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Next year's celebration Sept. 21, Arlington officials say

Town Day diversityYoung, old, white, PoC, those with service dogs and walkers, others who strolled easily: many braved suboptimal weather Sept. 23, 2023, at Town Day near Robbins Library. / Tony Moschetto photo

UPDATED Oct. 15: With only brief light sprinkles at 12:30 p.m. and later a light but steady rain that began an hour before closing at 3:30 p.m., 2023's edition of Town Day in Arlington nevertheless delighted the crowds.

Despite the droplets, the popular long-running annual free street festival, held slightly later in the year than usual, on Saturday, Sept. 23, took place with just about all features intact including hundreds racing at "The Res" -- save for the previously announced postponement of fireworks, which originally were to have been the same night.

On Friday Oct. 6, the Town Day Committee announced the new date for fireworks over Spy Pond is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, moved from Oct 7, because of expected rain. Walking to the event will be highly encouraged, as traffic delays and parking limits are anticipated. The committee said Sept. 29 that the 2024 Town Day has been set for 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.

Visitors seemed to demonstrate great diversity in terms of ages, disability statuses, ethnicities and, especially, lengths of time having lived in the town -- from those who said that they had resided here for many decades to others who mentioned that they had arrived only in the summer.

The event, at the beginning of autumn, ran from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fewer guests seemed in evidence than in 2022, likely attributable to the cloudy weather, but those present appeared to enjoy themselves even so.

Food booths, too, were varied. Items for sale ranged from fried dough to vegan goodies to baked specialties to international delicacies: Indian, Mediterranean and Thai, among others.

There was free coffee at at least one booth -- most welcome on a still-chilly mid-morning -- and, at others,  sugary treats that some youngsters doubtless viewed as a preview to trick-or-treating nearly six weeks early.

Reached Monday, and speaking for the Arlington Police Department, Capt. Richard Flynn reported the following:

"The APD estimates that there were 5,000 to 7,000 in attendance for Town Day, which is down slightly from years past, but, overall, it was very well attended with the weather predictions/conditions.

"There were no incidents of significance to report. The APD booth and K9 demonstrations went off as planned.

"The APD was proud to be part of this year’s Town Day celebration, and we were glad that the weather held off so that residents and visitors could enjoy all that the event and town has to offer."

 On its website, the town has a map/list of the nearly 250 town departments, organizations and businesses participating.

Mass. Ave. between Pleasant and Jason/Mill streets, where most but not all of Town Day is located, was closed Sept. 23 other than to foot traffic from 9:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., and the same will be true of  access to Mass. Ave. from all adjoining side streets. MBTA is rerouting its bus routes accordingly. Traffic delays are expected. Visitors are encouraged to walk to the event if possible. The town on its website is advising all to observe signs for other traffic and parking restrictions.   

 Town Hall's tower rises against gray skies -- but not gray moods -- Saturday afternoon, Sept. 24, 2023, Arlington's Town Day. / Tony Moschetto photoMore than one location 

Many dozens of information booths -- including one by YourArlington -- educational displays, food vendors and entertainment stood in the section of Massachusetts Avenue aka Mass. Ave. closed to all motor traffic between Pleasant and Jason/Mill streets.

Some Town Day events were also set at Whittemore Park/Cyrus Dallin Art Museum and at Robbins Gardens (between town hall and Robbins Library). And, raising money for good causes, there was a foot race at "the Res," aka Arlington Reservoir Beach (plus food, drink, music and more); registration details and information he many new family-friendly activities surrounding it;are lower down in this article. 

Free drinking water was provided at Town Day; visitors were urged to bring their own empty water bottles: The town website says, "When you crave a drink of water at Town Day, you’ll be able to quench that thirst at a kiosk sponsored by the town's Zero Waste Committee; it's an ongoing campaign to reduce single-use plastics in Arlington.Visitors may bring water bottles, travel mugs or cups to the ZW Zone between Academy and Jason streets and fill up for free! Arlington’s tap water is a healthy, delicious and a valuable resource. The new 'Arlington on Tap' campaign aims to make drinking-water access more convenient for people on the go."

Report from 'Art on the Green'

Just blocks southeast of the main site of Town Day activities, many art-oriented events took  in and around the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum at
 Whittemore Park, 611 Mass. Ave.

These included the unveiling of a recently restored painting by Dallin, titled "Bird Bath – Autumn."

It  is one of a series of four garden landscapes that Dallin created at his Arlington home, 69 Oakland Ave, where he lived from 1900 to 1944.Cyrus Dallin created this work of, and at, his longtime Arlington home. / Susan Gilbert photo

 This 20-inch by 24-inch oil painting depicts the garden fixture surrounded by green trees, a gray-green spruce and several flowers; it was listed in the 1934 Boston Art Club exhibit, according to Geri Trembly,  the museum's president of the board of directors president and museum co-founder.

Trembly noted that the painting restoration was made possible by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Throughout the day, many gathered on the lawn in front of the museum to peruse arts and crafts for sale, and, in some cases, to attempt a chance at winning baskets with numerous art-oriented items. The child craft-themed raffle basket was won by Christine Hyatt, while the the lucky winner of the one for grown-ups went to Aimee Taberner, former board co-chair and trustee of the museum. 

Walter V. Moynihan Town Day Run; new route, more activities; proceeds benefit youth 

Arlington Recreation Department held its annual Town Day Road Race starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Arlington Reservoir Beach. Two loops, theFolks await hot pizza on a cold day. / Susan Gilbert photo equivalent of two miles, around "The Res" -- with participants of a wide variety of ages running, jogging or walking -- were followed by recreational events, including a DJ for music, bounce house, food for purchase and a beer tent from Arlington Brewing Company for those ages 21 and older.

