Upcoming Cape & Islands Fairs and Festivals
Previews of six upcoming fairs and festivals—with details on many more
As you leaf through the following pages, we think you’ll find—as we have—that although the crowds on the Cape and Islands may thin out some after Labor Day, the schedule of activities taking place across the region remains robust and strong all autumn long. And there is such a variety of activities—fairs, festivals, celebrations, et cetera—there’s sure to be something on the Cape and Islands calendar to interest just about everyone.
One thing that always draws people together is food in all its delicious forms. In this section, Cape Cod LIFE intern Daniela Beasley writes about three upcoming festivals that are hyper focused on great stuff to eat and drink: the Cape Cod Brew Fest at the fairgrounds in Falmouth, the annual ClamBQ in Orleans, and the weeklong celebration that is Nantucket Restaurant Week. To top it off, she dishes on the ever-appetizing Art of Chocolate Festival held annually in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard.
The Cape and Islands also offer bountiful opportunities this fall to enjoy and celebrate the arts and local communities. For starters, the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival marks its 10th anniversary in Provincetown with four days of performances and special events. Started a few years before that, the Yarmouth Seaside Festival rings in sweet number “37” this October with fireworks, a parade, and the event’s traditional pie-eating contests.
Tennessee Williams Theater Festival • September 24-27
Celebrating a decade of high drama
The Tennessee Williams Theater Festival commemorates its 10th anniversary this fall with “Year Tenn: A Decade of Tennessee Williams in Provincetown.” This four-day event, held Thursday to Sunday, September 24-27, features a variety of the famous playwright’s classics as well as some more obscure material with a goal of highlighting Provincetown’s ever-growing appreciation for Williams, who died in 1983.
To commemorate the anniversary, organizers are bringing back some of the casts from the festival’s greatest hits from the past decade and will showcase new works based on Williams’ short stories and earlier plays. The lineup includes classics such as The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and festival favorites like The Parade. The festival also showcases the debut of a Williams play, Aimez-Vous lonesco?, which has never before been performed.
Naturally, the mission of the drama festival is to highlight Williams’s genius—and to show the significance of Provincetown in the playwright’s life. Williams spent four summers in Provincetown between 1940-1947; during this time, his success as a playwright fluctuated but he continued to find solace writing plays, short stories, and poems during his Provincetown stays.
“In many ways Williams was ahead of his time back then,” says Rory Marcus, the event’s public relations consultant. “He suffered a lot at the hands of critics in his later years. But we’re discovering that contemporary artists understand his plays and can interpret them, and audiences are enjoying them.”
The festival offers different ticket packages including a “study pass” for full-time students ($135), a flex pass which includes tickets to six performances and two opening and closing ceremonies of the buyer’s choice ($175), and an all access VIP “Carte Blanche” pass ($600 to $800). Tickets to individual shows can also be purchased at a cost of $15 to $35.
The plays will be performed at several venues around Provincetown. To view the schedule of shows, dates, times, and locations, visit twptown.org. For more information, call 866-789-8366.
Orleans Clam BQ • September 26
The Orleans Clam BQ Offers Great Food for Me and You
The very best of Orleans is showcased in the 4th annual Clam BQ—The Orleans Food & Music Festival—held Saturday, September 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hosted by the Orleans Chamber of Commerce the event offers a variety of food and activities sure to please any palate, and this year’s new location—Eldredge Park, home of the Orleans Firebirds—offers more space in which to enjoy them. Noelle Pina, the Clam BQ’s executive director, says the larger location allows for “double the activities and double the fun,” and she’s expecting about 2,000 attendees.
Featuring local vendors, the event offers an authentic taste of Orleans. Attendees can enjoy a clambake, smoked pork, and many other dining options. “It’s a local event put on by local people,” Pina says, “and we all get together and have a good time.”
In addition to great food, the ClamBQ has hayrides, face painting, and a beer and wine garden. Pina notes that with this variety of activities—for both adults and children—the event is sure to have something for everyone. “It’s the perfect balance of fun,” she says.
Attendees can also enjoy live music throughout the day performed by local bands Sarah Swain and the Oh Boys, The Rip It Ups and the Catbirds.
Tickets cost $35 for the clambake dinner and $25 for the BBQ, each of which includes a $10 event admission fee. Children 12 and under are admitted to the event for free, but the food fees still apply. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 508-255-7203, or visit clambq.com.
