Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 09/30/08

This week Halloween starts picking up, although for most venues it will be one more week to get them going. To spare those who don’t care, I have placed Halloween in a separate category below. Get out there and enjoy New England!

The Week in Weird
Coppal House Farm Corn Maze – Night Maze Oct 4 – Oct 11 Lee, NH
The weird event of the week is the night maze in Lee, NH. See the bonfire, bring a flashlight and do their corn field maze at night! And get a peek of their Haunted House in construction.
118 North River Road, Lee, NH.603-659-3572. more
New Hampshire Fall Festival Oct 4 Portsmouth, NH
Also in New Hampshire is one of the re-enactment villages in New England, Strawbery Banke. (Like the folks at Plimoth Plantation, they can’t spell very well.) I’ve been and it’s worth seeing, but only if you’ll be doing something else in the area also. This week they’re having a harvest festival. Tons of demonstrations of sheep dogs, oxen teams, and historic manufacturing techniques.
Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH.603-422-7514. more
Pioneer Village Oct 1 – Oct 8 Salem, MA
Speaking of re-enactments, in addition to Strawbery Bank, Plimoth Plantation, and Old Sturbridge Village, there is now a 4th re-enactment museum in New England! It is Pioneer Village, in Salem. It’s a one-mile walk from downtown Salem where all the attractions are, or a short trolley ride from the Old Town Hall. They portray the 1630s English colonists. They just re-opened, call to confirm their hours.
Forest River Park, 98 West Avenue, Salem, MA.978-867-4767. more
Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony & Lectures Oct 2 – Oct 4 Cambridge, MA
Also weird! It’s a night of comedy as phony “awards” are given to scientists doing bizarre and unintuitive research.
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, MA. more
Fireworks on the Mystic Oct 4 Somerville, MA
The City of Somerville is trying hard to be creative and amazing and I think it’s working. This is a new event, and I don’t know much about it, but they’ll have fireworks and that’s awesome. 4pm, fireworks at 7:15pm. Kids games, entertainment, Red Bones food, and fireworks. Rain date the next day. Parking will be available at the former movie theater at 5 Middlesex Ave, Somerville MA.
Mystic riverfront across from the Assembly Square Marketplace, Somerville, MA. more
Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Oct 2 – Oct 5 Lowell, MA
Lowell is another city that tries extra hard (Quincy is another.) This event is based on Jack Kerouac, who is from Lowell MA. His books including “On The Road”, encourage wanderlust. This festival looks surprisingly meaty considering it’s inspired by book-lovers. They’ll have tours of the area, a marathon book reading, music events, and commentary on Jack Kerouac.
Taste Quincy! Oktoberfest Oct 4 Quincy, MA
Speaking of Quincy, they’re always having a festival to draw in tourism. This one features jugglers, magicians, pumpkin carving, and of course, face painting. 11am-4pm.
McYintire Mall next to Quincy City Hall, Quincy, MA. more
Formal Opening of the Kennedy Greenway Oct 4 Boston, MA
Remember the Big Dig? When they put the highway underground they opened up a lot of new land at street level. Instead of selling it for $1B and decreasing taxes, they made: yet another park. On October 4th they’re having a celebration of some sort, it’s unclear what exactly, but it will involve live music and dance lessons. No doubt the ubiquitous face painting will be available.
Annual Roslindale Day Parade Oct 5 Roslindale, MA
Personally I’d rather be taking in the gentrification in the Roslindale Parade. There doesn’t appear to be anything in additional to the parade, despite the name “Roslindale Day”.
Roxbury Open Studios Oct 4 – Oct 5 Roxbury, MA
And stop next door for another local arts exhibition. 11am-6pm.
Green Buildings Open House Oct 4 Everywhere
This one involves private homes being opened to the public, too. Buildings all across New England are open for tours to show off renewable energy and energy conservation features.
Various – see map, Everywhere. more
Go Fly a Kite! @ Plum Island Airport Oct 4 Newburyport, MA
Don’t despair that summer is over! Autumn is awesome, with Fall foliage walks and plenty of wind for kites! Plus Halloween and Thanksgiving, yum! Here’s another kites event. It’s free. Bring a kite or make one with the guidance of the organizers.
Plum Island, Newburyport, MA.978-462-2634. more
Topsfield Fair Oct 3 – Oct 13 Topsfield, MA
While you’re on the North Shore, check out the Topsfield Fair! There are a ton of agricultural fairs in New England, far too many for me to list, but this is one of the largest and best. They’ll have pig racing, a petting farm, sand sculptures, milking and bee keeping and wood carving demonstrations, and lots of animal show and pie competition goodness. Arrive early to avoid parking trouble. MITAC discount. AAA discount.
Berkshire Botanical Garden Harvest Festival Oct 4 – Oct 5 Stockbridge, MA
With over 15,000 attending, they claim this is the longest-running and best-known community event in the Berkshires. They’ll have demonstrations of blacksmithing and wool spinning, hay rides, a haunted house, a pumpkin toss, crafts vendors, live music, and of course, face painting.
Rtes. 102 and 183, Stockbridge, MA.413/298-3926. more
Annual Goreyfest and Auction Oct 4 Yarmouth Port, MA
Edward Gorey was the cartoonist who could have been Tim Burton, but wasn’t. I recently visited his strange house museum on Cape Cod, and learned of their big annual fundraiser. Pulitzer Prize winner Alison Lurie will speak and they’ll have an art auction. 4:30-7:30pm.
8 Strawberry Lane, Yarmouth Port, MA.(508) 362-3909. more
Fall Observatory Open House Oct 4 Milton, MA
The Blue Hills are the largest ‘mountains’ close to Boston, and they’re having a weather-themed event. Plus it’s great fun to go hiking there, although the trip out to Wachusett Mountain is more recommended. Summit of Great Blue Hill on the Blue Hills Reservation at the junction of Routes 93 and 138 about 10 miles south of Boston.
Park at Trailside Museum at 1904 Canton Avenue, Milton, MA.617-696-0389. more
Light the Night Oct 2 Boston, MA
This appears to be yet another charity walk, but it takes place at nighttime and consists of lapping Boston Common, which is hardly a serious walk. And they claim they’ll have “festivities” at 5pm and then the walk begins at 6:30pm. So it’s sort of a festival. Rain or shine.
Boston Common, Boston, MA. more
Vice-Presidential Debate Oct 2 Cambridge, MA
Which presidential candidate has the best vice? Come to Harvard, arrive *early* and find out. Or watch TV from anywhere.
Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA. more
Norman Bird Sanctuary Annual Harvest Fair Oct 4 – Oct 5 Middletown, RI
Do you love birds? Come see what’s happening at the “Monkey Bridge” and “Mud Pit”.
583 Third Beach Road, Middletown, RI.401-846-2577. more

