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Falling for Boston: Part II

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 07:09


Justin McCallum / The Tufts Daily

Davis Square’s annual HONK! music festival attracts musicians from all over the world.


This article is the second in a two-day series exploring the many activities in the Greater Boston area that embrace the fall season. Today’s article will take a look at the assortment of events and festivals that students may enjoy this autumn.

Beyond the sightseeing and food, there are plenty of festivals occurring in the Boston area that ring in the season. One such festival is “What the Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Invention,” otherwise known as the Fluff Festival, which celebrates the marshmallow product that was invented in Somerville.

The event, which takes place on Sept. 29 in Union Square, is expected to attract a crowd of about 10,000, according to the festival’s press release.

“They always put Marshmallow Fluff in everything,” senior Katia Torres said.

One of the event’s signature features is the Fluff cooking contest, which hands out awards for “Most Creative” and “Best Traditional Recipe.” For attendees who cannot get enough of the sweet snack, the leftovers from the cooking contest are sold in a bake sale after the judging.

Another festival that comes through Somerville each year is the HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands. In its seventh year, the festival lasts from Oct. 5 through 8 in Davis Square, and bands from all over the world flock to the area in support of social change. HONK!’s activist slant appeals to many Tufts students.

“What I like most is to see all of these bands come together for human rights and social justice, while expressing it through music,” Torres said.

A rendition of a traditional seasonal event, Harvard Square’s annual Oktoberfest is in its 34th year and brings around 100,000 people to Cambridge each year. Beer enthusiasts looking to celebrate the upcoming month of October can also direct their attention to a similar event sponsored by Harpoon Brewery in Boston this weekend. Beyond the plentiful servings of the brewery’s best ales, visitors can also expect live music and plenty of German food.

In the fall, many Tufts students also gravitate toward Halloween festivities. For those looking to celebrate the holiday in a more eclectic fashion, you do not have to travel further than Harvard Square.

This year, the square welcomed the addition of two historical tour companies providing evening ghost tours to students, locals and tourists. “Haunted Harvard,” one of the tours, is presented by Cambridge Historical Tours, which was established in March.

Co-Founder of Cambridge Historical Tours Daniel Berger-Jones, originally an actor, made his way into the profession by working as a historical tour guide on the Freedom Trail in Boston. He initially enjoyed the work because of how historical tours can effect social change.

“I got bothered by the fact that theater doesn’t always provide a social service,” Berger-Jones said. “We’re helping in the preservation of these buildings by educating people about them.”

The haunted tours, which began at the end of August, depart from the heart of Harvard Square and take their guests around the sites, including Old Cambridge and the Yard for a 1 1/2 tour. Guides outfitted in historic garb and gory makeup greet visitors with unscripted but extensively researched performances, according to Berger-Jones.

The result is a tour that is a bit different from other ghost tours, according to sophomore Allison Benko.

“Some of the stories on this tour were very sad, [while] other ghost tours just tend to be more creepy,” she said. Guests can expect stories such as that of the ghost of Annie Longfellow, who waits beside Harvard’s Houghton Library for her mother Fanny.

Cambridge Historical Tours guide Cathy Buxton said that she enjoys the relative freedom the ghost tours allow for compared to the historical tours she gives during the day.

“I can really amp up the stories on the ghost tour because I’m not so concerned about getting the facts right,” she said. “It’s all about editorializing the ghost story so it’s more compelling for audiences.”

Another tour guide company, Cambridge Haunts, began its own ghost tour around Harvard Square last week, according to founder Sam Baltrusis. The tour was inspired by research he collected for his upcoming book, “Ghosts of Boston.”

“I thought it would make a great ghost walk,” he said. “There [are] a lot of ghost stories about the dorms in Harvard Yard.”

One story Baltrusis shares on the tour is about the ghost of a young girl that terrorized the inhabitants of a house near the university’s campus.

The 90-minute tour begins at the Old Cambridge Burial Ground. Tufts students interested in attending the tour can benefit from the college pricing that is available, with tickets costing only ten dollars.

According to senior Nadav Hirsh, though, those looking for a quintessential New England Halloween need look no further than nearby Salem.

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