Olmsted Now and its partner organizations are gearing up for Emerald Necklace Parkfest, the culminating event in the celebration of creator Frederick Law Olmsted’s 200th anniversary. The event will take place on Sept. 24.
“It is a collective effort and it’s an opportunity to see the parks in the park system that Olmsted designed for Greater Boston as a platform for us to come together and be seen,” said Jen Mergel, Director of Experience and Cultural Partnerships at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
Residents will have the opportunity to participate in events, programming, and performances in parks across the Emerald Necklace system, including Charlesgate Park, the Back Bay Fens, Riverway, Olmsted Park/Allerton Overlook, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park. Olmsted Now has been exploring themes of “shared use, shared health, and shared power in public parks and space” throughout the bicentennial celebration, and this event will continue to do the same.
Though there will be activities across several areas, Mergel told the Sun about some of the activities and events happening in the Back Bay/Fenway area.
In Charlesgate Park, the Charlesgate Bouledrome and the Bridgeside Cypher/Cambridge Hip Hop will perform from 1-4pm.
The Bridgeside Cypher will be “almost like an open mic for folks to come and express in the hip hop tradition,” Mergel said, “taking turns and encouraging each other.”
She said that “what’s beautiful” about Bridgeside Cypher/Cambridge Hip Hop is that “they are a very inclusive and welcoming group of practitioners and creatives who want to make sure that the beauty of hip hop is inclusive to all.”
The cypher will be located under the bridge of the Bowker overpass, and will feature guest DJs, flow dancers, and a live band.
The Charlesgate Bouledrome will be offering free petanque play and lessons on the stone dust underneath the Bowker overpass.
Additionally, the Charlesgate Alliance and Emerald Necklace Conservancy will be offering a free 75-90 minute tour of the Charlesgate site beginning at 2:00pm.
In the Back Bay Fens at the Shattuck Visitor Center, there will be public restrooms and air conditioning, as well as information and a picnic area. Between 1 and 4 pm, there will be trivia with prizes as well.
The Fenway Garden Society will be opening its brand new pollinator garden on the 24, and “we are very excited to have people attend the ribbon cutting for this new garden space,” Mergel said.
Mergel said that the park sites were chosen to ensure ADA access to restrooms as well as access to water.
“We want to make sure people feel comfortable coming to the parks,” she said. “We are bringing port-a-potties, food trucks, water trucks and things like that to the sites.”
At the Franklin Park Shattuck Park Picnic Grove, between 4 and 6pm, the culminating activity of the day will take place. Folks who decorated their bikes, faces, or dog collars/leashes throughout the day will be invited to a parade around the picnic area, Mergel said.
A Trike Called Funk will have music and a portable dance floor, and DJ CO’D will provide the music for the parade. There will also be lawn games and food trucks.
“Olmsted designed the parks so that they should be for everyone,” Mergel said, but “not everyone feels like they have the access they should.” She said that a goal of the Parkfest is to “bring more voices forward” and be inclusive.
Additionally, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy is looking for groups who want to “engage the built-in audiences with their missions” at Parkfest, and will offer free tables, chairs, and load in and load out support for groups. Sign-ups are happening right now and will end on Sept. 16.
For more information, visit emeraldnecklace.org