Festivals in Southbridge

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A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.

347 Gilead St
Hebron,
CT
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.

1 Columbus Center
Springfield,
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.

274 Main St
Northampton,
Massachusetts
US

The pitter-patter of paws rushes over the grounds at Boston’s Dog Show Summer Classic, a BYO dog event where more than 1,500 exhibitors set up shop to showcase their canine attractions. Sponsored by two American Kennel Club Member Clubs, this year’s show couples purebred judging and performance events such as obedience and etiquette training with interactive pup activities inside the doggie fun zone. At noon, canines and overly involved owners soar into the air to catch disks in their jaws during a daily disk demonstration while spectators munch on snacks, put their cheeks in the hands of face painters, or pose with pets for caricaturists.

131 Emerald St.
Wrentham,
MA
US

It started in 1981 as "The Newport Film Society," and by 1983, it had become the area's very first international film festival. Today, the tradition continues under the moniker of Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival. Despite the change in name and audiences' evolving tastes in popcorn, the event's mission remains constant: to showcase features, documentaries, and shorts by independent filmmakers from across the globe. Ranked as one of the top 10 short film festivals and top 10 international film festivals in Chris Gore's The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, RIIFF is also among the few such events recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to qualify short films for Oscar gold.

268 Broadway
Providence,
RI
US

Fronted by British-Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu, Grammy-winning band Sade has seduced eardrums with a potent mélange of R & B, soul, and jazz for nearly 30 years. Performing songs from the new compilation album The Ultimate Collection, Sade will delight fans with greatest hits as well as a smattering of brand-new songs, melding soul-stroking vocals with eye-tickling dancing and onstage spectacle. Special guest John Legend will also throw his honeyed voice into the ring, soothing ears that have been damaged by the cacophony of city life and the screeching of prima-donna chalkboards.

1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville,
CT
US