Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 08/02/06

Please see last posting on me starting a company for activity listings. We are now looking for investors, just in small chunks $5K – $20K.

Plenty of strangeness is happening this weekend, starting with the Lowell Quilt Festival, Aug 3-6, in Lowell. It sounds pretty awful doesn’t it but it’s the 2nd largest quilting event around Boston and I went to the #1 event last month and it was pretty interesting actually. They’ll display over 100 quilts like works of art.

Also there is an entire festival dedicated to the marimba, which is like a pipe xylophone. Check out the Zeltsman Marimba Festival, For example Aug 5th, 12-4pm there is a performance, and then a marathon concert finale August 5th 12pm-4pm (come and go as you please) at Seully Hall, 4th floor, 8 The Fenway.

This weekend is also the “Summer Flea” for NELA, if you don’t know what that is, you don’t want to go.

And if you’d like to learn to rollerblade there is a two-day event in Watertown Aug 5-6, see Sign up in advance and it costs $239.

Not weird enough, eh? OK how about From Redcoats to Rebels: a military re-enactment at Sturbridge Village, Aug 5-6. In Sturbridge, MA. (508) 347-3362. Re-enactment of 300 years of military history. Parade, fife & drum, camp cooking, cannon demo, kids activities. I’m guessing it won’t be all that big but Sturbridge Village itself is definitely worth visiting, it’s a re-enactment village set in the 1830s, like Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth, MA) and Strawbery Banke (Portsmouth, NH).

Still not weird enough? Try this, it’s the Big Band Music at Beechwood Mansion in Newport. As you know there are a bunch of old mansions in Newport open as museums. Well, at this one they’ll teach you some swing dancing and then you can pretend to be a monied partier from the 1940s. Dance lesson at 7pm, band begins at 7:30pm. Traditional, swing, latin dance.

Even more weird, get this: there are people who throw frisbees on a golf course. I guess they can’t golf so they had to resort to this instead. Anyway, the Eastern Mass Championships of Disc Golf is happening August 6th in Topsfield, MA.

Finally I got a lead on the big Chinatown event of the year! This is after 3 years of chasing these people with their lack of websites. Boston Chinatown Festival is the same as the August Moon festival, and it is definitely happening August 6th in Boston. It’s a street festival with a parade, kung fu demonstrations, lionhead dancing, asian folk dance, and more. (617) 635-3485, or 617-350-6303. August 6th, 10am-5pm.

The largest portuguese festival in the USA is in Southern Mass.! It’s the
Feast of the Blessed Sacrement. Madeira Field, New Bedford, MA. Music, food, a parade on Sunday, 5K road race. Thu & Fri 6pm-12, Sat 11am-12am, Sun 12pm-12am. Free. 508-992-6911

Also August 6th is Celebrate Shakespeare Day in Boston Common in Boston. Here’s the deal. For weeks now the Wang Theatre has been training kids of all ages to act. On Aug 6th they have three stages in Boston Common and present Shakespeare plays 4-9:30pm. Of course adults have their stage too, this is where the Free Shakespeare people perform.

Speaking of Shakespeare, “New England Shakespeare” is a troupe that hops all over New England doing shows. It’s free, too bad it conflicts with the Boston Common event but hey guess what the Free Shakespeare people keep performing to August 13th so you can catch them later. Anyway, New England Shakespeare performs a Midsummer Nights Dream, at Menotomy Rocks Park in Arlington, MA. August 6th at 5pm. Bring a picnic blanket and arrive early. And they’ll be in Lowell on August 11th.

The annual Redbones Pig Pickin’ is August 7th, next Monday. 6-9pm. It’s $20 and includes a street festival with live music, all to benefit charity.

Also it’s the Salem Maritime Festival, one day only August 5th! 174 Derby Street, Salem. 978-740-1650. A good excuse to visit Salem, but wouldn’t it be smarter to wait to October? You’d think so but actually last October wasn’t that great, I would definitely give Salem a shot in August, sure.

If you feel like traveling, this week, Aug 2-6, is the Maine Lobster Festival, It’s in Rockland, ME, which is nearly 4 hours from Boston, so make it a whole weekend. Let’s face it though, isn’t every weekend a “lobster festival” in Maine?

The Newport Folk Festival is this weekend, Aug 4-6, in Newport RI.

And the weather looks for this weekend for yet another non-local balloon festival, Aug 4-6, the Pittsfield Balloon Festival, in Pittsfield, NH. This is 1.7 hrs from Boston.

Also two festivals in Vermont. The Champlain Valley Folk Festival, Aug 4-6, Kingsland Bay State Park, Ferrisburgh, Vermont. 877-850-0206. And the Northeast Kingdom Music Festival, which features world music, Aug 4-5, in Albany, VT. Bring your camping gear and stay the whole weekend for either one.

This week’s bonus event, don’t forget there are venues that show outdoor movies. For exmample, Movies by Moonlight at the Boston Harbor Hotel is showing films on Fridays on Rowes Wharf in Boston. Aug 11th is The Princess Bride.
There are also Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade in Boston,

Oooh! Another bonus event! Next week they start free balloon rides in Boston Common. It’s just up & down (you can’t ride balloons around where ya might crash onto the ocean or a building, so there’s nothing too real close to the city), but worth it I’m sure. It’s Aug 10
to Sep 3, daily. The trick here is that you really want to reserve in advance, but it’s only $15.

This week’s events to probably skip include:

Today, Aug 2nd, check out the Summer Block Party @ Downtown Crossing, although do so with the knowledge that it’s basically a marketplace, possibly the most commercial street festival yet. However they will have carnival games, music, prizes, and free food.

Annual Festival of the Arts in Lynn. In Central Square in Lynn. Apparently somebody didn’t read the memo that we totally own “central square” here in Cambridge, so they’re just going to have to choose a new name. 11am-4pm. The usual street festival thing.

And because we all know that the best way to spend the only warm 3 months in New England is indoors watching movies… the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Aug 8-13 in RI. Providence, RI. 401-861-4445. Seriously, don’t go to this one or you’ll regret it next February when it’s like 10 friggin degrees outside.

Finally, it’s the Pan Mass Challenge, Aug 5-6. Bicycle trip for charity from Wellesley to Provincetown, for cancer research.

Also they’re having an Italian Car Festival at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum on August 6th, see

Also also the Boston Lyric Opera is doing a free opera performance of excerpts from upcoming shows on August 8th, at 6pm in Christopher Columbus Park which is in Boston on Atlantic Avenue. It’s free.

Aerosmith is coming Sep 26 & 28 to the Tweeter Center. Make sure to get real seats, not lawn seats.

Every friday including this Friday Aug 4th is the “SoWa Artists Guild First Friday”, a social get together in the middle of Boston’s finest art district. 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston. 5:30-8:30pm. It’s a social event and also dozens of artists’ studios are open to the public. Also the MFA has a first fridays event,

p.s. I went to the Lowell Folk Festival last weekend after dissing it and it was actually pretty OK. My apologies. The trick though is you come early. About half of it closes by 4pm and almost everything shuts by 6pm. Another trick: park for free on a side street before you hit the city center and need to pay $10 for the parking garage. This applies I guess to every event in New England.

p.p.s. If you are new to reading my blog, scan through out the last several entries because I occasionally list things like Water Parks that are open all summer long. Or check out my big list of New England activities, at For example, it includes all the zoos in New England… at the Stone Zoo by the way they have a new baby jaguar and an interactive live bird performance called Lord of the Wings, check website for performance schedule,