Boston hosts numerous events annually and some one-off events. In the Boston annual event calendar, there a some very special events that are commemorated fervently by Bostonians. This article explores the main events that are commemorated annually in Boston.
- L Street Brownies Swim
- Truck Day
- Boston Science Fiction Film Festival
- St. Patricks Day Parade
- Boston Marathon
- Patriots Day Parade
- Greek Independence Parade
- Walk For Hunger
- Haitian Parade
- June Day Parade-AHAC Change Of Command Ceremony
- Dorchester Parade
- Boston Pride Day
- Bunker Hill Parade
- US Independence Day Parade
- Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
- Puerto Rican Parade
- Columbia Threadneedle Investments Boston Triathlon
- Boston Caribbean Carnival
- St. Anthony’s Feast
- Boston Freedom Rally
- Columbus Day Parade
- Arlington International Film Festival
- Head Of The Charles Regatta
- Build Boston
- First Night
L Street Brownies SwimWith over a 100 years of rich history, the L Street Brownies is a traditional event that you must take in even when you are passing through Boston. The Brownies has the distinction of being the oldest ‘polar bear’ club in the U.S. This club are proponents of fun, health and friendship. Every year, members and non-members take the plunge into the icy cold water in the Boston Harbor. It kicks of every year on the 1st of January at 8.15 a.m. You must get there by 9.30 a.m. or risk getting locked. When you arrive there, you must come suited up because the locker rooms will be inaccessible to all. Come with water shoes just to be safe and protect your feet from the jagged rocks and shells at the shore. The participants must 16 years and above. No alcohol or pets are allowed near the precincts of the swim. The lifeguard is always on duty to make sure that everyone participating is safe.
Truck DayIf you are Boston Red Sox fan, then this day should be marked on your calendar as you embark on preparing for game season, just like the pros do. It starts around the first week of February and commemorates the movement of the club’s equipment truck from Boston to the Red Sox’s spring training camp in Florida. It is a sacrosanct event for Red Sox fans and fanatics. You can follow the truck as it makes its way to through Kenmore Square and out of Boston. There is a lot of pomp and color at this event and if you have a camera, you can capture sights of tremendous emotion.
Boston Science Fiction Film FestivalMarking its 44th year in 2019, The Boston Science-Fiction Film Festival holds the title of the oldest genre film festival in America to date. It features a 10-day festival where you get to see over 100 sci-fi short films and features from all over the globe. All these events finally finish with an all-day, all-night marathon, christened the ‘Thon’ which kicks off at 12 p.m. on Sunday of the President’s Day weekend until the following 12 p.m. This festival takes place every February and attracts numerous people from far and wide. This film festival attracts submissions from all over the world with calls for submissions starting from August and culminate at the end of January. You can catch the awards with the trophy being awarded to winners in the various categories being given the Gort trophy, modelled after the robot from the movie, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.
St. Patricks Day ParadeHeld every year on 17 March, Saint Patrick’s Day is held in commemoration of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It started was officially recognized by the church in the 17th Century and is observed by Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox and Lutherans. In Boston, this holiday is held annually as a commemoration of Irish heritage. The theme color of this momentous occasion is green and it features numerous parades and festivals. While you are in Boston during St. Patrick’s Day, you have a chance to listen to the critically acclaimed Dropkick Murphy’s and other acts at the various concerts. If music is not your thing, then you should make your way to one of the many numerous Irish pubs in the area and get your Guinness.
Get caught up in the festivities by catching up the parade which takes place the Sunday prior to the St. Patrick’s Day. It attracts very large crowds numbering over a million people plus. As was mentioned above, it is a day that is also dedicated to promoting and celebrating Irish heritage as showcased by the numerous floats in the procession and people dressed in different garbs.
Boston MarathonThis event is held annually in several cities in Massachusetts with Boston holding the huge part of it. As per tradition, this race is perennially held during Patriots Day which on every third Monday in April. The Boston Marathon was started in 1897 and it drew its influence from the successful 1896 Olympics and it holds the title of the ‘oldest marathon’ on the planet. This fact has only added to its already soaring popularity ensuring that is among the top six most followed marathons in the world currently. Runners participating in this marathon first start their race from Hopkinton and make their way to the finishing tape in Copley Square.
Ever since its establishment, this marathon has been organized by the Boston Athletic Association, B.A.A and managed by DMSE Sports Inc for 31 years now. It attracts both professional and amateur runners the world over who crave a chance to prove themselves at the world stage and also get the coveted huge money prizes that come with victory. The train puts one and all to the test with sloppy terrain and unpredictable weather being the arbiters of ones victory.
