This weekend we have the 13th Annual Fluff Festival in Union Square. It’s a crazy fun event with fluff jousting, fluff hairdos, fluff art, and musical/comedy performances. We get 20,000 people into Union Square for it each year. This comes on the heels of our “Strike Up the Bands” open street event on Highland Ave. last weekend and Riverfest in Assembly Square the weekend before that.

It’s not a secret that we have a lot of events here in Somerville. That is not by accident. When I became mayor, one of my stated goals was to give more people the opportunity to do more things in this great city of ours. When I was growing up here, I loved going to city events. Then I joined the marching band in high school and I got to be part of some of those events. We all spend so much time wrapped up in our own daily business, it’s uplifting when we get the chance to come together for the sole purpose of having a good time. A life well-lived needs that.

There’s also a social function to our city events. Not everyone has the cash to travel or to pay for amusement parks and concerts. In Somerville, without ever leaving the city, you can go to dozens of events, experience different cultures, hear music, see art and play (we make sure there’s always something for kids). There is a world of culture and festivity right here, and you don’t have to buy a ticket for any of it. Even if you’ve got lots of cash, you’d have to spend a good bit of it to have more fun than we’re having for free.

Even better, our events happen all over the city. They bring us together, allowing people to discover different areas of the city, breaking down whatever imagined walls we’ve created between ourselves. Making friends with a stranger and rubbing elbows with people outside your normal social circle are very Somerville things to do–always have been. So, what might seem like a lot of frivolity serves a real purpose. We’re not some dour place where everyone keeps their eyes down and sticks to their own. We believe in frequent mingling, and that it improves the quality of life for the people who live here.

I’ll add, it’s also great for local businesses. People come to areas of the city they don’t know so well and discover shops and restaurants they need to check out. You’re able to take in a place far differently when you’re walking down a street or through a square rather than driving past it. Every event is showcase. That’s how someone from Davis Square can find themselves in Winter Hill having a slice of Mamma Lisa’s pizza and wondering how many other essential things in the universe they’ve yet to experience. On top of that, our events have become a travel destination, for people from around our region and beyond. That’s good for business too.

So, whenever you see a public event coming up in Somerville, be there. Celebrating where we live is part of elevating where we live.