Top Summer Events on Cape Cod

One of the reasons we love the Cape? There’s always something to do — from flower festivals to street parties to cultural celebrations. Here are a dozen highlights to watch for.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 22 2019


One of the Cape’s hot spots for summer events, Provincetown is known for a number of arts and cultural festivals, including Carnival Week.

Photo Credit : Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Even a quick glance through Yankee’s May/June travel feature “63 Reasons Why We Love the Cape and Islands” shows that there’s no end to the ways that Cape Cod visitors can amuse themselves on their own. There’s the Cape Cod National Seashore to play in, with all its beaches and trails. There are glorious gardens to wander, and swashbuckling history to explore.

But sometimes it’s fun to simply join the crowd and celebrate summer together. To that end, here are a dozen of our favorite 2019 Cape Cod events in June, July, and August. For more, visit the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce events calendar.

One of the Cape’s hot spots for summer events is Provincetown, where arts and cultural festivals include Carnival Week and the Portuguese Festival & Blessing of the Fleet.
Photo Credit : Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

12 Favorite Cape Cod Events for Summer Fun

Greater Hyannis Father’s Day Car Show
June 16

As the host of one of the largest car shows in New England, Hyannis welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each Father’s Day, as they throng Main Street to see more than 350 classic automobiles, from Model Ts to muscle cars.

Provincetown Portuguese Festival & Blessing of the Fleet
June 27–30

In its 19th-century heyday, much of Provincetown’s fishing fleet was made up of natives of Portugal and their families. Today the town pays tribute to that legacy with a festival that has only grown since it was founded in 1947. More than 30 different activities are scheduled — including Portuguese music and dancing, a parade, and a children’s fishing contest — but the crowning event is the annual blessing of the town’s fishing boats.

June 29

The best culinary creations on sliced bread are the stars at this quirky town party. Chefs from a dozen local restaurants vie to concoct the “Best Sandwich in Sandwich,” and festival goers can buy a ticket to sample the results. Among the day’s other amusements are family games, live music and performances, a dog costume parade, and more than 100 booths from artists, food vendors, retailers, and local nonprofits.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Powwow
July 5–7

Held at the traditional powwow grounds in Mashpee, the Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow is an annual get-together dating back to 1921 that celebrates Native American culture through dancing, drumming, food, and competitions (the ceremonial game of fireball is a powwow highlight). Visitors can also admire and purchase Native American art, jewelry, crafts, and clothing.

Top 10 Massachusetts Events of 2016
The Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival includes garden tours and workshops and lectures by leading international horticulturalists.
Photo Credit : Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival
July 12–21

The Cape’s signature flower takes center stage in garden tours and workshops and lectures by leading international horticulturalists. Also on tap: nursery promotions, a restaurant cocktail trail, and, of course, a heck of a lot of gorgeous summer hydrangeas.

Grecian Festival
July 19–21

Hosted by the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Centerville, this weekend draws thousands of visitors to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Greek community. Folk dancing and traditional music promise to keep the crowd entertained, while a spread of delicacies such as stuffed grape leaves, moussaka, baklava, and spanakopita will ensure no one leaves hungry.

Barnstable County Fair
July 22–28

A Cape Cod tradition since 1844, this classic New England fair has animal shows, a petting zoo, 4-H demonstrations, a demolition derby, horticulture displays, arts and crafts, and plenty of amusement rides. Live music is a fair staple, with past concerts on the main stage having included Three Dog Night, the Romantics, and the Lovin’ Spoonful.

Woods Hole Film Festival
July 27–Aug. 3

With daily screenings, workshops, panel discussions, staged readings, parties, and an awards ceremony, this nonprofit showcase of independent films — many of which focus on music and science, a festival hallmark — is a must-attend for any cinema lover. Details of the 2019 lineup are forthcoming; however, the 2018 festival boasted nearly 50 feature-length films and 117 shorts, including several world premieres.

Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival
Aug. 1–23

This acclaimed festival of classical and contemporary chamber music marks its 40th anniversary with a dozen concerts at various Cape venues by both world-famous ensembles and up-and-coming artists. Among the highlights: performances by the Borromeo String Quartet, the Miró Quartet, and the Emerson String Quartet, and as a program celebrating the 100th birthday of the legendary Leonard Bernstein.

Pops by the Sea
Aug. 11

This annual fund-raising concert is the Cape’s single largest one-day cultural event, not to mention a terrific way to spend a summer evening by the ocean. Expect show tunes, pop standards, and other toe-tapping favorites from the famed Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and — who knows — you may even see a celebrity or two (in 2018, for instance, actor Dermot Mulroney took up the baton as a special guest conductor). Proceeds benefit the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.

Carnival Week
Aug. 15–24

Hands down, there’s no livelier place on the Cape in August than Provincetown, where parties, art fairs, a costume ball, and other celebrations of LGBTQ life all lead up to the vibrant spectacle of the Carnival Parade. (The week’s Mardi Gras spirit goes nicely with the overlapping Provincetown Jazz Festival, Aug. 15 and 19, where featured artists include Katie Thiroux, an L.A. jazz bassist who notched a “Best Album of 2017” nod from Downbeat magazine.)

Falmouth Road Race
Aug. 18

An estimated 75,000 people are expected to line this race’s seven-mile seaside course to cheer on a field of nearly 13,000 runners — including Olympic-caliber athletes and recreational runners like — in one of the Cape’s most beloved sporting traditions, now in its 47th year.

More Yankee Cape & Island Love:
63 Reasons Why We Love the Cape and Islands
Top Summer Events on Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard