Eight Columbus Day Weekend Events Happening in Boston

Check out what’s happening over the holiday weekend, including the East Boston Parade, Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands, and more.

Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands

Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands. / Photo by Chris Devers on Flickr


East Boston Columbus Day Parade

It’s Eastie’s turn. The annual Columbus Day Parade, which alternates between the North End and East Boston each year, will start at Suffolk Downs and end at Maverick Square this weekend. A block party will follow the celebration with live music and lots of food lining the streets from Maverick Square to the new East Boston Library on Raymond Street. “Hopefully we can get a lot of people from the North End to come visit East Boston,” says event spokesperson Antonio Avanti.

Sunday, October 12, starts 12 p.m., 525 William F. McClellan Hwy., facebook.com.

Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands

The ninth annual Honk! festival will pour onto the streets of Somerville, Boston, and Cambridge this weekend. Socially engaged bands performing in the nonprofit event aim to “reclaim public space in ways that place them at the heart of activist politics.” Crazy costumes, horn honking, and drum beating are all in store for audiences. Head to the Honk! parade on Saturday beginning at Davis Square and follow it to the end for a pint at Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest celebration.

Friday, October 10, through Sunday, October 12. See schedule and locations at honkfest.org.


Columbus Day Celebration at Christopher Columbus Park

Celebrating Columbus Day in a park dedicated to Columbus himself seems like an appropriate way to spend the holiday. The kid-centered celebration will feature a mini-parade through the park, where decorated tricycles and bicycles will roll alongside stilt walkers. A musical petting zoo, a tide pool from the New England Aquarium, the incredible Jenny the Juggler, and other activities will jam-pack the day with entertainment. This year, the park is introducing a scavenger hunt for older children. “It’s just a day of fun,” says Ann Babbitt, vice president of Friends of Christopher Columbus Park. “It isn’t just for the North End, either. It’s for families all over Boston and tourists alike. We like to share!”

Monday, October 13, 11 a.m.-3 p.m, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, foccp.org.

Columbus Day Game: “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” at Gore Place

Take the kids to Gore Place in Waltham for a Columbus Day game of “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” By exploring more than 50 acres of land at the sprawling, historic estate, kids will have to find unusual objects in places they shouldn’t be. They can rack up points for each item spotted to win a prize at the end of it all. “It’s family-friendly so everybody can take part, but it’s funny…there’s often young couples who want to participate,” says Thom Roach, Gore Place’s director of public programs. “Who doesn’t like a scavenger hunt?”

Monday, October 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m, 52 Gore St., Waltham, goreplace.org.


Opening Our Doors

Free cupcakes, a performance by the Boston Children’s Chorus, and a Kids Parade led by the Hot Tamale Brass Band will kick off the 13th year of Opening Our Doors. This Fenway festival offers free admission to numerous top-notch museums, kite flying, glass-blowing demonstrations, salsa dancing, and many more activities for all ages. Organizers hope you “take the last day of your long weekend to feed your cultural appetite with the Fenway Cultural District.”

Monday, October 13, starts at 10 a.m., Christian Science Plaza, fenwayculture.org.

The Mystic River Celebration in Medford

The Condon Shell in Medford will transform into craft city during Medford’s largest arts festival: the Mystic River Celebration. Local artisans will display their work amidst live music performances and activities with CorePower Yoga, Outside the Lines Studio, the Medford Arts Council, and others. The celebration will also feature “Trashed,” an art installation made of discarded trash found along the Mystic River. “We want the community to see how robust Medford’s art sector is,” says Allie Fiske, program director for the Coalition for Arts, Culture, and a Healthy Economy (CACHE). “It’s really our way to say, ‘Here’s what we can do.’”

Saturday, October 11, 12-4 p.m., Condon Shell, 2501 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford, cacheinmedford.org.

Street Performer Fall Festival

Faneuil Hall’s top street performers are joining forces in its three-day Street Performer Festival. “Street performers are such an integral part of the Faneuil Hall festival atmosphere as they entertain the crowds with a variety of acts,” says Carol Troxell, president of Faneuil Hall Merchants Association. “It’s the perfect fall attraction for the whole family.” The festival will kick off with a street performers’ parade, followed by acrobatics, juggling, magic, and more. Local bands will also join in the fun, with a special appearance by Canobie Lake Park’s SwingShift SlideShow.

Saturday, October 11, through Monday, October 13, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Faneuil Hall Marketplace, faneuilhallmarketplace.com.


MFA Open House

The Museum of Fine Arts is offering free admission on Columbus Day. In addition to access to more than 150 galleries, the MFA is also presenting some awesome events: learn flamenco dancing, see Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents, and make a monster mask if you so choose. The Francisco Goya exhibition opens Sunday, October 12, meaning all visitors can check it out for free during the open house. “The Goya will be a big draw,” says PR coordinator Isabella Bulkeley. “People can take a spin through the exhibition, see some firsthand flamenco, and see the recently reopened Ancient Greek galleries.”

Monday, October 13, 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., mfa.org.