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Arlington Heights Spring Fling: Town Day taste

Deborah Henson-Conant

THINK SPRING!Hip harpist Deborah Henson-Conant performed.

UPDATED May 28: Arlington Heights had a hot taste of Town Day on Saturday, May 21.

No, Mass. Ave. was not blocked off, as it will be in September, for the first time since 2019. But from 2 to 5 p.m., hundreds of people withstood temperatures in the 90s to participate in the first Spring Fling Festival.

See a series of photos >>

Organized by the Arlington Heights Community Association, the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the event included these scenes:

  • D’Agostino’s gave away 800 free T-shirts plus 14 boxes of bags of pasta.
  • A variety of tents, Town Day-style, lined parking spots and the MBTA bus depot, where groups pitched town electricity, books, zero waste climate warnings and recycling.
  • Hip harpist Deborah Henson-Conant performed for an hour from inside an electric truck provided by Ezekiel Wheeler, the owner of Intelligent Labor and Moving, as a star-struck audience marveled. She had been scheduled to play atop a firetruck, but it was unable to come.
  • Odaiko New England drummers were an amazing finale at 4:30 p.m. in D’Agostino’s parking lot. The Japanese Taiko drummers played to a crowd of 100, including many families. At the end, adults and children were invited by Juni Kobayahsi, the engaging and enthusiastic director, to participate, and they were able to play along with great amusement.

Artists behind window effort >>

Watch the ACMi video the Spring Fling:

Other musical performers

Additional accomplished performers include jazz and R&B duo Jeff Robinson on sax and Dave Harris on trombone; acoustic guitarist Melika Fitzhugh and Scottish fiddler Maggie McPhail.

Free family-fun activities took place throughout the afternoon, including Touch-A-Truck, hosted by Arlington’s Fire and Police Departments; “Badger Meets the Fairies,” presented by Margaret Moody Puppets of Arlington; kid’s crafts with artist Tonya Grifkin; and outdoor bean bag and ring toss games. 

Visitors of all ages enjoyed more than 50 spring-themed painted windows in 23 businesses and are invited to support our Arlington businesses by dining and shopping locally.

'Great day'

"It was a great day," Janet O'Riordan, one of the organizers, told YourArlington. "In the words of Wheeler, 'It is the Heights Town Day.'

"I believe all the organizations which participated -- 17 of them -- all loved being there and would participate if we stage this again next spring. Many were able get good publicity for their business or nonprofit. Many got new volunteers or customers. Robbins Library signed up five new library cards.

"I do believe, myself include, that people learned some simple concrete steps that one can take to promote a much healthier and sustainable environment. I took some home products from 'Joyful Market and Refillery,' so that in the future I will now just refill my containers of shampoo and conditioner instead of buying more and more plastic containers of these products. I bought some Bees Wax Food Wraps that I can now use to wrap leftovers instead of Saran Wrap. The list goes on about other advice I took away from this festival. 

"All in all it was a great success."  

Community organizations

More than a dozen community organizations, from the high school student-led Full Circle Composting to the Swap Shed, were hosts for informational tables offering advice on what you can do to help promote a healthy and sustainable environment. The tables were situated by the Heights bus depot, 1389 Mass. Ave., and at 1308-1312 Mass. Ave., next to the Heights Pub. 

Animal Control Officer Diane Welch presented great horned owl Nuala.

The Artists Pop-Up Store featured the work of four artists at the Roasted Granola Café.

At ACMi, participants saw floor-to-ceiling green-screen technology in its professional television studio, 85 Park Ave.

A prefestival yoga warm-up with Nicole Siegel took place at Wonder Yoga, 1305 Mass. Ave. 

Free limited parking was available in the Arlington Coal and Lumber parking lot, 41 Park Ave.

Free to all

This festival was free to all, thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the generosity of the following sponsors:

Steve Savarese/Century 21/Adams, Julie Horvath/Century 21Adams, Intelligent Labor and Moving, Workbar, Del’s Lemonade, the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture and the Arlington Heights Community Association.

A warm thanks to the Roasted Granola Café, RepHAIRations and Wonder Yoga for their invaluable support. Thanks also to Arlington Coal & Lumber and D’Agostino’s Delicatessen for loaning their parking lots for the festival. 

This news announcement was published Sunday, March 6, 2022, and updated May 25 as well as May 28, to add ACMi video window.

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