The Whaling City Festival will be returning to Buttonwood Park this summer.  Festival organizers went before the New Bedford Park Board last night and, according to Whaling City Festival President Mike Sylvia, the organization got a unanimous vote in favor of approving the festival's dates and times.

The dates for the festival will be Thursday, July 7 through Sunday, July 10.  Whaling City Festival's organizers plan on a return to the historically accepted operating hours for the festival.  The festival will have a soft opening on Thursday, July7 with carnival rides and food only.  The arts and crafts vendors in the flea market section will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Thursday hours are 3 PM to 9 PM.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be Noon to 9 PM.

Last year, after the New Bedford Park Board approved the dates and hours for the festival, the Board of Health attempted to shut the festival down at 6 PM because they had concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

However, some argued that considering the event is outdoors there would be little risk for COVID spread.  Also, narrowing the window of time would mean crowds would be thicker than if the festival was open longer hours.

After some convincing from the City Council, the Board of Health agreed to a compromise of an 8 PM closing time.

If it's up to Whaling City Festival president Mike Sylvia, guests will see a return to the way the festival was run years ago.  With longer hours, Sylvia is hopeful to attract more vendors and stronger entertainment.  "This is hopefully the last step in the permitting process," said Sylvia.  Carnival rides, a car show, and wrestling are just some of the attractions expected.

People who are interested in setting up arts, crafts and retail booths and selling their merchandize should send an email to

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