Dance Caliente with Raul Nieves.Raul Nieves and Eileen Herman-Hasse of Dance Caliente show their moves.

UPDATED, Sept. 14:Town Day began in cool fog and ended in warm sunshine on Saturday, Sept. 12, as thousands celebrated. More than 200 booths joined a variety of events, including music, on Mass. Ave. between Jason and Pleasant as well as locales nearby.

But what were we all celebrating? Let the following essay in words and photos offer hints.

Town Day logo
AN ESSAY Images, too

 A tradition since 1976, this is Arlington's annual "Sabado Gigante" (giant Saturday). 

Our town's five-hour jamboree of many interests is not the circus of the Spanish-language TV show, but there are parallels.

Near Not Your Average Joe's, which offered free salads, was the booth for Dance Caliente, where our Washington Street neighbor Raul Nieves lucked out. Whoever was supposed to occupy the space next to him and partner Eileen Herman-Haase didn't show, so the vacancy became an opportunity -- a dance floor.

The owners danced, and others joined in, as many strollers gawked.

My wife, Marjorie Howard, and publishing partner Barbara Goodman shared space with YourArlington's booth. I offered information about my site and a chance to win $20 gift certificates to 10 town restaurants. They took names for anyone who wants to learn about their book, Legendary Locals of Arlington, due out in December.

From our vantage, and from a walk the length of Town Day, I offer another gift -- observation about what Town Day means.

Much comes down to community, and Arlington's is special.

Community is where you find it

Of course, I'm biased: I have lived here since 1989, my wife since the 1970s. It's the longest I have ever lived in one place. Growing up, I lived in my native Pennsylvania, and 25 moves included New York City to St. Louis.

So what's special? The numbers of volunteers per capita, for one. The variety of nonprofit efforts -- from opposing domestic violence to protecting our open space -- signals a community that knows what is wants to preserve.

This attitude includes with whom I do not agree politically.

Our booth was approached by a number supporting Bernie Sanders for president (my wife and I are lifelong Democrats and have yet to decide). Also stopping by was a woman wearing a button that said "Big government SUCKS." She pined for the days when Symmes was still a hospital on the hill.

Also visiting was prominent Uncle Sam promoter Laurence McKinney, who I tried to compliment for his effort, but he did not seem to be listening.

Irwin Mesch stopped by. Long a friend of the family, he worked for then-Town Manager Don Marquis in 1976 as part of the team that launched Town Day, then called "Uncle Sam Day."

Some glimpses

Walks through Town Day's boundaries offered many facets of Arlington's community personality. The photos provide glimpses, but here are some words to accompany:

-- At noon, the huge tree beside First Parish, a few leaves turning, extended its broad arms above a bevy of lunchers, appearing to protect them.

-- I followed a lone officer who was keeping a watch for trouble (I didn't see any).

-- Past the firetruck and the pony ride, past the crowded music in the Robbins Garden and into the maelstrom in front of Town Hall, I saw a man whose T-shirt made him a living, breathing Thompson Community Card.

-- Said hello to Kurt Fusaris, he of the Arlington Avocado and ACMi, who mournfully mentioned: "This is my last Town Day. He's bought a place in Natick, but I bet he can visit.

-- Speaking of politics, and Fusaris is astute in the area, pols were few this Town Day (sightings included Rep. Sean Garballey and Selectman Dan Dunn).

-- Cutting behind the booths, usually the faster way to go, I spotted another way to view the booths, from the rear, as those in charge escaped bright sun.

-- Down to the Arlington Visitors' Center, I said hello to Ted Peluso, whose age does not stop him, and greeted artist Mary Hilts, which was showing some paintings.

-- Across Mystic, at the shaded Green, ran into Chris Costello, pitching for the Dallin Art Museum. He designed a gold congressional medal commemorating the surprise bombing run by Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders

-- In the garden next to museum, Miriam Levine, the town's first poet laureate, read to a circle of listeners, her brow guarded by a wide-rim hat.

In Miami, "Sabato Gigante," whose host has been a draw since 1962, is ending

You can expect Arlington's Town Day next year.

Did you miss Town Day?

