Mass. Ave. on Town Day 2018, as photographed by Cam Rogers' droneMass. Ave. on Town Day 2018, as photographed by Cam Rogers' drone.

... and close up: Thousands crowd Mass. Ave., enjoy entertainment, debate AHS rebuild 

UPDATED, Sept. 27: Arlington Town Day, a tradition celebrating Arlington since 1976, was held Sept. 15 -- a Saturday whose skies began in fog, turned to gray at the 9:30 start and saw a baking sun emerge about a half-hour before the events' 3 p.m. conclusion.

                 AN ESSAY with NEWS
                  with a series of photos >>


Thousands attended, visiting 237 booths and enjoying a variety of entertainment. The overall crowd appeared to match previous years, officials said, and the midday crush left you gaping for breath.


Sept. 22, 2018: 5 win certificates in Town Day quiz, but many found it challenging


What the heck is Town Day anyway? As one who has attended since the early 1990s and who has had a booth four times since 2006, I offer my annual attempt since 2007 to plumb its meanings. Consider these snapshots just one person's view of the day:

Dogs sniffing ...

-- Early on, after Mass. Ave. traffic between Mill and Pleasant was blocked off, two tall officers wearing black (one had "ATF" on the back of his shirt) each led large, black dogs, intent on sniffing inside booths. "This reflects the time we live in," said a friend, referring to the extra security precaution that I had not seen at previous Town Days.

-- Near midday, the Dave Sammarco Band brought what its sexist website calls cow-kickin' country to main stage at Town Hall, including the lead singer's guttural "Folsom Prison Blues."

-- Brucie Moulton of Sustainable Arlington and related environmental efforts sauntered over with a dinosaur skull on her hand snapping away. Why? To suggest the energy dangers of the "dinosaurs" of coal and oil.

Here come the pitches

-- It was a day for hawking. Pitches galore wound among the crowd:

* Enthused girls in school colors pushing an Arlington High cupcake fund-raiser;

* Signs urging no on state ballot question 1 (nurse staffing) in November's election;

* A blue-haired Ms. seeking sign-ups for the new Community Card (see below);

* A woman wearing straw hat with a Geoff Diehl band carried a near-life-size image of President Trump. She may have been the bravest person at Town Day; and

* Contrast that with Jay Gonzalez, who wants to be governor, showed up with state Sen. Cindy Friedman. Their smiles came easily in a Democrats' stronghold.

-- Hawking aside, it was also a day for a hawk: The town's animal-control officer displayed a large, calm bird to the delight of all gathered;

High school rebuild booth crowded

-- Was the high school building-committee booth another pitch? Of course, but it did so with factual information. Sturdy easels held accurate drawings from Architect HMFH to date of proposed designs, inside and out.Town Day logo

 Much remains in flux as a final design is not expected to be shape up until next February, though the town building committee voted Monday to stick with the current preferred look.

Amy Speare was on hand Saturday to point out that much of the green space, displaced from the Mass. Ave. side, has been reconfigured to two triangular segments toward the Schouler Court and CVS sides. See them in image at the top of the AHS Building Committee's website >> 

Approved footprint design supported

Further, related news broke just after Town Day. On Monday, Sept. 17, the AHS Building Committee unanimously voted against a motion to reconsider the project’s preferred design option. Read Committee Chair Jeff Thielman’s opening remarks >> 

Preliminary plans for the site (front green and other green spaces) will be presented to the public at the Monday, Sept. 24, forum at Town Hall.

-- Without a table, but standing near the rebuild booth, which attracted a steady stream of people all day, were members of Save Our Historic AHSThe group advocates retaining the green near Mass. Ave. and the white columns on the part of AHS built in 1938, and they held displays that pushed that message.

--  The weekly beer garden moved from Whittemore Park to Lamson Way, next to Not Your Averegae Joe's, to serve 400 to 500 beers, the Select Board's office reported Sept. 21.

-- YourArlington's booth pitched real, local news (not the fake kind) with quiz. Sixty people answered five questions about Arlington in hopes of being among five to be chosen for a $20 certificate to Home Taste, a new Chinese restaurant in the Heights. Those chosen in a drawing will be notified. Curious about the answers to the questions? The responses will be reported.

Marie Krepelka, who is the Select Board's administrator and who was on hand at the Town Day booth donning distinctive head gear, wrote Sept. 18:

"After talking to residents that came into the office yesterday, everyone thought it was a great crowd and larger than last year.

"As you know, we changed our booth from the middle of the street to beside the stage, so it was a whole different view for us."

The following was reported earlier:

Walter Moynihan Run | Art on the Green | Where booths are | Brochure: map, stage schedule


An earlier town announcement said: "There will be something for everyone – pony rides, entertainment, and over 200 booth vendors. Come listen to music, sample cuisine from Arlington restaurants, share a beer with your neighbor in the Beer Garden, learn about our Town, and celebrate everything that makes Arlington an amazing community. For details and updates, see arlingtonma.gov/towndayTown Day  

High School Building Committee booth

To learn more about the Arlington High School building project, visit the committee booth at Town Day on Sept. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and receive updates as the project progresses, visit ahsbuilding.org. You can also. 

