Chester Square Park came alive during an unseasonable warm autumn afternoon on Sunday, Sept. 18, for “a festival like no other,” the Mass Ave Coalition Festival.
The festival was made possible by a collaborative effort between the four neighborhood associations comprising the coalition – Chester Square Neighbors, the Claremont Neighborhood Association, the St. Botolph Neighborhood Association, and the Worcester Square Neighborhood Association.
Ken Field, President of Jazz Boston, organized his “Revolutionary Snake Ensemble” in two foursomes to “bridge Mass Ave with music.” Field had hoped to start on one side, do call and response in the middle of the afternoon, and finish on the other side But as it turned out, with traffic noise, they took turns playing in mid-afternoon and the second group finished on the second side.
The festival also featured “The Crosstown Jazz Exhibit” on display on the park’s fences. This exhibit featured excerpts from “Once Upon a Neighborhood: A Timeline and Anecdotal History of the South End of Boston,” a book by South End author and historian Alison Barnet, who was on hand at the event selling her books.
Also, Northeastern University Professor Michelle Borkin made a presentation of Mass Ave data at the festival. Prof Borkin and NU students had a computer set up to share their work and decided to use posters and Post-Its to collect people’s ideas.
Those who marked their favorite walk-able destination on the map were rewarded with a raffle ticket. Prizes included gift certificates from MIDA, SRV, Jugos, Render Coffee, Olympia Flowers, Burn Studios, Party City, Walden Local, Boston Chops, Residence Inn, Flour Bakery, Daryl’s Bar & Kitchen, and even four tix to any Red Sox game.
The festival also featured free food and kids’ activities, among other offerings.
Meanwhile, the South End Historical Society, located adjacent to the park at 532 Mass Ave., held an Open House that same day.
Despite the good time had by all at the festival, there was a $500 shortfall for the event, so donations can still be made @ chestersquareneighbors.org.