Cape Cod Brew Fest • September 26
A Celebration of Food, Beer and Merriment
Saying goodbye to summer may be bittersweet for some, but what better way to welcome fall than with the great taste of some American-made brew and pub food? Sound appetizing? Why not ring in the season at the Cape Cod Brew Fest!
Held Saturday, September 26 at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds on Route 151 in Falmouth, Brew Fest features representatives from more than 100 different breweries who will be on hand with samples, beer for sale, and more. The event offers a full lineup of both established companies as well as newcomers to the brewing scene—and beer aficionados will be pleased at the wide selection of lagers, ales, ciders, and IPAs available from around New England.
The event runs from 3:30 to 7 p.m., and the cost of admission (tickets cost $50 before September 1—$55 after) includes unlimited samples and a commemorative Brew Fest glass. Adding to the fun, attendees can play cornhole, enjoy live music throughout the day, and visit a number of food trucks.
According to Matthew Gray of Gray Matter Marketing, the host of Brew Fest, the event has expanded since its inaugural year in 2012 as more breweries and vendors have signed up—and visitorship has increased.
New for 2015, Brew Fest has partnered with Uber, the mobile taxi service company, to help ensure that all attendees get home safely following the event. Gray says a special Uber code will be announced in the coming weeks, which will offer a discounted ride for Brew Fest attendees. In addition, designated drivers will be offered a discounted ticket fee; for $15, they can enjoy water, soft drinks, snacks and a commemorative glass.
As the event has grown, Gray Matter Marketing has also been able to donate more and more funds to the Barnstable Agricultural Society Scholarship Program. “We hope to continue to see Brew Fest grow,” Gray says, “and we love hosting it.”
Brew Fest is a 21+ event and no one under 21 will be admitted. Free parking is available. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit capecodbrewfest.com, or call 401-318-2991.
Nantucket Restaurant Week • September 28 – October 4
Head to Nantucket, Dine at a Discount
Instead of one night out at your favorite island restaurant, how about an entire week? During Nantucket Restaurant Week, held Monday, September 28, to Sunday, October 4, more than 35 participating restaurants across the island will offer discounted meal prices, fun new menu options and more, giving diners lots, from which to choose.
“The week is a great reason to get out to Nantucket before Columbus Day when a number of our seasonal restaurants close up for the winter,” says Orla Murphy-LaScola, one of the event’s sponsors and a co-organizer. “It is a nice thank you to our guests on Nantucket for their support the rest of the year or season.”
Participating restaurants will offer three-course meals at discounted prices ranging from $35 to $45. In addition, many of the restaurants try out new dishes or other concepts at this time, showcasing their cooking staff’s talents. For example, Murphy-LaScola’s restaurant, The Proprietors Bar & Table, at 9 India Street, will feature wine pairings with vintages from Nantucket wineries.
Murphy-LaScola says Restaurant Week offers a great opportunity for diners to stop in at traditional island favorites, such as Straight Wharf or Topper’s at the Wauwinet, or try out a new location such as 29 Fair Street Inn.
In addition to benefiting local establishments, Murphy-LaScola says the weeklong event is intended as a way to boost island tourism during the fall. Nantucket, of course, draws countless visitors during the warm summer months but when the season comes to an end, tourism wanes. Restaurant Week provides local businesses of all kinds with one final pre-winter boost. “The event helps to fill guest houses on a week that was historically a very quiet week,” Murphy-LaScola says, adding that year after year, innkeepers and hoteliers have expressed their appreciation for the event.
For a complete list of participating restaurants and information on how to make reservations, visit nantucketrestaurantweek.com.
Art of Chocolate Festival • October 10-11
This Event is Sure to be Sweet!
Imagine a room filled from wall to wall with nothing but chocolate. Sound like a dream? For one weekend every fall, this sweet-sounding scenario becomes reality in the island town of Oak Bluffs. On Saturday and Sunday, October 10-11, from 12-4 p.m., the Art of Chocolate Festival showcases some of Martha’s Vineyard’s top chocolatiers.
Held at the Featherstone Center for the Arts, 30 Featherstone Lane in Oak Bluffs, the 12th annual autumn festival is sure to have something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Attendees can try varieties of chocolate cake, truffles, candies, a sundae station, a chocolate fountain, and lots more.
“The event started out featuring classic chocolate treats,” says Emme Brown, one of the festival’s coordinators, “but now the vendors are getting more creative as far as what they’re bringing to the table.” In recent years, Brown says participants involved have been raising the bar in terms of the sweet surprises they’re preparing—from intricate cake designs and uniquely made truffles to sea salt caramels and chocolate bars made with island honey.