Open mic poetry reading

Readings take place in the side garden at the Jefferson Cutter House, 611 Mass. Ave., from 11:30 to 1. MC’d by Arlington Poet Laureate Cathie Desjardins.

Sign-up for open mic begins at 11:10. Join us for a community celebration of Arlingtonian poetry.

Arlington arts calendar to get its official launch

The ArtsArlington calendar has been linked at YourArlington for a couple of weeks, in advance of its official launch on Town Day. Submit your arts and culture event to be listed on this exciting new site. The local  calendar is powered by ArtsBoston.

2018-'19 Arlington Community Card

Get your 2018-2019 Arlington Community Card at Town Day.

Current magenta-colored cards expire the end of this month. Come on down to the Community Card booth to get the new LIME GREEN card.

Look for the booth with the big turquoise Community Card banner, or the volunteers milling about in turquoise Thompson PTO aprons. We can accept cash, check and credit/debit.

Produced and sold exclusively by Thompson Elementary School PTO, the card costs only $10 and grants the bearer ongoing discounts 40 local restaurants and shops, from September to September each year. It is the primary fundraiser for Thompson PTO. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the cards goes to the school's PTO Enrichment Fund, to pay for field trips, artist visits, etc., for the students.

To see this year's deals, visit www.arlingtoncommunitycard.org

Our students thank you for your support. 

Take YourArlington's news test 

Come on down to YourArlington's Town Day booth.

Publisher Bob Sprague and his wife, Marjorie Howard, residents since 1989, don't bite. We'll talk, about anything.

Come on down and take a test. The questions are about real local news, not the fake kind.

If you answer correctly, your name will be put in for a drawing. You may win one of five $20 gift certificates to Home Taste, a Chinese restaurant in the Heights. See the correct answers here >>

Where is the booth? It's near First Parish church, between the League of Women Voters and the Rainbow Commission.

ATC on Town Hall stage

Air Traffic ControllerAir Traffic Controller will perform at 1:30 p.m. outiside Town Hall. More on Facebook >> 

Arlington Historical Society: Spinning, Minutemen, online effort

The Arlington Historical Society has some great activities planned for you and your family on Town Day.

Arlington Historical Society logo

On the lawn of the Jason Russell House Nancy Bell demonstrates Colonial-era spinning techniques. Her “Spinning History” program is a visual-arts and women’s-history performance about the role the art of spinning played in the American Revolution.

Bell dresses in carefully researched, hand-sewn, historically accurate clothing. She demonstrates three kinds of spinning and sings propaganda songs used during the American Revolution calling for young women to spin their own thread as part of becoming independent.

Also on the Russell House lawn, the Menotomy Minutemen demonstrate how musket balls were made and perform musket drills. On the less-martial side, the group demonstrates making corn husk dolls and displays typical items of Colonial clothing and toys.

The Russell House itself will be open for tours.

Stop by the Mass. Ave. booth for give-away colorized postcards of old, but familiar Arlington scenes. The postcards announce our new online initiative -- come to our booth for details. 

Teosinte Arlington needs you

Arlington-Teosinte logo

Hola Amigos and Amigas of the Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project: Please join us at Town Day. We need a few more volunteers to staff the booth in hour long shifts from 11:30 to 12:30, 1:30 to 2:30 and 3:30.

Please consider donating an hour of your time to spread the word about the work we do and to sell fair-trade, Salvadoran crafts to raise money for education financial aid and other community development projects in Teosinte. Kids are welcome to help out with an adult. High school students can receive credit for volunteer hours.

Sign up by clicking here >> 

We invite the public to stop by the booth to check out our new craft items, including dog collars and leashes, and buy some freshly roasted coffee beans. You can also get an update on our school curriculum and learn how Teosinte celebrated their 30th last month.

Coast Guard Auxiliary

Have you ever heard of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary? Do you know what we do?

Stop at our booth at Town Day. We will feature coloring books/pages for kids, literature on safe recreational boating and a display on staying safe while enjoying paddlesports.

We will also have information on taking boating education classes along with signup sheets to get a free recreational boat or paddlecraft vessel exam.

Our friend Coastie the Safety Boat will be stopping by to say hello and talk about staying safe on the water and protecting our marine environment. 

Arlington Fire Department

afd patchArlington Fire Fighters will provide fire safety demonstrations in the “Smoke House,” a three-room trailer designed to teach children about fire hazards in the home from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Safety instructors will take groups of 6 children through the kitchen, living room and bedroom, asking them to identify safety hazards.

Then, theater “smoke” is put into the bedroom and the safety instructor shows them how to get out safely.

There will be three Jaws of Life demonstrations scheduled throughout the day. Demonstrations are behind the library. The S.A.F.E., Student Awareness of Fire Education, instructors will discuss safety and hand out S.A.F.E. and Fire Prevention brochures. Firefighter boots will be around the booth to collect donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association

Arlington Police Department

apdVisit the Arlington Police Department's table on Mass. Ave. at the Robbins Library for public safety information and discussion.

