Out and About: Lowell, Environs and the Lowell Folk Festival

Out and about in the noon hour-plus today in Downtown Lowell and Environs.

Call-to-action: Driving though Kearney Square proved that some citizens listened to President Obama last night. Three or four sign holders stood fast at the entrance to the Howe Building – home to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas’ District office. The theme: “Tax Wall Street.” Plantings: Plants, flowers and shrubs in a pastoral design have sprung-up in the Cardinal O’Connell monument area that is ringed by a brick pedestrian-friendly walk-way. It has been looking might plain and sparse. We’ll hear more about the Lowell-born Cardinal soon I’m guessing! Booking: As usual all was calm and business-like at the Pollard Library when I checked-out my books. I reserve on-line – a great service of the PML and the MV Library Consortium. BTW – I really appreciate the PML! Tents Galore: Those individual tents that house the ethnic food booths, the Lowell Folk Festival shirts, memorabilia and sought-after CDs are up at the JFK Plaza by Friday morning the downtown will be a tent garden if the array in a very large trailer over on Market Street is any indication. Saw some tree trimming over near the Market Street stage and parking garage – helps those sight lines! Detours, etc.: Much needed road work and other repairs are still dictating those detours and narrow car lanes – Jackson at Central; Lower Andover at Fayette and Perry; and out here in Tewksbury the River Road project detours onto Trull Road/Andover Street/down Fiske Street/back to River Road.

On another note – tuned-in to WCAP while on the road listening to colleague Register of Deeds Dick Howe talk real estate, mortages, the national financial situation, politics and Lowell Folk Festival history with host Jack Baldwin. Did you know that the first three Lowell Festivals were actually designated as the National Folk Festival? When they move on usually that’s it for the festival but the Lowell experience now in its 25th year has proven that some communities can sustain the event – Bangor, Maine is a recent example! Remember Deputy Superintendent George Price with his patriotic red, white and blue oversized umbrella leading the festival parades though downtown? I think that umbrella is in the Smithsonian! Remember those pre-folk festival Regatta events up on the boulevard and in Lucy Larcom Park? Some stalwart volunteers like Pauline Golec are still on-board today – she chairs the ethnic and food segments so important to the festival’s success.

Weather for the Lowell Folk Festival looks promising after some showers. The thousands of hours of work and planning, the thousand volunteers, the thousands of volunteer hours as well as the thousands of dollars (cash and in-kind) raised and donated and the thousands in the loyal festival audience deserve a great and successful festival. Get more information about the schedule, the performers, the food and fun here at the 2011 Lowell Folk Festival website.