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Weekend Fun Guide

Make the most of your summer weekends with this list of roadtrip-worthy events and entertainment all across New England.

June 8-10

FAB4 Music Festival

June 9 95 South Turnpike Road, Wallingford, CT 203-795-4737 Website Family, Music, Outdoors

Expect to see three generations of fans at this Beatles extravaganza at the Oakdale Theatre. To provide full immersion in the sound, 20 bands will play a combination of indoor and outdoor stages, following carefully edited playlists to avoid duplicating tunes. A life-size yellow submarine makes a perfect Instagram backdrop.

Heritage Museums & Gardens Annual Auto Show

June 9 67 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA 508-888-3300 Website Cars, Family, Outdoors

It’s not too late to register your 1967 Mustang for this celebration of autos and the folks who love them. Or pile the family into the SUV and live vicariously at this gathering of more than 120 antique and classic cars, hot rods, and motorcycles. Be sure to save time for the exhibition of cars and memorabilia from the Indy 500.

Kite & Bike Festival

June 9 Franklin Park, Boston, MA Website Family, Free, Outdoors

Tie your kite tail fast and ride your bike to the Franklin Park golf course for this annual festival (originally slated for May 19, it fell victim to 2018’s erratic weather). If your gears feel a little sticky, pedal over to an onsite mechanic for a tuneup. Pack your panniers with a picnic, or indulge with lunch from a food truck. At Franklin Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

June 15-17

Viking Days

June 16-17 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT 860-572-0711 Website Boats, Cultural, Family, History, Outdoors

Scandinavian marauders return to New England as Mystic Seaport Museum inaugurates The Vikings Begin, an exhibition of early Viking weapons, shields, and other artifacts previously unseen outside Sweden. The maritime village brings Viking culture to life during two days of activities, including sailing and boat-building demonstrations and a planetarium show on navigation. The controversial Vinland Map, normally at Yale, is on display beyond the university for the first time in 50 years.

Rock’n Ribfest

June 15-17 Anheuser-Busch, 221 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, NH 603-589-2333 Website Bicycling, Family, Food, Music, Outdoors, Road race

To make an informed vote in the People’s Choice competition for the best barbecue, you’ll want to buy samples from more than one of the “ribbers.” The music leans heavily toward rock; a separate stage offers karate demonstrations, dance performances, and more fun for children. A 25- or 50-mile bicycle ride on Saturday or a 5-mile road race on Sunday offer a chance to work off some calories.

Kennebec Turbine Test Rafting Trip

June 16 Northern Outdoors, 1771 US Route 201, The Forks, ME 207-663-4466 Website Outdoors, Recreation

For a real power trip, raft the Kennebec during a test of the river’s hydroelectric turbines. When the Harris Station Dam sends double the usual water downstream, the always-exhilarating ride on class 3 and 4 rapids becomes what guides call a “total rush” through the rock-walled Kennebec Gorge. This adventure for ages 14-plus occurs only four times per season.

June 22-24

Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival

June 21-24 Tunbridge World’s Fairground, 1 Fairground Road, Tunbridge, VT 802-518-2126 Website Music, Outdoors

Bluegrass meets the Green Mountains. National touring artists rave about the festival’s ardent fans and picture-postcard mountain valley setting. Fabulous sunsets are not the coda to the day. After Main Stage performances, performers regroup at the Sugar House Stage to jam with audience members into the wee hours. Bring your own instrument.

Donna Summer Roller Disco Party

June 22 City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA 802-518-2126 Website Dance, Family, Free, Music, Outdoors

Dust off your roller skates — or “rent” a pair (free) — and get ready to dance. The fifth annual celebration of Boston-born musical sensation Donna Summer is open to skaters of all ages and experience levels. In case of rain, leave all cakes at home. At City Hall Plaza from 6 to 10 p.m.

Pocket Gardens of Portsmouth Tour

June 22-23 292 State Street, Portsmouth, NH 603-436-4762 Website Gardening, Outdoors

Start at the sanctuary garden at South Church to pick up a map and descriptions of the 10 other tucked-away stops on the tour. It’s a good chance to explore the narrow streets of the South End, Portsmouth’s first colonized neighborhood. You might find live music or cookies at some stops.

BAMS Festival

June 23 Franklin Park, Boston, MA Website Art, Free, Music

The Boston Art & Music Soul (BAMS) Festival at Playstead Field celebrates Afrocentric art, music, and culture. The musical lineup is chock-full of national headliners and emerging local talent on two stages — listen for vocalist Valerie Stephens, a Boston native, and The Woo Factor Band, a Berklee College of Music mini-reunion. And be sure to check out the live graffiti battles and bustling vendor marketplace. At Franklin Park from noon to 8 p.m.

Cape Cod Chowder Festival

June 24 21 West Main Street, Hyannis, MA 508-775-5630 Website Food, Music

It’s not “James Beard serious,” say the organizers, but participating restaurants do engage in a little friendly competition for bragging rights. The ultimate winners are the diners, who can sample and compare variations on traditional clam chowder prepared by up to 10 Cape Cod chefs. Local bands provide the soundtrack.

