What’s Happening on Main Streets

The drizzle couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of local children at this year’s Halloween on the Hill on Oct. 31. Maggie Casey from the Mission Hill Youth Collaborative quarterbacked this neighborhood effort that surpassed last year’s masquerade. The Haunted Hallways of the BCYF Tobin Center, where Halloween bags and trick-or-treat maps were distributed, set the spine-tingling tone for many older youngsters. Costumed kiddos stopped at Mission Hill Main Streets businesses to scare up some candy and acquire stickers for their maps from college student volunteers. When completed, the maps qualified kids for the raffle of gift certificates and prizes.

From 4 until 6, Barry Twomey monitored the kids painting pumpkins at the Farmer’s Market for the Mission Hill Health Movement, whose Maggie Cohn secured dozens of cartons of healthy candies given at various locations. (I tasted some—they were pretty good!) Sociedad Latina featured a live musical performance by Marco Reyes and an assortment of fun games at Sheehy Park. The MassArt Sparc artmobile folks instructed moppets on the how-to of artistic mask creation. Passers-by couldn’t help but smile viewing the wide-eyed wonder of tots astride ponies on the vacant lot next to the Tobin, owned and offered by Jason Savage’s Trellis Group. Let me thank Matt Postal of Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta, Sharon Driscoll at The Crossing bar, Eric Johnson of Mission Realty Advisors, Santander Bank manager Jack Riley, Harry Walsh of the Mission Bar and Grill, and our terrific farmers, Gary’s Too Farm stand and MacArthur Farms for the confections as well as their enthusiastic and generous support. Once again, Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez and Roxbury Tenants of Harvard came through, as well as students from Wentworth, Mass College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, MassArt, Northeastern and the Phillips Brook House at Harvard. John Jackson from the Tobin promises that next year will be even better!

Two must-attend events should be marked on your calendars. On Tues., Nov. 26 from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., Mayor Menino will be in Mission Hill to kick off the holiday shopping season for the entire city on the plaza at One Brigham Circle. Years ago, this used to be just a routine press conference for Hizzoner, where he would proclaim the holiday parking schedule and the Toys for Parking Tickets amnesty program and such. Over the past few seasons, it has evolved into an extravaganza complete with entertainment, refreshments and children’s events.          We’re still firming up the plans but I can guarantee it will be a doozy being so close to the end of the Menino administration. The Neighborhood Children’s Theater out of Jamaica Plain will be performing some of their holiday numbers, and I’m certain that if the seniors from the Flynn House show up, the evening will definitely become a Christmas caroling event. Frosty the Snowman, face-painters, a balloon artist, a DJ and much more will be in attendance. Rumor has it that the Big Guy (Mr. Claus, not David Ortiz) will be on hand as well. It’s free and all are welcome. Come, have a good time, and get in the spirit of the season.

Eighteen days later, on Sat., Dec. 14 from 4 until 6 p.m., Mission Hill Main Streets will be hosting a holiday celebration at the Mission Bar where we will honor District City Councilor Michael Ross for his 12 years of devoted service to our community. There will be a cash bar, and owner Michel Soltani promises a lavish spread of hors d’oeuvres.  A $20 donation is requested at the door. Mission Hill T-shirts and coffee mugs will be available for purchase as perfect gifts for that “hard to buy for” friend.

Eric Johnson has lived in Mission Hill for more than 10 years and opened a new business at 1613 Tremont St. called Mission Realty Advisors (MRA), handling rentals, sales and property management. Beginning in January, on the first Friday of every month, Eric will hold an art exhibit/reception from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. at MRA highlighting the works of local artists. This will be another great addition to the local art scene, adding to the exhibits featured in the Mission Bar, Green T Coffeeshop, J.P. Licks, the Parker Hill Branch Library, the Diablo glass school and the regular displays of our Sparring Partners program in the former Sparr’s Drugstore windows at Longwood and Huntington.

Our neighborhood is blessed with world-class art venues like the MFA and the Gardner Museum. We are quickly becoming popular as a destination for new artists and it bodes well for the economic vitality of the area. While on the artistic front, Mission Hill resident Jennifer Ann Mann, an accomplished short-story writer often published in Highlights for Children, has penned her debut children’s novel titled, “Sunny Sweet is So NOT Sorry,” which is receiving rave reviews nationally. The book chronicles the adventures of two sisters, and Jennifer having grown up in a house full of girls, I’m certain there are many scenes based on first-hand experiences.

My very favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Good fortune has been shining on me throughout my life. I’m happy to report that my entire family will be celebrating at home this year. My son Charlie (a former bakery assistant at the Brigham Circle Stop & Shop) is an Army lieutenant and was serving in Afghanistan last year. Perhaps this, and the memory of being away from home on Thanksgiving in the Air Force when I was a young man, evokes my passion to be with kith and kin at this time of year. On behalf of everyone affiliated with Mission Hill Main Streets, please enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving and keep in mind our brave men and women serving in uniform. Gobble gobble!

The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

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