The sun is beating down. I walk two miles to go the festival. The skyline of Boston is behind as I enjoy the walk to Somerville. As I arrive yellow dumper trucks are sitting at the entrance of the festival…the festival which was all about celebrating marshmallow Fluff was genius. Welcome to an event about Fluff…
What was the event?
What: “What the Fluff?” Festival
Where: Somerville outside Boston
When: Saturday 21st September 2019
Let the story begin…
Jars of Fluff sat on all the different tables as I looked at something I didn’t expect. 25,000 people on the 100th year anniversary, which was 2 years before now, had passed through the gates. The idea started 15 years ago when it was well known that Fluff was invented in Somerville so of course – lets get something that creates an economic impact. What I saw was not a big professional event – it was the whole community coming out to party and what I did see – was history being created for moving forward.
The event was ran by the Union Square Main Streets. They are not event organisers but they care about the development of the area. As an economical development body Union Square Main Streets delivers a program that allows the area to benefit from a mass amount of people coming through the streets. Businesses have sprung up in the area but not just because of the festival – but due to focused strategy of Somerville with a outlook that is creating community spirit – it is allowing people to benefit and economically invest in the area. I noticed that as I strolled through “What the fluff?” people were spending money, they were enjoying everything going on and so on. I was having an amazing amount of fun as well – with me below having the chance to meet Jess the Executive Director for Union Square Main Streets and Joe the Mayor of Somerville.
“What the Fluff?” started 14 years ago to celebrate the invention of “Fluff”. This fixture features musical performances, cooking contests, games, activities – for all to enjoy. What I loved was the theme this year – “All Roads Lead to Fluff”. I was explained to that the event has been a product that was created in a town that represents corners of the world. This include 50+ languages, neighbours and communities who are represented from worlds all over the world. Now it brings smiles and memories. It brings opportunities for locals to create stalls to benefit high school band departments, community projects for technology investment companies and so on. Not only is it about celebrating the invention of Fluff – but celebrating community togetherness.
Instead of hiding the fact that there was road works going on they used the tractors as “touch the digger”…they had great maps, there volunteers had great information and product knowledge. Product had potential and also support.
The Mayor is very supportive of this project – and I mean not just as a face. It’s about showing that Somerville has a future that everyone needs to get behind. They need to support all the local businesses and innovation. By doing both it leads to further employment, further opportunities and more people moving to the area. All of this equates to a positive city.
So he’s – it’s about Fluff with everyone walking about in there fluff memorabilia. But really what there buying into is the community. It is the area. It is there area – and together they can make it work.
One thing to take away…
Central buy in from mayor, businesses, engagement that is genuine – makes a novel idea work. This is a novel idea but actually – just think it’s now a main part of economical growth…