June 29-July 1

Maine YogaFest

June 29-July 1 East End Community School, 195 North Street, Portland, ME 207-671-1593 Website Fitness, Food, Music

Classes cover a range of yoga styles, from aerial to warrior, but those that promote restoration and relaxation are the most popular. “It’s about slowing down and tuning in to your body,” say event organizers. Most classes are appropriate for all skill levels. Live music, food trucks, and a vendor village with body products and yoga accessories add to the festive atmosphere.

Bath Heritage Days

June 29-July 4 Various locations, Bath, ME 207-389-4709 Website Cars, Crafts, Family, Food, Music

Kids of all ages won’t want to miss Saturday’s Fireman’s Muster — a gathering of “big, old, and loud” fire equipment. Water trucks and their crews compete to see which one can generate the longest spray. Other weekend activities include tastings of chili and chowder, an antique car show, and Maine-centric live music and crafts booths.

July 6-8

Charlotte’s Web Experience at Old Sturbridge Village

July 5-August 26 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA 800-733-1830 Website Agriculture, Family, History, Literature, Outdoors

Readers never outgrow E. B. White’s classic tale Charlotte’s Web. All ages will be charmed by this adaptation performed daily by storyteller-musicians. The early-19th-century Freeman Farm, with its sheep, cattle, pigs, and chickens, evokes White’s vision of New England farm life. Children can see piglets and perhaps snack on spider-web cupcakes.

Levitate Music and Arts Festival

July 7-8 Marshfield Fairgrounds, 140 Main Street, Marshfield, MA 781-834-2755 Website Arts, Crafts, Food, Music, Outdoors

What began as a surf-shop party has grown into a community event with a grass-roots vibe. Bring your board if you want to skate the ramp. Even if you don’t, be ready to dance to local and national performers, including the Trey Anastasio Trio. Food trucks, craft beer, and vendors with handcrafted merchandise round out the weekend.

Summer Solstice Craft Shows

July 7-8 Wells Junior High School, 1470 Post Road, Route 1, Wells, ME 207-646-5172 Website Crafts, Food

If you’re traveling Route 1, this gathering of New England craftspeople makes a good break. About 80 makers specialize in traditional, country, and contemporary wares. You might encounter a demonstration of wood burning on driftwood or weaving with yarn spun from alpaca fiber. Sweet Italian sausage sandwiches and homemade desserts are perennial favorites.

Battle of Hubbardton Revolutionary War Encampment

July 7-8 5696 Monument Hill Road, Hubbardton, VT 802-273-2282 Website Family, History, Outdoors

This peaceful meadow with panoramic mountain views bore witness to a bloody clash between American and British forces in 1777. An encampment of about 150 reenactors conjures up the only Revolutionary War battle fought on Vermont soil. Tour one of the best-preserved early battlefields in the country and watch combatants face off on Sunday morning.

July 13-15

ConnectiCon XVI

July 12-15 Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT Website Family, Pop culture

Psychologists say make-believe aids child development. So bring the kids to what organizers describe as a massive “multi-genre pop-culture convention.” Any character goes — some attendees switch among multiple ensembles. Along with hundreds of tabletop games, events include a costume contest, short skits, and a “death match” among characters from all genres (Superman vs. Mighty Mouse, Green Lantern vs. Red Ranger . . . ). The Kids’ Zone lets the small fry flex their imaginations.

Maine Windjammer Parade

July 13 Public Landing, 275 Main Street, Rockland, ME 207-691-2248 Website Boats, Free, Music, Outdoors

The weekend kicks off when a fleet of eight windjammers sails past the Rockland Breakwater on Friday. Then expect a mix of blues and soul styles as artists from around the country — including Mississippi, Chicago, and Louisiana — gather at this 25th-anniversary event to testify to the enduring power of the blues. Saturday night’s Club Crawl features local bands and is free for wristband-wearing festivalgoers. The music spills over onto Main Street for free performances by five more bands.

North Atlantic Blues Festival

July 14-15 Public Landing, 275 Main Street, Rockland, ME 207-691-2248 Website Boats, Free, Music, Outdoors

The weekend kicks off when a fleet of eight windjammers sails past the Rockland Breakwater on Friday. Then expect a mix of blues and soul styles as artists from around the country — including Mississippi, Chicago, and Louisiana — gather at this 25th-anniversary event to testify to the enduring power of the blues. Saturday night’s Club Crawl features local bands and is free for wristband-wearing festivalgoers. The music spills over onto Main Street for a free performance by five more bands.

Handcrafted in NH Fest

July 14-15 3168 Base Station Road, Mount Washington, NH 603-278-5404 Website Crafts, Family, Food, Music, Outdoors

Talk about multitasking! You can watch a Mount Washington Cog Railway locomotive begin its ascent of the 6,289-foot mountain while you peruse crafts and specialty food products from about 20 vendors at the third annual festival. Housed in a trolley, the Choo-Chew Cafe provides snacks while a folk singer runs through a repertoire of train-themed tunes.