The Family Services Team will be available to provide assistance on a wide range of topics and the APD mental health clinician will be sharing facts on the Arlington Opiate Outreach Initiative and treatment resources available for residents.

Animal Control Officer Diane Welch will be on hand providing information on pets and wildlife and K9 Officer Michael Hogan along with the APD's K9 “Eiko” will be conducting demonstrations throughout the day in the Robbins Library parking lot.

Senior Association, CoA

The Arlington Seniors Association and the Council on Aging have booths side by side on Mass. Ave. near the corner of Academy Street.

This is a great way to share with the community the resources that are available to older residents of the Town, to answer your questions and get to know you.

Town Democrats, LWV

The Arlington Democratic Town Committee will have its usual Town Day booth (arlingtondems.org).Visit the booth to learn how you can get involved here in Arlington with Democratic efforts to elect and support Democratic candidates here and across the country.

So will the League of Women Voters of Arlington (lwva.com).

Got twins?

Massachusetts Mothers of Twins Association (MMOTA) founding chapter provides educational, social and emotional support to parents and expectant parents of multiples in Boston and the surrounding suburbs.

We have online forums for discussions as well as many opportunities to meet and develop friendships with other parents of multiples. We hold meetups for the purpose of sharing information and advice pertaining to raising multiple-birth children.

We have lots of events, such as Halloween parties, weekend playgroup meetups and of course our famous semiannual consignment sale, taking place this year on Oct. 13 at the Winchester Sons of Italy.

If you can't stop by our booth at Town Day, check out www.mmota-founding.org. 

Sage Advance Care Management

Sage Advice Care Management is looking forward to Town Day.

Kathy Kemp will be happy to talk with you about ways you can address concerns about your aging parent or partner or plan for your future.

Visit the Old Schwamb Mill’s Booth on Town Day

In a hollow on the Mill Brook in Arlington, a woodworker today is making exquisite hand-turned oval frames on 19th-century lathes in a wooden mill building dating from the time of the Civil War. The historic Old Schwamb Mill site itself survives as a continuously operating site where, for more than three hundred years, immigrant Puritan, Yankee, and German entrepreneurs harnessed the free water power of a narrow, fast moving brook to run machines and develop a series of family-owned businesses.

Old Schwamb Mill logo

Stop by the Schwamb Mill’s booth on Town Day and learn how the mill continues to produce museum-quality, hand-turned wooden oval and circular frames using an interesting variety of frames and profile styles that have been produced since 1864. Speak with our staff and volunteers about the community along the brook and how Charles Schwamb purchased the Woodbridge Spice Mill and converted it for woodworking purposes, building a successful family-owned business that continued for 105 years.

The mill is an excellent example of successful historic preservation. Since 1969, it has operated as a mill-museum by an all-volunteer, nonprofit charitable educational trust. The Mill stands today because of the generous financial support from hundreds of Friends of the Old Schwamb Mill as well as local and state grants. These gifts, grants, and contributions enabled the four visionary founding trustees of the mill in 1969 to acquire and stabilize the structures and find appropriate adaptive uses for the historic buildings. They kept the mill alive as a unique educational resource.

Visitors are cordially welcomed. The mill is located on the Revolutionary Battle Route to Lexington and Concord, 17 Mill Lane in Arlington Heights. The mill buildings, including the woodworking shop, are open to the public on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Machinery demonstrations are given in the woodworking shop. We also offer art exhibitions in our gallery as well as special events including musical performances, lectures, and more.

We look forward to seeing you on Town Day.

Arlington Soap Box Derby 

We plan to have booth at Town Day again this year where kids get try out a soap box derby car in the Citizen's Bank ATM lane.

Please contact us ASAP if you are interested in helping on Town Day: arlingtonsoapboxderby[@]gmail.com

Before fireworks, you could go to the Elks

Friday, Sept. 14 starting at 4 p.m., at the Arlington Lodge of Elks at Spy Pond.

All were welcome! Kids, adults, friends.

No cover charge; no membership required.

Real food, beverages and lots of fun.

You did not have to be an Elks member to attend.

There were games and other things for the kids to do.

There were soft drinks, etc., for the kids and frosty adult beverages for you adults.

Bring the family, let the kids have some fun like they’re used to having every year and try your luck at some darts or pool and enjoy some live rock n roll music by Reckless.

Fireworks Friday

Fireworks were held at Spy Pond starting at 7:45 p.m..

The annual fireworks display returned this year thanks to a successful community fund-raising effort, reported in detail here >>

Roads leading to Spy Pond Field and Park were closed at 6 p.m. 

TOWN DAY SPONSORS >>

Town Day 2018 volunteers

Town Day: AYCC

The coalition is looking for friendly volunteers to be ambassadors and work at our booth for Town Day. We are seeking to fill 90 minute shifts.

Please sign up here:


2017 TOWN DAY held as gray cool turns to warm blue


This news announcement was published Monday, June 4, 2018, and updated Sept. 27, to add a link to quiz answers.