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May marks the unofficial beginning of warm weather season here in New England, and we’ve got no shortage of ways to get outside and stay busy this month. Many events, like Cider Hill Farm’s Tulip Fest and Long Hill’s plant sale, revolve around the fruits of a successful spring bloom. Others, like the Peabody Essex Museum’s celebration of local fashion icon Yolanda Cellucci or the North Atlantic Ballet’s performances of The Little Mermaid at the Cabot, highlight some of the best arts happenings in the region.

Whatever intrigues you, below you’ll find something to get you out of the house and into the sunshine this May.

Long Hill’s Garden Symposium

May 6–7
To ring in the spring season that’s now in full swing, Long Hill in Beverly hosts its first ever Garden Symposium over two days in early May. Plant specialists and horticultural professionals put on a series of workshops and lectures throughout Long Hill’s stunning property, including the new Horticultural Learning Campus—and the sprawling, naturalistic gardens should be in full bloom. The symposium’s first day will feature a series of guest speakers along with a lunch for a single price. Day two’s individually priced workshops will include topics such as drought-tolerant design and edible flower cookie decorating.

Tulip Fest at Cider Hill Farm

May 6–7 & May 13–14
On the first two weekends of May, Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury celebrates its 100,000 tulips that are scheduled to bloom. The multi-weekend annual Tulip Fest features pick-your-own tulips, food trucks, an outdoor hard cider bar, live music, and family-friendly activities. There is no charge for the festival, but tickets to enter the tulip field must be purchased in advance—$20 to pick your own bouquet and $5 to enter the field without picking.

The Little Mermaid Ballet at the Cabot

Photograph courtesy of the Cabot

May 6–7
North Atlantic Ballet will perform three shows of The Little Mermaid at the Cabot in Beverly this May. The Boston-based ballet company tours throughout Massachusetts, this spring bringing Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale to the stage. The familiar story follows a young mermaid who’s allowed to visit the ocean’s surface for the first time on her fifteenth birthday; she falls in love with a prince she encounters above water. Shows are May 6 at noon and 7 p.m. and May 7 at noon.

Artisan Market at the Mills

May 7
This year’s Artisan Market, an outdoor market exclusively featuring products handmade by artisans in New England, takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 7.  What started as a collaboration in 2018 between the North Andover Farmers Market and the East and West Mills will now be hosted by The Village Studio, a year-round gift shop in North Andover that sells handmade goods. The event takes place in the parking lot behind the West Mill.

PEM Fashion & Design Cocktail Party with Special Guest Yolanda Cellucci

May 11
This spring, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem unveiled forty new acquisitions to its Fashion & Design gallery donated by Boston-based fashion entrepreneur Yolanda Cellucci. In 1968, Cellucci opened Yolanda’s, an upscale bridal and eveningwear shop in Waltham that became a household name in the greater Boston area until its closure in 2009. In 2021, Cellucci donated 57 pieces to the PEM, and on May 11, the museum hosts a cocktail reception to honor the fashion icon—just be sure to dress the part.

American Promise at the Firehouse

May 11
On Thursday, May 11, the Firehouse Center for the Arts in downtown Newburyport hosts a multicultural, multimedia performance called American Promise. The show features dance, poetry, rap, music, and spoken word for an evening of performances from artists of color throughout the region, all answering the question of what it means to be an American in today’s world. Performing artists include Lisa Miller-Gillespie, Michelle Lapoetica Richardson, Wangari Fahari, Michelle Aguillon, Otto de la Cruz, and Ubuyle Toyvo Narwele.

Long Hill Plant Sale

Long Hill | Photograph by Elise Sinagra

May 12–13
The Long Hill Plant Sale returns for its 31st year, starting with the Plant Sale Preview Party & Silent Auction at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Guests can expect hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and exclusive early access to Long Hill’s selection of rare perennials from its garden that’ll go on sale to the public the following day. The plant sale begins on Saturday morning with early access for members at 9 a.m. and the public welcomed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coffee, tea, and pastries will be available for purchase.

100 Voices, Our Collective Story at the Cape Ann Museum

May 12–14 & 19–21
To create this immersive exhibit for the Cape Ann Museum, Harbor Voices Public Art recorded local Cape Ann folks telling their origin stories including those of ancestral and recent immigration and migration, all highlighting Cape Ann’s history. The multilingual show of overlapping stories is set to a display of lasers, each story represented by one beam of light that overlaps with others. The public installation will be on display at the Cape Ann Museum Green from Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 14, and from Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21. 

Marblehead’s Spring Celebration

May 13
On May 13, Marblehead hosts its third annual Spring Celebration. Local shops, restaurants, artists, and organizations team up for a day of community events, family-friendly activities, and shopping in downtown Marblehead. Eventgoers will find live music, arts and crafts activities, outdoor shopping, art being created and sold, and exciting deals at small shops and local restaurants throughout Marblehead’s historic downtown and Atlantic Avenue.

Native Waters, Native Lands at the Cape Ann Museum

Wetu | Photograph by Shutterstock

May 19 onward
Beginning on May 19, the Cape Ann Museum partners with SmokeSygnals, a Wampanoag creative agency, to create a wetu, a traditional domed structure created by the Wampanoag and other northeastern Native American tribes. The wetu will come together on the Cape Ann Museum Green, highlighting the way indigenous people lived in present-day eastern Massachusetts for thousands of years. The Wampanoag lived as a partially nomadic tribe, staying by the coast in the summer and moving to more protected inland regions during the winter. Wetus were their impermanent dwellings.