Fluff Festival, Municipal Broadband Discussion, and Local Cultural Council Grants!
Two new lab buildings being designed on McGrath Highway at Medford Street
It’s the Fluffiest Time of the Year
Union Square will overflow with sweetness this weekend, as the 17th Annual What the Fluff? Festival returns on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 3-7 p.m. (rain date Sunday, Sept. 18) to its traditional location on Union Square Plaza, in the municipal lot, and on Somerville Avenue from Prospect Street to Webster Avenue.
This festive tribute to Union Square honors the invention of Marshmallow Fluff and Somerville’s proud tradition of innovation, with live music, sweet treats, sticky games, and zany happenings.
This year’s theme—Fluff at First Sight: Back on Track presented by Boynton Yards—will return to its traditional festival format, with a “Fluff’N Jam” music stage, a “Shenanigans” stage for games like Fluff Jousting and Musical Chairs, a midway for Fluff Bowling, Ring Toss, and more, a Creation Station, and roving surprises.
Scores of local businesses will be offering Fluff-related creations and specials before and during the Festival. Official 2022 Fluff merchandise will be available at the festival on Somerville Avenue near Buk Kyung Korean Restaurant.
It takes more than 100 Fluff-lovers to present this unique and memorable event, from setup, to running games and activities during the festival, to cleanup. If you’d like to help, you can sign up and choose the volunteer slots you prefer, and attend a virtual Volunteer Orientation at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14.
What the Fluff? is presented by Union Square Main Streets and the Somerville Arts Council. This year’s sponsors: Boynton Yards, Somernova, Liberty Cannabis, USQ, Eaglebrook Capital, Verizon, EventThem, CultureHouse, Parkour Generations Boston, Nicewicz Family Farm, Durkee-Mower, Teddie Peanut Butter, and Boston.com.
Visit the Fluff Festival website for complete details including the festival map and schedule.
Broadband for All
Learn about efforts to expand broadband options for Somerville residents. A coalition of community organizations is sponsoring a public forum on the benefits and challenges of municipal broadband at the Somerville Media Center, 90 Union Square, on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The forum will feature Sean Gonsalves, board member of municipal broadband initiative FalmouthNet; Rabbi Yoni Shtiebel, board member and steering committee member of Upgrade Cambridge; and James O’Keefe, a co-author of Somerville’s 2019 Internet Task Force Report.
The panel discussion will begin at 11:30 a.m. Q&A sessions will follow the presentations, including commentary from respondents representing the Mass. legislature, local small businesses, neighborhood organizations, labor unions, racial justice organizations, nonprofits, Somerville Public Schools, and City government, among others.
A networking interval at 10:30 a.m. will precede the panel, with vegetarian pizza and Greek salad provided.
The event will be hybrid, both in-person and online. Masks are optional at the Media Center. You must register at least 24 hours in advance for the in-person event to be eligible for the brunch. The event will be cablecast live to Public Access Channel 3 from the Somerville Media Center, and live-streamed to Facebook.
Fill out this online form to register for in-person attendance, submit questions to be asked during the program, and express interest in joining future efforts around Somerville municipal broadband.
The event is co-sponsored by the Community Action Agency of Somerville, Massachusetts Senior Action Council Cambridge/Somerville Chapter, Racial Justice Collaborative, Somerville Media Center, Somerville Municipal Employees Association, Somerville Stands Together, and Union Square Neighborhood Council.
Money for Artists
The annual Local Cultural Council Grant Program is currently accepting proposals. Grants of up to $5,000 are available for projects in Somerville, individual fellowships, and support to schools for art projects or cultural field trips.
Funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Somerville Arts Council, the grant program supports specific projects or presentations that serve the Somerville community and must be within one of the seven eligible disciplines. Somerville LCC program grants are reviewed by SAC board members and local peers with expertise in the appropriate disciplines.
MCC will offer a virtual information session about how to apply for a local cultural grant on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.
SAC will host a virtual info session on Thursday, Sept. 15, 6:30-7:30 p.m., and two in-person sessions: Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 3:30-4:30 pm at the main library, and Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Mudflat Pottery School.
Applicants may call the SAC at 617.625.6600 ext. 2985 and speak with Rachel Strutt, SAC cultural director, who is available to assist with project design, facilitate collaboration between artists and organizations, and answer questions about the grant process.
The deadline to apply for an LCC Grant is Monday, Oct. 17.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Somerville municipal broadband organizers.
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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.