Catch a replay schedule on ACMi

Two-hour blocks Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Full-length replay: Saturdays at 9 a.m.

On ACMi's public channle (Comcast 8, RCN 3, Verizon 31)

What was planned 

The following events were planned, and members of the community told YourArlington what they had planned. A series of photos from the 2015 Town Day will be published.

Walter V. Moynihan Run

Join your fellow runners on Sept. 12 for the annual Walter V. Moynihan Town Day Run.  Sponsored by Cambridge Savings Bank, the run features an automatic timing system. The 2.7-mile course starts at Arlington High School and goes down Mass. Ave. and the bike path.

Runners of all ages are encouraged to participate. Registration available day of the race.  For more information and to register.....


Center Stage: Sponsored by Cambridge Savings Bank

9:30 a.m. Flag Raising/Selectmen Welcome/ Cheerleaders
10:00 a.m. David Sammarco Band
11:00 a.m. Don’t Tell Jack
12:00 p.m. Air Traffic Controller
1:30 p.m. Reminiscents

Town Garden: Sponsored by Leader Bank

10:00 - 3:00 p.m. The Artistic Touch by Gina

10:00 - 2:30 p.m. Pizzazz the Clown
10:00 -11:00 a.m. Morningside Music Studio Jazz Combos
11:00 - 2:00 p.m. Tribal Sun Airbrush Tattoos
11:00 - 2:00 p.m. The Well Dressed Pony Rides
11:30 - 12:30 p.m. Karen K & the Jitterbugs
1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Glorious Noise
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. The Maxims Band

Visitor Center: art, trivia test

Visitors center opens at Town Day, Sept. 13, 2014.Jenn Tripp, center, cuts the ribbon to open the town's visitor center on Town Day 2014, to the joy of leaders.

The Hardy Boys, the group that performed at last year's gala Town Day opening of the Arlington Visitor Center, has signed up for 2015, along with a couple of other initiatives ATED is working on.

In addition, displayed at the center will be paintings by two Arlington artists, George Jovellas and Mary Hilt. A unique trivia contest for residents and visitors who come to Town Day will be held involving ATED and three of Arlington's major attractions. Please be sure to drop by the visitors' center for prize entries.

The trivia contest represents relatively brief questions and requires entrants to visit the Town Day booths of all three attractions for responses. Angela Olszewski, ATED's chair, developed the idea.

Sept. 12 is the one-year anniversary for the center, between the Uncle Sam stature and the Minuteman Bikeway. Be sure to invite your friends and contacts to visit on Town Day.

Town Day brochure >>

Town Day 2014: in words and photos

Library book sale

The Friends of the Robbins Library hold their annual book sale in conjunction with Town Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Robbins Library parking lot and downstairs Community Room.

Vision 2020

Juli Brazile asks the public to meet the volunteers behind some great projects and learn how you can be part of Vision 2020 fun. The booth will have an art activity and a craft table where you can make something to take home.

Vision 2020 volunteers have taken the lead on many efforts, including the annual Town Survey collecting valuable feedback from thousands of residents; a panel discussion on social justice; the Wildlife Habitat Garden at the Reservoir; research into our town’s assessment process for business properties; Spy Pond Fun Day including free kayaking so people can enjoy the Pond and the shoreline; the Transformer Box Mural Project and Chairful Where You Sit annual installation and fund-raiser; the annual EcoFest and programs to bring more solar power to Arlington; and the Candidates' Night before each town election.

Chances are that Vision 2020 has influenced things that you love about living in Arlington so visit the booth to learn more about how you can help shape the future.

Senior Association

Frank Tadley reports that the Arlington Seniors Association will be at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Academy Street.

The mission of the Arlington Seniors Association is to stimulate and promote the quality of life of Arlington seniors and their friends through the development of educational, recreational and social activities.

Stop by and see what is going on at the Senior Center.

A-DOG's tale

Arlington Dog Owners Group (A-DOG) is a nonprofit community education and advocacy organization for responsible dog owners in Arlington. Since its founding in 2008, A-DOG has had a Town Day booth every year.

