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10 things to do in Merrimack Valley this summer

Summer is in full swing, which means plenty of fun in the sun all around New England. The Merrimack Valley is already bustling with more people finding ways to enjoy the warm weather and get involved in community events. There are so many summertime activities throughout our region to choose from, and we’re all excited to join in the fun.

We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-anticipated activities happening throughout the region this summer.

John Goodman: not recent color

April 13–July 31 | Event Details

“John Goodman: not recent color” examines the American cultural landscape through the coming of age of a young artist in the 1970s and 1980s. Comprised of brilliant color photographs, the majority of which have never before been on display, this exhibit at the Addison Gallery of American Art transports viewers to another time and place with richly saturated colors and cinematic views.

Made from recently rediscovered Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides, the exhibit features piercing yet tender moments captured in diners, bowling alleys, and darkened theaters, outside phone booths and gas stations, along city streets and sidewalks to tell a story about the slowly changing social fabric of Goodman’s studio neighborhood in Boston––and the country at large.

The 41st Haverhill Farmers Market

June 22 – Oct. 26 | Event Details

Established in 1978, the vibrant, colorful Haverhill Farmers Market is where local farmers and food producers meet to sell directly to the community. The Haverhill Farmers Market mission is to provide access to farm-fresh products and promote local agriculture, as well as serve as a social gathering place to encourage a vibrant and connected community. This family-friendly market also includes food demonstrations, local music and children’s activities.

Americana ​Rhythm & Roots Festival

July 6 at 2 p.m. | Event Details
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Don’t miss the 2019 music celebration of America’s roots on July Fourth weekend. Bring the family to Newburyport’s central waterfront for a free concert.

Plein Air Painting

July 11 at 9 a.m. | Event Details

Local painting enthusiast and nature lover Marge Burt will host a morning of plein air painting and friendly conversation in the gardens of the Stevens-Coolidge Place in Andover. This is not a formal workshop or class, so attendees should prepare to bring their own supplies and creative spirit to paint among friends in this beautiful setting. All skill levels welcome. Gentle critique optional. Weather dependent. No registration necessary.

Hillyer Festival Orchestra

July 20 from 7 – 9 p.m. | Event Details

Enjoy “A Night at the Opera” with The Hillyer Festival Orchestra at the Maudslay Arts Center (MAC).The event starts at 7 p.m. and will include music by Verdi, Bernstein, Ravel, Puccini, Massenet, and Leoncavallo.

The Hillyer Festival Orchestra has entertained thousands of people at Boston’s Esplanade Hatch Shell Series. Pleasing the audience with familiar favorites and bringing to light special new compositions by American composers, don’t miss entertaining Pops director Dirk Hillyer and his Festival Orchestra.

Ospreys at the Newburyport Waterfront

July 22-26 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Event Details

Ospreys return to the Merrimack and thrive on the marine life found beneath the water surface. These amazing birds understand the interconnectedness of land and sea as their life depends on it. In this spirit, the Osprey program at Merrohawke Nature School includes their most popular offerings, ashore and afloat. This is a family-friendly event, perfect for taking a week by the seaside and enjoying the beautiful summer weather.

Each week typically looks like this: Monday: Fishing at sea. Pursue whatever is in season and what our captain recommends as the most successful species for the day. Could be mackerel, flounder, bass, blues, or deep-sea species. Tuesday: Islands. Visit historic Star Island at the Isles of Shoals. Wednesday: Beach. Aboard the Yankee Clipper, explore the lower Merrimack River Estuary with a visit to Black Rock creek and the nearby Salisbury salt marsh. Thursday: River Day. Row along the river’s edge of Maudslay State Park for a picnic and leisurely afternoon. Friday: Forest Day. Conclude your exploration of the coastal ecosystem by exploring the forest and fields of Maudslay State Park.

Cookbook Club

Aug. 1 from 12–1:30 p.m. | Event Details

What do you get when you cross a cookbook with a book group?  A Cookbook Club, of course! Check out a copy of the selected book from the library, pick a recipe and prepare it for the program. We’ll sample lots of good food, talk about what worked and what didn’t, and select future cookbooks. The August cookbook title is Turnip Greens & Tortillas by Eddie Hernandez. Registration for this event is required and will open on Thursday, July 18.

Cirque Du Soleil: CRYSTAL

Aug. 4 at 1:30 p.m. | Event Details | Tickets

Crystal is not just an ice show, it’s the very first experience on ice from Cirque du Soleil. Watch world-class ice skaters and acrobats claim their new frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics. Cirque du Soleil will perform just five shows at the SHNU Arena in Manchester from Thursday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 4.

Crystal invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to colorful life with astounding visual projections and a soundtrack that seamlessly blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil. Crystal is suitable for all ages.

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