New England

Out & About | Best New England Spring Events for 2020

From flower festivals to New England’s greatest race, these peak-spring events are worth the drive.

By Yankee Magazine

Feb 18 2020

Photo Credit : Ryan McBride/Getty Images

Best New England Spring Events for 2020

Best New England Spring Events for 2020
Best New England Spring Events for 2020
Photo Credit : Ryan McBride/Getty Images

CONNECTICUT Cherry Blossom Festival | Apr. 19

Revel in the sight and fragrance of more than 70 Yoshino Japanese cherry trees in bloom around New Haven’s Wooster Square, where a full lineup of music, exhibits and demonstrations, kids’ activities, and local food vendors gives you plenty of additional reasons to linger. New Haven, CT.

MAINE East Coast Pond Skimming Championship | Apr. 18

It’s man versus pond as Sugarloaf presents this quirky competition for skiers and snowboarders—a sure sign of the impending snow melt. Contestants attempt to hydroplane their way to the finish line, and prizes are awarded for best style, costume, and overall performance. Carrabassett Valley, ME. 866-865-0946;

MASSACHUSETTS Boston Marathon | Apr. 20

Come by to cheer on the participants in the world’s oldest annual marathon as they push themselves along the route, up Heartbreak Hill, and across the finish line in Copley Square. Also on tap: a fan fest with live music, a training clinic, and appearances by returning champions. Boston, MA. 617-236-1652;

NEW HAMPSHIRE Five Colleges Book Sale | Apr. 18–19

Need to restock your reading shelf? How about hitting up one of the largest used and antiquarian book sales in New England? This springtime tradition (since 1962) is held at the Lebanon High School Gym, where book aficionados will find as many as 40,000 titles on all topics, plus maps, prints, ephemera, DVDs, and more. Lebanon, NH.

RHODE ISLAND Pawcatuck River Duck Race | Apr. 25

The fun kicks off with the unforgettable sight of some 20,000 rubber ducks pouring en masse into the Pawcatuck River. Children’s games, rides, food, and other activities round out the event, whose proceeds go to more than 40 local charities. Westerly, RI. 401-596-7761;

VERMONT Baby Farm Animal Celebration | Apr. 10–11

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 the farm’s most popular event. Woodstock, VT. 802-457-2355;

Additional New England Spring Events for 2020:


MAR. 8: CHESHIRE, Train Show. Go loco for locomotives at Cheshire High School’s biannual showcase of model train equipment, accessories, and memorabilia, plus a number of large model train layouts. 203-265-7527;

MAR. 15: NEW HAVEN, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. This 1½-mile parade has been a New Haven tradition since 1842, making it one of the nation’s oldest celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s also billed as the state’s largest single-day spectator event, so come ready to join a lively crowd.

MAR. 21–22: HEBRON, Hebron Maple Festival. 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. 860-423-6389;

MAR. 27–29: OLD GREENWICH, Ephemera Society of America Conference and Fair. More than 80 specialists in ephemera—political posters, postcards, stamps, etc.—will set up at the Hyatt Regency for a weekend of deals, discussions, presentations, and auctions. 315-655-9139;

MAR. 28–29: SOUTHBURY, Spring Shower of Quilts. The Connecticut Piecemakers Quilt Guild sets up at the Wyndham Hotel with appraisals, demonstrations, exhibits, a raffle, and more.

APR. 18–19: BRISTOL, Connecticut Cactus and Succulent Society Show and Sale. This is the largest event of its kind in New England, with 100 judged categories and more than a dozen vendors descending on the Bristol Senior Center to sell plants, pots, soils, and books.

APR. 25: NORTH HAVEN, Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Festival. Shearing demonstrations, knitting instruction, and sheepdog trials are all part of the fun as farmers and vendors congregate at the North Haven Fairgrounds for an agricultural celebration that dates back more than a century.

APR. 25–26: MERIDEN, Daffodil Festival. Come stroll through a carpet of gold as more than half a million of springtime’s cheeriest ambassadors pop their heads up at Meriden’s Hubbard Park. And if that doesn’t shake you out of any lingering winter stupor, the parade, the fireworks show, carnival rides, and three stages of live entertainment definitely will. 203-238-1315;


MAR. 20–22: PORTLAND, Maine Boatbuilders Show. At the Portland Sports Complex you’ll find a 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. 207-774-1067;

MAR. 21–22: 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.

