Midway in July, a bright yellow flyer appeared at our reception desk announcing the upcoming SomerStreets Festival on July 24th. The festival would take place on Highland Ave., stretching from Walnut Street and the City Hall Concourse directly past our home to Cedar Street. A handwritten note extended an invitation for us to participate so we gladly accepted! This was a neighborhood gathering and for us we saw this event as an opportunity to get to know our neighbors!
The week for the Festival, Somerville sizzled along with much of the country. Brutally hot temperatures were to be found everywhere and Somerville was no exception. The city of Boston went on to break a decades old record as the temperature hit 103 degrees one afternoon! The weather forecast predicted a cool down but as the day for the festival dawned, the skies over Somerville were cloudy and the air still oppressive. But the festival was supposed to go on, rain or shine or … heat!
About 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, trucks with City of Somerville imprinted on their sides pulled up and began the work of setting up tents, tables and chairs along the length of Highland Avenue. We set to work as well to get everything in place by the starting time of noon.
Over the course of the last month we were featuring a raffle whose proceeds would help to offset some of our bazaar expenses and we had already set a drawing date for July 17th. With the encouragement of the city, we decided to extend the raffle an additional week so that we could offer this at the festival. We had some great prizes lined up, a George Foreman Grill along with an ice tea maker and a unique set of lobster themed china made up one package. A bike and an assortment of summer toys comprised a second package while we offered a rotisserie oven, Food Basket and a $50.00 gift certificate to a local supermarket as a third prize. So we began our migration, volunteers and Sisters began a lengthy parade, as rack after rack of raffle prizes and other items was transported curbside.
Also on display and available for sale were a variety of craft items from our Arts and Crafts department—handmade baby sets, floral arrangements, handmade cards, handmade jewelry and rosary bracelets, as well as an assortment of “gifts in a jar,” all were on display and available to the public. As the noon hour approached, a few rain drops fell and a stiff breeze began to blow forcing us to seek shelter under our tent. But just as quickly as it began, it ended. Soon we could feel the humidity lifting and soon the afternoon temperatures became a bit more comfortable. The sun made its appearance as well enticing people to get out and about. Throughout the course of the afternoon a steady crowd meandered by. Many stopped to browse at our table and take chances or pick up an item or two. We also had an assortment of literature available hoping to make St. Jeanne Jugan and her work better known. Nearby a stage was set up and throughout the afternoon hours music filled the air and the people danced. There were also other vendors on the street offering their wares. The afternoon slipped by quickly and before we knew it, we found ourselves having to pack up and reverse the process of moving everything indoors. But the afternoon proved to be a success in our books as we had the chance to make the acquaintance of a good number of our neighbors. Later in pulling the tickets for our raffle, we found that two of our winners were people who had taken tickets at the festival! We had some very happy winners!
Two days later on the 26th of July we were happy to welcome to our home a group of Christian missionaries from Israel. Their group bears the name AcoustiYah and its members are all originally from the New England area but have moved to Israel where they now make their home. Their mission is to spread the Christian message through their music. They were in the Boston area and had a full schedule of concerts lined up during the week of July 24th. The brother of a Little Sister heard them perform and asked them to visit our home. They graciously accepted his invitation and managed to squeeze us in before their evening performance in Jamaica Plain. In order to accommodate their schedule, we had a cook-out eat in dinner so that the group could perform while everyone ate. Their music filled the air as the Residents dined on grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings! We were happy they could fit us into their busy schedule and welcomed their visit! Summer is sizzling here in Somerville and so are we!