This Week’s Distractions: July 19 to 25

By Mary Kate DePamphilis

The crazy heat wave has finally passed in NoBo, so this weekend has perfect weather forecasted to get out and enjoy some of these Distractions.   There are some interesting happenings going on around the region, a couple of which are FREE!  Whatever your taste, as usual, there is something for everyone.  So please get out, enjoy, and support these great, local events.


Abbadia Mare Renaissance Festival

Step back in time to the Renaissance era and enjoy yourself at this festival in Gloucester this weekend.  There will be live music, magic, comedy, knights, storytelling, and of course—human chess!  Many different vendors will be selling special crafts and goods.  There will be jewelry, soaps, pottery, toys, musical instruments, and so many more unique items.

As I have mentioned in recent Distractions, The Hammond Castle is such a cool place to visit in NoBo.  The architecture of the castle as well as the furniture and the artifacts inside really transport you to another time and place—perhaps Spain or Italy during the ancient Roman times.  So this is seemingly the perfect location for this event.  John Hayes Hammond, Jr. built the castle between 1926 and 1929 and filled it with design ideas and relics he had found while traveling the world.

Parking can be found at Stage Fort Park and it will cost $15. Free shuttles will run to the Castle throughout the day. Tours of the castle will also be available for those interested.  Huzzah!

When?  Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd, 11am-5pm.

Where?  Hammond Castle, 80 Hesperus Avenue, Gloucester

Cost?  Adults $15, Children 5-15 $10, Children 4 and under FREE

A complete schedule of performers and acts can be found here.


Art Grows Here

This is the last weekend to catch this very cool art tour in Hamilton and Wenham.  The group’s mission is to engage and inspire the community.  Back by popular demand, the second annual “Art Grows Here” self-guided neighborhood tour of art installations by area artists has expanded this year to include poetry, dance and theater. The tour can be viewed by foot, bike or car.  The map is available locally at the Wenham Museum, 132 Main Street, Wenham.

Art Grows Here is a group of artists who began meeting at each other’s homes in 2009 with a desire to talk about art, share our experiences with the creative process and find support from each other. They found they had a common dream to see and show art, in all its forms, in a way that didn’t exist in the communities of Hamilton and Wenham.  Art Grows Here is the result of our collaboration.  The group is funded with the support from the Hamilton-Wenham Cultural Council and Hamilton-Wenham Rotary Club.  What a cool way to spend an afternoon in NoBo, check it out!

When?  Now through Sunday July 22nd

Where?  Throughout the towns of Hamilton and Wenham, for more information, visit their Facebook page.

Cost? FREE


Downtown Gloucester Block Party

If you are looking for the perfect summer event to take the family, why not attend a block party—the kind we used to have all the time back in the day?!  The local Gloucester YMCA will be running “Kids Town” at the block party which will be located between Pleasant St. & Hancock St.  There will be balloons, face painting, giant chess and more.

This event is truly one of those times where the kids can have as much fun as the adults are.  Aside from the Kids Town, there will be outdoor dining, shopping until 11pm, five stages of music, and street performers.  Many local restaurants will be offering al fresco dining so you can enjoy the street action from your table.  Or bring your own chair to plop down anywhere and feel free to have an impromptu dance party just about anywhere downtown!  The entertainment lineup includes mostly local acts and a few from out-of-town. They will begin performing on five stages starting at 6 pm.

Park for FREE at the St. Peter’s Square or the vacant lot past the Gloucester House Restaurant, both on Rogers Street.  Shop, Dine, Dance!

When?  Saturday, July 21st 5-11pm.

Where?  Downtown Gloucester

Cost?  FREE

For a full schedule of performances, please log on to the Glosta Block Party website for more information.


Solas: Shamrock City

As part of the Rockport Summer Concert Series, The Shalin Liu Performace Center will present Solas: Shamrock City this weekend.  Solas is an Irish-American band that “is grounded in the fast-fingered jigs and reels of Irish tradition, and plays with unbridled vitality” (New York Times).  Known for integrating country sounds into their music, they’ll perform selections from their latest CD, Shamrock City, which is inspired by the history of a mining community in Butte, Montana.

If you haven’t seen a concert yet at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, you really should go before the summer is out.  Overlooking the rocky Atlantic coast, the venue is equipped with huge windows and breathtaking views while you enjoy the tunes.  Watch the colors in the sky as the sun begins to set and the music heats up!

When?  Sunday, July 22nd, 5:30pm.

Where?  Shalin Liu Performance Center, 37 Main Street, Rockport

Cost?  Tickets prices are $31, $41, and $52 depending on seating preference.  To purchase tickets, log on here.


Celtic Music Sail

Instead of Christmas in July, it seems as though St. Patrick’s Day in July is making its appearance judging by this Distraction and the last one.  Michael O’Leary and friends, a variety of Celtic musicians and singers, will be hosting a 2 ½ hour cruise on the Schooner Lannon to watch the sunset.  Sail with fiddles, pipes, guitars and whistles and lots of Irish tunes performed onboard.

The Schooner Thomas E. Lannon was built in 1997 in Essex, MA. Berthed at historic Seven Seas Wharf at the Gloucester House Restaurant, the Lannon offers two-hour sails and private charters from mid-May through mid-October.  Go for a sail and imagine what it was like to sail on a fishing schooner out of Gloucester a hundred years ago.  This particular Celtic cruise is said to undoubtedly be a highlight of your summer season!  What a fun way to bring the weekend to a close.

When?  Sunday, July 22nd, 6pm.

Where?  The Schooner Thomas E. Lannon, Seven Seas Wharf at the Gloucester House Restaurant, 63 rear Rogers Street (Route 127), Gloucester

Cost? $50 Adults, $45 Seniors, $37.50 Kids.  Tickets for these sails usually sell out, so reserve your space here today!


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