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The North Shore has so much going on every summer, it gets hard to keep track. But fear not—we’ve rounded up some of our can’t-miss North Shore activities happening this June and July. You’ll find details on staples like Gloucester’s St. Peter’s Fiesta and Castle Hill’s Picnic Concerts, along with events happening only this summer, like a couple of outdoor runs of Shakespeare plays.

“Draw Me Ishmael: The Book Arts of Moby Dick” at PEM

Opens June 1

Opening on June 1 and running for a year and a half, “Draw Me Ishmael” at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem spotlights the book arts of Moby Dick in the hundreds of editions of the novel published since 1851—it’s one of the most persistently pictured American novels. The exhibit draws almost entirely on the museum’s own Phillips Library collection.

“As You Like It” by Castle Hill Theatre

June 5–16

For two weeks this June, Castle Hill Theatre puts on Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” a light-hearted romantic comedy that takes viewers into the Forest of Arden. The outdoor production plays seven times between June 5 and 16 and offers both premium and main seating to all shows. The show runs for two hours plus an intermission, and advance reservations are recommended.

Salem Arts Festival

June 7–9

The Salem Arts Festival returns to downtown Salem from Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9, bringing with it tons of free community art initiatives like an artisan market, live performances, a temporary public art installation, interactive art-making opportunities, and a mural slam on Artists’ Row. The 16th annual festival is put on by Salem Main Streets and Creative Collective; it’s sponsored by the PEM and Jenni Stuart Fine Jewelry.

Rockport Chamber Music Festival

June 7–August 25

The 43rd Annual Rockport Chamber Music Festival comes to Cape Ann this summer beginning June 7. Directed by Barry Shiffman, the festival comprises performances throughout the summer—highlights include pianist Garrick Ohlsson, the Dover Quartet, violinist Blake Pouliot, and A Far Cry. All shows take place at Rockport Music’s Shalin Liu Performance Center.

St. Peter’s Fiesta 2024

June 26-30

The annual St. Peter’s Fiesta returns to Gloucester from June 26 through June 30, sponsored by the town’s Italian-American fishing community. The event features live music every night and decorations throughout downtown. Other festival highlights include a carnival, the open air Mass on Sunday morning, the procession of the life-sized St. Peter statue followed by a parade, the blessing of the fishing fleet, and the Greasy Pole contest, in which contestants try to capture the flag at the end of a greased pole extended over the harbor.

Castle Hill | Photograph by Shutterstock

Castle Hill picnic concerts

June 27–August 29

The outdoor picnic concerts return to Castle Hill in Ipswich this summer, running every Thursday from June 27 through August 29, with the exception of July 4 and the addition of Sunday, July 21. Performing bands span different genres, from funk to rock to reggae, and guests are encouraged to bring chairs and a picnic dinner or to purchase food from on-site vendors like Beefie Boys, Down River Ice Cream, and True North Ales. The concerts cost $40 per vehicle, and tickets are on sale now.

Disney’s “Frozen” at the North Shore Music Theatre

July 9-28

The Disney blockbuster heads to Beverly in musical form this July as North Shore Music Theatre puts on “Frozen,” the Broadway musical. Based on the Oscar-winning 2013 film, the Norwegian-inspired show follows the adventures of princess Anna and her sister, Elsa, who has dangerously icy powers. The show runs 24 times between July 9 and 28 and features beloved songs like “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Windhover

July 12–28

Local theatre company Lanes Coven puts on Shakespeare’s romantic fairy tale “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in an equally romantic and whimsical setting—the outdoor Windhover Center for the Performing Arts in Rockport. Lanes Coven is committed to producing accessible Shakespeare plays at affordable prices and with language clarity, and they’ll perform the show eleven times between July 12 and 28.

Bluefin Blowout | Photograph by Elise Sinagra

2024 Bluefin Blowout tuna tournament

July 16–18

The annual Bluefin Blowout returns to the Cape Ann Marina in Gloucester this summer to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Presented by the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, the tournament brings three days of excitement to Gloucester as anglers fish for the biggest tuna. Spectators can expect live entertainment, vendors, games, and raffles at the weigh-in station. The festivities really kick off the day before, on July 15, at the Bluefin Bash Fundraiser.

Blueberry & Flower Festival at Cider Hill Farm

July 20–28

In celebration of blueberry season, Cider Hill Farm throws its Blueberry Festival for two weekends in late July—July 20 and 21, and July 27 and 28. The festival highlights the farm’s pick-your-own blueberries and cut-your-own flowers, and also features live music, hard cider, family-friendly activities, hayrides, and plenty of blueberry goodies.