A climbing wall, Live Action Escapes, and a Community Open Mic are among the new activities offered at the fourth annual MetroFest, the region’s arts, music, and food truck festival to be held Saturday, June 17, in Framingham.  As in past years, festival-goers will enjoy two dozen food trucks and specialty food vendors, 100 exhibitors, a classic car show, bounce houses and other kids’ activities, performances on two stages, and a tastings tent with craft beer, wine, and hard cider.

MetroFest, which has quickly become a regional tradition, showcases the region’s arts, culture, and commerce in an affordable and family-friendly atmosphere. Held 11am to 4pm at Bowditch Athletic & Cultural Complex, MetroFest utilizes the entire quarter-mile-long, enclosed facility.

Activities for kids, tweens, and teens are expanding throughout the complex. In addition to the popular Touch-A-Truck and inflatable bounce houses set up in the Kids Town, interactive offerings include an Xbox tent with 10 consoles, climbing wall, obstacle course, ball pit, and MicroSoft dance game.  Fallon Ambulance will again offer CPR training and exhibitors will offer other demos and how-tos.

To ensure that cost is not a barrier, admission fees have been eliminated this year.

With 20 food trucks and specialty vendors offering dishes ranging from Seoul street food and Cochinita Pibil tacos to salted caramel cannolis, MetroFest will appeal to every craving. The tasting tent features beer, wine, and hard-cider tastings. Adults 21 and older, with proper ID, may purchase four, 2-ounce samples for $3.  Food truck prices vary according to the menu.

At the Union Avenue entrance, attendees will be greeted by the returning the Boston Cup Classic Car Show, which showcases vintage autos, including some manufactured at Natick and Framingham production facilities decades ago.

A program of the MetroWest Visitors Bureau (MWVB), a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to stimulating the region’s economy by raising visibility for the area’s cultural, historic, culinary, hospitality, retail, and recreation offerings.  By showcasing these offerings—from apple-picking to beer-making to dance groups– to thousands of MetroFest attendees, MWVB hopes to increase to patronize and support these offerings throughout the coming year, says Susan Nicholl, MWVB executive director.

“MetroFest has kindled pride in our region,” she says.  “Festival-goers remark that they are amazed by all that MetroWest has to offer and that they feel more closely connected to their community because of it.”

The expanded number of exhibitor spaces showcase a variety of cultural and community groups, crafters, artisans, and a limited number of locally grown products, including chocolate and jewelry. In their spaces, exhibitors offer free demos and activities, including mosaics, pilates, painting, and American Sign Language.

Radio station ABR a Brasiliera, the MetroFest media sponsor, will broadcast live in Portuguese on WSRO 680am from MetroFest all day.

For festival-goers who prefer to sit on the grass and be treated to top performances, the Main Stage features R&B singer Sympli Whitney, Eguie Castrillo and Mar Del Norte Salsa Band, and Eduardo Mercuri Group. After a performance by Jodie Road and dancing by Backstage Dance Theatre, the Community Stage will be devoted to Open Mic beginning at 1:30. Beginning at 11am, anyone may sign up for a for 15-minute performance slot from 1:30-3:45.

Event organizers will provide free, handicapped-accessible shuttles to nearby school lots throughout the day.  Many other free lots surrounding the complex are within walking distance.

“Now in its fourth year, MetroFest is an established tradition that brings together the entire region to kick off the summer,” says Susan Nicholl, executive director of the MetroWest Visitors Bureau. “The business community, and participating municipalities, have been incredibly supportive of this effort to showcase the region’s arts, culture, and other assets and build pride in them.”

Support of the business community

Major supporters include Avidia Bank, Bernardi Auto Group, Choose Framingham, Framingham Parks & Recreation Department, DCU—Digital Credit Union, United Home Experts, Align Credit Union, Impact Framingham, and American Girl.

Also providing significant support are these sponsors: Fallon Ambulance Service, AFC Urgent Care, Belkin Family Lookout Farm, Boston Rustic Wedding Rentals, Boston Solar Company, Club Pilates Framingham, Craft Beer Cellar, Escape Room Live, EverSource, Fifth Avenue Liquors, Impact Framingham, James Hardie, Leaf Filter, Learning Center for the Deaf, MassBay Community College, MetroWest Medical Center, MicroSoft, Middlesex Savings Bank, Natick Center Cultural District, Renewal by Andersen, ResCom, RIHI, theCoderSchool, Wegmans, Uno Pizzeria & Grill, and Wexler Chiropractic & Wellness Center.

Public partners include the Towns of Ashland, Framingham, Natick, and Westborough; Massachusetts Cultural Council; and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

For a complete overview of MetroFest and to see daily updates, visit  . For more information, contact the MetroWest Visitors Bureau at 508-361-9881.

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