park, Boston, MA. more
Boston Comedy Festival Sep 14 – Sep 20 Boston, MA
The Boston Comedy Festival isn’t exactly weird but it was SO much fun the year I went. Highly recommended! The Smothers Brothers will be present and presumably they’ll perform. The really big deal is finals night, the last night of the week.
Various downtown venues, Boston, MA. more
New Story Retreat for Storytellers Sep 18 – Sep 21 Albany, NH
Do you like to write? Are you too scared to actually do some writing? This workshop / retreat may be for you. It’s oriented towards storytellers.
World Fellowship Center, Albany, NH. more
Boston Zine Fair Sep 20 – Sep 21 Boston, MA
Before there were blogs and Web sites and email newsletters, there were “zines”. Amateur magazines, published by wannabes and occasionally the source of greatness who gets discovered and makes the big time. (Or not.) They’re having a celebration, although it’s not clear what the event actually comprises. But they’ll have “zines” for you to read through. 10am-6pm.
Art Institute of Boston, 601 Newbury Street, Boston, MA. more
Endless Summer Waterfront Festival @ Nantasket Sep 20 Hull, MA
Summer’s not actually endless, so take advantage of these outdoor festivals while they last! Rain date the next day. They claim it’s the biggest beach party in Massachusetts, which couldn’t possibly be true. But they’ll have a participatory sandcastle competition and a street chalk art event (Sign up). And they’ll have hot dog, pizza eating, and “brain freeze” smoothie eating competitions. Sounds great!.
Nantasket Beach, Nantasket Avenue, Hull, MA. more
Danehy Park Family Day Sep 20 Cambridge, MA
Kids really don’t appreciate how favored they are when it comes to events like this. They’ll have arts & crafts, amusement park rides, but sort of kids-only. And kite and music and a lovely day out in the park that anyone can enjoy. 11am-4pm.
Danehy Park, Cambridge, MA.617-349-4301 or 617-349-6229.. more
Harvard Museums Community Day Sep 20 Cambridge, MA
Perhaps you’d prefer your arts indoors. Silly of you. Well, they’re having free admission to the Harvard collection of museums. 10am-5pm.
Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway, Cambridge, MA. more
Sin-O-Matic Variant Ball Sep 20 Boston, MA
Boston’s largest fetish nightclub is having their annual party, called the “Variant Ball”. I really have no idea what that means, and apparently they don’t feel that describing the event on their website would help people decide. It’s a nightclub. It’s a dance party. They have a bar. People will dress in black and leather. It should be good if that’s your thing.
1254 Boylston St., Boston, MA. more
South End Open Studios (Boston Open Studios, United South End Artists Open Studios) Sep 20 – Sep 21 Boston, MA
South Boston is said to be the “best” artist community in Boston so this event is very worthwhile. You walk around visiting local artists homes and studios. It’s far more personal than simply meeting vendors, and it’s nice to walk around getting to know a neighborhood! It’s free but of course they hope you’ll buy some artwork. 11am-6pm. Info booth at 540/560 Harrison Ave.
Start from 560 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA.617-267-8862. more
Pawtucket RI Open Studios Sep 19 – Sep 21 Pawtucket, RI
I guess the folks in Pawtucket thought they’d be far enough away not to conflict. Here’s another local art show and outdoor walk opportunity. Free shuttles take you around.
Start from 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. more
Craft Workshops @ Sturbridge Village Sep 20 Sturbridge, MA
I’m going to tell you a secret about Sturbridge Village. JUST GO. It doesn’t matter that they’re having a crafts workshop, where you get to learn some 19th century woodworking or blacksmithing (or don’t pay and try to just watch from the edge). The village itself is a marvel, with tons of live actors representing 19th century New Englandy goodness. Just go, for Pete’s sake.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.(508) 347-3362. more
stART on the Street Sep 21 Worcester, MA
They say it’s the largest arts festival in central Massachusetts. And they could be right. If you’re in the area (for example visiting Davis Farmland or the Ecotarium), it looks like fun, with 11am-5pm. Featuring over 240 artists & crafters, 10 live bands, street performers, kids activities and a food court.
Park Ave. and Elm St., Worcester, MA. more

