Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 06/28/06

Lots of stuff is happening in the city this July 4th weekend. Check one of them out although frankly this is the one weekend when everyone seems to want to visit a tourist site. The only way to avoid the crowds is to stay in. Or fly to Canada.

Going straight to the weird! Check out Firefly, which is an arts festival similar to Burning Man, only local — it’s in Vermont. People come with tents and create a real artist community. June 30 – July 3rd. Noon Friday straight through to Noon Monday. Bring your own tent.

Not weird enough? OK, check out the Old Orchard Beach Parade & Sandcastle Sculpture Competition. This is in Maine, but it’s less than 2 hours from Boston. July 3 – 4. Old Orchard Street at West Grand Avenue, Old Orchard Beach, ME. 207-934-9068. Parade, square dancing, sand sculptures.

Still not weird enough? The largest local Native American event of the year is happening this week. I got this straight from one of the leaders. It’s the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Annual Pow-wow, July 1-3. 483 Great Neck Road South, Mashpee, MA, which is on Cape Cod. 508-477-0208.

Boston Harborfest is this week, June 28 – July 4th, and it includes Chowderfest, which is about eating a lot of clam chowder. City Hall Plaza, Boston. 617-436-6339. Many small events throughout the city. The event is very touristy. Avoid. But it exists, so I’m listing it.

The summer season is starting for the Publick Theatre – the outdoor theatre at 1175A Soldiers Field Road, in Brighton. 617-782-5425. Christian Herter Park. Take Storrow Drive west, which becomes Soldier’s Field Road. Parking is 500 yards on the right after Harvard athletic fields. Closed when raining. Bring a picnic meal and arrive early for best seating. Not to be confused with the Shakespeare on the Common which are different people and doesn’t start until late July.

New Bedford and Marblehead are both having summer festivals. Greater New Bedford Summerfest, July 1-2, Over 20,000 attend. And the Marblehead Summer Festival, July 1-4, Kites, model boat building, wood carving, sand sculpture, normally I avoid this small town stuff but this one looks surprisingly interesting.

It’s also the Longfellow Summer Festival. Horn music and poetry, including presumably some of Longfellow’s, at the Longfellow Historic Site. Participatory painting, drawing. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. July 2nd at 105 Brattle Street in Cambridge. 617-876-4491.

Obviously, the 4th of July celebration with the Boston Pops concert on the esplanade and fireworks is coming up.

But did you know that there are tons of other celebrations? Just about every city has one. Bristol RI has the oldest parade in the country. And Sturbridge Village, the re-enactment museum of the 19th century, is having a celebration too. In Sturbridge, MA.

There’s going to be a USS Constitution Sunset Parade on July 1st. If you’ve never see the Constitution, which is basically a very old ship, this is a good time to check it out. 7pm: fife & drum, Marine Corps, firing cannons, gun exercises. In Boston.

And if that’s not enough for you, this weekend is also the Brockton Country Fair, June 29 – July 9th. It’s one of many agricultural shows in Massachusetts. It’s fun in a shlocky cutesy way. Historic Brockton Fairgrounds, RT. 123. Brockton, MA. 508-586-8000. Rt 24S to Exit 17A, Rt 123E (Belmont St) two miles on the right. Contests for raising the best sheep, baking the best pie, and maybe they’ll even have pig racing. Yee haw!

If that’s unsatisfying, then I suggest that you check out the Paper House,, 52 Pigeon Hill St, Rockport, MA. Rt 127N left onto Curtis St, left onto Pigeon Hill St. Open all day. Somebody made a house entirely out of newspapers. Wacked, yo.