Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 10/20/08

Welcome! This is your week in weird!

This is the last weekend before Halloween (sort of, it’s on a Friday), so
Halloween events are going first this week. I have placed a bunch into “Also Fun” that seem to be highly kids oriented.

The Week in Weird
Lecture by former US Vice President Al Gore Oct 22 Cambridge, MA
That lecture by Al Gore that I mentioned last week is still coming up, 10/22 at Harvard. It’s free but they changed the rules, you DO need a Harvard affiliate to get you a ticket. Food & celebration starts at 3pm.
Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. more
Thrill the World: Michael Jackson’s Zombie Dance! Oct 25 Salem, MA
The weird event of the week is: visit Salem State College and learn the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video! Sounds like so much fun and this weekend is the last Saturday before Halloween. You should be in Salem.
Salem State College, Multipurpose Gym, O’Keefe Center, Canal Street, Salem, MA.978.542.7890. more
Haunted Salem Scavenger Hunt Oct 25 Salem, MA
Also in Salem, this “tour group” company has one of their scavenger hunt events, which you can find regularly in Boston. Basically you and a team roam the city trying to find information (not steal stop signs). It sounds like fun! They have one for adults at 7pm and one for “families” at 4:30pm, i.e. kids get to do it while their parents stand around, bored. I hate when they say families like that, as though the *entire* family will be riveted by Sponge Bob Squarepants or whatever. Register in advance.
Witch City Haunted Oktoberfest Oct 24 – Oct 26 Salem, MA
This seems to be some kind of street festival, with live music and a comedy theatre show!
Front Street, Salem, MA.978-745-4343. more
Tethered Balloon Rides in Salem Oct 25 Salem, MA
If you’re smart enough to figure out where Washington Square is, take a quick trip up and down in a tethered Balloon. Also in Salem.
Washington Square, Salem, MA. more
Halloween Monster Mash-Up Oct 25 Boston, MA
Also weird! It’s another silent dance party where everyone should bring an mp3 player. Dress as a ghost! 2pm. See the website for the song and choreography.
TBA on October 24, Boston, MA. more
Keene Pumpkin Festival Oct 25 Keene, NH
It’s a 2 hour drive from Boston, but they will feature more than 25,000 carved, lit pumpkins! It’s quite a sight!
Main Street, Keene, NH. more
MIT Pumpkin Drop Oct 25 Cambridge, MA
I have no information on the MIT Pumpkin Drop, but last year it was the Saturday before Halloween. If so, it will be on the “Dot”, a small circle of grass south of building 54. 11:59pm.
MIT, Cambridge, MA. more
Jamaica Plain Lantern Parade Oct 26 Jamaica Plain, MA
Here’s an event that’s semi-secret! People make lanterns from 3-liter soda bottles (attend a party to make one if you care to, or just show up at 6pm) and bring them to the pond in Jamaica Plain and walk around the pond at night, with music and hot cider. Rain date the next day. Free. Come at 6pm.
Starts at the Boat House at Pond Street & Jamaica Way, Jamaica Plain, MA. more
Fall Foliage Festival @ Arnold Arboretum Oct 26 Boston, MA
And since you’ll be in the area, stop by first for cider and storytelling at the Arnold Arboretum, with a guided tour to enjoy the Fall foliage. 12-4pm.
Arnold Arboretum, Hunnewell Building Lawn, Boston, MA. more
Haunted Higgins Oct 25 Worcester, MA
The Higgins Armory is worth visiting anytime. But this Saturday, come in costume and go trick or treating (adults or kids), participate in a costume contest and hear spooky storytelling. OoooO!
100 Barber Ave, Worcester, MA. more
Things That Go Bump in the Night at Gore Place Oct 24 – Oct 25 Waltham, MA
This one seems even better, and closer! It’s a spooky weekend with Victorian lantern shows, wagon rides, and an evening tour of the mansion with actors in costume and special effects. tours at 6, 7, 8pm.
52 Gore Street, Waltham, MA.781-894-2798. more
The Halloween Ball @ Belcourt Castle (RI) Oct 25 Newport, RI
The masquerade ball is again at one of Newport’s amazing mansions. 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
Gorefest at Improv Boston Oct 23 – Oct 31 Cambridge, MA
This improv comedy club does a spoof on slasher films that have a lot of blood. Sounds pretty gross. Might be funny if you’re totally inured to horror flicks. 8pm but some days also 10pm.
40 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA.617-576-1253. more
Things That Go Bump in the Night @ Sturbridge Village Oct 25 Sturbridge, MA
Spooky storytelling, magic, games, trick-or-treating, seems pretty kids-oriented. 5-9pm.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.(508) 347-3362. more
Great Pumpkin Nights @ Worcester Ecotarium Oct 25 Worcester, MA
12pm-9pm. Hayrides, costume parades, train ride, games, displays. For kids.
222 Harrington Way, Worcester, MA.(508) 929-2700. more
Dorchester Open Studios Oct 25 – Oct 26 Boston, MA
OK, now here are some non-Halloween events! It’s Dorchester’s version of the artists open house day. Walk around, view local art and speak with the creators, and buy something.
Get A Map: Various Locations, Boston, MA. more
Orionids Meteor Shower Oct 20 – Oct 24 Someplace Dark
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, Someplace Dark. more
Annual Southern New England Weather Conference Oct 25 Brookline, MA
7:30am-6pm. It’s a lot of lectures, some interactive workshops, and singing, all to honor the weather. And they’ll have kite flying!
The Clay Center for Science and Technology, Dexter and Southfield Schools, Brookline, MA. more
Orange Kite Halloween Kite Fly Oct 26 Dorchester MA
Also involving kite flying is this Halloween themed event. (Orange kites, get it?).
PJPii Park, Dorchester MA. more
New Hampshire Renaissance Faire & Samhain Celebration Oct 25 – Oct 26 Kingston, NH
King Richard’s Faire is over, but here’s another Ren Faire! This one’s in Southern NH, not too far from Boston. It does look rather small in size. Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, with Samhain Celebration 5pm-7pm Saturday.
Thorne Road, Kingston, NH.603.755.9587. more
ISD Renaissance Festival Oct 25 Old Greenwich, CT
Also a Ren Faire, a larger one, but a 3 hour drive from Boston. The Aerial Angels that I wrote about earlier will also perform here. And there’s plenty of mock combat, theatre, weaving, and comedy in the medeival style. 9:45am-6pm.
55 Florence Road, Old Greenwich, CT. more
All Night at the Farm @ Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm Oct 24 Newbury, MA
This one’s not a Halloween event, but it sure would be spooky to stay overnight on the farm. They’ll tell stories by fire and lead you through farm chores in the morning.
5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, MA.978-462-2634. 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 dry southern humorist Roy Blount, Jr. on Oct 15 (the kind of guy who likes the cartoon Marmaduke), and a spooky night of thrillers and Dracula Oct 31.
Various Places, Concord, MA. more

