If spring ever shows her lovely face—and color me skeptic—I’ll be the first one out in the world, basking in the warmish weather and hoping for an end to my winter pallor. Spring marks the season of rebirth, but it’s also prime festival season. It’s not quite beach weather, but it’s perfect get-outside-and-go weather. Which means hitting up the local fairs while the going is good. There’s more than enough to choose from on Long Island this spring—but here are four of our absolute favorites.
Go to Heckscher Park on Sunday, May 6 for the art exhibit, free live performances, and kids activity booths—but stay for the incredible flower display. The festival will feature 20,000 different types of tulip, all in full bloom, a dramatic entrée into spring. The festival will take place rain or shine, so if the weather looks gloomy, don’t forget your umbrella. The tulips won’t last long.
Tulip Festival, Sunday, May 6, Heckscher Park, 2 Prime Avenue, Huntington, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free.
East Hampton Second Annual Spring Celebration Street Fair
East Hampton’s Second Annual Spring Celebration Street Fair will take place on Saturday, May 12 and will occupy Newtown Lane to Main Street and Park Place. The fair will feature a designated food area (new this year), as well as 50 booths representing local artists, shopkeepers, and non-profits. On Main Street, a stage will host live music acts throughout the day. There will also be a yoga and stretch class offered on the lawn of Newtown Lane’s Eileen Fisher store. This is only the village’s second fair in 300 years.
East Hampton Second Annual Spring Celebration Street Fair, Saturday, May 12, Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free.
Montauk Music Festival
Many (myself included) consider the Montauk Music Festival to be the true (albeit unofficial) start to summer. As in previous years, this year’s festival will be held the weekend before Memorial Day Weekend, beginning on Thursday, May 17 and extending through Sunday, May 20th. Over 100 musical acts are included in the festival. Performance schedules will appear on the festival’s website closer to the event. Expect large crowds, plenty of lawn chairs, and a few food vendors on the Montauk Green, ready to feed some hungry listeners. You can make a whole weekend out of it.
Montauk Music Festival, May 17 through May 20, Montauk, free.
Mattituck Strawberry Festival
If you have never been to this iconic North Fork festival, well, you’re missing out. The 64th Annual Mattituck Lion’s Club Strawberry Festival will begin on June 14th and will run through June 17th. As always, the festival kicks off on its inaugural night with “Hulling Night” at 5 p.m., where volunteers crowd under a giant tent to hull bushels of strawberries in anticipation of a weekend’s eating. In addition to rides and the all-important crowning of the Strawberry Queen, the festival features strawberry delicacies galore: fresh strawberry shortcake, strawberry daiquiris, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and more. There are fireworks at the close of each night, weather-permitting. It’s the perfect way to usher in the first real fruit of the warm season.
Mattituck Strawberry Festival, June 14th through 17th, 1175 Route 48, Mattituck, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on June 14 and 15, 11 a.m. to 11 a.m. on June 16, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 17, $5 for adults and children 5 and up.