What to Do This Labor Day Weekend

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A guide to the best events on campus and around Boston

By Irene Berman-Vaporis (COM’14) and Paula Sokolska (COM’15)

Boston University BU, Labor Day Weekend What to Do

Take a break from unpacking boxes and fluffing pillows by partaking in some of the great events Boston has to offer this Labor Day weekend. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Thousands of students are arriving on campus this weekend ahead of the official start of the semester on Tuesday, September 2. But Labor Day weekend still offers the promise of final summer festivities. So take a break from the unpacking and the trips to Bed & Bath and the Barnes & Noble at@ BU and enjoy some of the many events taking place on and off campus this Labor Day weekend.

Friday, August 29

Ice Cream Social

Here’s a chance to meet new friends and catch up with old ones over everybody’s favorite summer dessert. Bring your pals and your appetite to this event sponsored by BU Central and featuring free music, games and, yes, ice cream from J.P. Licks. Vegan or lactose intolerant? No problem—dairy-free options will also be available.

The Ice Cream Social will take place at BU Central, 775 Commonwealth Ave., from 10:00 p.m. to midnight.

Parent Pit Stop

There will be plenty of parents on campus this weekend helping their children move in. What better way to relax after a strenuous day of travel and boxes, boxes, boxes than with a cold beer, glass of wine, or a cocktail? (There are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, too.) Parents are invited to the BU Pub for a casual gathering. Staff members from the Dean of Students office will be on hand to answer any last-minute questions. Admission and food are free, but guests must pay for their drinks.

The Parent Pit Stop takes place at the BU Pub in The Castle, 225 Bay State Rd., from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will take place again tomorrow, Saturday, August 30, at the same time and place.

Dine Out Boston 2014, Restaurant Week

Dine Out Boston—a biannual two-week promotional event—lets you dine at some of Boston’s best restaurants at reduced rates. Photo courtesy of

Dine Out Boston

Foodies, act fast! Today is the last chance to take advantage of Dine Out Boston, the biannual two-week extravaganza where hundreds of restaurants across the city offer prix fixe menus at bargain prices. Lunches are available for $15, $20, or $25, and dinners are priced at $28, $33, and $38, with the number of courses varying by restaurant. Among the nearby establishments participating today are Eastern Standard and Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore Square, and Osaka and Lineage in Brookline. Find a complete list of participating restaurants here. Dine Out Boston is a great way to explore Boston’s fine dining options without breaking the bank.

West Side Story

What better way to spend a late summer evening than watching one of Hollywood’s very best, outdoors, on the Boston waterfront, at sunset, for free? The Boston Harbor Hotel concludes its popular Classic Movie Fridays tonight with a showing of West Side Story, the musical drama film that captured 10 Academy Awards, including best picture, in 1962. An adaptation of the Broadway hit of the same name, which was inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the movie features music by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

West Side Story will be screened at sunset at the Boston Harbor Hotel at 70 Rowes Wharf. The movie is free and open to the public. By public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street; from there, the hotel is a 15-minute walk.

Mass Brewers Guild Fest

Love craft beers? Then stop by the Fifth Annual Mass Brewers Festival, which will offer more than 100 beers to sample. Taste beers from nearly three dozen Massachusetts craft breweries while listening to live music by the Three Day Threshold. The Mass Brewers Guild Fest will unveil a special limited-release collaboration beer—a cast pale ale made with local malt and hops—to which each brewery will add its special touch.

Quench your thirst at the Mass Brewers Guild Fest this Friday, August 29, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston. You must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased online here. It’s best to buy tickets in advance, as the event has sold out in the past. By public transportation, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to a Red Line outbound train to South Station. Transfer there to the Silver Line and take that to the World Trade Center station.

Dance the night away at the ICA’s final installment of Wavelengths, a live concert series. Photo courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art

Dance the night away at the ICA’s final installment of Wavelengths, a live concert series. Photo courtesy of the

DJ Round Robin at the ICA

Join the Institute of Contemporary Art for an end-of-summer bash. The ICA concludes it summer series of Friday night concerts, titled Wavelengths, with jams from four of the city’s best DJs: DJ7L, , Bud E. Green, and Baltimoroder. Food and cocktails can be purchased.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, hosts Wavelengths: Boston DJ Round Robin on Friday, August 29. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert ends at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for ICA members and students. By public transportation, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street, transfer to a Red Line outbound train to South Station, and then take the Silver Line to either the World Trade Center or Courthouse station. The ICA is within walking distance of both stops.

Saturday, August 30

Extreme Bingo

Feeling lucky? Make your way over to the George Sherman Union for the wildest game of bingo you’ve ever seen. This popular annual back-to-school event, hosted by Student Activities, offers chances to win cool prizes, including new iPads, Kindles, and plenty of BU swag.

Extreme Bingo takes place in Metcalf Hall, George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave., from 10:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Boston Ähts Festival

Celebrate local visual and performing artists at the annual Boston Ähts Festival. Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Bala Subs

Ähts: The Boston Arts Festival

Affectionately referred to as the Boston Ähts Festival, this two-day celebration of visual and performing arts brings free exhibits, demonstrations, workshops, and performances to the public this weekend. With two stages and more than 60 artists slated to perform, the festival transforms the North End’s Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park into a vibrant artists’ village. This year’s highlights include The Moth the nonprofit group dedicated to the art of storytelling, and a miniature contemporary art museum showcasing the work of 40 local artists.

The Boston Arts Festival kicks off on Saturday, August 30, from noon to 6 p.m., and continues on Sunday, August 31, also from noon to 6 p.m. The festival is held at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, 105 Atlantic Ave., Boston, and is free and open to the public. By public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Haymarket Station. It’s about a 10-minute walk to the park, which is located between the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and Boston Harbor.

Boston Harbor Fireworks

Celebrate the end of summer with a bang. The City of Boston and Summer on the Waterfront are hosting a fireworks display as a highlight of the Boston Arts Festival and as the finale of Summer on the Waterfront programming. The pyrotechnics display is being produced by Atlas PyroVision, the same folks that produce Boston’s world-class July 4th and First Night fireworks. The fireworks barge will be moored off Fan Pier in South Boston. Best viewing locations include the Boston HarborWalk from Lo Presti and Piers Parks to the Hyatt Boston Harbor Hotel in East Boston, the Boston HarborWalk from Fort Point Channel to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on the Seaport, and Castle Island in South Boston.

They will light the fuse for the Boston Harbor Fireworks at 9 p.m. on a barge moored off Fan Pier. To get to the HarborWalk at Fan Pier, take any Green Line trolley to Park Street. Switch there to an outbound Red Line train and get off at South Station. Walk on Summer Street towards the Fort Point Channel. Make the first left (just before the water) and then a right onto the Congress Street Bridge. Follow the HarborWalk sign in front of the Children’s Museum to Fan Pier. (It’s about a seven-minute walk.)

Boston University BU, class of 2017, matriculation, Commonwealth Avenue, freshman

The BU Band will lead the Class of 2018 student parade to Agganis Arena for Matriculation this Sunday. Photo by Chitose Suzuki

Sunday, August 31

Matriculation Parade and Ceremony

This right of passage for entering undergraduates and their families begins with a student parade along Commonwealth Avenue and concludes with a ceremony at Agganis Arena. The ceremony will include addresses by BU President Robert A. Brown, recently elected Student Government President Richa Kaul (CAS’16), and Associate Professor of English Carrie Preston. The event is the only time that the entire Class of 2018 will gather together until their Commencement four years from now. Security for the event is expected to be tight, so guests are urged to arrive early. All bags will be checked upon entrance.

The student parade commences at Myles Standish Hall, 610 Beacon St., at 1:00 p.m., with freshmen joining in as it passes their respective residence halls. The parade concludes at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave., where the Matriculation ceremony will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Scarlet Fever

Munch on popcorn, grab a snow cone, or indulge in fried dough at this carnival exclusively for BU students. Visitors can test their coordination skills on an obstacle course, exalt in the thrill of bungee jumping, or attempt to tame a mechanical bull as Nickerson Field is transformed into a summer fair. Local favorite, DJ Case, will provide the music.

Scarlet Fever runs from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Nickerson Field, 285 Babcock St.

