By Zac Martucelli
Summer is finally here, and Central Massachusetts is waking up from its long hibernation. There will be plenty of celebrations and festivals happening this summer, so it’s time to get out and experience all the area has to offer. Whether you’re looking for food, music or a little bit of culture, we’ve got you covered!
Concert Series at Indian Ranch
Are you a music-lover with an affinity for camping and lakes with record-breaking names? Then check out the Yuengling Summer Concert series at Indian Ranch, located on the pristine Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (Webster Lake). Drift away on this once-in-a-lifetime audio excursion featuring Ziggy Marley, the Beach Boys and Third Eye Blind, just to name a small few. Grab a picnic table, grill some choice barbecue and, most importantly, enjoy the wide range of musical acts.
June 18–Sept. 25; Indian Ranch, 200 Gore Road, Webster; ticket prices vary; indianranch.com.
Taste of Shrewsbury Street
Partake in the expansive and diverse tastes of Worcester and explore the exquisite flavors of the 16th annual Taste of Shrewsbury Street. With more than 40 local restaurants participating, this year’s Taste of Shrewsbury Street promises to satisfy the palate of even the most worldly food critic. Enjoy fantastic food while appreciating live entertainment and supporting local businesses.
Tuesday, June 21, 5-9 p.m.; Shrewsbury Street, Worcester; $25; shrewsburystreet.org.
Nashua River Brewers’ Festival
What better way to educate yourself on a great variety of regional beers and spend time in Fitchburg than by attending the Nashua Rivers Brewers’ Festival sponsored by Beers for Good? High-quality beers and a fun assortment of beer-centric events are in store for those in attendance. Indulge in these craft beverages, brewed with excellence in mind.
Saturday, June 25, from 1-6 p.m.; Riverfront Park, Fitchburg; $15; beersforgood.com.
Cars of Summer
Start your engines and rev up to this showcase of more than 1,000 classic and custom cars. With a plethora of paint jobs and body styles, this car show and auction promises a spectacle in every lot. For those looking for more hands-on action, monster truck rides and night city cruises will be available. Or would you prefer to see your favorite iconic car? A showcase of cars from famous movies will be on display for your viewing pleasure.
July 2-4; Green Hill Park, Worcester; ticket prices and packages vary; carsofsummer.com.
Fourth of July
Looking for a way to ring in America’s birthday with a bang? Head over to Old Sturbridge Village for a day packed with historical festivities and parades celebrating patriotism. This living history museum offers a peek into the lives of 1830s Americans, providing food, beverages and even songs for all who attend. Want to stay in this century with your Fourth of July joviality? In that case, Worcester provides a dazzling fireworks display, along with a flag-raising ceremony, July 1. Don’t miss your chance to let your patriotism freely shine with your fellow Americans.
July 1; 3-10 p.m.; East Park on Shrewsbury Street, Worcester; Free; rain date scheduled for July 2; destinationworcester.org/worcester-independence-day-celebration.
July 2-4 all day; Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge; $28 for adults, $26 for seniors, $14 for children 3-17; osv.org.
Big Dipper Ice Cream Festival
Cool down the dog days of summer with some all-you-can-eat ice cream. Bring the whole family and enjoy these specialty icy treats provided by nearly 10 local vendors. But what is ice cream without the cherry on top? Every penny benefits Children’s Friend, the oldest family and child agency in Central Massachusetts. So entertain your taste buds with this generous selection of low-priced ice cream for a great cause.
Saturday, July 18, from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Elm Park, Worcester; $5 for ages 10 and older, $2 for ages 4-9, free for ages 3 and younger; childrensfriend.org.
Hot Night in the City
This summer just got a whole lot hotter with Worcester Center for Craft’s combustion of music, food, art exhibitions and celebrations around flames as hot as the tradition of craft. Appreciate the processes of art outdoors and inside. Regardless of your preference, there is something for everyone to learn. Come nightfall, the darkness will ignite with the ancient arts of glassblowing, raku-firing, wheel-throwing, flame-working, blacksmithing and more.
Friday, July 22; Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road, Worcester; worcester.edu/Hot-Night-in-the-City.
Beer, Blues and BBQ
Experience some of the area’s best barbecue restaurants and food trucks, craft breweries and local blues acts for Worcester’s first Beer, Blues & BBQ festival! Admission gives you access to the entertainment, activities and vendors. Restaurants and food trucks will offer free samples, with meals available for purchase. This is an event full of the tastes and sounds of summer!
Saturday, July 23, from 3-7 p.m.; 90 Harding St., Worcester; $15; beerbluesbbq.com.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian Festival
Are you Italian? Do you have an appreciation for Italian heritage? Head to Worcester’s biggest Italian festival and celebrate all Italian lineages with the best Italian food Central Massachusetts has to offer. Plenty of live entertainment is in store to really immerse you in the Italian atmosphere, transforming Worcester’s streets into the countryside of Tuscany.
Aug. 18-21; $2 per person, free for senior citizens and children younger than 10; worcesteritalianfestival.com.
Wachusett Farm Fresh Fest
The Massachusetts Agricultural and Specialty Food community is celebrating its second annual Farm Fresh Fest. A huge farmers market stocked with the freshest locally grown produce will be open for the public to enjoy. Additionally, animal products, crafts and even wine tastings will accompany the organic environment of this healthy festival.
Aug. 27-28; Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, 499 Mountain Road, Princeton; free; wachusett.com.
Worcester Caribbean American Carnival
Experience the vibrant joy that is Carnival. Music, dance and traditional Caribbean cuisine will fill Institute Park. But the main event is the parade, which showcases the colorful costumes and customs of Caribbean culture. Let the rhythm of the drums electrify your feet as you march to the beat of these Carnival grooves.
Sunday, Aug. 28, from noon-7 p.m.; Institute Park, Worcester; parade starts at 305 Chandler St.; free; worcestercarib.com.
Chili Chowder Festival
Be a part of the second Worcester Chili and Chowder Festival. Enjoy live music and vendors while Worcester’s top restaurants battle it out for the highly coveted titles of Best Chili and Best Chowder. Luckily, you’ll be able to judge these culinary creations for yourself, as free tastings are part of your admission.
Saturday, Aug. 29, from noon- 5 p.m.; 90 Harding St., Worcester; $15 for adults, $10 for children (10 and younger); worcchilichowderfest.com.