This year, offerings at our booth will include: Information for dog owners, including a big map/poster and fliers describing sites and regulations for off-leash dog recreation; Complimentary canine massages by Janice Zazinski of "Beloved Companion"; free drawing for a great gift basket featuring items generously donated by Friends of A-DOG businesses; games and prizes for kids and adults, including our popular "Guess the Dog Breed" Game (showcasing many of our members' own "Arlington dogs"); refreshments - treats and water - for your canine companions. Come by and say hi to our volunteers and "Arli" the lab.

In addition, enter this year's contest to name our mechanical dog and win a gift certificate for "people treats" from Lakota Bakery.

Legendary Locals, YourArlington

Book cover: Legendary Locals of Arlington, a site for town news and opinion since 2006, is sharing a table with two town authors -- Marjorie Howard and Barbara Goodman, who are awaiting publication of their book, Legendary Locals of Arlington. Learn more at

Visit Sept. 12 and sign up for your copy of the local history, due to be released in December by Arcadia Publishing

The book includes brief profiles and photos of such town luminaries as Peg Spengler, James McGough, George Franklin Grant, Bob Frankston, John Mirak and Howard Clery. Don't know who they are? Find out in Legendary Locals of Arlington.

At the website's half of the table, put in your name -- free -- to win one of 10 $20 gift certificates to Arlington businesses. Eat a free Web cookies or pick a flier that describes the site's advertising opportunities.

Drop by and talk to the publisher, Bob Sprague, about anything Arlington. News tips are always welcome. We're between Not Your Average Joe's and Domino's.

Art on the Green

Sarah Burks reported that the Dallin Art Museum again offers its annual awesome art event -- Art on the Green.

Don't miss it. If you are near the museum, at the Jefferson Cutter House, stop by on the Green and say hello.

If you are not in the area, consider supporting the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum's Town Day Raffle. It's the best raffle in town with the most prizes.

Buy your tickets online >> 

The raffle is sponsored by the John Mirak Foundation.
Art on the Green is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (raffle drawing at 3:30 p.m.) in front of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, 611 Mass. Ave.

The event is free and open to all.
Don't miss the opportunity to shop for beautiful hand-crafted goods and collectibles, including paintings, prints, photographs, handmade soaps, clothing and jewelry, glass and pottery, letterpress stationery, sports memorabilia, and more! Dick Haley Booksellers will host local authors Jay Atkinson, Howie Carr, and Randy Susan Meyers for book signings.
Other event highlights include free museum admission, special performances, and family art hunts. Free parking will be available in the municipal parking lot behind the museum.

Art on the Green schedule:

10 to 11:30 a.m. - performance by the Eliot Clarinets

11:30 to 12:30 p.m. - reading by Miriam Levine, Arlington Poet Laureate

Ongoing - artisan and vendor booths, family art hunts

Indie Publishers at Town Day

Do you have a book in your head, a manuscript ready to publish, or stacks of your books in boxes burning a hole in the floor of your garage? Let the world know about your work by exhibiting your books with Independent Publishers of New England at Town Day.

Local authors exhibiting their titles with IPNE at Town Day include Shara Puglisi Katsos with Books 1 and 2 in her Doggie Investigation Gang series; Stephen Sanzo with his entertaining Cranky Pants series; and Don Chase, author of After the Storm, Omnibus edition. Publisher Charlotte Pierce of Pierce Press will exhibit the collaboratively written and edited  Peeragogy Handbook v. 3 and Sky Cloud City, a new children's picture book by Maria Kamoulakou.

Capitol Square

Diane Buxton reports that the Capitol Square businesses of East Arlington would like to thank you for your support during construction.

Come by the Capitol Square booth for a free gift the whole family can play.

The Undercovers

Mary Fusoni reports that The Undercovers are playing at the First Parish UU church at Mass. Ave. and Pleasant Street, starting about 11 a.m. until they get tired, probably about tghree hours later.

In addition to music on that same corner, you can enjoy the offerings at the famous UU Pie Palace, run by the Social Justice Committee, with proceeds going to fund the church’s social-action initiatives.

On top of that, "Man Made Chili," made and served up by the UU Men’s Group, provides the meal before your dessert. But you’re more than welcome to the music even if you manage to resist the pie and chili.

