Celebrate Gloucester’s 400+ 

August 01, 2023 / History/Maritime, Things to Do & See

2023 is Gloucester’s 400+ Anniversary, marking 400 years since the area was first settled by English colonists, with events happening city-wide all year to honor Gloucester’s history and celebrate the many cultures that make up the community.  The 400+ activities include educational programs, activities, and free public events, with an intentional acknowledgment of the local and neighboring Indigenous Peoples who called Cape Ann home for 12,000 years before 1623. From walking tours to a 400+ fun run and from movie nights on schooner sails to concerts and festivals around the city, the calendar of cultural, maritime, and historical events is full! 

Through its mission, Gloucester 400+ aims to provide not only a comprehensive calendar of free, family-friendly events to commemorate this anniversary year, but to also tell Gloucester’s story by embracing its history and culture. 

Let’s dig deeper into some of the upcoming events for the second half of the year that will help us all learn and grow and celebrate what being a part of Gloucester’s history means. 

Why the “+” in Gloucester 400+? 

Part of celebrating the heritage of Gloucester is embracing that there were Indigenous People living in the area that would eventually become settled by Europeans. 

The City of Gloucester is located on the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Pawtucket people and their neighbors, the Massachusett, Nipmuc, Penacook, and Wampanoag tribes. The original Algonquian name for this land is Agawam, potentially meaning “fish-curing place.” As a part of this year-long anniversary, it is important to recognize and honor the Native and Indigenous people who have lived in this territory for more than 10,000 years, are here now, and will be here for generations to come.

Some of the upcoming events that honor this history include the …

  • Gloucester Fisheries Heritage Month 2023 – The entire month has been designated as Fisheries Heritage Month with an opening kick-off on August 1 at the Fishermen’s Wives Memorial on Stacey Boulevard. There are many other events throughout the month. The jewel in the crown is the Fisheries Heritage Festival on August 12th and 13th from 10 am to 5 pm. This two-day festival honors 400+ years of Gloucester’s fishing industry on the Everett Jodrey State Fish Pier. The festival will include food from the Fishermen’s Wives Association, demos from local fishermen, knot-tying workshops, baiting demos, and more.


  • A Celebration of Place: The Cultural Heritage Festival – (October 7th and 8th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm) This two-day extravaganza will showcase the diverse cultural history of Gloucester. The festivities will include performances from local singer-songwriters, cultural dance performances, including those by the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers, a collaborative community art project, and booths representative of our cultural communities. Ethnic foods will be available. Visit the free festival at Stage Fort Park. 


  • Indigenous Film Festival – (October 9th – 14th) Gloucester 400+ will be hosting an inclusive educational film festival that honors Indigenous Peoples’ experiences and contributions on and beyond Cape Ann. These free screenings are being held at various venues throughout the City. Please visit the website for more info.

Walk & Learn 

In addition to these three signature events, Gloucester 400+ hosts two series of tours that offer unique ways to learn about local history while you enjoy some of Gloucester’s abundant natural beauty.

Cemetery Tours 

Cemetery Tours offer the rare opportunity to stroll the historic cemeteries located in different neighborhoods of Gloucester and to learn more about the prominent figures and events in the area’s history. Upcoming Cemetery Tours include…

  • August 5th – Family of West Parish
  • September 16th – Drama in the Cemetery
  • October 14th – Bad Choices and Bad Luck 
  • October 21st – Oak Grove

Please check the events page for the most up-to-date information on where and when to join these interesting events. 

Literary Gloucester: A Walking Tour 

Gloucester is home to many great writers. It has also served as a home base for writers who need a place to craft their next literary masterpiece in quiet solitude. The Literary Gloucester Walking Tours offer a chance to learn about these authors and how Gloucester made a lasting impact on their writings. Learn about Judith Sargent Murray, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, T.S. Eliot, and more. This free event is being held on September 30th

Gloucester 400+Arts & Theater 

If concerts, movies, and theater productions are more your style, Gloucester 400+ has some offerings for you as well! 

  • Cape Ann Museum Courtyard Concert Series: Each Thursday through the end of August, Cape Ann Museum is hosting free concerts in their Courtyard on Pleasant Street from 5:30-7:00 pm! This series is open to all and is part of the lineup of weekly Culture Splash events. Click here to learn more about Culture Splash and upcoming free events. 
  • Movie Night is August 3rd from 8:00-10:00 pm. Captains Courageous will be projected on the sails of Schooner Adventure! 
  • Gloucester Story with the Annisquam Village Players (August 10-13th from 7:00-9:00 pm) will be performed on the docks of Maritime Gloucester. Bring the family and enjoy the Story of Gloucester! Registration for this event series is full. Stay tuned for openings on the Annisquam Village Players’ website.

Gloucester 400+ Stories 

Part of the year-long celebration of Gloucester includes the gathering, preserving, and sharing of the stories of the people of Gloucester. Throughout the remainder of the year, you can submit your story and images online. This project will produce a commemorative book around the holidays that will be a legacy project for years to come. Although the deadline has passed for inclusion in the printed book, there is still time to submit your story for publication on the Gloucester 400+ website. Find out more details and learn how to submit here. A pre-order form for the commemorative book will soon be available on the website.

For a comprehensive list of events and locations please visit the Gloucester 400+ website. This year is chock full of events that have a little something for everyone!