Apr 28, 2023 – Things to Do
by Mike Deehan
It’ll be bean time in Boston this summer during the city’s first-ever celebration of the humble bean.
What’s happening: The Beantown Beanfest will kick off Saturday, June 24 at 11am, sprouting up on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
- Organizers see the bean as a common denominator for numerous generations of Bostonians who have immigrated here across the centuries.
The focus of the event, of course, will be the food itself. Organizers tell Axios they hope to serve free offerings from food vendors and restaurants, representing a diverse collection of ethnic cuisines.
- The servings will center on beans, whether they’re stewed, baked, fried or refried.
Plus: There will also be music from the Beantown Swing Orchestra, bean-themed crafts and games.
- And if you’re looking for a place to sit and guzzle down the musical fruit, the fest has arranged a donation of bean bag chairs.
What they’re saying: “Beans transcend and unite every race, culture, neighborhood, ethnicity in the city of Boston,” organizer Dan Winslow told Axios. “Everybody has their favorite bean dish. Beans are the great equalizer of people.” Winslow said Boston has an iconic global brand identity as Beantown that mostly gets ignored by locals.
- “With the exception of the hockey tournament and the Hasty Pudding Awards, there’s never been anything about beans in Boston,” Winslow said.
How Boston became Beantown: New England’s Puritan settlers were known for their fondness for beans, though the history of how that reputation started is murky.
- The classic molasses-soaked recipe is still a common side dish at breakfast spots, cookouts and traditional restaurants across the region.
- Even the far more popular jelly bean may have been invented in Boston around the time of the Civil War by confectioner William Schrafft.
Zoom in: The festival is a fundraiser to support the work of the New England Legal Foundation’s Equalizer Institute, an arm of the nonprofit that provides pro bono legal aid to entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities.
- The Greater Boston Food Bank, the festivals’ charitable partner, will collect non-perishable food items at the event.