This event was co-sponsored by the Arlington Recreation Department, Arlington Boys and Girls Club and Arlington Fidelity House, with all net proceeds going to youth programming, officials say.

 Recreation Director Joe Connelly said the following the next day, Sunday, Sept. 24: 

"All of the race results, including the division winners, can be found here>>
"It was actually a great turnout ,with over 300 runners/walkers registered. We had a DJ, bouncy house for kids, face painting, barbecue food and [a beer garden]. Things did end at around noon, and I think people did not linger due to the weather."

 For the race, preregistration was needed, waivers had to be signed, and the cost per person is $20 until Sept. 15. Participants were asked to be at the site by 8:30 a.m. to prepare for the 10:30 a.m. race. T shirts were to go to the first 100 registrants. Medals were to be awarded each division winner, according to town Recreation Director Joe Connelly.  

A quick look at the provided link will show the reader the diversity in the ages, with people from age 2 to age 81 taking part.

Many more details are here >>  Learn more about local recreation here >>

Some took advantage of the opportunity to learn about and practice crucial skills, such as CPR. /  Susan Gilbert photoAFD Touch-a-Truck, Smoke House

Arlington firefighters provided fire-safety demonstrations from behind the library. Metro Fire SAFE’s Smoke House, a three-room trailer designed to teach children about fire hazards in the home, will be there. The originally intended Jaws of Life demonstrations had to be cancelled, according to the town, as of Friday, Sept. 22.

APD Family Services Team, K9 demos

The Arlington Police Department had public-safety information at its booth on Mass. Ave. at the Robbins Library entrance throughout Town Day, with the Family Services Team will be on hand to provide assistance on a wide range of topics. K9 Officer Michael Hogan along with the APD's K9, Eiko, did demonstrations in the Robbins Library parking lot.

Planning and Community Development, Health & Human Services

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) staffers and committees that they work with at Town Day plan had tables along Mass Ave and included Envision Arlington; Arlington Community Electricity; Electrify Arlington / Clean Energy Future Committee; Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture; Transportation Advisory & Bicycle Advisory Committees Joint Table; MBTA Communities Working Group 

 The Department of Health and Human Services was there, as were Arliington Human Rights Commission; Arlington Disability Commission; LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission; Arlington Youth Counseling Center (AYCC) and the Community Resources Specialist/Homelessness Outreach Coordinator; and First Step, a support group for survivors of domestic violence. The AHS Jazz Band performs in Town Hall. / Steve Berczuk photo

Music provided by local teens

Performances of various types took place during Town Day, musical and otherwise, as in the past.

One in particular that involved dozens of talented young people was the show put on by the Arlington High School Jazz Band and the AHS Madrigal Singers inside Town Hall.

Tubas, trombones, trumpets, saxophones of various tones/sizes, standing basses, percussion instruments, accordions and, of course, vocal talent were much in evidence. 

Single-use waste reduced, organization says

At Town Day, locally based organization Zero Waste Arlington introduced two new waste reduction efforts: a free MWRA (Massachusetts Water Resources Authority) drinking water truck and the ‘Reduce Single-Use’ reusable takeout container pilot program. According to Amy Speare of the organization, this removed from the waste stream the equivalent of more than 500 single-use beverage bottles, more than 110 single-use food containers and one barrel of compost

More than 100 meals were served on Town Day in reusable containers such as this one. / photo courtesy Zero Waste ArlingtonVisitors had the ability to purchase their meals in reusable containers rather than single-use containers Six vendors participated: two, Pie Palace and Man Made Chili, both from the First Parish UU ChurchPunjabThrive Juice CafeFattoush and Acitrón. More than 110 meals were served in the bright green reusable containers, which were then collected toward the end of Town Day to be sanitized and used at future town events. 

The water truck offered residents the chance to refill their own reusable water bottles and/or to quench their thirst with reusable beverage containers provided by Zero Waste Arlington. Even on the cool, misty day, more than 500 residents filled up, Speare said.

She said her group appreciates the Town Day Committee’s partnership in reducing single-use waste and also commended several like-minded local entities: The Roasted GranolaYes! Your Eco SourceFood LinkBlack EarthArlington Swap Shed and Recirclable.

Speare added that the Town Committee is now gathering feedback from both of these inaugural initiatives and already planning improvements to both programs for Town Day 2024. For more information, visit

ACMI produced/shared this short clip about Town Day, focusing on the entertainment aspect:


Sept. 18, 2019: Town Day celebrated before showers fell
Town Day 2017: A view from above


This news announcement was published Saturday, May 20, 2023, and updated Sept. 5, with details including times, dates and locations -- some of which are different from what they were in 2022. It was updated Sept. 8, to clarify that the annual foot race, for which participants pay a fee, is a benefit, with net proceeds going to organizations serving local children. It was updated Sept. 20, to provide links to the relevant page of the town website and a map/list of booth/attraction locations, and to specify the fireworks time. It was updated Sept. 22, to state that many activities would have to move indoors due to expected rain, that the fireworks show would be postponed to an as-yet-unspecified date and that there would be no "Jaws of Life" demonstration. It was updated later Sept. 23, to provide a brief description of the event. It was updated Sept. 24, with two photographs by YourArlington freelancer Tony Moschetto, along with some overall wordsmithing. It was updated Sept. 25, with information from Recreation Director Joe Connelly, including a link to race results, and from Police Captain Richard Flynn with crowd estimates, plus to add photographs from senior freelance Susan Gilbert. It was updated Sept. 28, with information about art events. It was updated Oct. 6 to announce that fireworks have been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.