The 51st Marblehead Festival of the Arts Runs July 1 to 4

Marblehead Festival of the Arts 2016 LogoMARBLEHEADThe 51st Annual Marblehead Festival of Arts will be held Fri. July 1 through Mon. July 4, 2016. The days-long event offers art exhibits, performances, a logo contest, a culinary arts reception, a street festival, and so much more. With more than 400 volunteers, the community event has remained a regional favorite since 1963.


The public is welcome to view, peruse, and even purchase a wide range of works by talented local artists. For most exhibits, artists who reside in, work in, or are members of an art association in Essex County are invited to enter their original works for consideration in the Festival. Each exhibit is judged and most are juried by two or three judges with expertise in their respective fields. The judges first select works for showing during the Festival (juried); and then choose award recipients for Best of Show, Outstanding Work, and Honorable Mention (judged).


The Short Film Festival is screened at Crocker Park and Abbot Public Library with selected films eligible for cash and other prizes. Some go on to screenings at the Winter Film Festival in February of the following year as well. The film festival works are intended to show the many ways that film and video can be used as an art form to inform and express. Parents are reminded to to review the lineup to decide if a film is appropriate for their younger children.


Click here for a full schedule of events.


General Information


When? Fri. July 1 to Mon. July 4, 2016


Where? Various sites in Marblehead, MA


Cost? A majority of events are FREE


For more information, visit  


MFoA Banner Logo


The very first Marblehead Festival of Arts took place in 1963 at the Old Town House and Abbot Hall. There were adult art, youth art, sculpture, and arts and crafts exhibits; performances by The Fine Arts Woodwind Quintet of Boston, the Boston Ballet, Marblehead Little Theatre, and folksingers Jackie Washington, Lisa Kindred, and Mark Spolestra; Marblehead open houses and gardens; the Navy Band; and the USS Abbot in the harbor.


The idea came a year earlier when Patricia Goddard read an article in the Boston Globe about the Boston Arts Festival, directed by Nelson Aldrich. Goddard was the secretary for Peggy Stone, director of the Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, and she wanted to know why Marblehead didn’t have an arts festival. And so it began.


That first year, Peggy Stone and Pat Goddard were joined by Robert Triplett, Thelma Hewitt, Fred Goddard, Dave Garland, June Goldman, Monica Holm, James Lee, Thomas Lemons, Willy Nordwind, Jr., Beatrice Roffman, and Eliot Small. They formed the first board, aided by Nelson Aldrich as advisor, and Prescott Baston, Samuel Chamberlain, Arland Dirlam, and James Skinner as the advisory council. These 16 people started an organization that would spend the next 50 years exhibiting various forms of art to Marblehead residents and visitors from across the country and around the world. Although the festival began in 1963, it was dormant between 1965 and 1967.


Today, the festival encompasses some 400 people who come together as volunteers to create a days-long event comprising art exhibits, performances, a logo contest, a culinary arts reception, a street festival, and more. As it was in 1963, it’s a community event, with husbands, wives, children, neighbors and acquaintances drawn in to help with whatever needs to be done.


For more information, visit

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