- David Ginisi
There’s no shortage of fun events in North Central Massachusetts —
but we’ve highlighted a few of our faves to enjoy while you’re visiting
the region. Get out your calendar, and pencil in these special celebrations.
Partying in Pink
June 23 is Pink Flamingo Day in Leominster. Stop by Monument Square on Main Street as the Plastics City celebrates its hometown kitschy lawn decoration, the famous pink flamingo! Created by designer Don Featherstone in 1957 at Union Products, this bright bird has been reproduced more than 20 million times and has become an international pop culture item — and even appeared in a major movie, Gnomeo and Juliette!
Local businesses will join the fun, with everything from crafts to lemonade (pink lemonade, of course) and even a fashion show! “This is something we all need more of; we all need more fun,” Mayor Dean Mazzarella says, “and this is what Don (Featherstone) stood for: The creative part and the fun part.”
Since Covid regulations continue to evolve, it’s a good idea to follow the Pink Flamingo Day event on Facebook for updated information.
Think pink and join the celebration!
Wearin’ of the Green (& Purple?)
You hear the words March, saint, and celebration all in the same sentence, and you’re sure to think “St. Patrick’s Day!” And you’d be right, for March 17 is certainly a day given to parades and partying in North Central Massachusetts (and especially in the town of Clinton, known for its Leprechaun Parade and Convention!).
But wait! Think again! How about “St. Urho’s Day?”
What’s that, you ask? Well, this region is home to a significant number of folks of Finnish descent — and they have their own saintly March holiday to celebrate: March 16, St. Urho’s Day. This year, local Finnish Americans (attired in Royal Purple and Nile Green) will hold their annual St. Urho’s Day dinner and dance, complete with music by the Central Mass Accordion Club, on March 19 at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Rd., Fitchburg. It’s a party filled with fun and frivolity, in keeping with the celebration of a fictitious Finnish hero, St. Urho, who — according to a legend created in 1950 — drove hordes of voracious grasshoppers out of Finland’s grape vineyards.
As the saying goes, “I saw the grasshoppers all nice and green. St. Urho waved his pitchfork and there were none to be seen!” You’re free to believe, or not.
The Finnish American Club of Saima carries on this festive tradition — and more — every year! If you miss the March event, consider stopping in for the organization’s Kesajuhla/Summer Festival on June 19, complete with a chess tournament, outdoor games, chicken barbecue, festival artist, cultural program, a wife-carrying race, and more! For more details about these events, visit saima-park.org.
Rubber Ducky, You’re the One!
With country roads, groomed trails, and sparkling waterways galore, this region is home to a dizzying number of races throughout the year. They run the gamut, from road races designed to raise funds for serious causes to quirky and fun-packed events like the town of Hubbardston’s cardboard dinghy dash.
But one of the most popular races of the summer takes place in Fitchburg, where the Nashua River flows and splashes through the heart of the city, right past the aptly-named Riverfront Park. It’s the annual Amazing Duck Race on Independence Day weekend! Picture it: thousands of little yellow rubber duckies, bobbing and floating their way along the swirling waterway that once provided power to many of the city’s largest industries!
Each ducky bears a number, and each number is held by a race fan who purchased a ticket in hopes of winning terrific prizes. Can you hear the echoes of the hopefuls, as they cheer their brightly-colored charges on to victory?
How do you get in on the action? Swing by FitchburgCivicDays on Facebook to see where you can grab a ticket for this not-so-fast-and-furious but full-of-fun event!
Blue Skies, Bright Kites
Want to feel like a kid again? Or help your kids enjoy a day away from big screens, small screens and devices that constantly need a power boost?
Head to Templeton, to spend a day on a field of green, topped by a bright blue sky and colorful kites bobbing and weaving in the wind! Learn how to blow enormous, shimmering bubbles. Take a bumpy ride around the field in a tractor-drawn wagon. Enjoy the sounds of a local band while munching on fresh snacks — and maybe take a spin on the newly-mown “dance floor.”
You can do all that — and more — at the annual Go Fly a Kite! Festival in on Baldwinville Road, just off Route 2. This is real country living…an open field, with no TVs to distract you, but plenty of fresh air, and (with a little luck from the weatherman) lots of sunshine and enough wind to send the kites aloft.
Mark August 14 on your calendar. And if you don’t have your own favorite kite, don’t worry! You can buy one at the festival, and even get professional pointers from experienced kite flyers! Up, up and away!