Festivals in Gardner

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For many, the fascination with LEGO bricks begins in childhood and endures into adulthood. The inspiration and education behind the custom creations and constructions merely increase in size along with the person. Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Festival provides a venue for LEGO lovers of all sizes to come celebrate their mutual affection, build new creations, and see some truly mind-blowing LEGO sculptures to help set the imagination free. Visiting vendors also sell new, vintage, and custom LEGO accessories only available at Brick Fest Live events.

181 Boston Post Rd. W
Marlborough,
MA
US

With three haunted houses, a spooky hayride, and a bustling carnival, Witch?s Woods is a Halloween theme park that rises from the mist for only one month a year. Ferried along by a sputtering tractor, Haunted Hayride passengers cower for 14 grueling minutes as they are assailed from all sides by zombies, werewolves, and ghouls. At the end of the ride, three paths lead to additional attractions, including Castle Morbid, in which medieval spirits chase interlopers through the halls and into the depths of the deep, where it becomes increasingly apparent that the weapons that once kept intruders out are now employed to keep them in. Nightmare Mansion is inhabited by a cursed family whose eternal life has left them as withered husks driven insane with rage at visitors who still possess the ability to die. The final path leads to the 3-D Keeper?s Crypt, where the undead shamble and scream as they pursue their prey, and where the walls themselves seem to be closing in.

A creepy carnival awaits survivors with rides, games, and more attractions. The Horrorwood Chamber of Chills puts favorite Halloween and horror-movie characters on display, including such icons as Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger, and Mary Shelley?s original version of Shrek. Meanwhile, the Jack O? Lantern Jamboree displays rows upon rows of professional carved pumpkins, eerily glowing at self-guided passersby.

79 Power Rd
Westford,
MA
US

Originally opened in 1927, the Genesee Theatre slowly deteriorated over the course of the century until its closing in 1989. But starting in 2001, a $23 million cash infusion from the city allowed 120 volunteers to restore the theater to its Gilded Age splendor. Its elegant trappings include authentic wall fabrics, an exact replica of the original marquee, and a 2,200-pound chandelier that gently spotlights the grand lobby and every audience member passing underneath to show how everyone is a star if you really think about it.

50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell,
MA
US

For more than 15 years, the Northampton International Film Festival has been inspiring artistic development in the world's filmmakers, celebrating the art of cinema and the introspection it elicits from audiences. Each year, a panel of industry experts carefully vets thousands of submissions from around the globe, selecting only those films that communicate diverse cultural perspectives through varying visual styles and narrative modes. These documentaries, feature-length films, and shorts seek to build a bridge between seemingly disparate backgrounds and traditions with thought-provoking commentary and enriching stories. This global festival ends with a rousing awards ceremony to honor standout films and snub the assistant key grip's contributions once again, for what must seem like the 8,000,000th time in history.

37 Bridge Street, #1307
Northampton,
Massachusetts
US

Originally formed in 1997 at the Peabody Conservatory, Vento Chiaro's all-female quintet of woodwind musicians captivates audiences from their resident perch on The Rivers School Conservatory's stage. Their sonic tapestry seamlessly weaves joyful flute with mischievous oboe as the deeper reeds of clarinet and bassoon invite the regal brass of French horn to frolic in the woodwind woods. On March 11, all five musicians kick off with contemporary American composer Eric Ewazen's Roaring Fork, which paints an aural picture of a Colorado landscape as rugged and beautiful as the stone woman who will one day drop all four jaws of Mount Rushmore. Conservatory artist-in-residence pianist Roberto Poli joins his colleagues for Francis Poulenc's Sextet, melding the airy notes of the quintet with the keyboard's undulating melodies. The concert culminates with avant-garde composer Elliott Carter's Woodwind Quintet, eschewing regular chord progression for surprising atonal devices and polyrhythmic construction.

333 Winter Street
Weston,
MA
US

Music director Lewis Buckley headed the U.S. Coast Guard band and conducted several prominent New England symphonies before landing at the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, which has been tickling eardrums with woodwind, brass, and percussion concerts since 1971. "An ACB Preview" celebrates the 75-member symphony's invitation to play at the 2012 annual conference of the Association of Concert Bands with a sampling of the program they'll perform for a national audience. The concert kicks off with Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, which recasts six English folk songs as lush, wind-powered melodies free of interrupting Robin Hoods. Principal oboist Elana Lorance takes charge in James Kessler's Hudson River Rhapsody and a new transcription of Gershwin's An American in Paris ends the evening with Gallic-via-Broadway aplomb. Starting at 1:30 p.m., a preconcert talk by maestro Buckley unveils some of the music's hidden features and lets uncertain ears nuzzle the score.

1605 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington,
MA
US