Magazine

Out & About | Best New England Spring Events for 2018

Yankee’s favorite spring events for 2018, including fairs, festivals, spring garden shows, maple sugaring events, and more.

By Yankee Magazine

Feb 22 2018

OutAbout_YK0318_064
Photo Credit : Winter Caplanson

BEST NEW ENGLAND SPRING EVENTS | March & April 2018

The Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Festival in Connecticut features sheepshearing demonstrations, knitting instruction, and sheepdog trials.
Photo Credit : Winter Caplanson

CONNECTICUT Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Festival April 28

Take this one at fleece value: Sheepshearing demonstrations, knitting instruction, and sheepdog trials are all part of the fun as 60-plus farmers and vendors congregate at the Tolland County Agricultural Center for an annual agricultural celebration that dates back more than a century. Vernon, CT. ctsheep.org

MAINE Maine Maple Sunday March 25

Come for the nifty syrup-making demonstrations, stay for all the tasty samples. Some 80 Maine sugaring houses are opening their doors to the public today, with activities—games, tours, live music, etc.—varying from one stop to the next. Check the website for a full list of locations. Statewide. mainemapleproducers.com

MASSACHUSETTS Craftboston April 20–22

Immerse yourself in a world of creativity as nearly 100 artisans fill the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts with their wares. Look around, learn from the makers, and load up your shopping bag with everything from handcrafted Shaker boxes to luxe leather goods. Boston, MA. societyofcrafts.org

NEW HAMPSHIRE The Seacoast Home and Garden Show March 24–25

Need help getting your landscape shipshape? Head to UNH’s Whittemore Center Arena to check out the latest in home and garden products and services. There’s a full lineup of related seminars and clinics, plus a “Meet the Chefs” cooking series featuring some of the Seacoast’s top culinary talent. Durham, NH. seacoast.newenglandexpos.com

RHODE ISLAND Southeast New England Film, Music, and Arts Festival April 24–28

With screenings at locations in Providence and Warwick, a juried art show at the Warwick Center for the Arts, and musical performances to boot, this popular annual event celebrates a decade of bringing people together through art. Providence and Warwick, RI. senefest.com

VERMONT Circus Spectacular March 3–4

Step right up for this high-flying fund-raising gala hosted by the New England Center for Circus Arts at the historic Latchis Theatre, where students from the program will perform alongside guest artists from circuses around the world. Brattleboro, VT. necenterforcircusarts.org

MORE FAVORITE NEW ENGLAND SPRING EVENTS

CONNECTICUT

THROUGH MAR. 18: HARTFORD, “Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.” Eight murder suspects on a train, each seemingly with an alibi. This classic whodunit has detective Hercule Poirot on the case in a stage adaptation by playwright Ken Ludwig and director Emily Mann. hartfordstage.org

MAR. 11: NEW HAVEN, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Join the other shamrock-waving spectators as this historic parade steps off from Chapel Street for three hours of downtown fun. stpatricksdayparade.org

MAR. 17–18: HEBRON, Hebron Maple Festival. At this celebration of the sweet and sticky season, learn how maple syrup is produced during sugarhouse tours and demonstrations, and then savor the goodness with an abundance of mapley treats. Children’s activities, a craft fair, and other activities round out the weekend. hebronmaplefest.com

MAR. 24–25: HARTFORD, Connecticut Spring Antiques Show. This venerable antiques show returns to the Hartford Armory, where it got its start back in 1973. A premier showcase of early American furniture and decorative arts, it’s equally fun whether you’re a novice or a serious collector.ctspringantiquesshow.com

MAR. 25: MYSTIC, Irish Parade. With an array of floats and more than 25 marching bands, this parade is easily among the region’s largest. The celebration kicks off from Mystic Seaport’s South Lot and heads into the historic downtown for its “marquis” performance. mysticirishparade.org 

APR. 22: NEW HAVEN, Cherry Blossom Festival. Enjoy the sight and fragrance of more than 70 Japanese Yoshino cherry trees in all their glory around Wooster Square, where a full lineup of music, exhibits and demonstrations, kids’ activities, and good food will keep you entertained. historicwoostersquare.org

APR. 28–29: MERIDEN, Daffodil Festival. Now in its 40th year, this annual Hubbard Park event offers a sight for winter-weary eyes, as more than 600,000 daffodils explode with color. Stop by for a stroll through the park, or plan a longer stay and take in the parade, fireworks, craft fair, carnival rides, and more. daffodilfest.com

MAINE

THROUGH MAR. 25: PORTLAND, “Red Herring.” Portland Stage presents Michael Hollinger’s tale of Maggie, a tough Boston cop pursuing a crime boss who gave her the slip—and worked his way into her heart in the process. portlandstage.org

MAR. 1–12: STATEWIDE, Maine Restaurant Week. Celebrating the delicious creativity of the state’s independent and locally owned restaurants, this event has gotten too big to be contained within a mere seven days. Check the website for all the locations and events. mainerestaurantweek.com

