Free summer fun right outside our doors

The summer season is in full swing and there’s no shortage of outdoor fun in our own backyard. Whether its live music or hitting the water, there’s lots of fun and free activities to plan for.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Dept. and Mayor Walsh sponsor a series of free live concerts in neighborhood parks every summer. Dorchester’s Hemenway Park gets a turn this week as the popular U2 cover band The Joshua Tree performs Thurs., July 11. The show starts at 7 p.m. This particular group is spot-on in its recreation of the Irish super-group’s distinctive rock sound and it has a big following in these parts already. They’ve played the Dorchester Irish Fest and rocked Dot Park a few years back. Bring along your favorite beach chair or blanket and check it out.

There’s more live music on the schedule for next Saturday in two different locations. The second annual Pear Square Art Fair will take place on July 20 from 12-8 p.m. at Richardson Park near Edward Everett Square. There’s an array of live performances planned throughout the day starting at 12 p.m., including a focus on youth acts starting at 5 p.m. (The fair will also include food and vendors, a bouncy house and more.)

If you want a waterfront view— and the chance to actually get out on the Neponset River— the 2019 RiverFest is also on Sat., July 20 from 10 a.m.- 2p.m. at the DCR Neponset Park on Granite Ave. Sponsored by the Neponset Watershed Association, it will also have a stage for live music and a line-up that includes American Idol Season 13 finalist Sam Woolf, award-winning Indie folk soul vocalist Morgan Minsk, the Boston ILL Harmonic, and other local groups. Nearby, you can sign-up for free kayaking and canoe rides, play soccer or pick out a fresh meal from one of several food trucks that will be on scene. (The Reporter is pleased to be a co-sponsor of RiverFest.) Visit to learn more.

If jazz is more your speed, the fourth annual Dudley Jazz Festival is planned for the following weekend—on Sat., July 27 from 12-6 p.m. at Mary Hannon Park, 613 Dudley St. Now in it’s fourth year, the festival is organized by local musician Fred Woodard, who assembles other jazz players from the Boston area for the free concert. In addition to Woodard and his group, this year’s lineup will include The Lance Martin Trio, Gabrielle Goodman, Salim Washington with special guest Jason Palmer, and The George Russell Trio.

Mattapan is gearing up for its annual bike-riding event, Mattapan on Wheels, which will pedal from Walker Playground on Norfolk Street next Sat., July 20. The event features three different rides— each aimed at different ability levels— trekking out across the Neponset Greenway. It’s a family-friendly event that is also youth-led. More about this event on page 12.

The city of Boston’s Community Centers will pitch in by hosting free “block parties” at centers across the city starting this month. The Dorchester party will take place at the Marshall Community Center on Westville Street on Aug. 8 from 5-7 p.m. The event includes music, a cookout, swimming and more.

For more ideas on getting out and about in Dorchester, be sure to scroll through our events page at See you out there!

-Bill Forry

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