After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Friends of the Public Garden’s annual Summer Celebration will return to Brewer Fountain Plaza on the Boston Common on Tuesday, June 28, from noon to 2 p.m.
“We’re looking to give away 500 lunches and hope that many more stop by to enjoy the free live music, and to just say hello,” said Steve TenBarge, Brewer Plaza liaison and finance manager for the Friends group, who added that a tent would also be set up for the Summer Celebration, which is free and open to the public.
The Friends will give away 500 free meals via two food trucks booked for the event, which coincides with the opening of the Frog Pond Spray Pool on the Common. The Ron Reid Sunsteel Quartet, who performed at the last Summer Celebration at Brewer Fountain in 2019, will again be providing music for the occasion. (The band is led by Reid, a professor of contemporary writing and production at Berklee College of Music, who also plays the steel drums.)
The Friend’s first Summer Celebration was held in the summer of 2018 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Brewer Fountain itself in June of 1868.
“It was such a success that we decided to turn it into an annual event,” added TenBarge, who said that hundreds of attendees were on hand for the inaugural Summer Celebration at Brewer Fountain Plaza.
And just as many people attended the second event in the summer of 2019.
“We gave away 550 meals,” said TenBarge. “The fountain area seats around 100 people, and there were lots more standing. Hundreds and hundreds went through the space that day, probably close to 1,000.”
This year, there’s also another reason for the Friends to celebrate, since 2022 marks the 10th year that the group has been programming the Brewer Fountain Plaza.
Taking into account with what they have budgeted for this year, the Friends has spent $550,000 of its own money – $55,000 each year on average – to program Brewer Fountain Plaza over the last 10 years; this includes sponsoring around 1,000 musical performances there.
Since the Friends kicked off the current season at Brewer Fountain in April, tables, chairs, and umbrellas have been set out daily around the fountain between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for the public to enjoy. Live solo piano performances by Berklee College of Music students are offered Monday through Friday from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. as well.
Also, four food trucks rotate between two spots on the plaza during regular lunch hours, seven days a week:
Vaz & Mac — Tex-Mex (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday); Kush by Saba — Modern Mediterranean (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday); The Whoopie Wagon — Dessert Pies (Wednesday, Saturday); and Zaaki — Middle Eastern (Monday, Thursday).
With all that the Friends group does in partnership with the Boston Parks Department to care for and maintain the Common, the Public Garden, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the wide range of programming that the group offers can sometimes get overlooked, said TenBarge.
“We try to communicate that even though we take care of the parks, the trees, the turf, and the statues, we also do a lot of programming,” he said. “This is to showcase the Brewer Fountain Plaza programming for more people, and to bring them into the Boston Common.”
To learn more about the Friends of the Public Garden, visit friendsofthepublicgarden.org.