A little bit of Germany pays a yearly visit to Harvard Square during the 39th Annual Harvard Square Oktoberfest and HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands on October 8. Live music, free samples and sidewalk sales are a staple of the celebration which takes over the streets of Harvard Square and is FREE and open to the public. And as befits any Oktoberfest, beer gardens are also a staple – this year, six such gardens are hosted by area restaurants. The HONK! Parade features bands from around the world and promises to give both musicians and spectators with the chance to “reclaim the streets for horns, bikes and feet!”
Fans of HONK! can get an early start on Friday night October 6 in Somerville, as the bands perform at the Aeronaut Brewery and then again in Davis Square on Saturday.
Another Longstanding Tradition
Not many metropolitan areas can boast a world class sporting event that is free for spectators. Boston is fortunate to have two: the Boston Marathon and the Head of the Charles Regatta. On October 19 & 20, rowers from around the world descend on the Charles River that separates Boston and Cambridge for a two-day festival of graceful yet grueling races. Along the river bank and bridges, tens of thousands of spectators gather to cheer on their college team, root for an amateur boat, or just enjoy the sights and sounds of a New England sporting tradition dating back to 1965.
According to the official Head of the Charles Regatta website, the best places to watch the rowers are between the Anderson and Weeks bridges – the span on the Cambridge side that runs between DeWolfe Street to JFK Street. Be sure to check out the website for information on transportation and parking – critical to know before the event. And while viewing along the river is free (except in designated “premium” spots – and free food samples abound – there also is a fitness expo where spectators can check out equipment and products from vendors, and an area where official regatta merchandise is for sale.