Hot Tickets Spring/Summer

  • Visit North Central

The Sweetest Time

March-is-Maple-SeasonCold nights, warm days — it’s a magical combination that gets the sap flowing in maple trees throughout the region.

March is maple season here, and a visit to a local sugar shack, where clear maple sap is boiled to create sweet, dark, delicious syrup, should definitely be on your agenda. It’san age-old process: Collect sap, boil it down, and enjoy! As your travel the region’s back roads, you’re likely to see buckets hanging on trees, or miles of plastic tubing snaking through the woods to bring the sap to the sugarhouse.

Hollis Hills Farm on Marshall Road in Fitchburg is the largest maple producer in eastern Massachusetts, producing around 80,000 gallons of syrup each spring! The sugarhouse is open on weekends; call ahead or check their facebook page for a schedule. On March weekends, Hollis Hills serves up a great pancake breakfast, and you can watch the syrup being made — and get a taste of the sticky sweetness, poured over snow!

Comic-ReliefComic Relief

Pow! Zap! Boom! The pages of your favorite comic books will come to life on August 19 when the Plastic City Comic Con arrives at the Game On Fitchburg Sports & Performance Center, located off Route 2A in West Fitchburg.

Meet writers like Will Murray, Joe St. Pierre, and Rich Woodall. Chat with vendors. Have a photo taken with your heroes! Bring the family down and share your love of comic books with scores of these celebrity creators, local talent and vendors — at an affordable $10 admission fee (and kids 12 and under are admitted free)! Plastic City Comic Con is the premier event for comics, toys and pop culture, right here in North Central Massachusetts.

Welcome, Summer!

The arrival of summer is definitely appreciated here — and it’s given a warm welcome in Orange, when canoes, kayaks and boats take to the Millers River for an illuminated parade! Firepits set right on the river add an exciting glow to the waterway as visitors gather for the Orange Solstice Riverfest celebration.

Scheduled for June 24, this downtown event will include great local food and music, dancers, fire spinners, vendors, children’s activities, and more. The party begins at 5 pm, and runs right through till 11 pm, with plenty of lights, music and action!

Can’t picture fire-spinning? Check out the Riverfest’s facebook page to see a video of last year’s performance — then mark your calendar, because you won’t want to miss this fun family event!

It’s Classic


On almost any day of the week, you can find a performance by a pop, country, or rock band. Restaurants, clubs, and bandstands on town commons feature a wide variety of tunes throughout the region.

But you can also go classic — and enjoy selections from across the ages — as you tour North Central Massachusetts this summer.

For a truly unique experience, check out the Historic Piano Concerts in Ashburnham. These Sunday afternoon concerts feature musicians from around the world and instruments from the Frederick Collection of Historical Pianos. The concerts at the Ashburnham Community Church on Route 12 will delight you with music by composers from Chopin to Schubert.

On May 13, the North Worcester County Symphony Orchestra — over 40 musicians and vocal soloists, conducted by Jared Bloch — will present A Night at the Opera at Leominster City Hall. Hear selections from The Barber of Seville, Candide, and more.

Or visit the new Groton Hill Music Center for concerts by the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra and a variety of visiting artists.

Details on these and other great performances can be found in the Calendar section of this Guide.