FRAMINGHAM – MetroFest, an arts, music, and food truck festival that has quickly become a regional tradition, returns to Bowditch Athletic & Cultural Complex on Saturday, June 25, with two dozen food trucks and vendors, 100 exhibitors, expanded kids activities, two stages, and enhancements new to this year’s event, including a hard-cider tasting and a classic car show.
Intended to showcase the region’s arts, culture, and commerce in an affordable and family-friendly atmosphere, MetroFest utilizes the entire quarter-mile- long, enclosed complex with two food truck areas, two stages, inflatable bounce houses, a game truck, and exhibitor booths circling the running track and dotting the entire grounds.
MetroFest debuted in 2014 and is a program of the MetroWest Visitors Bureau (MWVB), a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to stimulating the region’s economy by raising visibility for the area’s cultural, historic, culinary, hospitality, retail, and recreation offerings. Organizations hailing from 27 municipalities are participating in MetroFest 2016.
More than 7500 people attended the first two MetroFests, held in September of 2014 and 2015; this year, organizers are planning for as many as 8,000 people to enjoy this year’s enhancements for the six-hour festival, which runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The MetroWest Visitors Bureau and Framingham Source have teamed up to giveaway a pair of tickets to MetroFest each week. Details for this week’s giveaway to post on the Framingham Source Facebook page.
The beer- and wine-tasting tent, which debuted at MetroFest 2015, returns with an expanded space and the addition of a hard-cider tasting. Adults 21 and older, with proper ID, may purchase four, 2-ounce tastings for $3.
The popular KidsTown area will be expanded to include a Touch-A- Truck area, including an MWRTA bus and more. Returning to KidsTown will be bounce houses, and inflatable obstacles course, an enclosed video-gaming truck and American Girl’s Red Carpet, where attendees can have their photo snapped with their own doll or with American Girl dolls on-hand.
Through the partnership of six municipalities – Framingham, Ashland, Bellingham, Franklin, Hopkinton and Natick – a Community Stage will showcase local performers.
Appearing on the Main Stage will be the Love Dogs, Sympli Whitney, Eguie Castrillo and Mar Del Norte Band, and Sudacas.
The expanded number of exhibitor spaces showcase a variety of cultural and community groups, crafters, artisans, and a limited number of retailers specific to the region. In addition to showing and selling their products, most exhibitors offer an interactive experience or service, such as face-painting, in their space. Groups interested in showcasing their organization in a 10’ x 10’ exhibitor space may visit the metrowestvisitors.org/metrofest to learn about the eligibility requirements and submit an application.
To ensure that MetroFest is affordable to families, the MetroWest Visitors Bureau has set ticket prices as $7 for adults, $3 for ages 5-12, and no fee for children under 5. All activities at the festival are free; attendees may purchase their own food and beverages.
Event organizers will provide free, handicapped-accessible shuttles—sponsored by Align Credit Union—to nearby school lots throughout the day. Many other free lots surrounding the complex are within walking distance.
“We want this event to be as accessible and affordable as possible for guests, whether they live nearby or are coming from outside the region,” said Annie Murphy, chair of the MWVB board of directors. “A family of four can have an entire day of fun for $20.”
Tickets are available online, and may be purchased at the event as well.
“Now in its third year, MetroFest is an established tradition that brings together the entire region to kick off the summer,” said Susan Nicholl, executive director of the MetroWest Visitors Bureau. “The business community, and participating municipalities, have been incredibly supportive of this effort to showcase the region’s arts, culture, and other assets and build pride in them.”
Support of the business community Major supporters include Avidia Bank, which is sponsoring KidsTown; Choose Framingham, Ticket Sponsor; TD Bank, Community Stage Sponsor; Framingham Park &Recreation Department, Food Truck Area Sponsor; and Bernardi AutoGroup.
Also providing significant support are MetroWest Medical Center, Align Credit Union, DCU Credit Union, American Girl, and Framingham State University. WSRO serves as Media Partner.
Supporting sponsors include AFC Urgent Care, Ameresco, Bancroft Boxing, Belkin Family Lookout Farm, Cinamon & Hubley Dental Practice, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Fifth Avenue Liquors, Impact Framingham, IMPACT MetroWest, James Hardie, Landscape Depot, Learning Center for the Deaf, MassBay Community College, MetroWest Chamber of Commerce, Middlesex Savings Bank, Natick Center Cultural District, Renewal by Andersen, The TJX Companies, Wegmans, and Wexler Chiropractic & Wellness Center.
Sponsorships and visibility opportunities can be secured by calling Michele Marotta at 508-308-5843.
State and regional partners include the MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority, Mass Cultural Council, and Mass Office of Travel & Tourism.
For a complete overview of MetroFest and to see daily updates, go to metrowestvisitors.org/metrofest.