Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 06/15/06

Going straight to the weird! It’s the Higgins Faire at the Higgins Armory Museum, June 17th. It’s a medeival celebration, with pipe and drums, street performers, and re-enactors including vikings and roman legionnaires. I’ve been to the museum and there are hundreds of old suits of armor, it’s quite interesting. This is their big event of the year so if you’re ever going to visit the Armory this would be it. At the Higgins Armory, 100 Barber Ave, Worcester., 508-853-6015.

Not weird enough? Check out the Quechee Balloon Festival & Crafts Fair in Quechee, VT, June 16-18. I bet it’s going to be awesome, but call ahead 800-295-5451 to book your balloon ride, and it’s dependent on the weather. I went to the Balloon Festival at E3 last weekend (see earlier blog) and they weren’t flying *anything* due to heavy wind. Unfortunately it’s a 4 hour drive, so make it a whole weekend if you go.

It turns out, by the way that there are No Balloon Trips near-ish to Boston, because of safety regulations (everything airborne needs to have special equipment to integrate with air traffic patterns) and also because you can’t really steer balloons very well and nobody wants to land on somebody’s house or telephone pole. But if you’re willing to drive an hour out, you can find balloon companies locally. Festival ballooning is about 50% as expensive though. You can pay more like $250+ for ballooning otherwise.

Still not weird enough? How about Going Caving in upstate New York, at Howe’s Cavern ( and the Secret Caverns ( Unfortunately, there aren’t any real caves in New England (although they fake it at the Polar Caves in New Hampshire, see earlier post). However I took a day trip last weekend to upstate New York. There are two ways to do it. The easiest is to just show up and join regular guided tours. Howes is a little touristy but very professional. The tours are a little sanitized, you are basically on walkways and can’t touch anything. Secret Caverns is more homey but beautiful and you may have the tour all to yourself. The tours are really amazing and highly recommended! Despite the 3-hour drive, it’s worth it, especially if you make it a weekend and find other things to do in the area.

The second way to go caving is to call ahead (either location) and reserve an adventure caving tour. You actually put on a helmet and head lamp, boots, and go wading through streams and climbing around rock formations, really getting close and deep into the caves. I didn’t try this but really want to. Also the MIT Caving Club at does weekend trips and many of them are suitable for beginners. They have club meetings Wednesdays at 7:30 but I went and found the conversation non-beginner-oriented, I left. So the best thing to do is just email ’em and go on a trip appropriate for your level of skill.

Not weird enough (or too far)? Check out The Liquor Store, which is a bar not a store, really bad branding I guess., 25 Boylston Place in Boston, b/w Charles & Tremont St. They have Boston’s only mechanical bull, which I bet is a blast. Call ahead and see if there’s a long wait, 617-357-6800. No hats, sneakers, workboots, athletic wear. No ripped, torn or baggy jeans. No shorts, sandals or t-shirts.

This weekend is the Provincetown International Film Festival, June 14-18, on Cape Cod,, although I can’t see why anyone would go to Cape Cod and spend 20 hours indoors, unless it’s all in the evening I guess.

There’s a minor celebration of Bunker Hill Day on June 17th, with a commemorative march and musket demonstration. But the big parade was apparently last weekend, which makes no sense whatsoever. Anyone, the site is closed and undergoing repairs so catch this NEXT year.

The Floating Gallery is having a show on June 17th, 4-7pm, at O2 Yoga at 288 Highland Avenue, Somerville. I’m listing this out of pure kindness, since I have no idea what kind of art will be on display, even though I wrote the organizer and asked. But I went to the last one and it was worth stopping by.

Finally, the event I really recommend this week is the Cambridge River Festival, in Cambridge obviously, June 17th. 12pm-6pm. Rain or shine. Along Memorial Drive b/w Harvard & Central Squares. Music, dancing, art, street vendors. It’s Cambridge; they’re a little hippie crazy and they want to share. Join them.

I’m going to listen to some Jazz at Scullers Jazz Club on Friday. I’ve heard that Wally’s also has great Jazz. Use Google and explore if you care.