By Melina List
Framingham Source intern
FRAMINGHAM – Warm fall weather welcomed attendees to Saxonville Mill’s first movie night.
While the event was organized around a sunset screening of Kevin James’s 2011 film Zookeeper, the festivities began earlier Saturday evening.
At 5 p.m. yesterday, the courtyard nestled between the historic mill buildings began welcoming guests to visit a variety of vendors, offering food for purchase and showcasing some of the artists who are tenants at the mill.
Organized by Emily Schlictman and Margaret Thompson, both assistant property managers of Saxonville Mills, the event was part of a bigger goal for the mills to become more community-oriented, and as a “way to draw people together.”
Under this same objective, the mills, home to 70+ tenants ranging from single-owned businesses to large companies, hosted an open studios event in the spring and will be doing so again on November 17 and 18.
Schlictman and Thompson said that the best way to support events like this one was to follow the Saxonville Mills Facebook page and to subscribe to their monthly newsletter, and noted that, as they are very open to holding more events, that people should let them know what else they would like to see done.
Even before the movie had started, the many attendees were already pleased with the event.
Francine Falvo of Framingham, in attendance with her daughter Sonoma, was thrilled with the event.
“I always was hoping they’d do something here,” she said.
Falvo, who first learned of the event on Facebook, was drawn to the sense of community that the movie night provided. She also talked of the importance of events like this in terms of urban revitalization and hoped that the mills would continue to host events, suggesting a farmer’s market as a potential future happening.
Jeff Stevens, a resident of Saxonville, found out about the event from the Gallery Reception and Open Studios that The Mill Contemporary Art at Saxonville Mills had hosted the night before. He loved the event and thought that the inclusion of food vendors like Jack’s Abby was particularly smart.
Michele Matties of Saxonville strongly believes in the power of community engagement. She mainly wanted to stress how important events like this are to the locals and complimented the organizers on their success, noting the smart inclusion of food vendors and the creativity in the usage of the courtyard.
Entertainment was provided before the film through a performance by Boston based musician Kaylee Federmann, who played an acoustic set in the courtyard.
Additionally, balloon animals and a ceramic painting activity for children were provided by Bouncing House Rentals from Natick.
Trolley Dogs and Uncle E’s BBQ Express sold food onsite, with Jack’s Abby selling beer to 21+ attendees.
Amy Weader, who was selling knitted garments and jewelry, has been a tenant at Saxonville Mills since February 7 of this year. She is a part of the Mill Contemporary Art Saxonville at Saxonville Mills, which houses 15 art studios and a gallery, and hosts monthly open studios on the second Friday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m.
Another vendor present was Fred Fowler of Fireseed Arts, a tenant of the mills for five years. Partnered with Saxonville Precision Works, Fireseed works with all repurposed and recycled wood to create customized items.
While they also make decor, mostly on display were the musical instruments that Fireseed creates, with a row of guitars standing by the side of their booth. Fowler had also brought a prototype of a wooden sculpture of a tree; the full-size version now resides in the atrium of Framingham Public Schools’ Barbieri Elementary.
The final vendor present was Gina Offenstine of Past Prezence who, along with her husband’s business Ever DesginWorks, works with pallet wood to create anything from furniture to signs to toothpaste dispensers. They have been tenants of the mills for six years, and are members of the nonprofit organization Friends of Saxonville. Also at the booth was Jack, the company’s parakeet, who regularly keeps them company while they work.
It proved to be a wonderful evening, providing the community engagement that the people of Saxonville, and Framingham at large, relish.