Also Fun
Arlington Town Night / Town Day Sep 19 – Sep 20 Arlington, MA
Personally, I would prefer a festival in upscale Arlington, MA. They’ll have entertainment and fireworks on Friday, starting at 5:30pm, and then the usual street fair stuff on Saturday, 10-3pm. Rain date the following weekend.
Spy Pond Field, Arlington, MA. more
Old Deerfield Fall Craft Fair Sep 20 – Sep 21 Deerfield, MA
One step down, this one’s pretty concretely commercial, and they fail to mention music or street performers. However they’ll have demonstrations of rug hooking, glassblowing, and “lampwork” and free museum admission. Free shuttles take you around.
Meet Me Downtown, Annual Festival of the Arts in Lynn Sep 20 Lynn, MA
11am-4pm. Another step down, it seems like this festival will be smaller (they claim 3,000 people). They’ll have the usual vendors and music, a talent show and unspecified “performances”.
Central Square, Lynn, MA. more
Sandwich Glass Museum Glass Show & Sale Sep 20 – Sep 21 Sandwich, MA
If you like glassblowing though, this is the place to be. (Perhaps on your way back from the Pirate event at Heritage Museums & Gardens.) I stopped here a few weeks ago and was given a spontaneous demonstration with no pressure to buy anything. This event will likely be worth a visit.
Sandwich Glass Museum, Sandwich, MA.508-888-0251. more
Bourne Scallop Festival Sep 19 – Sep 21 Bourne, MA
Also on Cape Cod: a festival based on a single food. I’ve seen so many ads for this that it’s hard to believe the festival is based on scallops. I guess there’s a powerful scallop lobby. They claim that 40,000 people will attend, with the usual art and craft vendors, carnival rides and live music, and they don’t actually mention scallops amongst their food choices, which is odd.
Main Street, Bourne, MA. more
North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival Sep 20 – Sep 21 Orange, MA
Here’s another way to do it right. It’s not just a garlic festival, it’s an arts festival! They’ll have a bunch of cooking and artist demonstrations, workshops, and (for those who are gullible) ‘healing arts’. My favorite events on their schedule: clogging, yo yo-ing, Indian Bhangra dancing, a garlic sack race, and a garlic and egg toss. Vampires welcome!.
Polish Harvest Festival Sep 20 – Sep 21 South Boston, MA
12-6pm. It’s one of only two Polish festivals I know of in New England. But the other one has a drunk tank.
655 Dorchester Avenue, South Boston, MA.617-268-4355. more
Where Were You in 1968?” BBQ & Dance Sep 20 Rehoboth, MA
I grew up in Rehoboth, MA and this week they’re having perhaps the biggest celebration of the year, based around the anniversary of their 1968 anniversary celebration. I guess it was a really good celebration. It’s New Englandy goodness, check it out.
4 Locust Ave, Rehoboth, MA.508-252-3031. more
Connecticut Day at Southwick’s Zoo Sep 20 Mendon, MA
This time it’s the turn of people with Connecticut IDs to have free admission to the largest zoo in New England.
2 Southwick Street, Mendon, MA.800-258-9182. more
Phantom Gourmet Food Festival Sep 20 Boston, MA
11am-4pm, next to Fenway Park. You pay $40 and sample food from 80 restaurants. I don’t normally even read “tastings” ads but the Phantom Gourmet is a good judge. Must buy tix in advance! Seriously, I showed up one year and was told they were out of tickets.
Landsdowne St., Boston, MA. more
WCPA Poetry Contest Winners’ Reading Sep 20 Worcester, MA
I’m not sure how much poetry I can sit through without screaming. But if you like this stuff, here’s the best of the best, from Worcester. 2pm.
Worcester Public Library, Salem Street, Worcester, MA. more
Afternoon Canoe on the Concord River Sep 21 Natick, MA
You can go canoeing on the Charles River anytime when it’s warm (see, but here’s an opportunity for a guided tour where you can learn some history, too. Register in advance.
Broadmoor, 280 Eliot Street, Natick, MA.508-655-2296. more
Lantern Financial Sep 24 Boston, MA
A local financial group is having a free “risqué workshop” with themes like “Having a Quickie” and “Experimenting with Something New”, for newlyweds who could use some tips on planning. They swear it’s a charity event, for Business and Baseball, with free food and giveaways, and not overly commercial.
Lantern Financial, LLC, 50 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA.617-482-2700. more
Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Sep 21 Boston, MA
It’s yet another charity walk. This time for Cancer, a good cause. Maybe they should merge them all together into one humongous walk on just one day of the year. It runs along the Boston Marathon route. Register ahead of time. Jerry Lewis will NOT be there, thank God.
Various, Boston, MA.800-632-3562. more
Hub on Wheels Sep 21 Boston, MA
I can’t believe they’re going to shut down Storrow Drive so that bicyclers (who have plenty of bike paths, frankly) can dominate the city. Amazing. Goes to a student charity.
Various, Boston, MA. more

Outdoor Movies
International Movie Nights in East Somerville Sep 7 – Sep 21 Somerville, MA
This is it. Your very very last opportunity to see a film outdoors this year. Sep 19: 7pm live accordion music and 8pm the classic Italian film “Il Postino”.
parking lot behind the old fire station, 165 Broadway, Somerville, MA.617.623.3869. more

Recurring Events
Wings of Freedom Tour Sep 8 – Sep 24 Various Locations
This other one is all over: 9/8-10 in Lincoln, RI; 9/10-12 in Hyannis, MA; 9/12-15 in Plymouth, MA; 9/15-17 in Plymouth, NH; 9/17-19 in Manchester, NH; 9/19-9/22 in Beverly, MA; 9/22-24 in New Bedford, MA. This one you actually get to fly in an old bomber aircraft and it’s far more expensive.


Overnight Travel
Grotonfest – Air Show with Fireworks & Concert Sep 20 Groton, MA
I’m unlikely to drive all the way out to Groton, but if I did, they’d have 150 artists hawking goods (um, displaying fine art), and lots of dance and music performance.
British Invasion Weekend Sep 18 – Sep 21 Stowe, VT
I’m even less likely to drive to Vermont for a car show, considering I live right next to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA which is constantly having lawn shows all summer. But hey. It’s probably the biggest thing happening in Vermont. I’ll list it.

That ought to hold you for a week!

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