Next Month’s Mass Ave. Coalition Festival Among Topics Discussed at CSN Monthly Meeting

The upcoming Mass Ave Coalition Festival was among the topics discussed at Chester Square Neighbors’ Aug. 3 virtual meeting.

The festival, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18, will be immediately preceded by the dedication of Jazz Square at Columbus and Massachusetts avenues, which starts at 12:30 p.m., and will include a performance by a jazz band from the New England Conservancy. The musicians will then lead guests one block to Chester Square Park for the festival, which takes place from 1 to 4 p.m., said Carol Blair, president of CSN.

Ken Field’s Revolutionary Snake  Ensemble, in two four-piece jazz bands, will provide music for the  festival. The two bands will alternate playing on both sides of the street before joining together to play at the end of the event.

“One will start with jazz on one side of the park, then the two  bands will bridge Mass Ave with music, and then the second band will  finish with jazz on the other side,” Blair wrote in an email.

The festival will also feature an interactive Mass Ave history exhibit displayed on the park fences, as well as a presentation of Mass Ave data hosted by Northeastern University Professor Michelle Borkin.

“Prof. Michelle Borkin has worked with us over several semesters,  having her students create data visualizations, often interactive, to  help us understand our area better,” Blair wrote. “She’s excited to bring her students  and their work to the festival.”

Blair asked for volunteers to recruit neighborhood businesses to donate coupons or offer a QR code for a “freebie,” or discounted item available for a limited time, to festival-goers. She also requested help in locating an electrical source or amplifier for the bass players for the two respective bands,  as well as “a few sources of electricity” to power on-site computers and a popcorn maker.

The Mass Ave Coalition has also been in touch with Roxbury Main Streets and South End Business Alliance about business participation in the festival, according to Blair.

“The Mass Ave Coalition sees a 15-minute city here. It seems we can get most of our needs met within a 15-minute walk,” she wrote. “To promote the many opportunities at our Sept 18 festival, we’ll have a map where people can flag their favorite destination. We’d also like to invite South End and Nubian Square businesses to participate by providing a coupon or a code, for a discount or a freebee. So far, the festival, which will happen in Chester Park, has funding from Boston Medical Center and Northeastern University, bands from Jazz Boston and New England Conservatory, and volunteers from four neighborhood associations.”

Bob Barney of the Worcester Square Neighborhood Association – one of the organizations collaborating on the Mass Ave Coalition, along with CSN, the Claremont Neighborhood Association, and the St. Botolph Neighborhood Association – said someone from his group would help develop a website for the festival, while a flyer to promote the event is also in the works, said Blair.

To track attendance at the festival, Sara Mitchell suggested creating an area for guests to sign in, or perhaps holding a raffle to help facilitate the process

In another matter, between 12 and 15 guests turned out for the Mass Ave History Walk on June 19, said Mitchell.

The walk kicked off at JUGOS Supremo juice bar at 502 Massachusetts Ave. before making its way to the Ebenezer Baptist Church at 157 West Springfield St. and going up that side of Mass Ave. The route then crossed Shawmut Avenue and headed back down Mass Ave in the opposite direction, said Mitchell, who added that lemonade was served to guests at the conclusion of the walk.

Next month’s Mass Ave Coalition Festival could “build on the same history” that was incorporated into the History Walk, said Blair.

The History Walk was on also captured on video by Barney, added Blair, and a volunteer is now being sought to help edit the footage.

Meanwhile, a “stoop party” was scheduled outside a CSN member’s Mass Ave home for members and neighbors, with light refreshments served, on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

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