12 Free Things to Do in Boston, September 2014

Check out free events happening in Boston this month, including the Boston Local Food Festival, the New England Pet Expo, and the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival.


Don’t miss the Seafood Throwdown at the Boston Local Food Festival. / 2013 BLFF Photo by Margaret Burdge for Boston Magazine

Jamaica Plain Music Festival

The J.P. Music Fest turns four this year. The 2014 event will have 21 bands performing on two stages, and to guarantee you’re getting some local flavor, at least one member of every participating musical act had to live or work in Jamaica Plain. This year’s festival will feature performers including Hope and the Husbands, Love Love, and Tallahassee. There will be food trucks, local business vendors, and plenty of activities for kids.

Free, Saturday, September 6, 12-7 p.m., Pinebank Field at Perkins St. and Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain, jpmusicfestival.com.

Cambridge Carnival

A carnival put together to celebrate African traditions, the 22nd annual Cambridge Carnival will happen rain or shine this month with a costume parade and other family-friendly activities like storytelling, face painting, and arts and crafts.

Free, Sunday, September 7, 12-7 p.m., parade ends on Main Street between Vassar and Ames Streets, Cambridge, cambridgecarnival.org.

Mass Military Heroes Care Package Event

On September 11, volunteers will come together to remember fallen soldiers and aid in putting together care packages for those serving overseas. Whether you hold a drive for goods in your neighborhood, put together a package of your own, or simply donate your time to this event, any help is appreciated in thanking our soldiers who are serving and commemorating those who we have lost.

Free, Thursday, September 11, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Rose Kennedy Greenway between State and Milk Streets, massmilitaryheroes.org.

South Boston Street Festival

With two stages featuring musical acts like Thomas Park and B-Capp, as well as performers from the Peggy Woods School of Irish Step Dance and the Ultimate Self Defense and Performance Center, the South Boston Street Festival will be sure to entertain. The Southie Shuttle will give away free rides to and from the festival, so you don’t have to worry about travel, just the fun.

Free, Saturday, September 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., East Broadway between I and L Streets, South Boston, southbostonstreetfestival.com.

College Fest at Fenway Park

Boston’s biggest party celebrating college students is back, and this year it’s taking place at Fenway. A school ID gains you access, plus all the food and entertainment you can handle. And because you’re a college student, be sure to stop by the sponsor booths for free swag.

Free with school ID, Saturday, September 13, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, Boston, collegefest.com.

Boston Freedom Rally

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Boston Freedom Rally, which supports the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts. This year the rally will take place for two days, including musical performances and a marketplace where local vendors can show off their products. However, the rally stresses that this isn’t a “smoke-in” on the Boston Common—the event is to educate the public on marijuana, and those who decide to smoke do so at their own risk.

Free, Saturday, September 13, and Sunday, September 14, 12-8 p.m., Boston Common, masscann.org/rally.

Boston Local Food Festival

This annual food festival prides itself on being “a free outdoor festival that showcases farmers, local restaurants, food trucks, specialty food producers, fisher folks, and organizations focusing on healthy food and fitness from New England.” In other words, vendors from farm to table will be on hand to give out samples, host cooking demos, and teach you how to eat local. Aiming to promote healthier lifestyles, the festival is a zero-waste event, meaning they recycle, reduce, and reuse 90 percent of their waste.

Free, Sunday, September 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston, bostonlocalfoodfestival.com.

New England Pet Expo

This expo unites pets, owners, and those looking to become pet owners in an event that is fun for both animals and humans alike. Highlights include a pet talent contest, agility demos, a costume contest, and games of musical chairs between pets and their owners. For those who don’t have a four-legged friend but are looking to expand their home, the expo will also host adoption agencies that will show just a few of the animals looking for a home. You’ll also find vet booths, pet products, and obedience demonstrations.

Free, Saturday, September 20, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Shriners Auditorium, 99 Fordhamn Road, Wilmington, newenglandpetexpo.com.

Revels RiverSing

The Revels RiverSing depends on one thing only—your participation. The RiverSing choir encourages you to show up and be ready to join in as they sing. This event, held in Winthrop Park by the Charles River, celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Highlights include performers such as David Coffin, acrobats and circus performers from Moonship Productions, and artist Gabriel Q’s illuminated butterflies.

Free, Sunday, September 21, 5-7:30 p.m., Winthrop Park in Harvard Square, revels.org.

Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! Event

The Museum Day Live! event allows you access participating museums of your choice across the country. One ticket allows you and a guest entry to any of the following local museums: Museum of African American History, Museum of Fine Arts, Old South Meeting House, Otis House, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard, and Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. Entry requires a ticket, which you can download online.

Free, Saturday, September 27, smithsonianmag.com/museumday.

Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival

Berklee College, aiming to encourage further participation in musical education, holds this popular festival every year. For 2014, the theme is Jazz: Global Ambassador. In the past, the festival has had more than 80,000 attendees. With three stages, the festival will highlight contemporary jazz, Latin, blues, and soul music. There will be inflatables, food vendors, an instrument petting zoo for kids, and more.

Free, Saturday, September 27, 12-6 p.m., Columbus Ave. between Burke St. and Mass. Ave., Boston, beantownjazz.org.

The November Project

New kids in town who like a good workout need to know about the November Project, a fitness organization born in Boston that holds free workouts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Former Boston Bruin Andrew Ference is a fan of the workout, bringing the program with him to Edmonton when he signed with the Oilers. “The majority of people don’t need a fancy and expensive fitness plan with complicated exercises, they just need to be active and know how to push themselves. NP covers that for people. [There are] world-class athletes who push the pace, but they are also the first ones to cheer on the first-timers,” Ference says.

Free, various times and locations, november-project.com.