MAR. 26–29: PORTLAND, Maine Flower Show. Nearly 20,000 plant lovers are expected to converge on Thompson’s Point as the state’s largest gardening and horticulture show returns. Come learn about native species, talk one-on-one with experts, and find inspiration for your outdoor projects.

APR. 3–5: NEWRY, Spring Fest Weekend. Head over to White Cap at Sunday River for some memorable springtime revelry: Hit the slopes, cheer on the competitors in the “slip ’n’ flip” relay, and enjoy a lineup of live bands. 800-543-2754;

APR. 17–19: OGUNQUIT, Patriots’ Day Celebration. Historical characters offer insights into the past with reenactments throughout the weekend, which bustles with all-ages activities such as concerts, hay rides, and a rubber duck race. 207-646-2939;

APR. 18: 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 sheepshearing and turning wool into all manner of beautiful and useful products.

APR. 18: PENOBSCOT COUNTY, Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. Going strong for more than half a century, the largest paddling event in New England follows a 16½-mile course from Kenduskeag to Bangor. First-time spectators should join the crowds near the rapids of Six Mile Falls for all the “thrill of victory and agony of defeat” moments.

APR. 24–26: BANGOR, Bangor Flower & Garden Show. The Cross Insurance Center is transformed into a gardener’s dream as more than 100 landscapers, horticulturists, and garden clubs present beautiful floral and garden displays, bulbs, herbs, greenhouses, sheds, and more. 800-237-6024;


MAR. 7: YARMOUTH, Cape Cod Saint Patrick’s Parade. Get the Saint Paddy’s Day festivities started early with this annual two-mile parade featuring bands, dancers, and vintage cars. With about 400 people marching and another 40,000 or so lining the route, this parade has become one of the biggest and best around. 508-240-7347;

MAR. 7–22: NORTHAMPTON, Spring Bulb Show. A spectacular array of more than 5,000 blooms, from crocuses to hyacinths to irises, provides a glimpse of spring during this long-standing tradition at Smith College’s Lyman Conservatory. 413-585-2740;

MAR. 11–15: 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.

MAR. 21: WATERTOWN, Revels’ Spring Sing. Belmont-Watertown UMC hosts this joyful family celebration of the vernal equinox, with plenty of singing, refreshments, and entertainment by the children who participated in the Revels’ spring workshop. 617-972-8300;

MAR. 28–29: 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.

APR. 2: BOSTON, Opening Day at Fenway Park. Join in the excitement as the Sox kick off their Fenway schedule against the Chicago White Sox.

APR. 18–20: LEXINGTON AND CONCORD, Patriots’ Day Weekend. Minute Man National Historic Park pays tribute to the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War with parades, reenactments, and commemorative ceremonies, culminating in the Lexington Patriots’ Day parade.

APR. 24–26: ACTON, New England Folk Festival. Hosted by Acton Boxborough Regional High School, this long-running annual event offers plenty of music, dance (both participatory and performed), and crafts, plus food, kids’ activities, and more.

APR. 24–26: NANTUCKET, Daffodil Festival. The island’s annual celebration of all things daffodil includes art shows, tours, an antique car parade, tailgate picnic, window decorating contest, and the annual Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show.

APR. 25–MAY 1: WALTHAM, Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. Spotlighting nationally acclaimed artists and performers alongside emerging talents, it’s a feast of dance, music, film, theater, and visual arts.


MAR. 14: NORTH CONWAY, Hannes Schneider Meister Cup. Combining the thrill of modern skiing with the nostalgia of yesteryear, this Cranmore Mountain Resort event honors the father of ski instruction. Proceeds go to the New England Ski Museum. 603-356-5543;

MAR. 14–APR. 4: BETHLEHEM, Maple Experience at the Rocks. During the last three weekends of March and the first weekend of April, participate in tapping trees and making syrup, and enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides through this scenic 1,400-acre property. Reservations recommended. 603-444-6228;

MAR. 21: 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, everyday heroes, and even a reformed villain or two. 603-436-2400;

MAR. 28–29: DURHAM, Seacoast Home Show. 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 cooking series featuring some of the Seacoast’s top culinary talent.

