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Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod EventsIn addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.

By Suzanne Lemon

When spring is in the air and the chilly cape warms up a bit, the event calendar bursts into action. In early May, Brewster in Bloom pays tribute to its profusion of tulips, daffodils and cherry blossoms with an antiques market, an old-fashioned ice cream social, a chowder contest and a parade. East Sandwich's Herb Festival also ushers in the season at the Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen in mid-May. After you've strolled the garden paths, watch a demonstration about using herbs or indulge in a delicious lunch seasoned with them.

With summer temperatures hovering in the pleasurable 70s during the day, it's a great time to be out and about, and Provincetown delivers. In mid-June, the town shows its appreciation for arts and culture with the Provincetown International Film Festival . At this event honoring independent filmmakers, you can mingle with directors, producers and other movie buffs at an opening night party and daily breakfasts. Late June brings the annual Blessing of the Fleet at the Provincetown Portuguese Festival , which celebrates the ocean and those who make their livelihood from it. Immerse yourself in the area's seafaring heritage by climbing aboard a whale-watch vessel, learning water-rescue techniques and filling your plate at the clam feed. Naturally, Portuguese food and wine are part of the mix.

Eastham Windmill Weekend is a charming affair on the weekend following Labor Day. As you might guess, the local gristmill is the place for a sand castle competition, tricycle races, square dancing and guided tours.

If you're on the cape in late September, be sure to catch Scallop Fest , which takes place at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds in East Falmouth. The savory mollusks are definitely on the menu, along with lobster rolls and clam chowder. If seafood isn't your thing, the Fest tent also offers an alternative chicken dinner, or you can grab a burger or hot dog on the way to the midway rides, arts and crafts show, home expo and live entertainment.

The crisp nip of fall brings Pumpkin Day at Bourne Farm in Falmouth in early October. This family-oriented event entices kids with face painting, a pumpkin patch and pony rides, while adults can work off yummy bake-sale goodies with a ride in a kayak or paddleboat. Throughout October, Fall for the Arts is a family-friendly festival in South Wellfleet showcasing local art and culture and includes live music, theater, museums and historical site open houses. There also are readings and lectures, art activities for children, guided art and heritage walks, plein air (outdoor) painters and art exhibitions.

The holiday season kicks off in late November with the Lighting of the Provincetown Pilgrim Monument atop High Pole Hill. Strung with thousands of bulbs, the 252-foot-high granite memorial becomes a towering Christmas tree—a sight to see as it glows above Provincetown Harbor. The quaint New England Falmouth Village hosts its Holidays-by-the Sea Weekend in early December. Happenings include caroling and hot chocolate at Nobska Lighthouse, Santa's arrival by boat, a Christmas parade and the annual lighting of the village green. Kris Kringle pays another visit aboard a lobster trawler at the Hyannis Harbor Lighting and Boat Parade in early December. Boats decked out in twinkling strands glide across the water, while visitors on land can tour the holiday decorations of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum and historic Main Street residences. Many of the cape's 15 towns offer their own seasonal strolls.

See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.

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Cape Cod, MA

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