Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

Including the 'Smoke This Rib' Fest, the Faneuil Hall A'Cappella Competition, and more.

Head of the Charles

HOCR Photo by Alex1961 on Flickr

Head of the Charles Regatta

Every October, the banks of the Charles River in Boston and Cambridge swell with excitement over the Head of the Charles Regatta. The event, which was first held in 1964, is the world’s largest two-day rowing competition. Last year more than 300,000 people attended. An armada of more than 9,000 rowers from all over the world will navigate the snaking course, a three-mile stretch that begins at Boston University’s DeWolfe Boathouse in Cambridge and ends at Artesian Park. While you can find a spot anywhere along the Charles, watching from any of the bridges along the course make for a neat vantage point. Regatta sponsors also set up shop along the Charles, offering free samples, services, and official Regatta merchandise.

MORE INFO: Check out our HOCR guide for detailed information on special activities, where to watch, and fun facts and figures.

Free, Saturday, October 19,  and Sunday, October 20, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Charles River,

Boston Book Festival

Whatever your age or interests, the fifth annual Boston Book Festival will have something for you. Copley Square and surrounding venues will become home to the festival’s numerous events, which include presentations and panels with internationally known writers, scholars, and critics; programming for children, teens, and families; writing workshops and competitions; outdoor vendors; and poetry and music performances. The festival is a celebration of “the power of words” and aims to stimulate local readership all while embracing the city of Boston. Pick up a schedule, look around, and sit in on a few events. Who knows? It might even bring out your own literary genius.

GUIDE: Need help planning your Book Fest itinerary? Here’s a starter kit with a few recommendations.
READ: “End Game” by Jason Schwartz. Our senior editor will discuss the piece at the BBF panel for Best American Sports Writing.

 Free, Thursday, October 17, through Saturday, October 19, Copley Square,

Smoke This Rib Fest

Who doesn’t like good BBQ? The East Cambridge Business Association’s rib fest is a culinary showdown pitting pit master against pit master for the title of the best ribs in East Cambridge. The event is open to all ages and is a great place to enjoy some great food, live music, and cooking demonstrations. You will also be able to purchase taste tickets, which will get you 10 rip samples from restaurants of your choice and a chance to vote for your favorite rib. For the rib fanatic in all of us, you can also purchase “The Meateater” ticket, which gives you the chance to sample ALL the ribs at rib fest, a limited edition T-shirt, and your vote for best rib will be counted three times. This event gives you the perfect opportunity to try some local grub while fulfilling your BBQ fix.

$20-$75, Sunday, October 20, noon-4 p.m., Cambridge St. East Cambridge,

Faneuil Hall A’Cappella Competition

Remember the movie Pitch Perfect? Well, this is totally like that, except no one will throw up on stage (hopefully). Go to Faneuil Hall Marketplace this weekend to watch 12 of the best groups from area colleges and high schools battle it out in the Faneuil Hall A’Cappella Competition. Without any instruments, the groups will sing and dance for a panel of judges who will choose the winners of three cash prices. Participating groups include the Suffolk University Ramifications, Brandeis Starving ArtistsBoston College Bostonians, and the Harvard Opportunes.

Free, Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, Ocober 20, noon-4 p.m., Faneuil Hall Marketplace,

Winter Film Festival

The second annual Boston Winter Film Festival, sponsored by SnowRiders, honors the stunning visuals and feats of the world’s best ski and snowboard films. The festival is all about getting people together and having as much fun as possible while taking in these great flicks. On the event website, Allston resident Jon Williams says, “I got steezed out for the BWFF last year since the theater was so ballin’. I can’t wait to get stoked for winter with all the sick videos dropping at the fest this time around.” If that statement doesn’t make you want to venture out to this event, then I’m not sure what will. Guests will receive free lift tickets and swag bags from various sponsors, and a portion of proceeds from the event will support the local charity Ellen’s Heart and Soul.

$20-$55, Thursday, October 17,  and Friday, October 18, 7:30-11 p.m., Theater 1, Revere Hotel, 200 Stuart St.,