Culture At Our Door

The best entertainment often happens close to home. At least it did for me and my family last Sunday evening.

Ready or not, every April 19 at 6 o'clock sharp, a group of people wearing tricorn hats and knickers or flouncy dresses with aprons appear at our door. The men have muskets, and the children carry fife and drums.

You see, we live in that part of Massachusetts where the famous battles that began the American Revolution took place. Our home sits on the land where some American soldiers mustered during the same evening back in 1775, and each year a group of "minutemen" reenacts that day's events.

They wait in our house and others nearby until the alarm sounds, then scamper into the street for news of the redcoats' arrival. One disoriented fellow even tumbles out of the house in his nightshirt.

This historical reenactment is always a hit, especially with my son, for it starts his vacation week with a bang.

You may not have guys in their PJs tumbling out of your house, wondering what's up. And you may not want to. But this event can remind us that long lines and high-ticket prices aren't always synonymous with entertainment.

Especially at this time of year, when art starts to go outdoors. As spring bursts forth, our options become more accessible, more affordable, and more inviting for the whole family.

This week, where I live, some locals were entertained by Patriot's Day parades, while others cheered for those competing in the 102nd annual Boston Marathon. And as daffodils and tulips brightened the land, Earth Day art fairs and musical celebrations brought people outdoors.

Next week, dancers will weave bright ribbons around maypoles. And as temperatures heat up, the outdoors will become a cultural playground, with arts and crafts fairs, music concerts, dance performances, and theater for every taste and budget.

Fair-weather arts events include the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., the Newport (R.I.) Folk Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival (Lenox, Mass.), Saratoga (N.Y.) Performing Arts Festival, and Wolf Trap near Washington. (For others, look up "festivals" on the Internet.)

But before you head to faraway places for your annual dash of arts and culture, check out what's happening close to home. You might be just as entertained by what shows up on your doorstep.

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