(rain date Sunday, September 23)
[Somerville, MA, September 6, 2018] What the Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Invention returns for a 13th year on Saturday, September 22 from 3-7pm (rain date 9/23). This zany and fun-filled festival honors the invention of Marshmallow Fluff by Archibald Query in Somerville in 1917 and celebrates the spirit of innovation that continues to thrive in Union Square today.
This year—Fluff the 13th presented by Allstate—plays on imagery lucky 13 so often conjures: illusion, fantasy, black cats, turning luck, and the magical. Festival-goers are invited to step into an alternate dimension of the imagination with a wide variety of themed happenings that promise cost-free fun for all ages:
• Hilarious antics with sticky activities like Fluff Musical Chairs, Fluff Hair-Dos, and a Fluff Costume Contest on the Shenanigan’s Stage hosted by Fluff Fest’s long-standing Archibald Query impersonator
• Old-school, boardwalk-style games including Fluff Bowling, Pin the F on the Fluff Boy, Fluff Ring Toss, and more at the Midway Games Area (free to play, free to win prizes)
• Invention Alley: Artisan’s Asylum innovators and the Somerville High Robotics Team showcase laser printing, vinyl cutting, paper crafts, Fluff hacker creations, and robotic tricks
• A Fluff Cooking Contest calling for contestants to show-off their culinary genius by creating sweet or savory marshmallowy concoctions (Entries accepted through Monday, September 17; visit www.flufffestival.com to sign up)
• Fear Factor: Daring participants to eat astonishing Fluff food pairings (think anchovies)
• Navigate the Fluff the 13th-themed parkour course hosted by Parkour Generations Boston
• Join the Drums & Wellness Drum Circle or dance along and align with the rhythm of Fluff
• Share in the groove at the Salsa Dance Party hosted by celeste
• Music by Mariachi Estampa De America! courtesy of El Potro Mexican Bar + Grill
• Martial Arts demonstrations by Oom Yung Doe
• A concert just for kids at Play Union
• The debut of two new performance areas featuring a wide variety of music styles:
◦ A ‘Nutter Stage at Bow Market
◦ The Stone Ave. Stage
• Groove and laugh with DJ Let’s Be Frank on the Main Stage as he welcomes:
◦ The Ghetto People Band to serenade festival-goers with a mix of reggae, R&B, soul, rock, and a lil’ hip hop
◦ The return of crowd favorite “Flufferettes,” with their sensational burlesque performances that honor an historical 1930s radio show featured on 21 New England stations. (Appropriately enough, The Flufferettes radio show came on right before the Jack Benny Show, which featured live music and comedy)
◦ Union Comedy to strut their improv skills with Fluff-themed sketches
◦ DJ J Wall to keep the grooves going
◦ Rapper Sur5ILL to lay lyrics over chill beats
◦ Magician Zoë Reiches
◦ The crowning of the Cooking Contest victors by Mayor Curtatone
◦ Peter Prince + Moon Boot Lover to throw down a one-of-a-kind mix of rock, funk, and high-energy, body-moving grooves close to the festivities
• More than 50 vendors selling both sweet and savory Fluff-inspired dishes, as well as a variety of Fluff-themed items and crafts
• A plethora of delicious Fluff-laced creations at nearby bars and restaurants
“Union Square is known for its hip vibe and eclectic happenings. Visitors love the sense of discovery that unfolds as they explore its diverse destinations. The Fluff Planning Team set out to turn up the volume on these themes, and nailed it,” said Jessica Eshleman of Union Square Main Streets. “Carrying this beloved community tradition forward is such a wildly fun honor. The Fluff Festival is a perfect way to spotlight the magic that happens regularly in Union Square’s shops, restaurants, businesses, and along its sidewalks.”
The endlessly entertaining What the Fluff? Festival is made possible by the generosity of its sponsors: Allstate Insurance, USQ, Bow Market, Cambridge Realty Group, East Boston Savings Bank, El Potro Mexican Bar + Grille, Event Them, Get A Round, Naveo Credit Union, Parkour Generations Boston, Power Home Remodeling, Starry, and WBUR.
Festivities are expected to attract 20,000 Fluff fans and traffic will be rerouted around Union Square to accommodate festival activities. Revelers are highly encouraged to walk, bike, or take public transit.
What the Fluff? is produced by Union Square Main Streets and the Somerville Arts Council as part of the ArtsUnion series with funding from the City of Somerville
• Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018 from 3–7 pm / rain date Sunday, September 23
• Where: Union Square Plaza in Somerville, where Prospect Street, Washington Street, and Somerville Avenue meet, and at select business locations throughout Union Square
• Cost: Free!
• More details: www.flufffestival.com
Union Square Main Streets
Union Square Main Streets works collaboratively to actively support a vibrant neighborhood by preserving the character and advancing the economic strength of the Union Square business district and community. More information is available at www.unionsquaremain.org.
Somerville Arts Council’s ArtsUnion
Started in 2005, ArtsUnion is an initiative to enhance the cultural economic development of Union Square. ArtsUnion presents events and markets, cultural and historical tours, commissions street furniture and public art, and revised zoning to incentivize arts redevelopment. ArtsUnion is funded by the City of Somerville.