July 23, 2018
By Katie Folts
Director of Education and Outreach
On Friday, June 20, Mass Hort and The Gardens at Elm Bank hosted Free Fun Friday. This fantastic series of events has been organized by the Highland Street Foundation for the last ten years. For ten weeks in the summer, with the foundation’s support, different cultural institutions open their doors (and gates) for free.
Last year, we participated in this event for the first time. We didn’t know what to expect (somewhere between 200 and 2,000 people), and we couldn’t have anticipated how wonderful the day would be. Over 1,000 people came to gardens– from all over the country, and from nearby. Most visitors were coming to us for the first time, and they were happy to be outside on a lovely summer’s day in our beautiful gardens. We had to add three extra tours to accommodate the interest.
Again, this year’s Free Fun Friday beat all expectations. We greeted over 1,000 visitors throughout the day, and were prepared with extra tours, extra family activities, a food truck and ice cream truck, a hydration station… and so many volunteers!
On any day, I enjoy seeing visitors experience the gardens for the first time– to see kids excited over the frogs in our pond, or adults taking notes on the names of exceptional cultivars, or friends catching up in the shade. But on Friday, it was overwhelming to see so many people delight in our beautiful gardens, and to know that the efforts of staff and volunteers was greatly appreciated.
We hope to be a part of Free Fun Friday 2019, and there are still several free events coming up this summer: Arts on the Green, Shakespeare on the Lawn and Goddesses in the Gardens. I hope you can come out and enjoy one.