"The Festival" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales.
The story was inspired by Lovecraft's first trip to Marblehead, Massachusetts, in December 1922. Lovecraft later called that visit «the most powerful single emotional climax experienced during my nearly forty years of existence.»
In a flash all the past of New England—all the past of Old England—all the past of Anglo-Saxondom and the Western World–swept over me and identified me with the stupendous totality of all things in such a way as it never did before and never did again. That was the high tide of my life.
The narrator's path through Kingsport corresponds to a route to the center of Marblehead; the house with the overhanging second story is probably based on Marblehead's 1 Mugford Street. The church in the story is St. Michael's Episcopal Church on Frog Lane. Built in 1714, it is the oldest Anglican church in New England that is still standing at its original site. The church is on a modest hill; for most of the 18th century, it had a steeple. Its crypt, where parishioners were interred, remains. Since Lovecraft visited the church (as evidenced by his signature in the guest register), he may have spoken with the rector and learned such details about the church.
Famous works of the author Howard Phillips Lovecraft: At the Mountains of Madness, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Horror at Red Hook, The Shadow Out of Time, The Shadows over Innsmouth, The Alchemist, Reanimator, Ex Oblivione, Azathoth, The Call of Cthulhu, The Cats of Ulthar, The Festival, The Outsider, The Temple, The Picture in the House, The Shunned House, The Terrible Old Man, The Tomb, Dagon, What the Moon Brings.