Sunday, September 21, 2014

MetroFest Showcases Framingham's Premier Outdoor Venue

Combine twenty-five food trucks serving innovative and delicious fare, a lineup of fantastic bands, a comfortable venue, and perfect early autumn weather, and you've got MetroFest 2014, held yesterday at Bowditch Field, the town's athletic and cultural complex.

The event, a production of the MetroWest Tourism & Visitors Bureau, was another great example of how the new Bowditch Field can host thousands of people for a variety of purposes beyond football games and graduation ceremonies, and further solidify Framingham as the cultural and entertainment center of MetroWest.

Most of the several thousand people in attendance were there primarily to dig in to the food, which ranged from barbecue to seafood, to new twists on familiar fare like hot dogs and burgers, as well as Vietnamese, Jamaican, Greek, and French cuisine (even a truck dedicated to bacon dishes), as well as artisanal ice cream, cupcakes, and whoopie pies for a sweet finish. And unlike many of the reviews I read on Yelp about food truck festivals held in other Boston area locations, Bowditch was a comfortable setting.

The over two dozen trucks were situated in two grassy areas within the complex, with plenty of room for picnicking on the lawn and bathrooms nearby. The lines for some trucks did get long as the afternoon wore on, perhaps 15-20 minutes, but nothing like the hour-long waits in baking parking lots I'd read about at other events. And with the music stages set up on the other side of the stadium, you could enjoy food and conversation in a relatively quiet environment.

One drawback of Bowditch is the lack of sufficient parking, but the shuttle that ran from free satellite parking lots at nearby schools and the juvenile courthouse were efficient and added a bit of a festive element as people chatted and  clambered on and off the buses at either end of the short trip.

The event also had a remarkably diverse crowd - young families, students, as well as seniors, and everyone else in between - good food being the great equalizer that it is. Overall it was both a nice opportunity for Framingham residents to enjoy an afternoon of food and music at the town's premier outdoor venue, as well as show people from other towns and cities what Framingham has to offer. Here's hoping MetroFest becomes an annual tradition.