This Week’s Distractions: June 28 to July 4

By Mary Kate DePamphilis

NORTH OF BOSTON – This Week’s Distractions make me proud—and a maybe a little sentimental about NoBo.  There are so many amazing things going on here, especially this weekend.  Many of the events going on are celebrating diversity and culture in our region, our state, and in our country.  The groundbreaking Inaugural Pride Event will break barriers and raise awareness in NoBo; the World Folk Festival will celebrate languages, music, and food from many different ethnicities.  The St. Peter’s Fiesta will carry on tradition of the area’s rich Italian history and heritage. And of course, we will all honor our great country on the 4th of July with celebrations that are a reminder, that only in the USA, could all these wonderful people, cultures, and ideas come together and have one absolutely fabulous time.


St. Peter’s Fiesta

As of yesterday, the St. Peter’s Fiesta has already kicked off its five days of fun and shenanigans.  Have you ever watched grown, shirtless men trying to walk along a 45-foot greasy pole to capture a flag?  Well here’s your chance.   It’s an amusing sight, watching the different approaches to the feat—some choose to run as quickly as possible gaining their momentum, while others step slowly trying to maintain balance.  9 times out of 10 it ends in a hilarious plunge into the ocean.  The Greasy Pole contest takes place at Pavilion Beach immediately following the Seine boat races.  The Friday and Saturday contests are for those lucky enough to get their names on the select list of walkers. The Sunday walk is composed of only of the previous day’s winner, past champions and protégés.

But that’s not all the festival has to offer!  Every night features musical entertainment at St. Peter’s square.  There are boat races, a 5k road race, children’s games, a formal procession parade and blessings of the feet, and so much more. This event has long attracted visitors from all over the country. It always takes place on the weekend closest to the Feast Day of St. Peter, June 29th and the event is sponsored by the Italian-American fishing community of Gloucester.

Starting at the turn of the century many Italian families from Sicily settled in Gloucester. Having earned their livelihood as fishermen in the old country, they were naturally attracted to this famous fishing port.  As is usually the case, they continued many of the customs they had practiced in the old country. The most important of these is paying homage to St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, bringing us to the festival that is celebrated today.

One thing I can say is that these crazy fisherman and Italians know how to party and have a good time!  The atmosphere in Gloucester for these five days is something to behold and be a part of.  If the weather’s good, all the more reason to celebrate St. Peter by the ocean with some greasy pole walkers.

When?  Today thru Sunday, July 1st

Where?  Downtown Gloucester

Cost?  FREE

For a full list of scheduled events, visit their website by clicking here!


All-American Vines Wine Tasting

The Wine ConneXtion will be showing their patriotism at a complimentary tasting featuring wines hailing across America—everywhere from the Red Wood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters.  You are invited to sip on home-grown wines and discover what American grapes are made of. You will gain a genuine understanding of the term “melting pot” through the diverse and delicious wines you will taste from all over the land of the free.  You will also most likely find some great summer wines for you to bring along to your 4th of BBQ…always appropriate (and almost necessary) as a hostess gift!

The Wine ConneXtion offers customers a unique and innovative wine-purchasing experience.  The store offers excellent wines at exceptional prices by providing the best wines in their categories with a no-fuss environment. With features like the Tasting Station, encouraging customers to taste and learn about the distinguishing features of wine before buying, the store marries innovative store design and technology with a long tradition of knowledge and experience.

When?  Saturday, June 30th, 2012, 1:00PM-5:00PM

Where?  The Wine ConneXtion, 117 Main Street in North Andover, MA

Cost?  Tasting is complimentary; Must be 21+


Inaugural North Shore Pride Celebration

This weekend marks an exciting—and frankly historic event in NoBo.  Pride is finally coming to the North Shore as over 40 different organizations will march in a parade to advocate for LGBT equality, celebrate sexual identity and develop stronger relationships within the North Shore gay community.

“Unity in our community” is the fitting tagline for North Shore Pride, Inc. The organization is responsible for the planning and execution of Pride, and will work to educate residents through advocacy for LGBT persons living in the area.  Salem has steadily been becoming known as a hub for the LGBT community on the North Shore, but plenty of other NoBo towns may still be in the dark about the group’s struggles.  This event is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness, celebrate diversity, and have a blast!  One of the more interesting aspects of North Shore Pride is the idea of a “host city”. This year, Salem is the location for the event, but the organization plans to host it elsewhere next year, making sure that all cities and towns in NoBo become educated and get in on the fun.

The parade starts at noon in front of the US Post Office on Margin Street, ending up at Salem Commons.  The grand marshal of the parade will be local reporter, Randy Price, of WCVB.  Sports writer Stephen Buckley from the Boston Herald will also be in attendance.  I’m sure there will be some other surprises along the way, too!

Following the parade, guests can continue the party in the Common at the Pride Festival.  Entertainers will perform on the stage from 1-5 pm and over 40 vendors will be selling and offering merchandise and food.  The historic Hawthorne Hotel, located directly next to the Commons, will be hosting the official North Shore Pride after-party, which begins at 5:30 pm. A cash bar for attendees 21 and older will be available, but all ages are welcome. Entry to the party is free for all, how nice is that?!

