By Seth Daniel
When Eve 6 began promoting their show in Everett at this year’s Village Fest, which went off last Saturday to great fanfare, many of those hearing about the popular band coming to town weren’t sure if they really meant Everett.
After several reassurances via Twitter and social media from the band, everyone was set and it set the stage for a colossal day where long-time Everett residents and first-time visitors converged on Santilli Highway for a festival that many believe has put the City on the map – and will certainly put an end to any questions about the location.
Village Fest, which is principally sponsored by Wynn Boston Harbor and the City of Everett – along with Teddie Peanut Butter and Polar Beverages. Of course, the driving forces in what is known as the Fermentation District were the sponsoring brewers and distillers, including Bone Up Brewery, Night Shift Brewery, Down the Road Brewery and Short Path Distillery – all whom have served to make the once-forgotten area of Everett into hot and hip property.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said the purpose of the event is, in part, to showcase the City of Everett to those who may not know what’s going on in Everett.
He said while making a visit to the new Bone Up Brewery, he met a man who was living in South Boston and had never been to Everett before.
“He was really enjoying himself and he couldn’t believe what was going on in Everett,” said the mayor. “I talked with him for awhile and he was surprised at all of the breweries and the development that is happening. He said his brother was looking for another apartment for him in South Boston, but he thought that with the rents he was paying there, he could probably afford a mortgage on a place in Everett.
“Last year, it showcased the City and this year, I think there were probably people who had been here before and came back,” he continued. “I think a lot of people still don’t know the proximity to Boston, but they are aware of what we’re doing with transportation and the plan we’re going to be unveiling this week. They know that there is a possibility of a connection to the MBTA. I think they’re seeing that we could be the next city connected to transit.”
He also noticed that old friends were returning, including several high school classmates who had left Everett long ago for the suburbs.
“I did see a lot of former Everettites who came back for Village Fest, and even some high school classmates – all who had moved out for various reasons,” he said. “Slowly but surely they come back and eventually they move back.”
For the breweries and distillery, the crowds (officially targeted at about 5,400 though more were certainly present during the Eve 6 show) kept them busy all day and helped to promote a sense of community and discovery in new territory.
“It was so amazing to see the Everett community gather in the Fermentation District for some incredible food, music and beverages,” said Matthew Kurtzman of Short Path. “We feel very lucky to have been part of this great event, and can’t wait for Village Fest 2017.”
Meanwhile, Night Shift Brewery, one of the anchor businesses in the new District, said the festival exceeded their expectations and they believe it can be even better next year.
“Village Fest was incredible,” said Janine Pohorely of Night Shift. “It was awesome to see so many people turn out for this event since so much hard work was put into it by everyone – from the vendors to the City. We’re excited to make next year’s even more of a success.”
At Wynn Boston Harbor, it was fair to say that the many representatives in attendance were surprised to see the turnout and the diverse crowd, which made it all the better for the Building and Trades Job Fair they hosted during the evening at the Village Fest.
“Supporting and attending Village Fest is one of the highlights of the year for all of us at Wynn,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor. “This is one of those events where we don’t have to ask Wynn team members twice to attend because all want to bring their family, hear the music, meet up with friends from Everett and just have a great time. It’s a wonderful celebration that we talk about for days afterwards and truly embodies the warmth and spirit of everyone in Everett. Plus, with start of construction of Wynn Boston Harbor, we had a lot to celebrate this year. It made Village Fest a bit more festive.”
Mayor DeMaria said they are already looking toward next year in his office, and they want to bring an even bigger act to the City to draw more residents and more visitors.
“Next year we’re working to have an even bigger headliner,” he said. “We’ll work a little harder and longer and get a band that everyone knows.”
However, Mayor DeMaria said Village Fest would always be about the residents and ensuring they have fun in their city and want to stay in their city.
“We want to showcase the city those outside, but really we want to give residents in Everett a reason to want to stay here,” he said. “That also ties into the jobs that I talk about. With property values going up, we want to make sure we have good jobs for residents so they can afford to stay and things like Village Fest so that they want to stay.”