Also Fun
Block Island Birding Weekend Oct 3 – Oct 5 Block Island, RI
Also about birds, but expensive: the Audubon Society will lead field trips for both newbie and expert bird-watchers. It lasts all weekend and they want $450. Yikes!
New England Warrior Camp Oct 3 – Oct 5 Around Sudbury, MA
Also very expensive: if you love martial arts and have $250 to burn, spend all weekend with these enthusiasts.
781 864 6713. more
North Adams Fall Foliage Parade Oct 5 North Adams, MA
Here’s an excuse to head to Western Massachusetts to North Adams, where you can see the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). Starts at 1pm.
Downtown, North Adams, MA. more
Douglas Octoberfest Oct 4 Douglas, MA
Wow. This looks really local and cheesy. Magicians & gymnasts. What, no face painting? 9am to 4pm.
Harvest Fair @ The Growing Center Oct 4 Somerville, MA
This one’s a better bet, and it’s closer. They’ll have cider making, pumpkin decorating, music, and games, at this small but apparently powerful venue. Rain date the next day.
Somerville Community Growing Center, 22 Vinal Avenue, Somerville, MA. more
FirstWorksProv Oct 2 – Nov 9 Providence, RI
This series of performances and gallery exhibitions should in no way be considered a ‘festival’. That being said, a number of the concerts look interesting.
Illuminale Boston Oct 1 – Oct 5 Boston, MA
Also in the hyped-up category is this provactively named ‘festival’ which basically consists of putting outdoor lighting on some of Boston’s buildings. There might be some kind of parade/walk Oct 1st at 6:30pm but it isn’t clear from the website. Daily 6:30-11pm. I sort of don’t get it. I guess it makes Boston more fun to walk around, but — it’s not really an ‘event’.
Custom Home, Boston, MA. more
Maynard Octoberfest / Maynard FEST Oct 4 Maynard, MA
The largest in the area. Magic pumpkin painting, fireworks, vendors.
Boston Latino International Film Festival Oct 3 – Oct 12 Cambridge, MA
I’m not much on sitting idle in the dark, but this film festival will have at least one panel, possibly more but it’s unclear from the website.
Various, Cambridge, MA. more
Boston Palestine Film Festival Oct 4 – Oct 12 Boston, MA
This one looks more like it. They’ll have an opening reception October 3rd and a few filmmakers appearing to present some of the showings.
Various, Boston, MA. more
Juvenile Diabetes Walk Oct 4 Boston, MA
It’s yet another charity walk, if that’s your thing.
Esplanade, Boston, MA. more
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Oct 5 Boston, MA
No doubt a worthy charity walk.
Esplanade, Boston, MA. more
Samaritans 5K Run/Walk and Family Fest Oct 4 Brighton, MA
Run along the Charles River and then a festival with music, games, kid’s events. Benefits the Samaritans, suicide prevention.
Artesani Park, 1234 Soldiers Field Rd Road, Brighton, MA.617-536-2460. more
New England Fringe Festival – Nashua, NH Oct 1 – Oct 4 Roxbury, MA
The festival continues October 1-4 in Nashua, NH.
Roxbury Center for the Arts at Hibernian Hall, 182 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA.978.667.0550. more
Ringling Bros. Circus (annual) Oct 2 – Oct 13 Various
Everybody loves the circus! I bet it’s great fun. Manchester NH, Oct 2-5. Springfield, MA Nov 6-9. Portland, ME, Oct 2-5. Providence RI, Apr 2009. MITAC discount. Stars a fellow named Bello who seems singularly unimpressive. But all over their promotional materials. So he must be popular.
Baked Fresh Oct 5 Boston, MA
Let’s not mince words here. This is a merchant event. Still, the SoWa people have good art to sell, and there’ll be live music. 10am-5pm.
540 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA. more

The Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo Oct 1 – Oct 31 Salem, MA
Also not mincing words, why would I want to attend an “expo” that is basically vendors trying to trick me into believing that rocks can heal me and palms tell my future? Well, it’s weird, so I’m listing it. 10am-10pm daily at the Museum Place Mall in Salem.
Museum Place Mall, 176 Essex Street, Salem, MA. more
Salem Haunted Happenings Grand Parade Oct 2 Salem, MA
I bet this is the cutest thing ever! It’s a kids parade, all in costume. 6:30pm.
Shetland Park to Salem Common, Salem, MA.978.744.0004. more
Spirits Among the Ruins (A Paranomal Investigation) Oct 4 – Oct 31 Salem, NH
I’ve been to this place and if there’s one thing the experts agree on, if it’s not a hoax exactly, it can’t be as interesting as the New Age Mysticism implies. Still, it’s a fun activity if you’re in the area, and it certainly is weird. They have an alpaca farm, and it’s open year-round, too. A bunch of insane paranormal types will pull the gullible along. Might be a fun show. Oct 4, 17, & 31.
105 Haverhill Road, Salem, NH.603-893-8300. more

Recurring Events
Davis Farmland & Megamaze Sep 2 – Nov 9 Sterling, MA
You really must check out Davis Farmland, with their petting zoo (kids only, boo hoo!). And they have the best maze in New England, made out of a corn field! For Halloween they decorate it not-so-scary.
145 Redstone Hill, Sterling, MA.978-422-8888. more
Kimball Farm Corn Maze Aug 23 – Oct 31 Haverhill, MA
Trying to compete with Davis Farmland and the Davis MegaMaze, the Kimball Farm is hosting its own corn maze.
Kimball Farm Corn Maze, 780 East Broadway, Haverhill, MA.978 521-3990. more
King Richard’s Faire (Ren Faire) Aug 30 – Oct 19 Carver, MA
Rt 3S to 44W to 58S. Saturdays & Sundays only. I’ve just been and here’s my report. It’s fun to stroll around people-watching and seeing all the shops, which are Ren Faire themed and not hokey carnival themed. There are a few olde timey amusement park rides but primarily the entertainment is the 8 stages. I’m told they don’t pay much, and about 2/3 of the acts are not really worth watching. They embarass volunteers on stage and have a lot of overhead trying to draw in the crowd. However, we were very impressed with the Aerial Angels and Paolo Garbanzo. I would avoid the Ded Bob Sho and the Flying Freak Show. The main event is always the jousting, a must-see!! Rt 3 S to Rt 44 W to Rt 58 S. Weekends and Holidays only.
(508) 866-5391. more
Waterfire May 24 – Nov 11 Providence, RI
They put baskets of wood in the river and light them, making a nice night-time river walk.
Providence Place, Providence, RI.401 751-1221. more
Coppal House Farm Corn Maze Aug 1 – Oct 31 Lee, NH
I visited Kimball Farm’s corn maze and now I want to see this one, too! The best is still Davis Farmland.
118 North River Road, Lee, NH.603-659-3572. more

Cirque du Soleil Sep 5 – Oct 12 Boston, MA
These are the people who clown around but also do acrobatics in the air on long silk strands.
Bayside Expo Center, Boston, MA.800-678-5440. more
Janet Jackson and LL Cool J Oct 1 Boston, MA
I feel a wardrobe malfunction coming on.
TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA. more
The T Plays Sep 17 – Oct 4 Boston, MA
How would you like to see a play that was written in less than 20 minutes, on a bustling subway? Yeeeeeea, that’d be awesome, riiiiight.
The Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.617-240-6317. more

Overnight Travel
Maine Pumpkin Festival Oct 4 Cumberland, ME
This pumpkin event seems surprisingly creative and interesting. They’ll have music and science shows all day, and then light the pumpkins after dark.
Cumberland Fairgrounds, Cumberland, ME. more
Maryland Renaissance Festival @ Silver Springs Aug 23 – Oct 19 Crownsville, MD
I’m told it’s the best Renaissance Faire on the east coast and worth a trip.
Crownsville Road, Crownsville, MD. more


That ought to hold you for a week!

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