APR. 15–18: MANCHESTER, MQX Quilt Festival New England. If you love quilts and quilting, you won’t want to miss this show and conference at the DoubleTree Hotel & Convention Center. There will be a roster of classes, and quilters from near and far will showcase their work, some of which is available to buy.

APR. 24–26: KEENE AND PETERBOROUGH, Monadnock International Film Festival. Known for rural beauty and small-town character, the southwest corner of the Granite State shows surprising Cannes-do spirit with this annual cavalcade of independent feature films, documentaries, and shorts, plus parties and meet-and-greet events. 603-522-7190;


MAR. 14: NEWPORT, Saint Patrick’s Parade & Family Celebration. The biggest Saint Patrick’s Day parade in the state steps off at 11 a.m. from City Hall, followed by a family-style, alcohol-free party with bagpipers, Irish step dancers, contests, food and refreshments, and more. 401-846-5081;

EARLY APRIL: BRISTOL, Blithewold: The Gateway to Spring. Each April, when its more than 50,000 daffodils burst into bloom, the seaside estate of Blithewold is a spring spectacle to behold. Mother Nature has some say in the scheduling, however, so check the website for exact dates. 401-253-2707;

APR. 2–5: PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island Home Show. The biggest home show in southern New England returns with its signature interior design showcase and walkable landscapes, as well as hundreds of contractors and product exhibits, seminars, and cooking demonstrations.

APR. 9: PAWTUCKET, PawSox Home Opener. The Red Sox Triple-A affiliate may be relocating to Massachusetts in 2021, but for now they’re still the beloved home team of Pawtucket baseball fans. Come out to historic McCoy Stadium to see them take on the Syracuse Mets.

APR. 11–MAY 10: NEWPORT, Daffodil Days Festival. This townwide celebration of spring invites you to participate in workshops, take a cliff walk, tour gardens and houses, admire vintage cars, and enjoy music, a parade, and more. 401-849-8048;

APR. 24–25: NEWPORT, Newport Craft Beer Festival. The Great Friends Meeting House hosts this annual celebration of Newport’s long and rich brewing history, highlighted by opportunities to sample craft beers and meet the folks who make them.


MAR. 1: WEST DOVER, Jack Jump World Championships. If you’ve never witnessed the homegrown Vermont sport known as jack jumping, head over to the Mount Snow ski resort to see a lot of great racing (and some spectacular wipeouts) in an annual competition that goes back nearly 40 years. 800-245-7669;

MAR. 7–8: BRATTLEBORO, Circus Spectacular. Step right up for this high-flying gala hosted by the New England Center for Circus Arts at the historic Latchis Theatre, featuring students from the local program performing alongside guest artists from circuses around the world. 802-254-9780;

MAR. 20–25: MONTPELIER, Green Mountain Film Festival. Whether you’re a film buff or a casual moviegoer, you’re sure to find something appealing among these feature films, documentaries, shorts, and animated tales from all over the world, screened at multiple venues around town.

MAR. 21–22: STRATTON MOUNTAIN,24 Hours of Stratton. The ski lifts operate all night as hundreds of skiers and riders work in teams to rack up runs in this fund-raiser for the Stratton Foundation, supporting programs providing food, housing, and heat to those in need. 800-787-2886;

MAR. 28–29: RUTLAND, Festival of Quilts. Maple Leaf Quilters brings its biennial show to the College of St. Joe’s, with antique quilts, recent creations, demonstrations, vendors, a raffle, and more.

APR. 4: WARREN, Pond Skim at Lincoln Peak. Break out your best costumes and take a plunge across a 120-foot pond at the base of Lincoln Peak—or just come and watch the fun—at one of the oldest pond-skimming events in the nation.

APR. 4–5: ESSEX JUNCTION, Vermont Home & Garden Expo. If you’re considering building or remodeling, landscaping or gardening, come to Champlain Valley Expo and seek advice from the experts, while discovering all of the latest and greatest innovations in products and services. 802-876-6200;