Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 10/14/08

The Week in Weird
Essex Shipbuilding Museum Steam Muster Oct 18 Essex, MA
The weird event of the week is your chance to see actual steam engines! Collectors will bring these devices either recreations or real models from the 1890s. 10am-4pm.
66 Main St, Essex, MA.978-282-8222. more
Hoot & Howl Night – BBQ @ Wolf Hollow Oct 18 Ipswich, MA
While you’re on the North Shore, I’ve been to this one, and it’s highly recommended! They do a wolf presentation every weekend. You hear a lecture about wolves and get to howl along with them. This is their annual Halloween party and BBQ. Call ahead to reserve a space. Rain date one week later.
114 Essex Rd, Ipswich, MA.978 356-0216. more
Fitchburg Forge-In and Autumn Festival Oct 18 Fitchburg, MA
Out west, you can see blacksmith compete to make the best metallic stuff. 10am-dusk. They’ll have lots of arts vendors, and pumpkin carving after dark, too.
Riverfront Park, Fitchburg, MA. more
Big Bugs Spider Weekend Oct 18 – Oct 19 Framingham, MA
I’ve never been to the “Garden in the Woods”, but they’re having a festival about spiders and kids-level ‘scary’ Halloween stuff. I’m sure it’s worth a peek if you’re in the area. They have something similar the following weekend.
Garden in the Woods, 180 Hemenway Road, Framingham, MA. more
Roman Legion Re-enactment @ Higgins Armory Oct 18 Worcester, MA
Also out west, the Higgins Armory is a museum in a castle-like building featuring medieval and renaissance armor and weaponry. They have a number of fun events all year and it’s definitely worth the trip. On a single day they will have re-enactors from Ancient Rome, Vikings, and Renaissance swashbucklers.
100 Barber Ave, Worcester, MA.508-853-6015. more
Renaissance Dinner @ Higgins Armory Oct 17 Worcester, MA
And if you can afford $1000 they’re having a true Renaissance dinner the night before. The ultimate costuming opportunity.
100 Barber Ave, Worcester, MA.508-853-6015. more
Head of the Charles Regatta Oct 18 – Oct 19 Boston, MA
I’m not much for sports, but it’s easy to get behind the Head of the Charles, which as you know it’s the largest 2-day rowing competition in the world. Just go to the Boston or Cambridge side of the Charles River and watch people who are not you sweat and grunt. Sat & Sun 8am-5pm.
Charles River, Boston, MA. more
Fort Point Open Studios Oct 17 – Oct 19 Boston, MA
Also local are two arts exhibitions. Walk around visiting the artist studios and private homes in Boston’s ‘best’ arts district. Fri 4-7, Sat & Sun 11-6.
Arlington Open Studios Oct 18 – Oct 19 Arlington, MA
Not knowing or not caring about the conflict, the Arlington Open Studios will involve more homes and fewer studios. A little more walking which is just right if it’s a nice day. 12-5.
Fall Funfest @ Faneuil Hall Oct 18 – Oct 19 Boston, MA
I called up Fanueil Hall and they’re combining two festivals into a single weekend: the Street Performers Festival (all weekend with special shows Sat 6pm & Sun 5pm), and their A Capella Festival (Sat & Sun 11am-5pm).
Fanueil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA.617-523-1300 x7021. more
Quincy Dim Sum and PJPii Park Kite Fly Oct 19 Boston, MA
Also south of Boston is yet another kite-flying opportunity. Fall brings strong winds and it’s a chance to meet some experts and see the decorative artistic kites they’ve made. And join them for dim sum. A big secret is that the cheap kites you can buy typically are fairly hard to fly. Getting some advice is quite helpful! Call Ralph Reed at KONE for details on this event.
Pope John Paul II Park, Boston, MA. more
Shoes Tell Stories @ Fuller Museum Oct 19 Brockton, MA
Do you like shoes? Have shoes ever changed your life? The Fuller Museum wants to hear your story. This event doesn’t sound very impressive but I’m listing it because the Fuller Museum is such a gem. I’ve been three times and there’s always something world-class going on in lonely Brockton. They are free and have arty socials Wednesday evenings, 5-9pm. 10am to 1pm.
455 Oak Street, Brockton, MA.508-588-6000. more
Concord Festival of Authors Oct 15 – Nov 2 Concord, MA
This “festival” is really a series of author events and book readings, but many of them look quite interesting, especially very dry southern humorist Roy Blount, Jr. on Oct 15, and a spooky night of thrillers and Dracula Oct 31.
