You don’t have to book a plane ticket to experience the world – Massachusetts is actually home to plenty of amazing ethnic festivals that will let you see, hear and taste cultures from around the globe. Here are some of our favorite festivals across the state that celebrate the heritage (and food!) of our diverse population.
1. Saint Peter’s Fiesta, Gloucester
This incredible festival is held each summer in Gloucester and features one of the most bizarre traditions in the state. Held in celebration of the Christian patron saint of fishermen by the Italian American community of the coastal town, the festival lasts for a full five days and offers plenty of food, music, and a parade. The traditional greasy pole contest allows competitors to try to shimmy along a greased 45-foot pool, 200 yards from shore, in order to snatch a flag at the end. This year's festival will be held from June 21 to June 25.
2. Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival, Florence.
Come and celebrate Scottish heritage at this fun and lively festival in Florence. There are traditional Highland games such as sheaf toss, plenty of dancing, and bagpipes galore. Live music and food will also feature, including delicious honey mead and traditional Scottish baked goods and treats. The Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival raises money for local non-profits and scholarships for Highland dancing and piping, so your money will be going to a good cause. The Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival is held every third Saturday in July (July 15, 2017).
3. Boston Jerkfest, Boston
This festival celebrates all things Caribbean. As the name suggests, there's plenty of spicy, delicious food on offer and the smell of roasting meat is intoxicating. You can also pick up lots of ethnic treats like spicy jams, nuts and tasty sweet treats. This year's festival will be held June 23-24 in the South End.
4. Albanian Cultural Festival, Worcester
The Albanian Cultural Festival in Worcester is held every summer by the St. Mary's Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church. The festival sees over 10,000 visitors and features live entertainment and traditional dancing from the U.S. and Europe. There are over 3,000 pounds of lamb, 250 lakror pies and thousands of pastries served to eager guests who come together to celebrate and learn about the Albanian community in Worcester.
5. Chinese New Year, Boston
Ring in the new year with Chinese flair in Boston. The annual Chinese New Year parade is held in February and celebrates the traditions of the third largest Chinese community in America. There are beautiful lion dancers, drums and cymbals, plenty of firecrackers and loads of delicious food. This is the perfect excuse to head into the city and eat your fill of yummy Chinese food.
6. Boston Greek Independence Day Parade
Held each summer in Boston, this massive parade celebrates Greece's independence with music, traditional dances, and plenty of Greek food. The parade travels from Boylston Street to Charles Street and ends at Boston Common with a massive party on the grass. This is one of Boston's largest cultural celebrations and you're not going to want to miss it.
7. MA-MAtryoshka Festival, Clinton
Few people realize that Clinton is actually home to the Museum of Russian Icons, which is the largest collection of Russian icons in North America. The town also hosts an annual Russian festival that honors Russian and Ukrainian heritage with dance, music, crafts and food. There's plenty for kids and adults to do.
8. Oktoberfest Massachusetts, Amherst
Oktoberfest Massachusetts may have more to do with music and dancing than German traditional, but it's still a great place to break out your lederhosen and down a bear or two. The festival will feature multiple concert stages, games, contests, beer samplings and a chance to win tickets to Oktoberfest in Munich. This festival will be held October 14,
2017. (Young Men's Club, Amherst)
Are you interested in which festivals in Massachusetts will satisfy your tastebuds? Check out
our list of the 13 best food festivals in the state.