The 10 Best Festivals in Massachusetts!

It’s tough to beat a good festival. And it’s even tougher to beat a good festival in Massachusetts. With celebrations for film, comedy and even asparagus. Yes, asparagus. The Bay State is home to unique events that you won’t want to miss. Here are 10 of the very best. 

1. Festival of the Dead, Salem, MA

Appropriately located in Salem, where most everything is witch and warlock-related, the Festival of the Dead takes place from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1 each year. The event includes a vampire’s masquerade ball, a witchcraft expo, tarot card reading, a psychic fair, and even a lecture on hunting for ghosts. Visit the website to see which activities take place on the day you choose to check out the festival.

2. Arlington International Film Festival, Arlington, MA

Called a “melting pot in cinematic form,” the Arlington International Film Festival celebrates the many cultures ever present in the film world. Held in Arlington’s Capitol Theatre, the festival runs in late October. 

3. Rueda Festival, Boston, MA

Two days of intensive workshops greet attendees of the Rueda Festival, held in November in Boston. Rueda de Casino is a type of Cuban dance performed in a group. Renown instructors conduct sessions, ensuring participants get the most out of their time spent at the festival.

4. Boston Jewish Film Festival, Boston, MA

Held in November, the Boston Jewish Film Festival showcases several film genres that reflect Jewish heritage. “The Pianist” made its debut here in 2002. The festival aims to create a dialogue between Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Attendees can attend panel discussions with filmmakers and some producers following each showing.

5. Boston Comedy Festival, Somerville, MA

Laughter really is the best medicine, so plan to cure some ills by attending the Boston Comedy Festival in Somerville. Past performers include Nate Bargatze, who appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” and Saleem Muhammad, whose appeared on “The Tonight Show” and “Last Comic Standing.” 

6. Boston Christmas Festival, Boston, MA

Taking place in November, in plenty of time to do a bit of Christmas shopping, the Boston Christmas Festival—held at the Boston World Trade Center—is a must-see for those who celebrate the holiday. More than 300 vendors display and sell their crafts. A gingerbread house decorating content engages visitors. Proceeds from the festival benefit local charities that fight homelessness.

7. Berkshire Museum Festival of Trees, Pittsfield, MA

In keeping with a Christmas theme, the Berkshire Museum Festival of Trees treats visitors to a cross between Christmas trees and the American West. Held from November through Jan. 1, visiting before you trim your own Christmas tree just might result in a very different theme for your family this year. Hint: Red bandannas and cowboy hats aren’t off limits for decorations!

8. Nantucket Historical Association Festival of Trees, Nantucket, MA

Anything Christmas-related on Nantucket Island is magical, and the Nantucket Historical Association Festival of Trees simply adds to the magic. Held in December, transforms the Whaling Museum into a winter wonderland.

9. Boston International Film Festival, Boston, MA

Preview international films without traveling to Sundance or L.A. The Boston International Film Festival is a can’t-miss for film fans. Dubbed a “red carpet affair,” world-renown celebrities are known to have frequented this event. Keep checking the website for a detailed schedule! 

10. West Brookfield Asparagus & Flower Heritage Festival, West Brookfield, MA

Just so visitors—and Massachusetts residents as well—don’t get hung up on typical festivals celebrating films or cultures, it’s prudent to check out more unusual festivals taking place in the state. Case in point: The West Brookfield Asparagus & Flower Heritage Festival. Taking place in May, attendees can eat their way down Asparagus Alley, take part in a frog jumping contest, learn about the vegetable of honor, and more. It’s a family-friendly event designed to evoke the memory of festivals from days gone by.

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