In addition to attracting numerous participants, it attracts over 300, 000 spectators who cheer on the runners as they make their way through the course. This marathon initially started with 15 participants and the number has steadily grown, with averages of over 31, 000 participants as of 2015. During the Centennial Celebration of the 1996, this marathon attracted the largest marathon crowd to date, 38,708 entrants.
For one to participate in this marathon, they must be 18 years old and above. Anyone from any corner of the globe can compete in it provided they adhere to the strict rules set by the B.A.A. To be allowed entry if you are not a U.S. citizen, then you must compete and finish a marathon set in your country by an athletics governing body that must be affiliated with the I.A.A.F before the date of the desired Boston marathon.
Although originally held on Patriot’s Day, it was moved to the third Monday of April as of 1969. Locals nicknamed that Monday as ‘Marathon Monday’.
Patriots Day ParadePatriots Day was created to commemorate the battles fought in 1775 during the American Revolution on April 19. However, in 1969 till to now, it was celebrated on every third Monday in April creating a three-day weekend. During this holiday, a series of parades are held and you can enjoy the various attractions on show like the realistic reenactments of the battles. These reenactments take place in Lexington Green from 6.00 a.m. If you want to catch them at Old North Bridge, make your way there at precisely 9.00 a.m. These reenactments feature actors mounted on horseback using the same routes that Paul Revere and William Dawes used to warn the people of the invasion. They still do that till today which makes for an interesting spectacle. In addition to the Patriots Day parade, there was the Boston Marathon that was run on this day from 1897 to 1969. The significance of the marathon is a way of juxtaposing Athenians at the Battle of Marathon with American struggles during the American Revolution.
Greek Independence ParadeHeld every April 22, the Annual Boston Greek Independence Day Parade commemorates the march of Greek’s independence that kicked off in March 25th, 1821. It starts from Boylston Street and ends at Boston Common. At the venue where the march culminates, there are traditional dancing troupes and Greek food vendors. Make plans this April and join the parade.
Walk For HungerIf you are looking to make a difference in a local’s life while you stay in Massachusetts, then you should make your way to the Walk for Hunger event. Sponsored by Project Bread, this event is the oldest pledge walk in the US that culminates in a huge one-day fundraiser. With food insecurity being a grim reality for many Massachusetts, natives, this initiative goes a long way in helping address the hunger issue once and for all.
Haitian ParadeThe precursor to the Haitian Heritage Month and Flag Day, this parade is there to commemorate the Haitian community and heightening the awareness of the community while fostering unity and educating Haitian youths about their rights and instilling in them crucial information about their history. If you are in Boston on the third Sunday of May, please make your way to the Haitian Parade in solidarity with the Haitian community.
June Day Parade-AHAC Change Of Command CeremonyHeld every first Monday of June, this event commemorates the brave men and women in command positions in the Boston Common. It is an event filled with a lot of pomp and circumstance attracting participants from various branches of the military in Boston. If you want to get in on the action, you should catch the procession at Faneuil Hall as it snakes its way to Boston Common. It was started in 1638.
Dorchester ParadeOn the first Sunday of June, the Dorchester parade starts from Lower Mills and snakes its way through Dorchester Avenue and ends at Savin Hill. It was created to celebrate the diverse cultures in the community while still fostering unity. It is a great way to pass that Sunday when you are looking for somewhere interesting to be.
Boston Pride DayAs the highlight of Pride Week, the Boston Pride Day celebrates LGBTQ community with the processions starting from Boylston Street weaving through the streets before finally ending at City Hall Plaza. Once you get to the end, there is a lot of food, drinks and entertainment. It is a great way of showing support to the LGBTQ community as they strive for their fight for equality.
Bunker Hill ParadeThe Battle of Bunker Hill was the turning point of the American Revolution and is held in high esteem with the Bunker Hill Day Parade in Boston. It is held every second Sunday in June and starts off at Vine Street and culminates at the Charlestown Militia Training field. This parade is a solemn day where people visit the Bunker Hill Museum and other historic sides in respect.
US Independence Day ParadeThis event is Boston’s way of commemorating US’s Independence Day. The processions starts from 9.00 a.m. from City Hall Plaza snaking through the city streets ending at Granary Burying Ground. Afterwards, wreaths are laid at the Granary Burying Ground with the reading of the Declaration of Independence at Old State House. This meticulous attention to detail during the event makes it among the standout Independence Day events in the U.S.
Boston Pops Fireworks SpectacularThis one of the U.S. largest 4th of July fireworks events and has very huge outside concerts. Attracting over 400,000 people, you will not have any shortage of people to network with. The best part about this event is that it is free and you get to see works of art light up the sky in the form of fireworks.
