Salem Film Fest, Salem
Standout Qualities: The all-volunteer Salem Film Fest presents a thought-provoking and touching selection of the world’s best documentary films. Films are sponsored by different local businesses, creating a stipend for filmmakers for their travel and expenses, which means more filmmakers attend. Fun and insightful Q&As happen after the films.
Insider Tip: Get your tickets as soon as they go on sale. Some films sell out. Also, arrive early, and pay attention to where your film is screening. CinemaSalem and the Peabody Essex Museum are just two of the venues around Salem and the North Shore where films are screened.
Fun Fact: The short Salem Sketches that screen before each feature documentary are made by a handful of volunteer filmmakers. Most behind the camera are local, but some far-flung filmmakers create these quirky shorts about Salem too.
CinemaSalem, One East India Square, Salem, 978-744-1400, salemfilmfest.com
Strawberry Festival, Topsfield
Standout Qualities: Even in this festival’s 50th year, people still can’t get enough of the bowls and bowls of fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and piles of shortcakes.
Insider Tip: Woodworkers, jewelers, and glass workers turn out beautiful things beside all the strawberry goodness.
Fun Fact: By 1650, when the village of Topsfield was incorporated, virtually all of the settlers were self-supporting farmers. The festival, put on by the Topsfield Historical Society, celebrates their agricultural roots.
Topsfield Town Common, Topsfield, topsfieldhistory.org