It’s summer festival time! Before you waste your time trying to find out which festivals are the best in show, read our primer. We’ve done the hard work of festival-ing for you. Here are our five picks for 2019 summer festivals.
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If you have never been to this iconic Mattituck festival, this is the year. Here’s why I’m obsessed: First of all, strawberry shortcakes, made to order. Ok? Also, in addition to the traditional festival charmers (fried food vendors and rides with tickets for the win!), there are a few unique events on offer here. On opening night, there’s the “hulling,” where hundreds of people show up to hull the strawberries that will be eaten at the rest of the festival. There’s also a strawberry shortcake-eating contest, which is gross, but I can get behind it. But I’m here for the annual crowning of the Strawberry Queen, which is an enviable position held by a young, pretty Mattituck-ian. Sold!
1175 Route 48, Mattituck, June 13 through 16.
It would not be the 4th of July week without the North Sea Fire Department’s Carnival. This small, relatively inexpensive festival has the predictable elements: a ferris wheel that lights up; funnel cakes; and, of course, ride tickets. But they also have a massive fireworks display, which attendees can watch take place literally over their heads. The carnival typically runs for five days, with dates changing depending on when the holiday falls. The fireworks shows are weather-dependent, but they have them multiple times, so there are plenty of opportunities to see the show.
North Sea Fireman’s Field, 149 Noyac Road, Southampton, NY, last week of June through the holiday.
In Patchogue, live music is still alive and well. Every summer, the town hosts this four-day music festival, featuring over 60 performers, four stages, and a kid’s area with interactive activities. There is a “craft village,” with artisans making and selling their work, as well as a “food court” full of local purveyors. In addition to regular admission, the festival also offers “VIP” and “Ultra VIP” upgrades, which include raised tents for hanging out, private bathrooms, designated tables and chairs for eating and drinking, better parking, tastings, and specialized viewing of the stages. The Ultra VIP upgrade also includes meal tickets to be used in the food court.
Shorefront Park, Smith Street, Patchogue, July 18 through July 21.
A great place to get your art fix on, the idyllic Deepwells farm hosts an annual arts and crafts festival, featuring over 100 local artisans and vendors. If shopping isn’t entirely your thing, there are also demonstrations, live music, activities for kids, and tons of food. Best of all? It’s free to get in.
Route 25A and Moriches Road, Saint James, July 20 through July 21.
East Hampton’s Springs hosts the yearly Fisherman’s Fair, a fun, arty contribution from a community known for its dedication to the arts. The event takes place at Ashawagh Hall, which is also home to rotating art exhibits from local artists, as well as a weekly, seasonal farmer’s market. There are artisans selling their wares, of course, as well as a host of food and beverage vendors. Look out for the Pickle-on-a-Stick guy, because eating a pickle on a stick is peak festival behavior.
Ashawagh Hall, East Hampton, August 10 through 11.
The Powwow is always the final crack at summer, one last party before the party ends for good. The 1,300-member Shinnecock tribe welcomes the community into their reservation every Labor Day weekend with one of the United States’ largest Native American cultural celebrations. The Powwow begins each evening with the “Grand Entry,” with dancers from around the world entering the space at 7 in the evening. Following the entry, the tribe hosts a sunset fire lighting. Visitors can expect dance performances, craft booths, and, naturally, Native American foods. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to see a local tribe and some of its incredible history.
Shinnecock Indian Reservation, 1 West Church Street, Southampton, August 30 through September 1.
Read more about local fairs, festivals and carnivals here.