Though it was a cloudy day, plenty of Fenway community members came out to the Victory Gardens for the 76th annual FensFest. Between live music, picnic food, and face painting, there was something for everyone.
Elizabeth Bertolozzi, president of the Fenway Victory Gardens, said that people filtered through the grove throughout the day to eat hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggie burgers, as well as listen to Gimme 5, a band known in the Boston area for performing at weddings and events.
“We were delighted” to have them return, Bertolozzi said. The band had been at a previous FensFest and had been a huge hit, so they were really excited to have them back again.
Both Stop and Shop and Thornton’s were major food donors for the event, with Thornton’s contributing pasta salad and macaroni and cheese. There was also regular salad, corn, and tons of dessert, and of course—tomatoes right from the garden.
“You can’t have FensFest without tomatoes,” Bertolozzi said.
There were approximately 200 hamburgers, and she said those were all gone by the end of the event. There was one small package of veggie burgers left over which was donated to Haley House.
She also said there were a total of 52 volunteers throughout the day; some came early for set up and some stayed for the entire event. There was “amazing participation by the membership,” she said. “We were delighted that the weather was so cool,” she added.
Bertolozzi also said that she was really happy this year to receive so much positive feedback from sponsors they have never approached before. She said it was nice to have support from places in the South End and other organizations, aside from the regular perennial sponsors.
She said that a lot of the kids that came through either came at the very beginning or the very end, and were “very excited.” There was a pinata for them to “whack away” at, as well as face painting by Diana Rice. She said she does not have a specialty, but rather tries to create whatever the kids ask for. Rice set up her face painting station with her paint set and her instruction books and waited for the kids.
Bertolozzi said that the Victory Gardens are really looking for ways to get more families with small children involved with gardening. “I am, revisiting with the board maybe having a plot set aside for all the kids to take care of and having a designated responsible adult who’s going to make sure that the garden is kept in compliance with the guidelines,” she said.
The Victory Gardens recently participated in the Boston Children’s Museum’s “Wizarding Weekend,” where they had an herbology table that Bertolozzi said had a huge amount of participation, so they are really looking into bringing more families into the gardens.
Bertolozzi said she wanted to thank all the sponsors for their contributions, as well as all the volunteers and current and former board members who were “instrumental” in the success of FensFest. She also would like to let people know that there are still plots available at the Victory Gardens. If interested, reach out to [email protected].