The festival is not all about eating, though. Brown says the event is intended to simulate a variety of senses—in addition to one’s taste buds. For example, a selection of chocolate-inspired artwork created by local artists will be on display, including appetizing paintings and photos of cocoa beans and chocolate treats. A “chocolate library” features books with chocolate recipes and details on how the cocoa bean is harvested. Attendees can also view an exhibit that shows the different processes of chocolate making, from bean to bar.
“There’s a longstanding tradition of people coming back for a few items every year,” Brown says, “but they know there will always be new things as well.” Tickets to try the treats cost $5 for two tastes, $10 for five. For more information, visit featherstoneart.org, or call 508-693-1850.
Yarmouth Seaside Festival • October 10-12
Three Days of Fun and Games
In the last 37 years, the Yarmouth Seaside Festival has grown from a mere ‘event’ to an annual ‘celebration’ of the town, the people, and the community of Yarmouth.
And as this celebration is meant to honor the community at large, the three-day festival, held Saturday to Monday, October 10-12, features an abundance of fun activities—something for everyone. The lineup includes pie-eating contests, kayak and canoe races, a road race, pumpkin decorating, clown shows, live music, a large parade, and much more.
Most of the activities will be held at the Laurence MacArthur Elementary School at 1175 Route 28 in Yarmouth, however additional events will take place around town. On Saturday night, a bonfire will be held at Bass River Beach; on Sunday, a fireworks display will light the sky over Seagull Beach in West Yarmouth at 8 p.m.; and on Monday, a sand sculpture contest runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bass River Beach.
Those looking to get an early start on their holiday shopping would do well to visit the festival’s craft tables as more than 125 vendors from across the country will be on hand throughout the weekend selling a variety of products.
Since Janice Butler founded the seaside festival back in 1978, the event has been organized each year by a small group of volunteers. Butler says her main goal for the event was to bring people together and to celebrate Yarmouth community pride. More than three and one-half decades running—and with estimated crowds of 25,000 annually—it’s safe to say that goal has been accomplished. “It’s a great event for local citizens to come out together and enjoy some family fun,” Butler says. “It’s a community event that brings everyone together.”
The seaside festival is free and open to all—Yarmouth residents and visitors. For more information, visit yarmouthseasidefestival.com, or call 508-778-1008.
The following is a list of upcoming events to be held this fall on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket
Fall fairs and festivals on the Cape & Islands
Saturday, September 12
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
22 Sandwich Road, Bourne Village
This old-time harvest event offers live music, crafts and games, a country store, an attic treasures sale, miniature petting ponies and horse rides, fun photo opportunities, blacksmith demonstrations, a traditional puppet show, and more. General admission is $6; Children ages 4-12 cost $3.
Friday to Sunday,
September 18 – 20, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
(closes Sunday at 6 p.m.)
Cape Cod Fairgrounds,
1220 Nathan Ellis Highway, Falmouth
Hosted by the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce, this popular annual event features rides and games, music, and a juried arts and crafts show—in addition to its signature fried scallops and herb-roasted chicken dinners. Rain or shine. General admission costs $7; children 6-12 cost $2; children under 5 are admitted free of charge.
Pumpkin Day at Bourne Farm
Saturday, October 10, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Bourne Farm, 6 North Falmouth
Highway, North Falmouth
This fun event at lovely Bourne Farm includes hayrides, face painting, a bounce house, a petting zoo, crafts, and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Admission and parking is free. Lunch options are available and a bake sale will be held.
Labor Day Weekend
Arts & Crafts Festival
Saturday and Sunday,
September 5-6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
John Simpkins Field,
Route 28, South Yarmouth
More than 75 artisans will display and sell their American-made wares at this free event. Holiday bonus: there will be specialty food sampling, craft demonstrations, and live music.
Cape Cod Wildlife Festival
Saturday, September 12
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Mass. Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, 345 Bone Hill Road,
Environmental organizations from around the Cape and beyond host discussions, presentations, and interactive exhibits on this day of celebrating and learning about wildlife. Local authors and wildlife photographers will be on hand to answer questions and sign books.
Yellow Dog Music Fest
Saturday, September 12
12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Craigville Beach Association,
Craigville Beach Road, Centerville
This event brings together music and nature to benefit the Barnstable Land Trust. Students from Berklee College of Music will perform original music all day Saturday for an epic beach party.