21st Annual Summer Poster Show

Love art and love to travel? The International Poster Gallery is hosting their 21st annual summer show, a fabulous exhibit of vintage travel posters titled “Timeless Journeys,” through mid-September. The collection of more than 50 posters recalls the Golden Age of Travel, when air travel was still considered exotic. Visitors will be treated to early Pan Am and Air France posters. The star of the show is a 1939 Pan Am poster titled San Francisco–Hawaii Overnight! Via Pan American. At that time, the flight took 20 hours, but passengers on the “Honolulu Clipper” were treated to gourmet meals, bunk beds, and dressing rooms during the flight. Another famous poster promotes the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The stylish posters in the show capture the romance of travel and are guaranteed to instill a bit of wanderlust in everyone.

Timeless Journeys is on view at the International Poster Gallery, 205 Newbury St., Boston, from noon to 6 p.m. Phone: 617-375-0076. Admission is free. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley.

Photo courtesy of The International Poster Gallery

The 21st Annual Summer Poster Show features original vintage Art Deco travel posters. Photo courtesy of

Summer Concert at Spectacle Island

Sail away to Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor for a relaxing afternoon of jazz. Sponsored by the Berklee College of Music, this is the final installment of their Summer Concerts at Spectacle Island series, which featured some of Berklee’s most talented up-and-coming musicians. Sunday’s free concert by the Grant Richards Trio features a program of classic jazz led by Richards, a pianist and composer who graduated from Berklee in 2013. As an added benefit, you’ll get spectacular views of Boston Harbor and the city’s skyline.

Get your jazz hands ready this Sunday, August 31, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Admission to Berklee College of Music’s Summer Concerts at Spectacle Island is free and open to the public. Ferry fees to the island still apply; round-trip tickets departing from Long Wharf cost $15. View ferry schedules and rates here.

Monday, September 1

Frank Hatch Day at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Boston is full of world-class art museums, and there may be none more breathtaking—and more idiosyncratic—than the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, located on the Fenway. The prized collection of 2,500 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and other works of art—collected by Gardner in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—is housed in a 15th-century-style Venetian palace. Today, visitors can view the collection for free, during the museum’s annual Frank Hatch Free Day, named for Francis “Frank” Hatch, a former museum trustee and supporter of Boston arts and culture. Traditionally held on New Year’s Day, Frank Hatch Free Day was moved to Labor Day in 2013 so visitors can enjoy the museum’s gardens while they are still in bloom.

Free admission to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, will be available all day on Monday, September 1, beginning at 11 a.m. Timed entries will take place every 30 minutes, with the last entry at 4 p.m. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis and will be distributed until capacity for the entire day is reached: in other words, the ticket you receive may be for a time slot an hour or two after your arrival. Admission includes access to the entire museum. Take an MBTA Green Line E trolley or a #39 bus from Copley Square to the Museum of Fine Arts stop. The Gardner is about a three-minute walk from there.

Visit the Blue Room for free at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Labor Day. Photo courtesy of the

Visit the Blue Room for free at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Labor Day. Photo courtesy of the

Marshall’s Farm Stand on the Rose Kennedy Greenway

Farm stands and farmers markets throughout the city are bursting with local corn, berries, zucchini, and other produce. You’ll find all of that, plus locally made honey, at this family farm stand located next to the Rose Kennedy Greenway and immediately adjacent to the Casablanca Salon at 266 Atlantic Ave. The Marshalls have been operating a farm in nearby Gloucester, Mass., for generations. So whether you’ve just moved into your first off-campus apartment or are prepping a gourmet dinner for 10, you’ll find much of what you need here.

Marshall’s Farm Stand, located just off the Rose Kennedy Greenway next to Casablanca Salon at 266 Atlantic Ave., is open on Labor Day from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Take a Green Line trolley to Park St., transfer to an outbound Red Line train and take that to South Station. The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a short walk from there.

An Italian Journey—Labor Day Concert

Boston is renowned for a richness of classical music, everything from the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall to the dozens of chamber groups that play in smaller venues to student recitals. In honor of Labor Day, the First Lutheran Church of Boston, located in the Back Bay, is hosting An Italian Journey, an evening of instrumental and vocal works by Italian composers, played on historic instruments. The concert will include rarely heard pieces by Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli. A root beer reception in the courtyard will follow the concert.

The Labor Day concert will take place at the First Lutheran Church, 299 Berkeley St., Boston, from 7 to 9 p.m. Phone: 617-536-8851. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley.

Irene Berman-Vaporis can be reached at imbv@bu.edu. Paula Sokolska can be reached at ps5642@bu.edu.

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