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Country fairs, music and food festivals in New England are fun for families

New England Fairs and Festivals

New England fairs and festivals offer affordable, family-friendly fun year round. Discover the newest art, crafts, music, and film. Enjoy live blues, folk, bluegrass, and jazz music. Shop for handmade art and crafts and find vendors selling celebrated New England food like maple syrup, blueberries, cheeses, ice cream, seafood, barbecue, craft beer and wine. Take a fun peek into world cultures at Scottish, Celtic, Italian, Portuguese, Asian, and French Canadian celebrations. Classic cars, books, and glowing hot air balloons are some of New England’s favorite festival treasures.

To find more events, visit our Events Calendar.

61 Market Street, Unit 1C Lowell, MA, 01852 Phone: 978-459-6150

Festivals celebrate Merrimack’s legendary history and characters

Greater Merrimack Valley is a deeply historic part of New England with a delightful variety of ethnicities, all with unique stories. Probably its best-known celebration is Patriots’ Day in mid-April, when Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord hosts re-enactments of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. The city of Lowell turns out some marvelous annual events, like the annual Lowell Folk Fest, serving up outdoor music all around the city, and the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, honoring the city’s famous writer. The Southeast Asian Water Festival is among several fests that celebrate the city’s ethnic heritage. The Yankee Doodle Homecoming Festival honors patriot Thomas Ditson of Billerica, the inspiration of the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Harvest, Christmas, October fests take their places in the seasonal lineup.

December 9-11, 2016

Two weekends of tree lightings, caroling, chowder and chocolate fest, beach bonfire, entertainment, shopping, Santa, and more. Town Tree Lighting at Veterans Park and concert at Ogunquit Baptist Church on Friday; visits with Santa, Basement Bazaar, hay rides, Taste of the Season at the Dunaway Center, Arts and Crafts show and art sale, and wine tasting on Saturday. The main event on Saturday is a Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. followed by a bonfire and fireworks at Perkins Cove. See event website for a full schedule of activities.

Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road Shelburne, VT Phone: 802-985-9551

January 21, 2017

Enjoy wintry activities, indoors and out, including sledding, sleigh rides, crafts, music, and food at this annual, family-fun event! Please check this web page for weather related updates. Time: Noon-2 p.m. Admission: Donations accepted for Shelburne Parks and Recreation. Sleigh Rides $2/person.

November 25-December 31. 2016

Santa’s Arrival and Holiday Tree Lighting , November 25, 6 p.m. Hawthorne Hotel, Salem Common and Lappin Park. Santa Claus will arrive at the top of the Hawthorne Hotel at 18 Washington Square, followed by a procession down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall for the annual lighting of Salem’s Holiday Tree at Lappin Park.
Christmas Tours at The Gables, November 26-December 31. House of the Seven Gables, 114 Derby Street. The Gables offers guests a special tour blending the unique history of the mansion with the little known history of Christmas in colonial Massachusetts.
Artists' Holiday Market, November 27. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Old Town Hall. Join the Salem Arts Association for a lively market with all kinds of opportunities to browse and shop for treasures.
Holiday Open House at Ye Olde Pepper Companie, December 3-4, 122 Derby Street. Come see homemade candy canes being manufactured and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Children will be able to enter the kitchen and shape their own candy canes.
Trimmings and Treats Tour, December 3, 10, 17. Salem Food Tours present a three- hour afternoon excursion is a cheese, wine, savory and sweet tasting about local shops. $36.
Christmas in Salem House Tour, December 2-4. Christmas in Salem features a glimpse into private homes that have been professionally decorated for the holiday season.
Home for the Holidays at the House of the Seven Gables, December 11, 2-4 p.m., 114 Derby Street. All are welcome for an afternoon of cheer, crafts, and music at The Gables.

The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House Newport, RI Phone:

December 2-31, 2016

Come to the Newport Mansions -- The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House – to enjoy holiday music, tours, a gingerbread mansion contest, shopping, and visits from Santa Claus.
At the Breakers, model trains, recalling the Vanderbilt family's New York Central Railroad, will be on display in the second floor loggia. At The Elms, the ballroom will be transformed into a Gilded Age streetscape.
A new feature at Marble House will be a competition among regional garden clubs, who have been challenged to decorate the second floor fireplace mantelpieces. At The Elms, the ballroom will be transformed into a Gilded Age streetscape. Marble House will host a mantelpiece decorating competition among garden clubs.
Visits with Santa Claus. Children can visit with Santa Claus in a spectacular setting at The Breakers on December 4, Marble House on December 11, and The Elms on December 18. Noon to 3 p.m.
Holiday Evenings. Visit The Breakers and Marble House lit up for night time festivities. Come for a self-guided tour through the house, live music, and Christmas foods. Held at The Breakers November 26; December 3, 10, 23, and 30, 6-8 p.m. On December 17, guests can enjoy a Holiday Evening Duet: The Elms and Marble House, and see both of the houses for the price of one. 6 to 9 p.m.
Hours: The Breakers and The Elms open daily at 9 a.m., Marble House opens at 10 a.m. The last tour admission at all three houses is at 4 p.m.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main Street Hartford, CT Phone: 860-838-4100

