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A top 8 list on what to expect at this year’s Ignite festival! (Top 10 lists are so passé)

1. Grub.

Come hungry, as the following vendors will be selling their fare out in the plaza: Cantina La Mexicana, Casa B (Latin American Tapas), Pão de Açúcar (Brazilian Barbecue), Union Square Donuts (with Ice Cream!), Dosa-N-Curry (Vegetarian Indian dosas), Neighborhood Restaurant (Portuguese food, we’re guessing it’s seafood!), Kitchen Inc., (All-American BBQ and Exotic Mexican fare).

2. More food to be found in the square!

We anticipate throngs of grazing festival goers. But don’t worry if food sells out at stands in the plaza, this is your chance to check out one of Union Square’s myriad restaurants. Read about them here: Union Sq. Restaurants

foodDemo2. Food Demos

Beginning around 6:15 Mexican native Estela Calzada will demonstrate how to make a delicious and nutritious drink called Agua de Chia, featuring chia seeds, cucumber and lime. She’ll also tell folks more about the fare she is selling over at her food cart (cactus and pineapple juice, tostadas with cactus, taquitos with salsa de chile morita) Around 7:15, Brazilian native Elizabete DelFino will demonstrate how to make brigadeiro featuring Taza chocolate; these tasty treats are a staple at any party in Brazil.

3. Pick your Pickle! 

Test your taste buds by playing this interactive game in which you sample fermented/pickled items and tell us the country of origin of each item. Prizes include: Nibble books, Nibble Cooking Classes, and Potato Candy. That’s right people, POTATO CANDY.

4. Laser Cut Food and Food Security.

Can a vegetable tell a story about food access in Somerville?  Come learn about food security with the Somerville Food Security Coalition, Connection Lab, and the MIT Center for Civic Media.  We’ve got a data mural, laser-cut vegetables, and more! For more info, visit:

5. More Foodie Fun.

Over at our M.U.S.C.R.A.T. bus, participate with our Interactive Global Food Map; share a story andplace it on the map. Last year somebody shared this snippet on the South American continent: “Alpaca is delicious. It doesn’t taste like chicken.” At the Arts Council table, play Test Your Nose (a.k.a., the Nose Olympics) by guessing various spices. Gold medal winners win Nibble books!  We will also present: Play with Your Food, which will provide festival goers the chance to craft sculptures out of food found in Union Square.

fc115a0d8eca23a984886a2030d874c06. FIRE.

As the festival’s title suggests, expect flames. Beginning at 8:15, fire-throwing members of Boston Circus Guild will light up the night.

7. Dance, Music and Lights.

There will be a Bollywood Dance Performance at roughly 6:45 and Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band will perform 7:20ish.  This is a loose, rather raucous festival, so times are approximate!  Also: living statue Delilah Shameless, and rumor has it that a Hoolahooping barmaid/singing pirate will be among us. The festival will be lit up by CEMI

8. Nibble Cooking Classes, Pop-Up Restaurants and Market Tours.

Visit the Arts Council table to pick up a flyer about the fall cooking class lineup. Also learn about our next pop-up restaurant (the first one was a huge hit!) and sign up for a Union Square Market Tour. Or just pick up a Market Guide and take a self-guided tour whenever you fancy. And, snatch a Nibble book for $15.

The Ignite Festival is FREE and open to the public; it will take place in Union Square, Somerville, 6-10pm, Sat., Aug. 9. Rain date: Sunday, August 10 from 6-10pm. This is a Somerville Arts Council event and is part of our ArtsUnion project.

And finally, you may ask: Why does an Arts Council care about food? The answer is here.