Puerto Rican ParadeThe event attracts people from different backgrounds and is a celebration of Puerto Rican culture and the community. If you are looking to meet very interesting people and networks or just have a good time on the last Sunday of July, then this is the place to be.
The festival concludes with the Puerto Rican Parade. In this parade, spectators get to see the Puerto Rican culture on display through the various floats dancing troupes’ singers and performers.
This event attracts over 100,000 participants from Boston and the world over. Apart from the performances, the event has kiosks where face painting, cooking technique and gardening techniques, just to mention a few things take place.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments Boston Triathlon
Boston Caribbean CarnivalCarnival festivals are riddled with a lot of colors and the Caribbean Carnival is as colorful as they come. It showcases the culture and traditions from Trinidad. The parade snakes its way down to Warren Street and is a great way of supporting a culture that is different from yours.
St. Anthony’s FeastEver since 1919, St. Anthony’s feast had grown in popularity and is reputed to be the hugest Italian religious festival in New England. It is held on the last Sunday of August. To enjoy this event, you have to make your way to Endicott, North Margin and Thatcher streets. It is a free event and open to all ages. If you are feeling sufficiently philanthropic, then you can donate to the Chapel of St. Anthony and St. Lucy. The event starts at 12 p.m. and lasts for over 10 hours. Interesting fact about this incredible event is that it has accumulated a couple of accolades over the year with the most recent being the 2013 ‘Best Festival’ by Boston A-List.
Boston Freedom RallyHeld every third Saturday of September, the Boston Freedom Rally commemorates the unceasing demand for Marijuana reform. It is touted as the second largest gathering of the same in the U.S. This event started in 1989 has continued to attract large crowds from the all the reaches of Boston and beyond. It is organized by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition. During this event, you will experience different speakers and companies informing the audience about the marijuana and offering networking opportunities. The event also has a lot of acts to entertain the audience as they continue to push for marijuana reform.
Columbus Day ParadeThis parade is commemorated to celebrate different events. It commemorates Boston’s Italian heritage, the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus and the brave soldiers in Boston. It features numerous attractions like marching bands and a people donned in various military colonial garbs. Also, the floats in the parades are expertly created and very attractive. These parades take place the Sunday before the actual Columbus Day. Since 1937, they have been held in the East Boston and North End of Boston. You can watch this parade at City Hall Plaza every odd year and Suffolk Downs parking lot every even year. As the procession makes its way down the streets, you can take up strategic points along Congress Street right before State Street.
Arlington International Film FestivalAs a testament to Boston cosmopolitan existence, the Arlington International Film Festival is an event you must visit. It offers spectators a chance to experience film entries from Boston and beyond. It is an even designed to celebrate the diverse cultures while educating people about them. According to its website, the film festival is geared towards also creating more understanding about Boston and celebrating those things that unite all Bostonians regardless of race and cultural background. It is one of the many stops that aspiring filmmakers should stop by so that they can get a feel for what it is like to work in the industry.
Head Of The Charles RegattaAttracting over ten thousand athletes from all over the US and the world, this event is touted as the second largest rowing event on the planet. It is held every third weekend of October on the Charles River. It also attracts over 300, 000 spectators who use various vantage points on order to get a clear view of the races as they take place. This event started in 1964 and continues to offer exciting moment on the water. If you are interested in catching races on this river, you should make your way to the Elliot Bridge or the many hotels that overlook the Charles River.
Build BostonWant to see some of the best entrepreneurial minds in Boston at work? Well, Build Boston is an event that you must attend to make this happen. It is held every April. Designed to promote the different businesses created by Boston youth, this even offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the kind of business they have and buy the products they have created. BUILD is an organization that strives to spark the entrepreneurial fire of the youth and stoke it so that they can be the best versions of themselves.
First NightEvery New Year’s Eve you have a chance to join in this large scale festivity. The best part is that this event is free to one and all. It kicks off at noon every December 31st at Copley Square. There are plenty of live performances not only in Copley Square but also the Prudential Center and Copley. Every year there are new acts and you are guaranteed great music before the big party begins. As the performances go into the afternoon and evening, ice sculptures are lit up and there is a large parade that culminates at the Boston Common. There you will get to see one of the many fireworks shows. All the while this happens, there will be plenty of music as people countdown the New Year. It is an event that is open to one and all, adults and children.
If you are new to Boston or are just passing through, why not make your way to these events. You are guaranteed to have a great time. The company is pleasant and you will have a chance to make new friends during your stay, no matter how long or brief, in Boston.