Barbara Van Reed
Free Fun Fridays are back this summer, expanding on the annual 10-week program that opens the doors to some of the state's best cultural institutions at no charge to visitors. This year the program offers free admission to 50 venues, and five of them will be open free-of-charge every Friday.
The program is sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, a family foundation based in Newton.
The foundation began the program in 2009 because the cost of admission for many of these institutions and attractions is prohibitive for many families.
“The program was created to highlight some of Massachusetts's cultural resources, but also to provide people with access to activities they may have scaled back on during a challenging economy,” said Blake Jordan, executive director of the foundation. Last year 162,000 people visited one of 34 Free Fun Fridays venues, with many experiencing their largest ever single-day attendance, according to the foundation.
This weekend admission will be free at the Children's Museum at Holyoke, Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, and the 2 p.m. Reagle Music Theatre performance of Bye, Bye Birdie in Waltham.
Next weekend the attractions include the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass Audubon Center in Canton, Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum in Provincetown.
Some other notable institutions on the list include the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Battleship Cove in Fall River, Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Old Sturbridge Village, USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown, Mass MoCa in North Adams, JFK Library & Museum in Boston, and Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth. For the complete schedule, go to www.highlandstreet.org.
First Fridays of Putnam
On the first Friday evening of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. downtown Street Putnam comes alive with special entertainment, interactive art making, dancing, live music, and street vendors. Main Street is blocked off from Rt. 44 to Canal Street and becomes a beer garden, allowing casual strolling by the businesses and entertainers with a glass of beer, wine, or sangria in hand..
Started last year, First Fridays was the brainchild of five local business people who wanted to promote Putnam as a destination: Dot Burnworth of Sawmill Pottery, Carly Martin of Silver Circle Gallery, Nichola Johnson of The Complex Performing Arts, Karen Osbrey and husband Gary of WINY Radio, and Sean Condon and wife Stephanie of Glimpse of Gaia. Sean is the chairman of First Fridays.
First Fridays runs from May to December, May through October outside along Main Street, and November and December inside at various locations, including the Montgomery Ward building atrium and the hall between Bella's and 85 Main.
The next First Friday, August 3, will focus on the art of rhythm making. Community members will experience a drum circle, tap dancers, a “stomp” workshop, performances, and interactive rhythm explorations. The band “Sparkplug” will play on the stage on Main Street starting at 7:00. Look for more details on the Events Calendar page as we get closer to the date.
Fireworks thank you
Dave Armstrong, a native of Webster now living in Florida, visited his family here last week and attended the fireworks. They were spectacular, he thought, and so on Thursday he and his mother Betty went right down to the Commerce Insurance office on Main Street to tell the company how much they appreciated their underwriting the event. The receptionist said he was the first one to do that. Dave said he got emotional when he told her how much the fireworks have meant to his family all these years. Kudos to Dave for making sure Commerce got a thank you from a grateful resident.
- Wednesday, 11 July 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Letter From the Editor