Mass. Ave. Coalition Festival Poised To Return

After making its auspicious debut last fall, the Mass. Ave. Coalition Festival is poised to return to Chester Square on Sunday, Sept. 17 (with a rain date set for Sunday, Sept. 24).

This year’s festival, which will again be free to attend, will likely see the return of several popular attractions from the event last year, including the popcorn machine; a firetruck; the Boston Police Department’s ice cream truck; and the Kit of Parks – a mobile kit containing 63 plastic pieces, such as a table, stools, play-blocks, Jenga, and beanbag toss, which can be assembled to transform an open space into a temporary park,  wrote Carol Blair of Chester Square Neighbors.

(In addition to CSN, the growing Mass. Ave. Coalition currently comprises three other groups – the Claremont Neighborhood Association, the St. Botolph Neighborhood Association, and the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association; leaders of these groups, including Blair, met via Zoom on Feb. 6 to begin planning for the 2023 Mass. Ave. Coalition Festival.)

The festival organizers are seeking musicians, perhaps a jazz or steel-drums ensemble, “to sound out over traffic to bring the two sides of Chester Park together” for the event, wrote Blair.

Additionally, festival organizers will be seeking participants to reenact events from Mass. Ave.’s history, added Blair, while the event will also “offer opportunities to explore possible futures for the Mass. Ave. corridor.”

Like last year, the festival organizers will be reaching out to businesses within a walking distance to solicit donations of pizza to be provided free to guests, as well as for donations of prizes for a raffle.

“Last year, the generosity of our community, including Northeastern University and Boston Medical Center, allowed us to make everything free,” wrote Blair. “We hope to expand sponsorship so that, again, all can fully enjoy the festival.”

For this year’s festival, the organizers are exploring the possibility of closing both carriageways “to make room for dancing and street play,” wrote Blair, “and perhaps, for that Sunday afternoon, Mass. Ave. could be narrowed to one lane, to allow safer crossings from one side of the park to the other.”

Billed as “a festival like no other,” the inaugural Mass. Ave. Coalition Festival took place last year on Sunday, Sept. 18, in Chester Square. The well-attended event was graced by unseasonably warm weather and featured free food, kids activities, and a raffle, as well as a music performance by Ken Field, president of Jazz Boston, and his “Revolutionary Snake Ensemble”; “The Crosstown Jazz Exhibit” on display on the park’s fences; and a presentation of Mass. Ave. data by Northeastern University Professor Michelle Borkin, among other attractions and activities.

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