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Allston celebrates diversity, culture in Allston Village Street Fair

Boston residents enjoyed free food samples, music, chalk art and more in Allston on Sunday afternoon with the annual Allston Village Street Fair.

A balloon artist makes balloon animals for children at the Allston Village Street Fair Sunday afternoon. PHOTO BY NEEL DHANESHA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The fair attracted hundreds of local vendors, musicians and artists to celebrate the Allston neighborhood.

Attendees sampled free food as well as local and ethnic food at various stands. More than 20 different musical groups performed at the fair, including a salsa group.

“I thought it went pretty well,” said Joan Pasquale, executive director of the Parents and Community Build Group of Allston, which organized the fair. “The whole idea of the festival is to celebrate the concept of neighbors, neighborhood, and community.”

Pasquale said thousands of people attended the fair.

The fair also featured a parade down Brighton Avenue. Local Allston organizations, cultural groups and marching bands, including the Boston University and Boston College bands, marched through the fair.

“That’s what the street fair is all about and was always meant to be, to celebrate the wonderful culture diversity of New England and Boston and especially Allston,” Pasquale said, “because Allston has always been culturally diverse and welcoming.”

A jumping castle, face painting and a Velcro wall provided entertainment for children.

One of the most popular attractions was street chalk decoration, which was sponsored by ArtStreet, a nonprofit that promotes the creation of artwork in the community.

Robert Guillemin, a BU graduate known as “Sidewalk Sam,” created ArtStreet more than 40 years ago. Guillemin said he has attended every Allston Village Street Fair since the first one.

“Today I am doing something special,” Guillemin said. “One thousand people by the end of the day will join me and draw something joyous and something that shows their love of life.  I love the spirit of people, the causal abundant joy that spills out onto the street.”

Pasquale said other events in the fair allow people to create art on the street and this year, there were more than 2,000 pieces of street art created by pedestrians.

“[It] is a phenomenal sight to see to stand at that street corner and look down that street at all of the overwhelming artwork,” she said. “It’s tremendously beautiful.”

Annmarie Waldsmith from Mahoney’s Garden Center in Brighton said the festival brought out the best of the town. She said she chose to come to the festival not only for the advertising opportunity, but also to interact with members of the community.

“It’s good to get your name out there and interact with people,” Waldsmith said. “It pulls people together, and the demographic is pretty well spread here, which is good too.”

College of Arts and Sciences senior Jaclyn Carricato said she happened upon the fair on her way back from running the Brian Honan five-kilometer race earlier in the day.

“I like the music and the free stuff and the marching bands,” she said.

CAS senior Meghan Smalling also noticed the fair after running the race.

She said she was happy to see Allston in a different way.

“It shows a different side of Allston,” Smalling said.  “It’s good for the town.”

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