There Is A Lot To like about events and festivals in Lowell. From neighborhood parties to the largest folk festival in the nation. Did you know that more than 2,500 events are happening every given year in Lowell?
As you make your plans for this year, make sure to plan for our 8 must-go-to events of the year. There are for sure plenty more events worth attending, but these 8 are unique and special to us. Remember, you have plenty of other days to go on vacation!
1. Winterfest (Feb. 24-25)
Lowell’s Winterfest will fuse the city’s warm, inviting culture and cold, New England winter weather. Downtown Lowell will transform into a fun, safe, frozen wonderland. Along with the returning and very popular Soup Bowl Competition, Microbrew Craft Beer Showcase and all yu can eat Chocolate Festival, there will be a wider range of food and drinks provided by Lowell eateries and breweries, including Phoenix Rising Pizza, Spiceventure, Tutto Bene Wine & Cheese Cellars, Merrimack Ales and Navigation Brewing Company.
JFK Plaza will convert into an ice skating rink, ensuring family fun. Beautiful lights on the canal will illuminate downtown, including Lucy Larcom Park, which will become the Magical Winter Garden. There will also be a heated, on-site restaurant, The Lodge, which will offer plenty of comfortable seating and serve as an oasis from the cold weather. Winterfest will also feature live music, performed by nationally-known U2 cover band, Joshua Tree, and the local band rising to stardom, Western Education. Those are only a couple of the bands playing!
Lowell’s Winterfest will be a great weekend for people of all ages, so be sure to mark the event on your calendar. To buy tickets and to learn more about Winterfest, please visit www.lowellwinterfest.com. Also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LowellWinterFest/.
2. Beards & Brews (March 11)
Beards and brews. It does not get much better than that. The Red Antler Apothecary, located in Mill No. 5, and Made in Lowell are partnering to host Beards & Brews -- which is exactly what its name describes -- for its third year. There is going to be plenty of beer – provided by breweries such as Navigation Brewing Company, Merrimack Ales, St. Killians and Wachusett, just to name a few – along with a grand amount of facial hair. Categories for best beard, mustache, and whiskerinas are all featured in the friendly competition.
There is also going to be plenty of food, including vending by Mill City Cheesemongers and Cuesta’s Fiestas. It is not a true shindig without music, so bands including Sunday Mourning will perform. It is greatly urged to purchase tickets early.
To learn more about Beards & Brews and to purchase tickets, please visitwww.madeinlowell.org/beards-brews. Go buy some beard oil too! To let them know you are interested in attending, please visit their Facebook event page atwww.facebook.com/events/1616939908600424/.
3. Lowell Summer Music Series (summer)
The Lowell Summer Music Series is an annual series of concerts at Boarding House Park. The concerts last throughout the summer, ensuring there is a time when you can make it! Amazing talent drops by Boarding House Park at 40 French St. and there is also plenty of amazing food with convenient parking nearby. Tickets can be purchased at the event, but children 12 and under are free!
More information is being updated as time moves along, so be sure to check out their website at www.lowellsummermusic.org and their Facebook at www.facebook.com/LowellSummerMusic to check out past performances and to learn about this year’s performers when information is available.
4. Lowell Folk Festival (July 28-30)
The Lowell Folk Festival is an annual event that the city of Lowell is known for. Thousands of people attend the event every year. 2017’s Folk Festival will be the 31st installment of the event and will be a showcase of the city’s diverse populations and their traditional music. Downtown Lowell is transformed into a mini world as cultures from across the Earth are represented through song, dance and food.
Five stages across Downtown Lowell will be the areas of performance, and attendees can either grab a blanket and relax near one stage, or see what every stage has to offer.
The Lowell Folk Festival is the longest-running, free folk festival in the country! To learn more about the Folk Festival, please visit their website at www.lowellfolkfestival.org. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LowellFolkFestival/.
5. Southeast Asian Water Festival (Aug. 19)
Lowell has one of the highest populations of Southeast Asians outside of Southeast Asia, and they have been an integral part of the Lowell community. Their rich culture has contributed greatly to making Lowell as historic and diverse a city as it is.
Thousands of people both local and abroad come to Lowell to experience the Southeast Asian Water Festival, which is dedicated, as their website puts it, “to the preservation, protection and sharing of the cultural heritages of the Southeast Asian Americans of Greater Lowell, Massachusetts area.”
The festival began in 1997 as a celebration of Lowell’s Khmer population, but by 2002 the festival expanded to also incorporate the Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian communities. To find out more about the Southeast Asian Water Festival, please visit their website at www.lowellwaterfestival.com. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LSEAWF/.
6. Lowell Art & Makers Festival (Sep. 16-17)
The Art & Makers Festival is a brand-new festival coming to Market Street in Downtown Lowell. The festival will be a two-day celebration of art in a city known for its culture. Over 60 tents will showcase creativity from local artists, showing why Lowell is such a cool city. There will also be food, music and stage and street performers.
The festival’s website features a link to apply to be a part of the festival as an artist, performer, business sponsor, and more. To apply now and to learn more about the Art & Makers Festival, please visit www.cultureiscool.org/lamf-overview. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LowellArtMakerFest/.
7. Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race (Sep. 23)
The Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race is a wacky sporting event, and the only one of its kind in New England. The race features teams going head-to-head in machines-mixed-with-art, or as the event’s website puts it, “all-terrain, human-powered vehicles with an art twist.” The event is free and fun for all ages, and a great portion of Lowell will be part of the race track.
Spectators and attendees will have the opportunity to chat with teams beginning at 9 a.m. and can see the awesome kinetic sculptures up close. The race itself will begin at 11 a.m. at Market St., take a dramatic path through the city, and finish at Market St. at around 4 p.m. It is encouraged to bring smiles, wear costumes, and to prepare for a very fun day of live music, letting loose, and plenty of food. See how the worlds of STEM and art can blend together to create something truly spectacular!
To learn more about the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race, please visit their website at www.lowellkinetic.com. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LowellKinetic/.
8. City of Lights (Nov. 25)
The City of Lights Parade is an annual celebration that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The entire day is full of family-friendly fun to ring in the zeitgeist of the holiday season. Lowell is transformed into a holiday wonderland with plenty of food, entertainment, winter mascots, activities, and free transportation between destinations.
The parade itself is a spectacular, bright and fun way to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. More information will be made available as time passes, so be sure to check out www.likelowell.com for more information about the event and also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LowellCityofLightsParade/.