Despite the cold rain falling, the bands kept playing and the workers of East Somerville’s East End Grille kept serving beer, sausages and hot tea. It was Oktoberfest, and the party wasn’t going to stop. Neither was the inebriated man who showed up, didn’t say a word, and just kept dancing.
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It’s the sort of thing you see often along Broadway in East Somerville – not people dancing in the rain, but elements of the “old” community mixing with the “new” generation moving in. It would be easy to say that the area is gentrifying, but there are no plans for glass condos or Starbuckses or artisanal pickle stores here. Initiatives like Somerville by Design and East Somerville Main Streets are working to keep the area diverse and prevent it from being overrun or overdeveloped by people simply looking to profit on the rising land values.
The goal of each new street fair, construction project, or town meeting has been to keep East Somerville a community, to keep it the kind of place where you can gather together with your neighbors in an “all are welcome” environment and listen to music and celebrate the season. And should someone unexpected wander in and start dancing, well, all the better: It’s just as much his neighborhood as it is that of the people behind him.
– Dan Meade
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