Also Fun
Robert Frost Poetry Festival Oct 25 Lawrence, MA
Also literary, this one is a poorly advertised poetry festival of some sort. It takes place at a school so it may be a kids-only kind of thing.
South Lawrence East School, 165 Crawford St., Lawrence, MA.978-725-8828. 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
Franklin County Fiber Twist Oct 25 Greenfield, MA
Do you like to knit? Hook rugs? What is rug hooking anyway, and does it involve hookers? Come see a wool spinning demonstration. There may be some kind of open studios, too.
Greenfield High School, Greenfield, MA. more
Culture Clash World Music Festival Oct 26 Haverhill, MA
It’s officially a festival not a performance because they have indoor and outdoor stages. Come listen to world music and see bellydancers.
JP McBride’s in Lafayette Square, Haverhill, MA. more
Halloween on the Harbor on Georges Island Oct 25 – Oct 26 Boston, MA
They’ll have a “spooky tour” of Fort Warren, which seems to not be a kids-only event.
Fort Warren, Georges Island, Boston, MA. more
Tales Around the Campfire Oct 24 Belmont, MA
I’m trying to put the things that look just for kids lower down on my list. To be fair, adults can attend but the event may or may not be for you. Here are a bunch at local state parks. This one involves a campfire and ghost stories! They say the tales will not be kid-friendly (not too scary). 6:30-8:30pm.
Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, 10 Juniper Road, Belmont, MA.617-489-5050. more
Haunted Forest @ Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Oct 24 South Wellfleet, MA
Also not so scary (for kids 6-12), is the haunted forest at this Cape Cod park. 5:45pm-8:15pm.
291 State Highway, Route 6, South Wellfleet, MA. more
Halloween Happenings @ Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary Oct 24 – Oct 25 Topsfield, MA
Probably the best will be this nighttime guided walk through the park. 6-9pm.
Ipswich River, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA.978-887-9264. more
Carve a Pumpkin @ Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary Oct 23 Sharon, MA
It’s a pumpkin carving and night walk. 6-8:30pm.
293 Moose Hill Street, Sharon, MA.781-784-5691. more
Halloween Prowl @ Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary Oct 24 – Oct 26 Sharon, MA
And, same place, another night walk, with a campfire and “druids” in costume. Fri 6:15-8pm, Sat 5:30-8pm, Sun 5:30-7:30pm.
293 Moose Hill Street, Sharon, MA.781-784-5691. more
Pumpkin Carving @ Boston Nature Center Oct 28 Mattapan, MA
Also pumpkin carving, this time in a Boston neighborhood that’s scary all year around. 6-8pm. Register in advance.
500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA.617-983-8500. more
Haunted Halloween Happenings at Heard House Oct 24 – Oct 25 Topsfield, MA
Park event number seven! Guests are encouraged to come in costume for a nighttime walking tour of the forest. Hear the history of Halloween. Rain or shine. Register in advance. Fri & Sat 6-9pm.
The Barn”, somewhere at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, possibly 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA. more
Franklin Park Zoo’s “Zoo Howl” for kids Oct 25 – Oct 26 Boston, MA
A not-so-scary Halloween celebration for children only, although that doesn’t meet adults can’t come and enjoy the holiday spirit and the cute kids. 11am-3pm.
1 Franklin Park Road, Boston, MA.617-541-5466. more
Falmouth Halloween Parade Oct 25 Falmouth, MA
This business event encourages people to “stroll” through the merchant district and go trick-or-treating. And buy stuff.
Main Street, Falmouth, MA. more
Essex Clamfest Oct 25 Essex, MA
It’s outdoors, they’ll have clams, and live entertainment, arts & crafts, and lots of community booths. 11am-4pm.
Memorial Park, Essex, MA. more
Bye Bye Bugs Weekend Oct 25 – Oct 26 Framingham, MA
Although their website calendar is broken, I called this one in. Basically, it’s a garden, and it’s the last weekend to see the giant bug sculptures they have on the grounds.
Garden in the Woods, 180 Hemenway Road, Framingham, MA.508-877-7630. more
RI International Horror Film Festival & H.P. Lovecraft Tour Oct 23 – Oct 26 Providence, RI
Three days! Forty-seven films created to scar you emotionally for life! But also a walking tour honoring H. P. Lovecraft on Oct 25 and a booksigning. So not entirely films.
Various Places, Providence, RI. 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
Haunted Old New England (& Dog Show) Oct 24 West Springfield, MA
Even though it’s Halloween themed, I really cannot recommend traveling all the way to the Big E for an hour of storytelling. However, there’s also a dog show that day so maybe you’ll go to see that, too.
1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA.413-205-5051. more

