Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cities Celebrate Themselves

Boston is actually tiny - just 600,000 residents or so. Combine that with all the surrounding towns and we hit a respectable 4.5 million. Still it seems small here. It's the fracturing of neighborhoods that I think gives Greater Boston it's special appeal. Each neighborhood has it's own hub, a center of life where you're likely to recognize folks if you spend enough time. I like knowing my cheese shop owner and that the guy who fixes my bike says 'hi' when he passes me on the bike path.

Summer is the best time to celebrate your own hood, and get to experience the best of others. Mark your calendar with some of these great corner-of-Greater-Boston festivals are coming up.

Night Sites Tour Thurs 9AM-11PM

Get to know Boston's waterfront with board members of the Designers Lighting Forum of New England. Hadn't heard about Fort Point before? Yeah, it's new for me too, but it's oh-so-up-and-coming.

Cambridge Dance Party Friday 7-11PM

This is the place to be on Friday night. The City of Cambridge shuts down Mass Ave. in front of city hall, has lights mounted from the roofs of buildings and throws a massive dance party in the street. Last time I went it was the year Michael Jackson died and it was one big MJ lovefest. Get down and boogie with the funnest folks that Cambridge has to offer.

Joe's Jazz and Blues Fest is the mayor's idea. Adorably enough, he played the trumpet in Somerville's High School Jazz Band. When you're mayor, you get to do what you want, so he's throwing a day-long free outdoor music show featuring artists from Somerville.

Green Roots Festival Sunday 12-5:30PM

More dancing with groovy people! A celebration done best by Jamaica Plain. This is kind of a Wake Up the Earth light. Some booths of organic food and hemp clothing. Some sweet musical acts like an old-time string band, a steel band and Brazilian drums. The festival's beneficiary is Bikes Not Bombs, so there'll also be lots of bicyclists.

Chinatown Festival Sunday 10AM-5PM

So admittedly the website is a little sparse (what is Chinese dough art???), but Chinatown does have some amazing public spaces, a sense of community and great food. And I've seen the lion dance - it's pretty damn great. I'd bet this festival is going to be pretty great.


  1. Chinese dough art is gorgeous mini sculptures, usually sculpted around a stick for carrying, of animals and whatnot. VERY cool, I still have one from when I was a kid.

    And PS, it's LION dance, not dragon--it's a HUGE faux pas to call it a dragon :)

  2. Oh my god. Thanks for the tip - I'll fix that lion dance thing right away!