Nantucket Island is gearing up for a better-than-ever spring 2022 season! Four fun festivals are being relaunched, with in-person events that everyone can enjoy. There will be family activities, picnics, parades, art exhibits, parties, conferences and gatherings.
The fun begins in April with the Nantucket Daffodil Festival by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. This spring celebration weekend begins Friday, April 22 with a Flower Power Party hosted by the Nantucket Historical Association. From 6 to 8:30 p.m., guests can experience new exhibits around the museum, music and dance, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and, of course, the coveted prizes for “the more fulfilled”.
On Saturday, April 23 in Daffy, the festival begins at 9:15 a.m., when dozens of vintage cars and a few vintage motorcycles — all decked out for Daffy — line Main Street for the public to view. This staging is in place in downtown Nantucket until 12 p.m. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, more festival entertainment will take place at the Nantucket Children’s Beach (just steps from Main Street) which includes the Daffodil Hat Contest followed by the Children’s Parade with children and their decorated bikes. Following these iconic annual events, there will be family entertainment which will include a NanPuppets performance, a visit from Barnaby Bear, giveaways and a Daffy Dog Parade presented by the Nantucket Island Safe Harbor for Animals at 12:30 p.m. There are so many events on Daffodil Saturday that you’ll want to plan an itinerary that lets you see them all!
At noon on Saturday April 23, the Tailgate Picnic at ‘Sconset begins. Parking is limited in Sconset and vintage car parade attendees get reserved spots, so be prepared to park a few blocks away and walk to Main Street, Siasconset to stroll along the road to picnic. Most picnics have themes and many attendees wear creative costumes. A few may share their treats, but that’s not a given, and there won’t be any food for sale at Sconset, so bring your own basket if you want to enjoy a picnic. Live music and other events usually enliven the day.
The famous Nantucket Garden Club Daffodil show opening to the public on Saturday April 23 at 2 p.m. Held in the greenhouses of Bartlett’s Farm, this exhibit of over 700 daffodils along with daffodil flower arrangements and daffodil photographs is truly a sight to behold! The show continues on Saturday until 5 p.m., and is open again on Sunday April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show is free to all, with donations to the Garden Club gratefully accepted. The Nantucket Daffodil Show is endorsed by the American Daffodil Society.
Most people plan a visit to Nantucket for the entire weekend so they can attend all of the festival events. You can find travel and accommodation information on the insider’s guide to Nantucket.
The island becomes quiet for a few weeks after Daffy until mid-May when the Nantucket Wine and Food Festival opens May 18. The festival was founded by Denis Toner, who created what has become one of the most prestigious events of its kind. When the first winemakers arrived on the island and the bottles were uncorked, a magical tradition was started. The festival typically attracts over 3,000 attendees to the island and boasts a growing family of winemakers, wineries, celebrity chefs and restaurants offering tastings, seminars, luncheons, talks, receptions and special dinners.
The 100+ luminaries set to be part of the 2022 Nantucket Wine & Food Festival include Eduardo Chadwick, Hubert de Billy, Joe Donelan, Chef Lydia Shire, Chef Elizabeth Falkner, Paul Hobbs, Chef Joseph Keller, Emmanuel Lemoine, Chef Linkie Marais, Christian Moreau, conductor Bruce Sacino, Michael Silacci of Opus One, Eric Asimov of The New York Times and Dionne Irvine.
The first half of June 2022 brings two other festivals on Nantucket Island: The Plein Air Festival and the Nantucket Book Festival.
Plein Air is a beautifully low-key festival presented by the Nantucket Artists Association. Island artist Frank Swift Chase was a big proponent of plein-air painting, and he taught plein-air classes on Nantucket Island from 1920 through the early 1950s. The core of his regular students became the founders of the NAA. In this spirit, the Artists’ Association hosts Plein Air Nantucket each year and awards the Frank Swift Chase Prizes: prizes awarded by a jury to artists who participate in the festival.
This year, the festival runs from June 14-19, and the date(s) for the annual Paint Out at Brant Point are expected to be announced soon. During the Paint Out, artists will paint outside in a public place and onlookers are encouraged to watch from a safe distance. A list of suggested Plein Air locations will be posted on the Artists’ Association website.
There are no designated paint area artists interested in participating in Plein Air Nantucket and there is no registration fee; however, artwork eligible to be considered for a Chase Award must be 16″ x 20″ or smaller. All performers must obey signage and not violate any private property restrictions. The majority of the work must be painted on site and brought to the AAN gallery when completed.
The Frank Swift Chase Awards will be displayed in the Cecelia Joyce & Seward Johnson Gallery at 19 Washington Street, Nantucket, and Plein Air works will be exhibited there.
the Nantucket Book Festival by the Nantucket Book Foundation has become highly regarded by the community of Nantucket and beyond over the ten years it has been held on our island. Held this year from June 16-19, the festival will feature more than 30 presenting authors, who will give talks, participate in forums and book signings. Participating authors in 2022 include: Nathaniel Philbrick, Roy Blount, Jr., Alice Hoffman, Imbolo Mbue, Zak Salih, Sharon Stone, Scott Turow, Louise Penny, Evan Osnos, Azar Nafisi and Ridley Pearson.
In addition to author events during the 2022 Nantucket Book Festival, Typewriter Rodeo will be available to write you an impromptu poem, and on June 18 there will be a special performance by The Rock Bottom Remainders, a group made up of authors including Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., Greg Isles, Amy Tan, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Matt Groening, James McBride, Ridley Pearson and Scott Turow. Much of the Book Festival is free, but tickets for their special events will soon be on sale at NantucketBookFestival.org.