Nantucket Annual Events
There's a lot going on here, and not just in summer. Besides the annual events, there are dozens of concerts, craft fairs, and other events to watch for when you come to the island.
Check with the Chamber of Commerce, (508) 228-1700, for a current guide.
The Daffodil Festival
In its 26th year in 2000, the Daffodil Festival heralds in spring as the island's millions of yellow daffodils come to life in late April. The road to Sconset is lined with thousands of the brilliant blooms, which the Garden Club and townspeople started planting in 1974. The highlight of the festivities is the gathering of 100 or so antique and classical cars on Main Street and the parade and giant tailgate party at Sconset.
The Nantucket Wine Festival
(508) 228-1128, (508) 228-1700
Launched in 1997, the annual Nantucket Wine Festival has become a huge success. More than 80 wineries of international acclaim are represented, and chefs vie to produce the kind of world-class cuisine that best enhances fine wines. Participants get to sip wine in private mansions and dine on world-class cuisine. Call ahead for a program so you can make reservations. Ticket prices vary per event with such events like the Grand Tasting costing $55 per person up to the Super Saturday event at $500 per person.
Hyannis to Nantucket
(508) 4HYANNIS, (508) 778-6100
Now in its 29th year, this sailboat race from Hyannis to Nantucket and back generates as much excitement here as it does on the Cape. It takes place on Memorial Day weekend (see our Cape Cod Annual Events chapter for details).
The Nantucket Film Festival
(508) 228-1700, (212) 642-6339
An inspiring inside look at screenwriting for film authorities and fans alike, the film festival is in its sixth year, and attracts more than a few celebrities as well as film buffs and fans. It's held around the middle of the month.
Nantucketers do it up on the Fourth, with a riotous fire hose contest on Main Street, pie-eating contests, face painting, and more. In the evening, a gala celebration with music and children's games takes place at Jetties Beach. The grand finale, of course, is a fireworks display.
Sandcastle & Sculpture Day
Jetties Beach, Nantucket
In its 27th year, this popular event co-sponsored by the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce and the Nantucket Island School of Design and the Arts attracts residents and visitors of all ages who vie for honors sculpting the most creative sandcastle and sand scuptures Nantucketers and visitors alike of all ages get a chance to express their creativity in the island's most plentiful medium: sand. The event, held on Jetties Beach, is always held the third Saturday in August. Entries are judged in five divisions, ranging from Family to Under 7; preregistration is required. You can use tools, but you cannot add any supporting or form devices to the sculpture.
Nantucket County Fair
Tom Nevers Navy Base
Set for the third weekend in September, this is a real old-fashioned tradition started in 1992. Baked goods, jams, and jellies vie for ribbons, and an animal tent, tractor, hay rides, pet show, and square dancing are some of the lively activities.
Nantucket Harvest Festival
Held right after Columbus Day, this festival gives folks a chance to compete in the annual cranberry cookery contest--only Nantucket-grown cranberries allowed! The day also includes a tour of the town's inns, a food festival, and a flurry of activities in the Cranberry Harvest Marketplace, including demonstrations of cranberry-wreath making and the sale of edible delights starring the celebrated fruit.
A Christmas tree lighting ceremony and caroling the day after Thanksgiving launch weeks of special events that end New Year's Eve. The festivities include theatrical performances, concerts, and holiday exhibitions. The famed Christmas Stroll (see below) is actually part of Nantucket Noel.
Nantucket Christmas Stroll
During the first weekend in December, the Christmas Stroll draws tens of thousands of people to Nantucket with the town wide celebration of Christmas. Some 274 Christmas trees are placed throughout the town and decorated by local businesses, services, and students in a decorating contest. At noon on Saturday, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter (not Rudolph and Company) delivers Santa, who is then transported to the Stroll in a horse-drawn carriage. School children, carolers, and bell-ringers in period costume create a joyful atmosphere with holiday song. And everywhere you look you'll find wonderful food, hot chocolate, and beautiful decorations--even a talking Christmas tree!
Note: Make your holiday hotel reservations way in advance--a year ahead is strongly advised. And bring those Christmas lists (and wallets); Nantucket shops have the most exquisite gifts!
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