Various Places, Concord, MA. more
Readathon at Jaecs Oct 17 Attleboro, MA
Also literary, a coffeehouse in Southern Massachusetts is doing a reading, start to end, of Catcher in the Rye. It’s about teenage angst. Starting at 4pm. Although they don’t list it on their website, I called to confirm this. You should probably call just to double-check.
68 Union Street, Attleboro, MA.508-223-JAES. more
Lecture by former US Vice President Al Gore Oct 22 Cambridge, MA
Former Vice President Al Gore is giving a speech next Wednesday 10/22 at Harvard. It’s free and you don’t need a ticket. Just show up very early to get a seat. 3-5pm.
Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. more
Presidential Debate (3rd of 3) Oct 15 Everywhere
Also free is taking an interest in politics. This is your last chance to catch some one-on-one political theatre. Give it a shot. If you don’t own a TV, listen to 90.9FM or do streaming video from
On TV, Everywhere. more
Orionids Meteor Shower Oct 20 – Oct 24 Everywhere
I’m starting a new habit of listing all the major meteor showers of the year. To get a good view, go someplace without street lighting, like a large park or a pond. Look up and look for streaks of light in the sky. (Any suggestions for this near Boston?) The Orionids are best seen from 1am to twilight any morning between Oct 20 and Oct 24.
Just Look Up, Everywhere. more
ee cummings celebration at Forest Hills Cemetery Oct 19 Jamaica Plain, MA
Forest Hills Cemetery has such creative and interesting events. This week it’s poetry to celebrate the birthday of poet ee cummings, who is buried there.
Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA.617-524-0128. more
Forest Hills Dog Walk Oct 18 Jamaica Plain, MA
Also at Forest Hills, spend $12 and bring your dog at 10am for a guided tour of monuments in the cemetery that your dog can put one leg up against. I went last year (without a dog!) as a favor for a friend who loves dogs. It was fun.
Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA. more
Salem Halloween Happenings Oct 10 – Oct 30 Salem, MA
Salem is on the commuter rail and there’s no excuse to miss it this time of year. JUST GO. All the attractions are located near the visitors’ center. Avoid anything that looks touristy. I recommend: the Pirate Museum, the Salem Witch Museum, The Peabody Essex Museum, and catch the theatre shows at the House of Seven Gables. Rt 128N to exit 25A, Rt 114E, follow signs to visitor’s center.
Park at Visitors Center and walk around, Salem, MA.978-740-1650. more
Salem: Fiesta Shows Carnival Oct 20 – Oct 30 Salem, MA
Salem is also having a carnival, Oct 20-30, M-F 12-9pm, 12-10pm SS.
289 Derby Street, Salem, MA. more
Salem Pumpkin Festival on the Commons Oct 18 – Nov 2 Salem, MA
As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also having a pumpkin festival. Beyond just “lots of pumpkins”, they’ll have a 1,000 lb monster pumpkin and a hay bale maze! I want to see that! 10am-5pm, Oct 18-19, 24-26, Nov 1-2. JUST GO TO SALEM, ok?
Salem Common, Salem, MA. more

Also Fun
Full Moon Stroll @ Canterbury Shaker Village Oct 14 Canterbury, NH
Tonight! If you’re anywhere near central New Hampshire, they’re having a moonlight stroll at this museum village.
288 Shaker Rd, Canterbury, NH.(603) 783-9511. more
South End House Tours Oct 18 Boston, MA
10am. Here’s a walking tour of Boston where rich people show off their houses because they want to educate you. Or impress you. A glimpse into the past, and also into high society.
Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity Oct 16 Cambridge, MA
A free lecture by Drs. Edward O. Wilson and Eric Chivian. 7pm. Dr. Chivian was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in the world in 2007.
26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA.617.495.3045. more
Out on the Edge Festival Oct 18 – Nov 8 Boston, MA
This ‘festival’ is mainly a series of performances, but they’ll have several post-show audience discussions and events to socialize at. Theatre, a satire of TV news, a comedy about beauty pageants, a costume contest, and lots of gay frivolity, wink wink.
Various Places, Boston, MA. more
Anime After Dark Oct 18 Somerville, MA
What’s better than going to a haunted house or a party? Sitting in the dark for 12 hours contemplating anime as a serious art form. It’s a notch geekier and two hours longer than last weekend’s Lord of the Rings marathon. Film marathon 7pm to 7am.
Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville, MA. more
Williamstown Film Festival Oct 17 – Oct 26 Williamstown, MA
This one’s far more ‘real’, although way out in Western Massachusetts. As well as the films there will be several artist discussions and socials.
