Events & Activities
Summer Social at Via Matta
June 12, 2013
In honor of the 25th Silver Anniversary of the The Heritage On The Garden, Via Matta is partnering with the Friends of the Public Garden to create a social event to benefit the Friends’ work in the parks. The Heritage On The Garden is one of Boston’s most exclusive shopping destinations. It is located in the historic Back Bay across from the exquisite landmark Public Garden. It is the perfect location to escape to for a day at the spa, shopping, and to dine at one of its elite restaurants.
Join the Friends for a special event at Via Matta on Wednesday, June 12th from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Tickets are $65 per person and include two complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Proceeds from the event support the mission of the Friends to preserve and enhance the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
Purchase tickets here
Making History on the Common
June 3, 2013
Occurring on the first Monday in June in coordination with the drumhead election of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company-–the oldest militia company in the western hemisphere–many partners come together to make the day a success.
The Freedom Trail Foundation, Historic New England, the Ancient Fishweir Project, the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers, Codman Community Farms, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, Commonwealth Vintage Dancers, New England Contra Dancers, the Skating Club of Boston, and Whole Foods Market all work to make history come alive that day.Making History on the Common has become an eagerly anticipated annual event.
Children learn about carding wool and weaving, play Colonial games, participate in Native American dances honoring the harvesting of fish on the Common thousands of years ago, see sheep and cows once again grazing on the parkland, and taste an apple to commemorate the apple trees that once bloomed on the Common.
Click here for information for participating school groups.
Ancient Fishweir Project
Early May to early June
Five thousand years ago, in what is now Boston’s Back Bay, native people built fishweirs in tidal flats to catch alewife, smelt, and salmon. These four-foot high fence-like structures were made of over 65,000 wood stakes. Archaeological evidence discovered during subway excavation and building construction over the last one hundred years indicates that fishweirs were built over a 1500-year period in tidal marsh now located twenty-eight to forty feet below the Boston Common and the Back Bay.
The Ancient Fishweir Public Art Project brings to life the story of the fishweirs and the people who built them each May through the construction of a fishweir on the Boston Common, numerous education events and activities, and a curriculum. For more information on the Ancient Fishweir Public Art Project, please visit www.fishweir.org
April to September
The Swan Boats are the centerpiece and symbol of the Garden. Launched in 1877 by shipbuilder Robert Paget, the boats were an immediate and enduring attraction. A lover of opera, Paget had been inspired by the finale of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin, when the hero crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. He designed a new boat, with a foot-propelled paddle mechanism enclosed by the figure of a giant swan. They remain the only boats of their kind in the world.
Only a year after the Swan Boats began, Paget died at the age of forty-two, leaving his wife, Julia, and four children. The young widow assumed full management of the new enterprise, persevering despite the prejudice against women business owners. Her descendants, the fourth generation of Pagets, still operate the Swan Boats, continuing a cherished tradition.
Seven days a week, from early April to late September, the Swan Boats glide in a serpentine course around the lagoon. The fifteen-minute ride, at about two miles an hour, goes around the rocky island made famous in Make Way for Ducklings, under the bridge, and back to dry land. Many famous people have made the quaint voyage, including child actress Shirley Temple, singer Judy Collins, and U.S. presidents Calvin Coolidge and John Kennedy.
For schedules, fares, and more information, check out the Swan Boats website: www.swanboats.com.
The Frog Pond is the heart of the Common all year round. In summer, it provides an escape from the heat and a great spot for a picnic. Children from all over the city squeal and splash in the spray pool, while grownups wade in or watch from the grassy slopes. Children also enjoy taking a ride on the colorful carousel nearby. In winter, skaters of all ages stumble, glide, and twirl on the refrigerated ice as lively music fills the air. In spring and fall, the pond becomes a peaceful reflecting pool. The adjacent Tadpole Playground, installed in 2002, always seems to have a happy crowd of youngsters, and the year-round café is a welcome respite no matter the temperature.
In 1995, after decades of decline throughout Boson’s parks, the city constructed a new skating rink and leased the whole facility to the Boston Common Frog Pond Foundation. Under governance of the Parks Department, the Foundation, created by Thomas Kershaw, operated a skating program in winter, spray pool in summer, and a reflecting pool in spring and fall. The arrangement has been a signal success and continues under a new operator, the Skating Club of Boston.
To find out more about activities at the Frog Pond, go to www.bostonfrogpond.com.
Puppets on the Common
In the summer of 2011 after a sixteen-year absence, thanks to the vision of member Wendy Almquist, the Friends revived the tradition of puppet shows on the Common at Parkman Bandstand.
Over 200 children and parents attended the inaugural performances, and we plan to expand the program in 2012 and beyond, in particular to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the bandstand in 2012.
On August 23rd at 10:30am, with support from the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, The Friends of the Public Garden upheld a wonderful Boston tradition on Boston Common known as Puppets on the Common. The Three Singing Princesses was performed by Rosalita’s Puppets under the artistic direction of Master Puppeteer Charlotte Dore and in collaboration with the “Stiletto Singers”. This musical show featured three singers, masks, hand puppets and audience participation. The show was free and open to the public thanks to a generous grant from the M. Holt Massey Charitable Trust.
Mother’s Day – May 12, 2013
This beloved annual event on Mother’s Day celebrates the classic children’s story Make Way for Ducklings, about a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on the island of the Boston Public Garden lagoon and the family’s adventures getting there. Each year, over a thousand children dressed as their favorite characters from the story gather on the Common to enjoy face painting, a puppet show, and other entertainment before marching through the Common behind the Harvard Band to the Public Garden. Mayor Menino and President Emeritus Henry Lee will greet families and actors from the Wheelock Family Theater will read the beloved book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.
View the photos from our 2013 event here!
2013 Green & White Ball
Friday, May 17, 2013 at The Taj Boston
Join the Friends of the Public Garden for the 2013 Green and White Ball on Friday, May 17 at 6:30 pm at the Taj Boston. The gala will feature a cocktail reception and dinner followed by dancing to the Sultans of Swing.
Thanks to ongoing community support, we’ll be celebrating another year of preservation and improvement projects for our treasured green spaces: the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This year, we conducted a major pruning of the majestic old elms on the Mall, re-lit the Boylston Street statues in the Garden after decades of darkness and celebrated the grand opening of our renovated Brewer Fountain Plaza on the Common. Seemingly overnight, the Brewer Plaza has become one of the most unique gathering places in the city.
In the fall of 2013, we will begin the final phase of the Brewer Fountain Plaza renovation, which includes restoring the historic fence along Tremont Street and distinguishing the Common as parkland once again. We are pleased to announce that $250,000 of the net proceeds from this year’s Green and White Ball will help fund the final $850,000 needed for the project.
In honor of this year’s Brewer Fountain efforts, we are offering special Brewer Patron recognition to those who purchase a table for $15,000. As always, seats for the Green and White Ball are limited.
Tables and individual seats can be purchased here.
For more information contact Mary Halpin at (857) 239-8937.