FRAMINGHAM – Thousands of festival-goers attending MetroFest—the arts, music, and food truck festival on Saturday, June 25 in Framingham—will enjoy two dozen food trucks and specialty food vendors, 100 exhibitors, a classic car show, expanded kids’ activities, performances on two stages, and a tastings tent with craft beer, wine, and hard cider.
The third annual festival, which has quickly become a regional tradition, showcases the region’s arts, culture, and commerce in an affordable and family-friendly atmosphere. Held 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bowditch Athletic& Cultural Complex, MetroFest utilizes the entire quarter-mile- long, enclosed facility.
With 20 food trucks and speciality vendors offering dishes ranging from Bang Bang Shrimp and Curry Katsu to Salted Caramel Whoopie Pie, MetroFest will appeal to every taste. The beer- and wine-tasting tent, which debuted at MetroFest 2015, returns with an expanded outodoor space and the addition of a hard-cider tasting. Adults 21 and older, with proper ID, may purchase four, 2-ounce tastings for $3.
At the Union Avenue entrance, attendees will be greeted by a new addition: the Boston Cup Classic Car Show, which 10-15 vintage autos, including some manufactured at Natick and Framingham production facilities decades ago.
In the northeast corner of the facility, the popular KidsTown expands to include a Touch-A- Truck area, including an MWRTA bus and a half-dozen other vehicles. Returning to KidsTown will be bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle 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.
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. By showcasing these offerings—from apple-picking to beer-making to dance groups– to thousands of MetroFest attendees, MWVB hopes to increase to patronize and support these offerings throughout the coming year, said Susan Nicholl, MWVB executive director.
“MetroFest has kindled pride in our region,” she said. “Festival-goers remark that they are amazed by all that MetroWest has to offer and that they feel more closely connected to their community because of it.”
Organizations hailing from 27 municipalities are participating in MetroFest 2016; the towns of Ashland, Bellingham, Franklin, Hopkinton, and Natick have joined the town of Framingham as municipal partners.
More than 13,500 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 expanded number of exhibitor spaces showcase a variety of cultural and community groups, crafters, artisans, and a limited number of home-grown products, including chocolate, sunglasses and jewelry. In their spaces, exhibitors offer free experiences such as American Sign Language min-classes, talks with naturalists and botany experts, crafts, face-painting, make-your- own-video, and demonstrations in fitness, painting, and beer-making.
For festival-goers who prefer to sit on the grass and be treated to top performances, a Community Stage will showcase performers chosen to represent neighboring towns.
Appearing on the Main Stage will be the Love Dogs, Sympli Whitney, Eguie Castrillo and Mar Del Norte Salsa Band, and Sudacas.
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 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 at http://www.metrowestvisitors.org/metrofest/metrofest-tickets/ 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 Nicholls. “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.”
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 Fallon Ambulance Service, 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, Craft Beer Cellar, CrossFit Framingham, 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, MindsetGo, Natick Center Cultural District, NEWPRO, Renewal by Andersen, Sungevity, The TJX Companies, Wegmans, and Wexler Chiropractic & Wellness Center.
State and regional partners include the MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.