Various Places, Williamstown, MA.(413) 458-9900. more
Cogswell’s Grant Pumpkin Festival Oct 18 Essex, MA
Now for some harvest festivals! This one’s small but nearby to your Salem day trip! They’ll have hay rides, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin decorating, all kinds of kids stuff.
Memorial Park, Essex, MA.978.283.1601. more
Rockport Harvest Festival Oct 18 – Oct 19 Rockport, MA
Also nearby is a festival Rockport of little interest, but I’m sure it’s completely authentic New Englandy goodness if you just want a relaxing small town experience. It’s something more to do while you’re visiting the North Shore.
Downtown Rockport, Rockport, MA. more
Wachusett Mountain Applefest Oct 18 – Oct 26 Princeton, MA
Bigger but probably hokier is the Wachusett Mountain Applefest, which I’ve been to. The vendors tend to be “As Seen on TV” types rather than art festival types. But they do have a skyline ride (the ski lift) and great views and hiking opportunities. Rt 2W to Rt 140 S. Weekends. Other festivals, see site. While you’re in the area, make sure to stop by nearby Davis Farmland.
Canstruction Oct 20 – Nov 7 Boston, MA
This one’s probably worth at least stopping by. What does Food Bank, the charity, have a lot of? Canned food! What can you do with cans? Build lots of towers! Engineers & architects compete to build buildings and sculptures.
The Boston Design Center, One Design Center Place, Boston, MA. more
Onset Stuffed Quahog Contest Oct 19 Onset, MA
Or, perhaps you’d prefer to eat the food. I believe a quahog is sort of a clam, pronounced “COH-hog” that nobody outside of New England cares about. Or maybe even inside New England.
508-291-6182. more
Greater Boston Antiques Festival Oct 18 – Oct 19 Wilmington, MA
Things slowly go from adventurous to boring as you read further down my blog. Unless you find shopping antiques exciting, in which case check out this festival.
Shriner’s Auditorium, Wilmington, MA. more
Walk for Autism Research Oct 19 East Boston, MA
As well as yet another charity walk, they’ll have a “community resource fair”, and “much much more” but I guess they couldn’t be bothered to list any of the items in the extensive list of “more”. I wonder if the upcoming vote to ban dog racing is laying the groundwork for a casino at Suffolk Downs.
Suffolk Downs, East Boston, MA. more
Won ~ Buddhist Fair Oct 19 Somerville, MA
10am-6pm. It’s an open house for this Buddhist temple, with meditation and food and event like face painting and wood carving. It’s a tiny venue.
7 Hill Street, Somerville, MA.617.666.1121. more
Boston UFO Show Oct 17 Watertown, MA
It deeply pains me to be advertising an event which promotes belief in UFOs. You really need to lack critical thinking skills to go for this. But it’s certainly weird enough to mention.
Hibernian Hall, 151 Watertown St., Watertown, MA. more

Artists Ball at Eliot Hall @ Jamaica Plain Oct 18 Jamaica Plain, MA
This event is not very well described, but it appears to be a masquerade ball with circus performers and an art auction. Since it’s a benefit, it may be expensive. Most balls are expensive (darn it!).
Eliot Hall, Jamaica Plain, MA. more
The Halloween Ball @ Belcourt Castle (RI) Oct 18 – Oct 25 Newport, RI
Also expensive (but worth it) is this masquerade ball at one of Newport’s amazing mansions. If you miss it, they have another October 25. Call immediately for tickets, will sell out! $95 but open bar, appetizers and a DJ and a band.
657 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI.401-846-0669. more
Boston Pumpkin Festival Oct 18 Boston, MA
OK, now on to Halloween events! Yay! This is the benefit that broke the Guiness World Record for most lit pumpkins on display. I went last year and — holy pie filling!! — they sure have a lot of pumpkins! It fills the entire Boston City Hall plaza and volunteers can carve and light as many as they want. They supply the pumpkins. It’s really worth seeing, sure it’s somewhat hokey, but: 21,000 pumpkins! Wow!
City Hall Plaza, One City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA.207-655-3800. more
Annual Great Pumpkin Float Oct 18 Dorchester, MA
You bring a small carved pumpkin, 6-8 inches, and they’ll give you a float to send it down the river. It’s free to join or to watch, but if you want to bring a pumpkin, register in advance. Rain date the next day. 5:30pm. Rain date next day, same time. I bet it’s a beautiful event with lots of cute kids in costume.
