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The Festival at 52!

The dedicated volunteers of the Marblehead Festival of Arts have been working hard and the parts are coming together for what looks like another festival of music, visual arts, written and film arts and plenty of other events for family fun and enrichment.  For those of you who can’t wait and are planners we have placed below the Festival Schedule.  You will be able to find the full schedule and the separate daily schedules broken out for your convenience.  Peruse and print them out as you wish.  

Full Schedule      Awards and Preview Day    
Day One – July 1st      Day Two – July 2nd     Day Three – July 3rd     Day Four – July 4th

The 52 Marblehead Festival of Arts
Saturday July 1st through Tuesday July 4th.  

Keep in touch with this website, friend our Facebook page or watch for press releases and posters as we firm up plans for our exhibits and events.  We will update pages on activities as they are decided.  See you there!!


The very first Marblehead Festival of Arts took place in 1963 at the Old Town House and Abbot Hall. There were adult art, youth art, sculpture, and arts and crafts exhibits; performances by The Fine Arts Woodwind Quintet of Boston, the Boston Ballet, Marblehead Little Theatre, and folksingers Jackie Washington, Lisa Kindred, and Mark Spolestra; Marblehead open houses and gardens; the Navy Band; and the USS Abbot in the harbor.

The idea came a year earlier when Patricia Goddard read an article in the Boston Globe about the Boston Arts Festival, directed by Nelson Aldrich. Goddard was the secretary for Peggy Stone, director of the Marblehead Chamber of Commerce, and she wanted to know why Marblehead didn’t have an arts festival. And so it began.

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That first year, Peggy Stone and Pat Goddard were joined by Robert Triplett, Thelma Hewitt, Fred Goddard, Dave Garland, June Goldman, Monica Holm, James Lee, Thomas Lemons, Willy Nordwind, Jr., Beatrice Roffman, and Eliot Small. They formed the first board, aided by Nelson Aldrich as advisor, and Prescott Baston, Samuel Chamberlain, Arland Dirlam, and James Skinner as the advisory council.

Those 16 people started an organization that would spend the next 50 years exhibiting various forms of art to Marblehead residents and visitors from across the country and around the world. (Although the festival began in 1963, it was dormant between 1965 and 1967, so this year marks the 50th Festival).

Today, the festival encompasses some 400 people who come together as volunteers to create a days-long event comprising art exhibits, performances, a logo contest, a culinary arts reception, a street festival, and more. As it was in 1963, it’s a community event, with husbands, wives, children, neighbors and acquaintances drawn in to help with whatever needs to be done.