Arlington Libraries Foundation

Maryellen Loud reported that the Arlington Libraries Foundation exists to raise awareness of the role of the public libraries in Arlington and to raise funds to support their work.

In 2013 the libraries' Board of Trustees established the foundation to continue the long-standing tradition of neighbors and friends in the community supporting their libraries. The Arlington Libraries Foundation seeks to create ways to build a legacy for the libraries and create ongoing sources of support. Its key funding areas are the Materials Fund, Extra Hours Fund, Youth Services Fund and Unrestricted Fund.

It also create endowed funds and named funds at the request of donors and provide a structure for bequests. The foundation collaborates with the library, the library trustees and the Friends organizations of the Robbins and the Fox to generate support for strengthening our libraries. The foundation is a 501 (c) 3 and all donations are tax deductible.

Visit the booth next to the Robbins Library booth.       

ACMi effort

Arlington Cable Media inc. promotes its Studio Knights project on Town Day. View it here >>

Sustainable Arlington

Gail McCormick of Sustainable Arlington reports that her group's table will have information about home efficiency and flooding. Handed out will be quarter-page sheets with ideas as to what you can do in your own backyard to deal with climate change.

Arlington Catholic

Come visit the Arlington Catholic High School booth to play free games, win prizes and meet the AC Cougar, Anne Meinke writes. "Kids, try your luck at our Monkey Flip game, and everyone can see if they can win the Guess How Many prize basket," notes the math teacher and Student Council faculty adviser.

"Our booth is run by the Student Council of Arlington Catholic. There are plenty of student around to talk to if you want to find out more about the school, or you are an alumni and want to catch up on what is happening at the school now."

Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project

Join us on Town Day and support the exciting work we do at the Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project. Please consider helping to staff the booth (with your fourth-grade student or former fourth-grade student perhaps) and supporting this worthwhile cause.

This is a fun and relaxing volunteer opportunity that involves selling El Salvadoran crafts and sharing information about the program. Contact Elizabeth Dray with questions: 617-584-9428.

Regent Theatre Logo 2010
Friday & Saturday, 9/18 & 19 at 7:30pm
Boston Film Premieres on the BIG SCREEN in Concert Sound!   
Historic Festival Performances From Two Guitar Icons Only at The Regent!
THEY'RE BACK!!! Coming Saturday, 9/26 at 8pm!
 Tickets Going Fast for This One!!!

Coming On International Holy Grail Day!
Wednesday, October14th at 7:30pm
Come in Costume & Sing Along!!! 
Tickets on Sale Now!

Coming Saturday and Sunday, October 24th & 25th!
RICKY NELSON REMEMBERED Featuring Matthew & Gunnar Nelson

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ricky Nelson's life and music touched millions, and now his twin sons, multi-platinum recording artists Matthew & Gunnar Nelson, relive the music and memories in their multi-media event, Ricky Nelson Remembered.  This multimedia event features hit songs like "Travelin' Man" and "Hello Mary Lou" as well as never-before-seen interviews from the artists Ricky Nelson influenced, including Paul McCartney, John Fogerty, and Chris Isaak.

A Very Special Evening with...
Ronnie Earl & The Broadcastersand Special Guest Diane Blue 

Back By Popular Demand!

Family Fun Poster 

Live Concerts & Concert Films!
Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra On Stage

Exclusive Film Events!
Check Out Our Dinner & A Show
Featuring Tickets To a Great Concert Combined with a Fabulous Meal at One of Our Partner Restaurants

Friday night schedule: Spy Pond Field

5:00 -7:00 p.m. Dirty Water Brass Band
5:00 -7:30 p.m. Kiddie Rides, Moonwalk, Face Painting, and Games
5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Train Rides with Roaming Railroad
5:00 - 7:30 p.m. The Well Dressed Pony Rides-Sponsored by Rush-Kent Insurance
5:00 - 7:30 p.m. SandArt by Tribal Sun
5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Pizzazz the Clown
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Dog Show with Glen Doyle-Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.

Dusk: Fireworks by Atlas PyroVision Productions

This announcement was published Friday, May 22, 2015, and updated Sept. 14, to add ACMi replay schedule.