Provincetown Dance Festival Oct 24 – Oct 25 Provincetown, MA
This “festival” is a series of dance performances. 7:30pm.
The Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA. more
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
Follies Oct 22 – Oct 26 Boston, MA
Sondheim’s Tony award-winning musical about follies girls having a reunion.
Boston Conservatory Theater Ensemble, 31 Hemenway St, Boston, MA.617-912-9222. 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
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 Lieutenant of Inishmore Oct 26 – Nov 16 Watertown, MA
A funny thriller about a terrorist and his cat. The first 60 people to arrive in costume on Oct 31 either get in free or get a discounted ticket.
New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA.617-923-8487. more
Another Evening: Serenade/The Proposition Oct 24 – Oct 25 Boston, MA
It’s a dance performance inspired by Abraham Lincoln. Yeaaaaa. OK, who’s been smoking what? Oh wait, there’s singing too.
Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA.617-478-3100. more

Recurring Events
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
Canstruction Oct 20 – Nov 7 Boston, MA
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
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.
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
It’s a corn maze. I’ve been. It’s fun.
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
Salem Pumpkin Festival on the Commons Oct 18 – Nov 2 Salem, MA
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
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.
Halloween Carnival @ J.K. Lilly Automobile Museum Oct 24 Sandwich, MA
You could have attended this, but apparently the event is sold out. Since they have about 1000 acres, it’s surprising to me that they *could* sell out! Call and beg. 5:30-8pm.
Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich, MA.508.888.3300. more

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