December 2-11, 2016

During this event, holiday trees, wreaths and more decorated by area artists and others are displayed throughout Wadsworth Atheneum. All trees and decorations are for sale, and profits fund the museum’s work.
The Festival opens with First Thursday: "Night of Illumination!" on December 1. Guests may view and purchase trees or wreaths and enjoy seasonal music. Also: tastings and treats; a screening of the film "Love Actually."
Entertainment during the Festival will feature visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus on December 4, 10, and 11. Second Saturdays for Families: Art Holiday will happen December 10 with the theme "Light Up the World."
Admission: Wednesdays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Museum is closed December 7 and 8.
Time: Hartford residents, $3; adults, $18; seniors, $15; students, $8; youth (age 17 and younger, $3

December 1-11, 2016

Come for days of indoor and outdoor Christmas fun in this beautiful town on the Maine seacoast. Schedule of events.
December 1
Prelude Ale Release Party at Federal Jack’s Brew Pub. 4-6 p.m.
Prelude Progressive Dinner at Nonantum Resort. 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Songs of the Season at River Tree Arts. 7-8 p.m.
Christmas Reception at White Columns 7 p.m.
December 2
Prelude Trolley Rides at Seashore Trolley Museum 1-3:30 p.m.
Prelude Holiday Gift Market at River Tree Arts, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Fish Chowder Supperat Wildwood Fire Station, 4-6 p.m.
Tree Lighting Ceremony in Dock Square Join in Christmas caroling with the Kennebunk High School Chamber Choir. 5:30 p.m.
Bonfire at Washington Hose Fire Station. 7 p.m.
Cape Porpoise Lobster Trap Tree Lighting at Cape Porpoise Square. 7 p.m.
December 3
Blueberry Pancake Breakfast at the Washington Hose Fire Station. 7-10 a.m.
Christmas Fairs at several locations [see website]
Hat Parade at Dock Square. 3 p.m.
Lower Village Tree Lighting and Christmas Stroll, Christensen Lane and Route 35. 5:30 p.m.
Christmas Candlelight Caroling at the Franciscan Monastery. 6:30 p.m.
December 4
Santa Arrives by Lobster Boat Santa docks at David's KPT on Ocean Avenue and then goes to the Community House on Temple Street to meet kids. 2 p.m.
Merry TubaChristmas at Nonantum Resort. 4 p.m.
See more events at the Prelude website ***

Sunday River ski area, 15 South Ridge Road Newry, ME Phone:

December 16-18, 2016

Kick off the winter season with night skiing, Santa & Eddy the Yeti, fireworks, and holiday fun. During Winterfest, keep your eye out for special appearances by Sunday River's very own Eddy the Yeti and his jolly friend Santa Claus. Plus, Winterfest Weekend kicks off our evening activities with night skiing and tubing on Saturday night and fun at the Foggy Goggle and Barker Bar.

Music Hall Historic Theater, 28 Chestnut Street, and Strawbery Banke Museum, 14 Hancock Street Portsmouth, NH Phone:

December 1-31, 2016

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is a month of strolls, shows, and shopping in this historic seaport city. Events include the Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum; live holiday shows, opera, and films at The Music Hall. Free trolley rides travel among the sites. Information: www.vintagechristmasnh.org and www.themusichall.org. Highlights:
Portsmouth Christmas Tree Lighting & Illuminated Holiday Parade. December 3. Market Square. Tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.; parade at 6 p.m. Rain date is December 4.
Gingerbread House Contest. Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street. December 2-23. Created by local businesses, artists, families and kids, the gingerbread houses will be nestled into a winter wonderland in the first floor gallery surrounded by large format photographs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum. December 3-4, 10-11, 16-17, 18. Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through 300 years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. Along candlelit dirt lanes, visitors will walk through a historic portrayal of winter among the glowing historic homes and costumed role players. Adults, $20; children at 5-17, $7.50; family, $55. Saturdays, 5-9 p,m.; Sundays, 4-8 p.m.
Kent Stephens’s The Ragpicker’s Dream at The Music Hall Loft. December 17 and 20. This funny, poignant holiday play reading will contain a collection of tales, interspersed with the work of Kenneth Graham, Robert Frost, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, David Sedaris.
Family Holiday Pops by the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. December 20-21. Music Hall historic theater. Celebrate the seasons with holiday favorites old and new in this classic production.
Juston McKinney’s Last Laugh 2016. December 29. Music Hall historic theater. End the year with laughter at this always-a-hit comedy show, where McKinney will be dishing on New England life and looking back at the year.
Labrie Family Skate. Daily in December. Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke. Enjoy the delight of a winter skate at Strawbery Banke’s professionally-maintained outdoor ice-skating rink. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Pickwick’s Holiday Dinners. December 3-4, 10-11, 16-18. Strawbery Banke’s William Pitt Tavern. Experience the historic William Pitt Tavern in all its holiday splendor for a festive colonial four-course meal.