For info about this year’s (2014) Feast of the Falls, click here.
About 1 PM yesterday afternoon it was all beginning to seem like a colossal mistake. A quarter mile of the Sudbury aqueduct in Hemlock Gorge was strewn with truck loads full of equipment and supplies. A handful of volunteers were facing a mountain of work that could not possibly done in the next few hours. By 1:30, neighborhood volunteers were streaming across Echo Bridge and a small army began to work. By 4 PM, the 250 foot table was assembled, the tablecloths were laid, the table was set, the entire three tented mobile kitchen was assembled, the kitchen was fully stocked and ready to go, and the entire aqueduct was festooned with festive lanterns.
The event was scheduled for 5 – 9 PM. This time of year it doesn’t really get dark until 9 PM. One last minute detail that only was discovered the night before was lighting. We didn’t need lights for dinner but we’d certainly need them for the post-Feast tear down of all the equipment. An email went out Saturday night, and all those volunteers streaming in on Sunday afternoon brought miles of extension cord, lights and power strips. A generators and car batteries powered a mile’s worth of power lines that lit the length of the aqueduct and the whole kitchen area.
About 4 PM, the VIP Server Crew began to arrive, all wearing matching black/white uniforms. Nearly the full complement of Upper Falls’ elected official turned up to wait tables for the night – Rep Ruth Balser, all three of or aldermen (Deb Crossley, Brian Yates, and John Rice), Steve Siegel, our man on the School Committee, and the entire Upper Falls Area Council. Also part of the crew were Newton Tab editor Emily Costello and Newton Patch editor Brooklyn Lowry, Rounding out VIP Server Crew were all our local celebrities – the familiar faces from Upper Falls businesses (Mike Bouchet and Kevin Richard from Mike Classic Barbershop, The O’Shaughnessy’s from Upper Falls Variety, Henry La’s entire family from The Depot, Mel Rosenberg and his wife from the Brass Buff Antiques at Echo Bridge).
By 4:30 the 15 person Check-in/Greeter crew was on the job on Echo Bridge and the guests began to arrive. From 5 – 6PM people continued to arrive, to wander around and chat and find their way to their assigned “street” on the endless table while listening to the Echo Quartet, a string quartet from Carriage House Violins, put together just for the event, and a roving flautist from Dunn Gaherins Restaurant.
At 6 PM, the massive dinner bell rang out and the Feast began. Teams of runners began pouring out of the kitchen with platters of food, up the hill, down the length of the table to the servers, and on to the table.
By everyone’s account the food was fantastic. It was a five course meal but there were two entire menus. Each course had both a dish from the Better Life Food/Dunn Gaherins crew as well as an Asian vegetarian dish from the Tzu Chi Foundation’s menu.
This was the first annual Feast of The Falls and so there were the inevitable minor snags along the way, but no one seemed to mind much. They were all too busy gabbing, eating, laughing and talking to their old friends and neighbors and their new friends as well.
Just before desert, Chef Christopher Osborn and the the Feast’s visionary Seana Gaherin emerged from the kitchen and strolled the length of the table to talk to all the guests and to finally get to soak up the whole ambiance of the event. Once the dessert of s’mores hit the table, the entire exhausted and hungry server and runner crew retired to Downton Abbey (i.e the servants quarters) for their own well earned dinner.
By all accounts, the entire event was a smash success with everybody and will definitely return again next year. This morning in Upper Falls, everybody was still abuzz – at the bus stop, at the Variety Store, at The Depot, at the playground, its all everyone was talking about.
… and most importantly, from my very selfish point of view, I had the time of my life.