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5 things to do this weekend, including Somerville Porchfest and Duckling Day

Mother’s Day is Sunday, but there’s more to do this weekend than rummaging through the card aisle at CVS. Why pace the store when you could bring yourself on a walk through Somerville’s Porchfest or along a usually locked-up dam? Better yet, ask a mother figure in your life if she wants to come along, and you’ve got yourself some solid quality time. From the start of a weekly free yoga series to where to find the best flowers, there’s a world out there to explore this weekend. (Side note: In preparing for this weekend’s roundup, I read that opening line about CVS in my post from last year. It made me laugh out loud as if I was reading it for the first time, so I thought I’d recycle it. Maybe another idea for something to do this weekend is write a joke, put it in a jar and then see if it makes you laugh a year later.)

Free Summer Yoga

Thursday, May 9

Feeling like you could use some breathing, stretching and shavasana? Attend free yoga at Boston Common on Thursday night for a mental and physical reset. Class goes from 6 to 7 p.m. at Frog Pond, and runs weekly through the end of August (excluding July 4). The class rotates instructors, and this week’s session will be taught by Genevieve Oba, who has been practicing yoga since childhood. Her bio even describes her appearance in a 1980s yoga for children workout video in which she sported a Princess Leia hairstyle. Check the website after 3:30 p.m. on the day of class for any cancellations.

 

Somerville Porchfest 2024

Saturday, May 11

Somerville’s most neighborly musical event is once again bringing people to porches, streets and backyards. Running annually since 2011, Somerville Porchfest is like a blend of a walk through the neighborhood and a sonic choose-your-own-adventure. You may stumble across a solo violinist or a band rocking out. The theme of this year’s iteration is “Keep Porchfest Positive,” a phrase that organizers have adopted as Porchfest has grown exponentially since its homegrown roots. Performances are free and run from noon until 6 p.m. Consult both the schedule and map to plan your stroll accordingly. Recommendations from our team include Guster (wow),  Rocket Ship, Otis Shanty, JP Honk Band and Balla Kouyaté & Mike Block Duo. Porchfest has a rain date of Sunday, May 12. If there is inclement weather, the decision to move the event will be made on Friday at noon, according to the website.

Porchfest (Courtesy of Somerville Arts Council)
Porchfest (Courtesy of Somerville Arts Council)

Wachusett Dam Day

Saturday, May 11

If Porchfest is too noisy for you, perhaps you’ll prefer a peaceful walk along Massachusetts’ second largest body of water: Wachusett Reservoir. The Wachusett Dam in the town of Clinton used to be open to the public until the 1990s for safety and security reasons. Then in 2005, the Department of Conservation and Recreation opened the walkways to the public as a one day event. More recently it’s been a more regular occurrence, typically opening twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. This Saturday the gates will be open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available along Route 70 and at Clinton middle and high schools, about a mile from the dam. Pair it with a sunset hike up Wachusett Mountain or a trip to Wachusett Brewing Company in Westminster to complete your day trip.


Duckling Day Parade

Sunday, May 12

Make way! Boston marks its annual celebration of Robert McCloskey’s 1941 illustrated classic “Make Way for Ducklings” by encouraging little ones to dress up as ducks and parade through Boston Common. While the spectacle is free, admission to Playtime on the Common costs $35 per family and begins at 10 a.m. at the Parkman Bandstand, where there will be live music, interactive activities, performances and goody bags for children. While you’re there, be sure to say hello to Nancy Schön’s 1987 statue of a mother duck with her eight bronze ducklings and look out for blooming tulips throughout the park’s gardens. Organizers have stated that they’re determined to make the event happen rain or shine. Hopefully, the rain will clear Sunday, but if it’s not, just think of how well those cute, teeny yellow rain boots will match the duckling outfits!

Ducking Day on the Boston Common. (Courtesy Michael Dwyer)
Ducking Day on the Boston Common. (Courtesy Michael Dwyer)

Mother’s Day weekend celebrations

Saturday, May 11-Sunday, May 12

Why buy flowers on Mother’s Day when you could go see the world-famous glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History? They’ll certainly last longer and won’t stink up the joint as they wilt. Other museums are leaning into the Mother’s Day celebrations a bit more heavily. Over at the Harvard Art Museums, there will be a more touchable floral offering: free origami flowers. This is an event to complement Latoya M. Hobbs’ portrayal of motherhood in “It’s Time,” a large-scale series of prints of different scenes from a single day in a mother’s life. At the ICA, admission is free for the whole family (and it’s also a “BPS Sundays day” at many other participating museums). The museum will host two tours of its exhibition surveying the work of Firelei Báez, with one starting at 11 a.m. and another at 2 p.m. If you want to venture farther outside of Boston, go to the North Shore for a Tulip Fest at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury or head west to The Trustees’ Daffodil and Tulip Festival at Naumkeag in Stockbridge.

Origami Flowers (Courtesy of Harvard Art Museums)
Origami Flowers (Courtesy of Harvard Art Museums)
Headshot of Solon Kelleher

Solon Kelleher Arts Reporting Fellow
Solon Kelleher was an arts reporting fellow at WBUR.

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