Summer is in full swing, once again--festivals, free flicks, food galore, and of course our hallmark event, the Independence Day Celebration down at the Hatch Shell, are all coming your way this month!
Kicking off at the end of June, not long after the last month’s Tall Ships graced our revitalized waterfront, is this year’s edition of Boston Harborfest, taking place from June 30th up to July 4th. A celebration of the city’s historic past and vibrant present, this year’s Harborfest includes everything from guided Freedom Trail walks, Sunday July 2nd’s Chowderfest, and special evening cruises-- check the schedule here!
Anyone looking to celebrate the holiday perhaps somewhere less crowded--but no less historical--can head out to the Lexington Carnival, where you can enjoy family fun with Fiesta Shows carnival rides and games, a full July 4th Fireworks display, and more, in the historical city that saw the very first battles of the War for Independence!
Naturally, the biggest draw of July still is the monolithic Fourth of July Celebration at the Hatch Shell--which is welcome news, as it almost didn’t happen! Sponsorship for the massive and beloved annual event had come into question last year, but has since been resolved! This year’s exciting mix of American pop-culture and patriotic flair will include Melissa Etheridge, Andy Grammer, and Hamilton star, Leslie Odom Jr., and the usual bombastic spirit of the Boston Pops--who will also be including a John Williams retrospective, so expect some Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchise tunes amidst the canon fire and spectacular fireworks displays, scheduled to light up the Charles River and the Harbor at 10:30 pm!
Once the smoke has settled, the following week, you might just catch wind of something else--perhaps the scent of crusts baking in wood-fired ovens, simmering tomatoes, bubbling cheese--all wafting your way from City Hall Plaza. That would be none other than the Boston Pizza Festival, filling the plaza July 8th and 9th; guests will get to watch demonstrative workshops, pizza tossing champions (though probably not Breaking Bad’s champion pizza-tosser, Walter White, sadly)--and of course, you can mangia all the pizza to your heart’s content! Check here for tickets and schedule information!
The same weekend, if you aren’t full of pizza, you can enjoy yet another cultural event in one of Boston’s colorful quarters, celebrating the Chinatown Main Street event, which includes the usual parades, traditional dance & music performances, martial arts demonstrations, and a line up of our beloved food vendors--Saturday July 8th.
As you should know by now, we here in the Hub do love our sports, and especially our sacred sports rivalries--and nothing beats a classic Yankees vs. Red Sox throw down--especially when the two teams are neck-and-neck, vying for first place in their division! Sure, Papi, Pedro, Jeter, and A-Rod are gone, and hopefully the on-field theatrics are kept to a minimum (though Pedro’s aikido-esque moves on a charging Don Zimmer will live on in replay reels forever, speaking of “classic throw-downs”)--but that doesn’t mean we’re not in for some exciting baseball this month!
For something more high-brow (you know, we were once considered the Athens of the New World before we transitioned to Title-town), don’t miss the annual Shakespeare on the Commons production of Romeo and Juliet, perhaps the bard’s most famed tragedy of love, loyalty, and death. These *free* performances will be taking place evenings on the Commons, from July 19th until August 6th!
The maritime & witchy-schtick capitol of New England, Salem makes for a truly fascinating day trip from Boston--and this month sees the town hosting its unique and diverse Salem Culturefest on July 22nd and 23rd. An exciting line-up of diverse musical acts--from West Africa, the Caribbean, India, Ireland, and more--showcases a different side of the historic port city, commonly associated with all things spooky and witch-hunt related.
Another major event for this month: the oldest commissioned warship--in the world!--returns to the sea! Our beloved “Old Ironsides”, the USS Constitution Battleship with return to the harbor once again, after spending a few years undergoing renovations and repairs in dry-dock. Though after 220 years, her heyday of fighting in the War of 1812, fighting the slave traders off the coast of Africa, etc., has long since passed, she will return to the water on July 23rd.
The scenic seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island is perhaps known for two things: gargantuan, opulent mansions, and an absolutely monumental music event, the iconic Newport Folk Festival, which brings top acts and visitors from all over. Talking about icons, this year’s festival features quite a few--cult country singer John Prine, alt-country/indie stars Wilco, activist/folk-hero Billy Bragg, 90’s alt-heroine Suzanne Vega, and seriously a whole lot more--which may explain why the festival seems to have already sold out! Well, should you be lucky enough to have tickets, or wealthy enough for resale tickets, you’re going to enjoy this!
And last, but not least, a few other events: our favorite free summertime stalwarts return, the Free Friday Flicks film series at the Hatch Shell, and the Boston Calling Block Parties at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Films this month include family favorites The Jungle Book and Pixar’s Finding Dory, while every Thursday, the Block Parties in Dewey Square will bring live music, food vendors, and an adult refreshment tent. If you can’t find something fun to do in this city in July--you just aren’t trying!