If you are thinking about a vacation to Boston’s North Shore, consider planning your visit to coincide with one of the many local summer festivals. These widely celebrated North Shore events provide things to do for all ages as well as give a peek into local culture, art, music and more.
North Shore Events in May and June
Motif No. 1 Day: The Motif No.1 Day Festival celebrates the Arts in Rockport and centers around the iconic building right on one of Rockport’s historic wharves. The day’s events include a 5k and a Fun Run. Date: May 2021
Cape Ann Artisans Tour: The Tour is self-guided tour of artists’ studios in Gloucester and Rockport. Both areas are also home to three important Massachusetts designated Cultural Districts – downtown Gloucester, downtown Rockport, and Rocky Neck. 2021 Dates: June 5 & 6
St. Peter’s Fiesta: Originally a religious festival to honor the patron saint of the fishermen, “Fiesta” (as it is locally known) offers up parades and the annual blessing of the fishing fleet at an outdoor mass. Spanning 5 days at the end of June, this Gloucester festival also includes a carnival, parades, boat races, sporting events and contests. St. Peter’s Fiesta has been canceled for 2021.
St. Peter’s Fiesta takes place in June – Gloucester MA
North Shore Events in July & August
Independence Day Events: Towns across the North Shore each celebrate July 4th in their own way, from “Horribles Parades” (canceled for 2021) and concerts to fireworks shows and bonfires. Check North Shore Kid‘s site for a town-by-town list.
Beverly Homecoming: Rooted in the tradition of welcoming home the men and women in the armed services in grand style, this 10-day celebration also features parades, a carnival, fireworks, arts and music exhibitions, and more. 2021 Dates: August 4 – 8
Festival by the Sea: Manchester-by-the-Sea celebrates locally grown art, music and food and highlights the idyllic beauty of Cape Ann and the incredible talent for which the area has become synonymous. 2021 Date: August 7
Cape Ann Artisans Summer Mini-Tour: This tour is a self-guided tour of artists’ studios in Gloucester and Rockport. Both areas are also home to three important Massachusetts designated Cultural Districts – downtown Gloucester, downtown Rockport, and Rocky Neck. 2021 Dates: August 14
Gloucester Blues Festival: Hear world-class blues performed at Stage Fort Park. Located right on the waterfront on beautiful Cressey’s beach, the event features a beer garden as well as food and craft vendors. 2021 Date: August 14
Rockport Illumination Weekend: An amazing weekend of lights, lobsters and fireworks! The town is decorated lit with paper lanterns. Enjoy a day of activities, lobsters, burgers and brews, live music, and fireworks. 2021 Dates: August: 13 – 14
The Gloucester Waterfront Festival: Artists & craftsmen from all over the country display and sell their unique creations. The two-day festival also includes live music, delicious foods and children’s entertainment. 2021 Dates: August 21 – 22
Riverfest Seaside Music Festival: 92.5 The River’s annual waterfront music festival is heading to Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park. Catch the sound waves of the amazing lineup, plus food trucks, drinks, and fun activities for all ages. Check back for 2022 dates.
North Shore Events in September
Gloucester Schooner Festival: This renowned festival is one of Cape Ann’s top local summer events. The Schooner Festival fills Gloucester’s harbor with gorgeous sailing vessels from all over the world, some that participate in the prestigious Mayor’s Race that take place over Labor Day weekend. Even non-sailors can participate in Maritime Heritage Day events, the Boat Parade of Lights, and a summer-capping fireworks display. 2021 Dates: September 2-6
Schooners take to the sea at Gloucester’s Schooner Festival.
Trails & Sails: This mega-event celebrating the heritage of Essex County spans for 10 days in September. Events are all free of charge and take place in locations throughout the County at museums, historical sites, nature reserves and parks, and cultural institutions. 2021 Dates: September 17 – 26
Gloucester Harvest Music Festival: Art and music are blended in one of the country’s most unique and rich artist communities. This day-long festival showcases music, arts and culture while supporting the local community hospital (Addison Gilbert Citizens Fund) and community-based outreach programs. 2021 Date: September 11
Cape Ann Artisans Tour: The fall tour is a self-guided tour of artists’ studios in Gloucester and Rockport. Both areas are also home to three important Massachusetts designated Cultural Districts – downtown Gloucester, downtown Rockport, and Rocky Neck. 2021 Dates: October 9 – 10
For even more North Shore events, visit our North Shore Events page.
There are so many things to do and see in Cape Ann, they can’t all fit on one page! Find out more by reading our Cape Ann Guide.
- Things to do in Gloucester MA
- Things to do in Rockport MA
- Things to do in Essex MA
- Things to do in Manchester-by-the-Sea MA