As a frequenter of the Boston Pride event, I can say from personal experience that Pride events are some of the best of the year.  It is an opportunity to put differences aside, LGBT or not.  Somehow the essence and emotions of the day run deeper than that.  It makes one realize that all differences should be celebrated.  Why not take a moment to get to know someone a little different from you?  There is so much to learn out there from people and places and all of us can always benefit from a new friend.  Not only that, but the costumes and party atmosphere are to die for!  It’s a guaranteed great time.  You will walk away with a freshly opened mind, lessons learned, new friends, fun memories, and of course Mardi Gras beads!  I couldn’t be happier or prouder that my home—the North Shore has brought us Pride.  Enjoy!

When?  Saturday, June 30, 10 a.m. kicking off with an interfaith church service on the Common

Where?  Downtown Salem

Cost?  FREE

Read our post for more information or visit the North Shore Pride Inc. website.


World Folk Festival

As Pride parties on, diversity will be celebrated in yet another part of NoBo.  The 4th annual World Folk Festival will be held this weekend as well.  There will be exciting music highlighting the diversity of the great city of Lynn and all its amazing ethnic groups.  Of course there will dancing, too!  The festival will includes tastes of ethnic food, demonstrations of “cricket” and family fun activities like face-painting.  This year is estimated to be the event’s biggest turnout yet.

The mission of the festival is to educate about Lynners who speak more than 40 languages, and that cultural diversity is an asset and economic generator for our community. Our strength is our diversity, threads that woven together add vigor and beauty to our culture.  Sounds like another proud day and great event in NoBo.

When?  Saturday, June 30th, 12-8pm.

Where?  Lynn Heritage State Park, 155 Lynnway, Lynn

Cost? FREE


4th of July Celebrations-NoBo Style

Many NoBo towns will be hosting fireworks this weekend and into next week and a full list will debut on NoBo tomorrow, however, there are a few towns North of Boston that really outdo themselves for the birthday of America we have to tell you about now!  These towns engage in one or multiple day patriotic events with lots of family fun activities, ending in—of course a dazzling fireworks display of their own:

1. Salem Celebrates the 4th

The city of Salem kicks of their day with a reading of the Declaration of Independence.  The city is particularly fitting for an event like this as it holds the first National Historic Site in the National Park System, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, which consists of nine acres of waterfront land and dozen historic structures.  Structures include the Custom House, where famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked; and, Derby Wharf, which was used by America’s first millionaire Elias Hasket Derby.   Historic Salem harbor with its hundreds of boats moored and the replica of a 1700’s sailing vessel, the Friendship, serving as a backdrop, is the perfect Shistoric spot for Independence Day.

Enjoy kids’ activities, an opening ceremony with a military flyover, a “POPS” style concert, and of course fireworks!  For more information on timing and events, visit

2. Cape Ann Independence Day Celebration

Gloucester, Rockport, and Manchester also really know how to do the 4th of July right. Parades and concerts and bon fires, oh my!  Massachusetts’ “other Cape” is definitely a great spot to celebrate, right on our region’s most beautiful beaches and shores.  The Gloucester Horribles Parade is known as the most infamous around.  The term refers to a parade of people wearing comic and grotesque costumes.  It was a traditional feature of 4th of July parades in parts of the US in the nineteenth century, and “Horribles Parades” continue to be part of the Independence Day celebration in several New England communities, like Gloucester!  Leave it to NoBo to “keep it classy.”  Of course there will be fantastic fireworks as well!  For a full listing of events, please log on for more details.

3. Danvers Family Festival 2012

This NoBo festival is a big deal.  It has already been going on for a couple of weeks now, and the residents of Danvers wait all year for this event. It’s a non-stop party with cook-outs at virtually every house, every night!  From parades to movie nights, from concert to picnics, from talent shows to scavenger hunts, there is certainly something for everyone and the kids will enjoy it all.  No one in the family will be bored this “holiday season”.

As a resident of Danvers for a year and half now, I can honestly say that this community really feels like the All-American suburban family town.  So many houses have pools and neighbors say “hi” while cutting the lawn.  The town center has a little bit of everything, new and old.  And when it comes to cook-outs (and illegal fireworks!), nobody really does it better.  If there was ever something Danvers could be #1 at in NoBo, it would be family fun during the months of June and July!  Check out the huge listing of events at the Official Danvers Family Festival website, and pick one or more of the great events to attend.  Don’t forget the fireworks on the 3rd!


Get the Best Local Distractions
Subscribe to our Daily Distraction e-mail to read our latest cover story, product spotlight, or restaurant review from across the North of Boston region!
Pretty Sweet Stuff
Want to learn how you can #GoLocal across the North of Boston region? Sign up for our Daily Distraction email to read our latest & favorite features!
Kane's Donuts - Saugus, MA
Thank You!
For Signing Up!