July 20-22

Salem Willows Black Festival

July 21 Salem Willows Park, Salem, MA 781-502-5512 Website Cultural event, Family, History, Outdoors

On Negro Election Day in 1741, African-Americans in Salem gathered to choose for the first time a representative to negotiate on their behalf in government affairs. The city celebrates this early moment in the history of the black vote with a community celebration in Salem Willows Park. Bring your own grill and plenty of food to cook and share. Bands play Motown and other old school music.

South County Balloon Festival

July 20-22 URI Athletic Fields, Kingstown Road (Route 138), Kingston, RI 401-379-4298 Website Cars, Family, Hot air balloons, Outdoors

The sun has barely risen when tethered balloons lift off on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They carry passengers about 100 feet up for a liberating sense of floating on air. Not an early bird? Balloons also rise all three evenings. With carnival rides, a rock-climbing wall, trapeze artists, wildlife exhibitions, and an auto show, there’s plenty to keep you busy all day. Saturday night fireworks add to the spectacle.

Hula Hustle

July 22 Executive Health & Sports Center, 1 Highlander Way, Manchester, NH 603-668-4753 Website Fitness, Food, Road race

Break out your Hawaiian shirt for 5K and 10K road races and a luau. The first 500 registrants receive grass skirts, and leis are presented to all finishers of the races, which are run over fairly flat terrain. New this year: An outrageous costume contest will recognize runners with the most flair. The post-run barbecue takes place at a poolside tiki bar.

July 27-29

Blessing of the Fleet Festival

July 26-28 Seafood Festival: Memorial Square, Narragansett; Blessing of the Fleet: Port of Galilee, Narragansett, RI Website Family, Fair, Food, Road race

Galilee is one of the largest, most productive commercial fishing ports on the East Coast, so it’s no surprise that this three-day celebration opens with the Seafood Festival. Carnival rides and live music complement the eats. More than 3,000 runners take part in Friday’s 10-mile race. Crowds gather on Saturday to watch boats cruise in and out of the harbor. Some vessels win prizes for best decoration; all leave with a blessing.

Lake Champlain Maritime Festival

July 26-29 Burlington waterfront, VT 802-355-1781 Website Boats, Fair, Family, Music, Outdoors

Having 435-square-mile Lake Champlain in your backyard is excuse enough for a party. The big day of the festival is Saturday, with an antique and classic boat show and parade, a pirate park for children, and the Water Works Fair, which promotes environmental stewardship. Jam band Twiddle, which originated in Vermont, performs Friday and Saturday.

Lowell Folk Festival

July 27-29 Various locations, Lowell, MA 978-970-5000 Website Crafts, Cultural event, Dancing, Family, Food, Music, Outdoors

For three days, the world comes to Lowell. Listen to the sounds of Cabo Verdean Afro-pop, Hawaiian swing, Cajun dancehall tunes, Colombian champeta, and salsa dura straight out of the Bronx. Dine on Filipino pork barbecue, Liberian cassava fish, Laotian papaya salad, and Nigerian goat stew. Dessert? Greek baklava. See how master folk artists craft hooked rugs, steel drums, Orthodox religious icons, or Mi’kmaq wooden flutes.

Newport Folk Festival

July 27-29 Fort Adams, 90 Fort Adams Drive, Newport, RI Website Music, Outdoors

Whether radio programmers call it roots, Americana, or bluegrass, folk music never goes out of style. Artists know they’ve arrived when they’re booked to play Newport. Grand old names — harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite, reggae roots band Toots and the Maytals, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band — will be on hand this year. Fresh voices will also rise from the musical mix, including roots-gospel duo The War & Treaty, hard-driving twangy trio The Wood Brothers, and banjo-picking alt-rocker This Is the Kit.

Puerto Rican Festival of Massachusetts

July 27-29 City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA Website Cultural event, Dancing, Family, Food, Music, Outdoors

Over half a century since it launched in the South End, one of the largest Puerto Rican festivals in the country draws tens of thousands of revelers for music, dancing, food, and plenty of family activities. Sunday’s parade, complete with floats and dance troupes, starts in the Back Bay and ends at City Hall Plaza. At City Hall Plaza; Friday, 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 11 p.m.

West Side Story at Tanglewood

July 28 297 West Street, Lenox, MA 617-266-1200 Website Festival, Music

Tanglewood celebrates the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth this summer. The multitalented composer and conductor was a commanding presence at the music center for half a century. As the night sky darkens, a live orchestra will perform the score of West Side Story while a remastered version of the film based on the groundbreaking Broadway musical is projected onto large screens.

August 3-5

Maine Lobster Festival

August 1-5 Main Street and Harbor Park, Rockland, ME 800-576-7512 Website Fair, Family, Food, Music, Parade

This festival usually serves 10 tons of steamed lobster. Diners can also flout tradition with lobster risotto balls, bisque, wontons, or mac and cheese. In its 71st year, the crustacean celebration features a 2-mile parade on Saturday and the highly anticipated Great International Lobster Crate Race on Sunday. Sign up your kids — light-footed 9- to 17-year-olds dominate the competition. Pine Tree State musicians play on the Maine Stage all five days.