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Best New England Festival or Event

Winner, Runners-up for the 2013 New England Travel Readers' Choice Award Are...

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Eclectic events that celebrate everything from music and art to whoopie pies were the finalists for Best Event in the second annual New England Travel Readers' Choice Awards. All five of these annual happenings are worthy of your bucket list, but only one could nab 2013's top honors.

The winner and runners-up for Best New England Festival or Event are...

1. ***Winner*** Maine Whoopie Pie Festival

Whoopie Pie Festival
Media photo courtesy of the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival
In 2012, more than 5,000 people converged on the town of Dover-Foxcroft for the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, shattering previous attendance records. After winning Readers' Choice honors, 2013 could be an even bigger year for this tasty annual event, which pits whoopie pie bakers against each other in competition for best traditional and best original whoopie pie honors. In addition to sampling entries for a quarter apiece, attendees can enter a variety of contests, enjoy music and participate in a variety of other fun activities. Save the date--June 22, 2013--for this quirky celebration of the official state treat of Maine.

2. Cape Ann Artisans Studio Tour

Twice each year in summer and fall, two dozen artists who call the stretch of coast north of Boston "home" open their studio doors, providing visitors with a wonderful glimpse of the inspiring settings in which they work. The Cape Ann Artisans Studio Tour celebrates its 30th year in 2013: Dates are June 22-23 and October 12-14. In addition to viewing diverse creations and interacting with artists, visitors enjoy spectacular coastal views as they follow this tour through the picturesque and historic towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts.

3. Six Flags New England Fright Fest

As if the roller coasters at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, aren't scary enough, each October, New England's premier theme park is transformed into a Halloween mega-attraction filled with spooky delights. As night falls, haunted walk-throughs, themed rides and monstrously entertaining shows add a demonic dimension to this sprawling park, where screams are always a specialty.

4. Lowell Folk Festival

Lowell Folk Festival
Photo Courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. Jim Higgins, photographer.
The annual Lowell Folk Festival, scheduled for July 26-28, 2013, transforms downtown Lowell, Massachusetts, into a lively festival grounds for three days each summer. In addition to a line-up of top folk musicians performing continuously on six outdoor stages, the 26-year-old festival features folk crafts, international foods and children's activities. Best of all: Admission is free!

5. Sea Music Festival

2013 marks the 34th year that maritime music will be performed and taught at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. This waterfront Museum of America and the Sea is the ideal setting for rediscovering the sea shanties and traditional tunes of maritime cultures from around the globe. During the Sea Music Festival, scheduled for June 6-9 in 2013, visitors can even participate in instructional workshops and witness sea music at work aboard historic ships. A Music of the Sea Symposium is also held in conjunction with this rousing annual event.

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