Cape Cod Bird Festival
Friday to Sunday, September 18-20
The third installment of this unique festival, sponsored by the Cape Cod Bird Club, consists of field trips, workshops, and lectures by renowned guests including Dr. Miyoko Chu and Richard Crossley.
Market Fall Festival
Saturday, October 3, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Osterville Historical Museum,
155 West Bay Road, Osterville
The best of sea and land come together at this event to celebrate the fall harvest. Enjoy breads, fruit, vegetables, flowers, jams, honey, butter, meats, pasta, cheese, cookies, kettle corn, soaps, and more. An apple dessert contest will benefit the Hyannis Food Pantry.
6th Annual Celebrate
Our Waters Festival
Friday to Sunday, September 18-20
Various locations in Orleans
In an effort to showcase the region’s beautiful water bodies—from lakes and creeks to beaches and bays—this festival offers activities including walks, bike rides, guided tours, kayak trips, catboat sailing, aquaculture events, a sand sculpture contest, and a bonfire on Nauset Beach.
Arts & Music Festival
Saturday and Sunday,
September 19-20, 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
(closes 5:30 p.m. on Sunday)
Brooks Park, at the corner of Oak Street and Route 39, Harwich
This free event sponsored by WMOR/WFMR offers great food, 130 unique craft vendors, live music, and more.
Saturday, October 25,
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Kate Gould Park,
Main Street, Chatham
The main attraction of Chatham’s annual Oktoberfest, as always, is the “Pumpkin People in the Park,” a display of pumpkin carvings created by local businesses, groups, and residents. At the festival, families can view the pumpkins and celebrate the fall in German style, with old-fashioned games, tasty food and a beer tent, all sponsored by Chatham’s Merchants Association.
Performing Arts Festival
Monday to Sunday, September 14-20
Various events and times
Crown & Anchor Complex,
247 Commercial Street, Provincetown
This festival is a celebration of Provincetown’s roots as an iconoclastic community in the sphere of performance art. Innovative artists, both renowned and some that are under the radar, will perform 17 different shows and events.
Truro Treasures Grape Stomp & Music Fest
Sunday, September 20,
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
11 Shore Road, North Truro
With live music, wine tasting, and a food truck from BlackFish of Truro, this event—the finale of Truro Treasures weekend—is sure to be a blast. The annual Grape Stomp takes place at 3 p.m.
Vinegrass Music Festival
Sunday, October 4, Begins 11 a.m.
11 Shore Road, North Truro
This event offers a relaxing day of music, wine, and a food truck. Performers include Nemes, Dead Winter Carpenters, and Caribou Mountain Collective. Tickets cost $40.
Saturday and Sunday, October 17-18
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Town Center, Wellfleet
$5 for 1-day; $8 for 2-day pass
The famous Wellfleet Oysterfest celebrates its 15th anniversary this October. Sponsored by Wellfleet SPAT (Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc.), the event is held for everyone to come celebrate and enjoy the Cape’s favorite shellfish: the oyster. Educational games, cooking demonstrations, walking tours, live music, a road race, and of course the annual Oyster Shuck-Off Competition will bring locals and visitors together for a weekend full of hometown flavor.
38th Annual Tivoli Day
Saturday, September 19
12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs
This popular event offers live entertainment, food, raffles, arts and crafts, and a display of antique bicycles.
Food & Wine Festival
Thursday to Sunday, October 15-18
Events are held at various
locations and times
More than 20 different 21-plus events enliven Edgartown for four days during this annual festival. Local culinary talents as well as chefs and vintners from around the world will come together to celebrate food and drink and give guests a true taste of The Vineyard.
Artists Association of Nantucket Wet Paint Weekend
Friday to Sunday, October 9-11
Various events and locations
A Friday night cocktail party celebrating the Artists Association of Nantucket (AAN) Permanent Collection kicks off this weekend of art appreciation. On Saturday and Sunday, member artists will be painting at different spots around the island for visitors to observe. The weekend concludes with a silent auction and benefit dinner at Le Languedoc (24 Broad Street).
Nantucket Cranberry Festival
Saturday, October 10,
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Milestone Cranberry Bog, 118 Cliff Road
Attendees can learn about the history of cranberry farming on the island, observe the harvesting process, take part in several family activities, buy some berries for the coming holiday season, or simply listen to the music and take in the lovely fall foliage at this Nantucket Conservation Foundation event.
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