BU News Service
More than 20,000 people descended on Somerville’s Union Square Saturday, according to the city’s mayor, to celebrate its annual Fluff Festival, a full day dedicated to the town’s signature marshmallow treat.
Fluff, a marshmallow spread found in lunch boxes throughout New England, was invented by Somerville resident Archibald Query in 1917. To celebrate this proud export, every year Somerville hosts a festival complete with musical performances, games, and street vendors selling sticky fluff-filled treats.
On the “Stage of Shenanigans” competitors were pitted against each other in a variety of games that universally left participants smothered in the sweet, gooey spread. Events included everything from fluff covered musical chairs to a fluff jousting contest that had opponents attempting to knock each other off of a balance beam with fluff covered pool noodles.
The winner of the children’s bracket in fluff jousting was 11-year-old Felix Marshall of Framingham. This was Marshall’s first time fluff jousting, so he said he kept the strategy simple.
“I’m known for being really strong at my school, so I just swung hard,” Marshall said.
Archibald Query impersonator, Michael Katz, emceed the shenanigans stage, sporting a yellow checkered jacket and a wiry beard that remained fluff-free throughout the day.
“It’s a fun day,” Katz said. “It’s just fun and sometimes there doesn’t need to be more reason than that.”
On the main stage, Boston Funk band, Booty Vortex, got the fluffernutter wielding crowd moving with a cover of “We are Family”, before handing over the stage to Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.
“Fluff is a little like Somerville,” Curtatone said. “It’s creative, original, and just a little bit freaky and that’s why we love it.”
Curtatone, embracing the day’s theme “Fluff U: A Sweet Education,” gave honorary degrees from Fluff University to winners of a fluff-inspired baking competition. Ryann Fame received her Master’s in Independent Study for the most creative dish, General Fluff’s chicken. Meanwhile best in show went to a partner act, Debbie Puglisi and Amanda Horne, for their Swiss brioche donuts with a fluff filling and peanut butter icing. Horne and Puglisi, actual culinary students, said they still intended to finish their program despite receiving honorary doctorates from the mayor.
Katz hinted next year’s event may be an even more exciting affair. In 2017, fluff will be turning 100 years old and the event planners intend to pull out all the stops. Katz said they will begin planning the centennial celebration “as early as next month” to ensure it is the best one yet.