MAR. 11: ORONO, “Cirque Eloize: Saloon.” The Wild West comes alive as theater and circus collide in 85 minutes of nonstop live folk music combined with circus performers’ grace and agility. collinscenterforthearts.com

MAR. 17–18: LEWISTON, Maine Home Show. The Androscoggin Bank Colisée hosts 100-plus booths of home-related products and services, from lawn care equipment and landscape design to windows and doors, kitchens and baths, insulation, and weatherization. mainehomeshow.com

MAR. 23–25: PORTLAND, Maine Boatbuilders Show. At the Portland Company complex you’ll find this gathering of the East Coast’s finest custom boat builders, as well as manufacturers of boating equipment, all ready to discuss and sell their work. portlandyacht.com

APR. 13–15: OGUNQUIT, Patriots’ Day Celebration. Historical characters offer insights into the past with reenactments throughout the weekend, plus a treasure hunt and all-ages activities throughout downtown.visitogunquit.org

APR. 14: DENMARK, Sheepfest. From humble beginnings in 1995, the sheepshearing festival at the Denmark Arts Center has grown into a much anticipated community event that spotlights the art of shearing and turning wool into all manner of beautiful and useful products. denmarksheepfest.com

APR. 20–22: ORONO, Bangor Flower and Garden Show. Alfond Arena is transformed into a gardener’s dream as more than 100 landscapers, horticulturists, and garden clubs present beautiful floral and garden displays, bulbs, cut flowers, seeds, herbs, greenhouses, water gardens, sheds, and more. homeshows.com

APR. 29: BATH, “The Belle of Amherst: Emily Dickinson.” This one-woman play lets you step into the world of Emily Dickinson, with all of its secrets, eccentricities, and passions. A self-described “local character,” Dickinson is compelled to “stop the world” as she creates poems that defy the conventions of her time. chocolatechurcharts.org

MASSACHUSETTS

MAR. 3–18: NORTHAMPTON, Spring Bulb Show. A spectacular collection of more than 5,000 blooms, from crocuses to hyacinths to irises and more, provides an early glimpse of spring at this long-standing tradition at Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory. smith.edu

MAR. 14–18: BOSTON, Flower and Garden Show. Savor the promise of spring as you collect expert gardening advice, meet retail vendors, and check out floral competitions and more than 20 professionally designed gardens, all at the Seaport World Trade Center. bostonflowershow.com

MAR. 17–18: DUXBURY, Spring Antique Show. More than 50 vendors from across New England gather at Duxbury High School, offering a wide variety of vintage American and European items for sale. duxburyboosters.org

MAR. 18: BOSTON, South Boston’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Southie takes pride in hosting one of the largest Saint Paddy’s parades in the country. Claim a spot along the three-mile route and you’ll see enough bagpipers, military units, bands, clowns, and characters to keep you—and the kids—smiling. southbostonparade.org

APR. 14–16: LEXINGTON/CONCORD, Patriots’ Day Weekend. Minute Man National Historical Park pays tribute to the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War with parades, reenactments, and commemorative ceremonies, with festivities culminating in the Lexington Patriots’ Day parade. nps.gov/mima

APR. 20–22: MANSFIELD, New England Folk Festival. Hosted by area schools, this 74th annual event offers plenty of music, dance (both participatory and performed), and crafts, plus food, kids’ activities, and more. neffa.org

APR. 26–29: VINEYARD HAVEN, Spectrum Film Festival. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society presents a four-day film festival at the MV Film Center that gives a world perspective on LGBTQ people and issues through films, guest speakers, discussions, and a special event focused on LGBTQ youth. mvfilmsociety.com

APR. 28: WALTHAM, Sheepshearing Festival at Gore Place. Take to the lawn of one of the great estates of the Federal period, Gore Place, for a day of herding demonstrations by border collies, shearing and spinning demonstrations, live music, historical reenactments, and a craft fair. Don’t miss a chance to tour the estate while you’re at it. goreplace.org

NEW HAMPSHIRE

MAR. 10: NORTH CONWAY, Hannes Schneider Meister Cup. Combining the thrill of modern skiing with the warm nostalgia of yesteryear, this competition honors the father of ski instruction, with proceeds going to the New England Ski Museum. newenglandskimuseum.org

MAR. 17, 24, 25, 31, APR. 1, 7: BETHLEHEM, Maple Experience at the Rocks. Discover the history of maple sugaring, participate in the process of tapping trees and making syrup, and enjoy the views on horse-drawn wagon rides through this scenic 1,400-acre property. Reservations recommended. therocks.org

MAR. 24: MOUNT WASHINGTON VALLEY, March Maple Madness. Ticket holders can embark on a self-guided inn-to-inn tour, sampling tasty delights along the way. Collect recipes and participate in a scavenger hunt while seeing how maple syrup is made. bbinnsmwv.com

