Residents of Newburyport and beyond take any chance they can get to celebrate their town--no excuse needed. From the first blush of spring to the dog days of August, to even the chill of an October twilight, there is no shortage of festivals and celebrations to join all year round.
Newburyport Literary Festival
For a so-called “quiet seaside town,” Newburyport has been home to such renowned voices in literature as John Greenleaf Whittier, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Andre Dubus III, to name only a few. This weekend-long exploration of the new, the old, and the enduring classics enlivens attendees and gets their creative juices flowing, perhaps inspiring the next best-selling author in the making! On the schedule are readings of new releases, author discussion panels, and an ever-growing speaker series. Get your tickets early for next year’s festival! www.newburyportliteraryfestival.org
Food carts and live entertainment are staples of Newburyport festivals, and Spring Fest kicks off a year’s worth of outdoor revelry as the weather warms. Held at the end of May, Spring Fest coaxes still-chilly New Englanders out of their homes and into the vendor-lined streets, where there is an abundance of local arts and crafts for sale. The smell of fried dough and the sounds from the Market Square music stage waft over the crowd as neighbors and strangers alike wish each other “Happy Spring! Finally!” Fun to be had for the whole family.
Cultural Survival Bazaar
July 21-22, 2018
Indigenous artists and makers hailing from a tapestry of cultures display their wares in Market Square and Inn Street, seeking to educate, entertain, and share their skills in this feast for the senses. A truly one-of-a-kind opportunity, the festival is sponsored by Cultural Survival, a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, MA, which works to advocate for and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
July 28-August 5, 2018
Ah, Yankee Homecoming, the coup-des-gras of all Newburyport celebrations! First held in 1958 as part of an economic revival effort by a string of New England towns, Newburyport has taken this city pride festival and turned it into the must-attend event of the year. Over eight summer days, activities include but are not limited to: live music, food vendors, craft bazaar, road races, a battle of the bands, heritage tours, talent shows, and a spectacular fireworks show to top it all off. See it once, and you’ll never miss it again. www.yankeehomecoming.com
Riverfront Music Festival
September 1, 2018
Brought to us by popular Boston music station 92.5 The River, the (free!) Riverfront Concert Series offers a day full of music, food, local craft beer, and more at Newburyport’s Waterfront Park. The roster is chock-full of radio darlings, sure to keep the whole family tapping their toes from noon ‘til night.
Fall Harvest Festival
October 7-8, 2018
The first weekend in October brings us the Fall Harvest Festival, two days of food, music, and family fun in multiple locations downtown. Be on the lookout for the scarecrows that will begin to pop up on lampposts around town, sporting fun costumes and props that represent participating local businesses.
Witches’ Night Out
October 26, 2018
For one October evening, downtown Newburyport is transformed when a veritable menagerie of ghouls and goblins emerge from their lairs and haunt the shadowy streets. It helps that those spooks happen to be your neighbors! This Halloween-themed, adult-centered event invites the public to dress in their wildest, witchiest get-ups and stop into participating retailers and eateries for sales, samples, and seasonal treats. A costume contest at the Starboard Galley crowns the snazziest dresser!
Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
November 25, 2018
Traditionally held on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Santa makes his seasonal debut in Newburyport the only way this seaside city would allow--by Coast Guard boat! The Big Man and Mrs. Claus greet the crowd on the boardwalk, then lead the way to Market Square for the eagerly-anticipated tree lighting. Santa will then take up weekend residence at his Workshop on Inn Street, where he greets children and gives sage Wish List guidance.
Holiday Invitation Nights
The lights are strung, the tree is lit, a chill is in the air, and shop doors are open for revelers! Friday evenings in December mean special sales, complimentary snacks and drinks, and elevated holiday cheer for downtown Newburyport. Greet your neighbors, meet new friends, and welcome the holiday season with warmth.
Old Newbury Bonfire
The post-holiday dark of January can feel like a bit of a let-down, but never fear! The Old Newbury Bonfire makes the most of midwinter by setting the town’s old Christmas trees ablaze in an impressive spectacle. Food and beer trucks, children’s activities, and live musical performances keep the chill off the pastoral grounds of Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm. Technically just outside of Newburyport city limits in Newbury, this event is one you won’t want to miss!