River Festival

The 2014 Cambridge Arts River Festival. (Photo: Jeremy Gaucher)

Join us for the 2020 Cambridge Arts River Festival! ­ 

Saturday, June 6, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

on Memorial Drive by the Charles River

Near Harvard Square, on Memorial Drive
between John F. Kennedy St. and Western Ave.

On June 6, 2020, Cambridge Arts will welcome tens of thousands of festival goers to the heart of Cambridge for an exuberant celebration of the arts. The festival will feature staged and roving performances, hands-­on art-making,  a Mermaid Promenade, and more than a hundred artists and food vendors with work for sale. The Cambridge Arts River Festival is FREE and open to all!


Interested in supporting the 2020 Cambridge Arts River Festival? Learn more about sponsorship opportunities or volunteering with us.


We need YOUR HELP to make this one-of-a-kind arts and culture event a success. Valuable volunteers like you make entertaining 200,000 festival-goers possible! No experience is necessary for many jobs, and all are welcome! Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator: crf_volunteers@cambridgema.gov.


The Cambridge Arts River Festival offers food and arts from around the globe in the Arts Bazaar, and World of Food. Arts, cultural, and community organizations also showcase their good work at the festival's Community Tables. Applications to participate in the 2020 festival as a vendor or in the community tables section can be found here.

Mermaid Promenade

Call for Mermaids/Mermen and Artists

Cambridge Arts is seeking mermaids/mermen, stilters, dancers, artists, drag performers, cosplayers, and other costumed performers to be part of a Mermaid Promenade that the agency is planning for the city’s 41st annual Cambridge Arts River Festival on June 6, 2020 from 11am – 6pm. The Festival will be located on the Charles River along Memorial Drive and we are seeking artists to help embrace the River at the Festival!

The parade will be a participatory community spectacle highlighting the themes of mermaids/mermen, other water creatures and features (fish, whales, seals, seaweed, boats, etc.), and the environment (our love of the Charles River, concerns about how climate disruption is affecting our world, and in particular our rivers and waterways). The parade is intended to be, by turns, whimsical and serious.

We are seeking performers (mermaids/mermen, drag performers, dancers, stilters, artists) to lead the parade. We are also looking for artists working in all media to create large puppets, portable sculptures and other works of art to be featured in the parade. Ideas big and small are welcome. The participating performers and featured artists will be paid stipends for their work on a sliding scale. Proposals reflecting the rich and diverse traditions of our community and/or the theme of climate change are encouraged.

The Mermaid Promenade, led by a marching band, will be a culminating event during the afternoon of the 2020 festival. Community members attending the festival will be invited and encouraged to join in the parade.

The Cambridge Arts River Festival will feature various other interactive displays and art experience that also incorporate the theme of the river and climate disruption.

Please fill out this form by 12noon on Friday, February 28, 2020.

All applicants will be notified of selection decisions by no later than March 16, 2020.

Thank you for your interest in performing in the Mermaid Promenade at the 2020 Cambridge Arts River Festival. We look forward to receiving your submission. Please feel free contact us at (617) 349-4380 if you have any questions.

Thank you to our Site Sponsors!
Brookfield Properties
City of Cambridge

Support Cambridge Arts River Festival!

Help us celebrate the 40th annual River Festival! Cambridge Arts Council is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization. All sponsorship contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Read more about sponsorship opportunities.

BEST Festival Nominee!

"Best of Boston" from Boston Magazine

BEST Festival Winner!

Boston Magazine named the Cambridge Arts River Festival the Best Festival of 2017 and then again in 2018: "This annual extravaganza isn’t just about seeing contemporary work—it’s about immersing yourself in it. Along with musical, dance, and theater acts, you’ll find a poetry tent, huge wild-animal puppets, and beatbox workshops. In other words, sweet, sweet sensory overload."

The City of Cambridge does not discriminate on the basis of disability. The City may provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to qualified individuals with disabilities. For information contact Cambridge Arts: Phone: 617-349-4380, TDD: 617-349-4621