MAR. 24: PORTSMOUTH, The Moth Mainstage. An evening of true stories, told live at the Music Hall. The Moth features a mix of national storytellers and local voices, including luminaries in the arts and sciences, news makers and news breakers, everyday heroes, and even a reformed villain or two.themusichall.org

MAR. 24–25: STATEWIDE, New Hampshire Maple Weekend. More than 100 sugarhouses across the Granite State invite you to stop by for a peek into the sugaring process. Enjoy samples and varied activities at each stop. See the website for locations.nhmapleproducers.com

APR. 19—22: KEENE, Monadnock International Film Festival. Downtown Keene comes alive with feature films, documentaries, short films, and juried shorts, plus a full lineup of parties and meet-and-greet events for those who’d like to get to know some of the filmmakers.moniff.org

RHODE ISLAND

MAR. 13–18: PROVIDENCE, “An American in Paris.” The Tony Award–winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl, and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war, comes to the stage at the Providence Performing Arts Center. ppacri.org

MAR. 17: NEWPORT, Saint Patrick’s Parade and Family Celebration. Enjoy the parade as it kicks off at City Hall, then stick around for family-style, alcohol-free entertainment with Irish step dancers, pirates, live Irish music, face painting, contests, and giveaways. newportirish.com

MAR. 24: WOONSOCKET, Tommy James and the Shondells. With more than 100 million records sold, nine gold or platinum albums, and 23 gold singles to their credit, the legendary rockers responsible for such hits as “Mony Mony” and “I Think We’re Alone Now” appear at the Stadium Theatre.stadiumtheatre.com

APR. 5–8: PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island Home Show. The biggest home show in southern New England returns with its signature interior design showcase and lovely walkable landscapes, as well as hundreds of contractor and product exhibits, seminars, and cooking demonstrations.ribahomeshow.com

APR. 21–22: NORTH KINGSTOWN, Garden Party Quilt Show. The Narragansett Bay Quilters’ Association hosts its biennial show at North Kingstown High School, where hundreds of member quilts will be on display. Attend classes and lectures, meet vendors, and try your luck at raffles. nbqa.org

APR. 25–28: PROVIDENCE, Eat Drink RI Festival. A star-studded lineup of more than 80 Rhode Island farmers, chefs, bartenders, and food and drink artisans returns to downtown Providence. Look for tastings, demonstrations, and plenty of dining and cocktail opportunities, culminating in a grand brunch. eatdrinkri.com

APR. 29: SAUNDERSTOWN, Spring Fair at Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum. Pay a visit to the birthplace of the 18th-century master portrait artist Gilbert Stuart during this spring fair, and you’ll be just in time to view the river herring migration up the fish ladder. Enjoy an afternoon of corn grinding in the gristmill and demonstrations of spinning, weaving, and rug hooking; house tours; and kids’ activities. gilbertstuartmuseum.com

VERMONT

THROUGH MAR. 18: WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, “Disgraced.” Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play comes to the Barrette Center for the Arts. When a successful Pakistani-American lawyer and his artist wife host a dinner party, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more revealing, and damaging. northernstage.org

MAR. 3–4: BURLINGTON, Home Show. Vermont’s largest home show returns to the Sheraton Conference Center with more than 200 booths, representing the region’s finest builders, remodelers, and businesses offering all things home-related.homeshows.com

MAR. 16–24: MONTPELIER, Green Mountain Film Festival. Whether you’re a hard-core film buff or more of a casual moviegoer, you’re sure to find a wealth of appealing options among these feature films, documentaries, shorts, and award-winning animated tales from all over the world, screened at multiple venues around town. gmffestival.org

MAR. 24: PERU, Spring Fling. Bromley Mountain offers family fun with live music, a pond skimming contest, and a duct tape derby in which you can ride your cardboard creation to glory.bromley.com

MAR. 24–25: STATEWIDE, Maple Open House Weekend. Celebrate the maple syrup season by visiting a sugarhouse to learn about Vermont’s first agricultural crop of the year. Check the website for an open house near you. vermontmaple.org

MAR. 30–31: WOODSTOCK, Baby Farm Animal Celebration. Come visit Billings Farm this weekend, and you may want to take a wagon ride, learn about heirloom seeds, and tour the 1890 farmhouse—but be sure to save plenty of time for the lambs, chicks, and calves, who are the real stars of this show. billingsfarm.org

MAR. 31: WEST DOVER, Winter Brewers Festival. Toast the end of the winter season with lots of great beer at Mount Snow. More than 20 different breweries will be on hand, and 50-plus taps will dispense ales, stouts, lagers, ciders, and everything in between. mountsnow.com

APR. 20: RANDOLPH, Camerata New England. This celebrated chamber ensemble makes its debut at the Chandler Center for the Arts with works by Dmitri Shostakovich, Antonín Dvoˆrák, and Edward Elgar. chandler-arts.org

APR. 27–29: ST. ALBANS, Vermont Maple Festival. Downtown St. Albans offers the scenic backdrop for a pancake breakfast, road race, carnival, parade, and, of course, plenty of tasty maple treats. vtmaplefestival.org