Gallivan Blvd. Entrance, Pope John Paul ll Park, Gallivan Blvd., Dorchester, MA. more
Halloween Tales Oct 18 Lincoln, MA
The Minuteman National Park has so many creative events and they are all excellent and original. This time it’s ghost stories by candlelight. They have an early session for kids and then more scary stories for adults. Free. kids 4:30-5:45pm, adults 7-8:30pm.
Hartwell Tavern – Rt. 2A, Lincoln, MA.978-318-7825. more
Pumpkin Fest @ Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary Oct 17 Norfolk, MA
Carve pumpkins, play games (presumably kids games), and go for a moonlight hike at this state park.
108 North Street, Norfolk, MA.508-528-3140. more
Halloween Hike at Boo Meadow Brook Oct 17 – Oct 18 Worcester, MA
This is more of a guided nature walk at night than a haunted forest event, but it looks genuinely substantive and fun. 6:30-8:30pm.
414 Massasoit Road, Worcester, MA.508-753-6087. more
Halloween Harvest Open House & Night Hike and Hayride Oct 18 Princeton, MA
Gee, I guess all these parks are hopping onto the Halloween hike bandwagon! This one features an actual wagon, a hay ride, in a addition to the hike.
Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Road, Princeton, MA.978-464-2712. more
Ghosts of Somerville Oct 18 Somerville, MA
This is a spooky Halloween play about Somerville history. It’s outdoors, so dress warm, and walk along with the actors who are planted throughout the cemetery. Rain date the next day. 4pm. $5.
Meet at Milk Row Cemetery, 400 Somerville Ave., next to Market Basket, Somerville, MA.617-625-6600, x2532. more
Great Pumpkin Weekend Oct 18 – Oct 19 North Andover, MA
This event seems very kids-oriented, but hopefully 6’4″ adults who are having a birthday can get in too if they make a cute pouty face. Take a hay ride and go trick or treating, live music and pumpkin picking, and “musical entertainment”, which is somebody’s way of saying “music”, I hope. By the way, they have possibly the worst website I’ve seen all month.
315 South Bradford Street, North Andover, MA. more

Recurring Events
King Richard’s Faire (Ren Faire) Aug 30 – Oct 19 Carver, MA
This is the last weekend for this Renaissance Faire! Weekends & holidays only. Plenty of Ren Faire vendors and people-watching, with 8 performance stages. Only 1/3 of the acts are worth watching, but definitely see the Aerial Angels, Paolo Garbanzo, and especially the jousting! Rt 3 S to Rt 44 W to Rt 58 S.
(508) 866-5391. more
Davis Farmland & Megamaze (& Night Maze) Sep 2 – Nov 9 Sterling, MA
Davis Farmland has the world’s most complex corn maze, with 12 bridges giving it a 3D topology. For Halloween they decorate it not-so-scary and now they are also open at night. Daytime weekends, call for night hours. Bring a flashlight. They also have a petting zoo, but you need a child in tow to see it. I’ve been this year and recommend it highly. A must-see!
145 Redstone Hill, Sterling, MA.978-422-8888. more
Coppal House Farm Corn Maze ( & Night Maze ) Aug 1 – Oct 31 Lee, NH
They have a night maze Columbus Day Weekend and soon, a haunted house attraction, too. The best is still Davis Farmland.
118 North River Road, Lee, NH.603-659-3572. more
Kimball Farm Corn Maze Aug 23 – Oct 31 Haverhill, MA
Trying to compete, the Kimball Farm is hosting its own corn maze.
Kimball Farm Corn Maze, 780 East Broadway, Haverhill, MA.978 521-3990. more
The Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo Oct 1 – Oct 31 Salem, MA
Weird but only for those without much sense in their heads. 10am-10pm daily at the Museum Place Mall in Salem.
Museum Place Mall, 176 Essex Street, Salem, 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.

Wishful Drinking (w/ Carrie Fisher) Oct 8 – Oct 26 Boston, MA
A one-woman autobiographical show by the actress who starred in the original Star Wars.
BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA.617-933-8600. more
Madonna Oct 15 – Oct 16 Boston, MA
Madonna is a celebrity from the 1980s who has managed to remain popular longer than just about anyone, even Michael Jackson.
TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA. more
November Oct 17 – Nov 15 Boston, MA
November is a political comedy by David Mamet about running for election and what politicans will do to win.
Lyric Stage Company, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA.617-585-5678. more
The Communist Dracula Pageant Oct 18 – Nov 9 Cambridge, MA
This one looks interesting! It’s a historical fiction set in ancient and modern Romania. You’ll learn something real about 20th century communism and the 15th century inspiration for the Dracula story.
Mass Ave & Arrow St, Cambridge, MA.617-547-8300. more

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