Sparklefest in Harvard Square 2018

Friday, November 23, 2018 - Monday, December 24, 2018 all-day
Sparklefest in Harvard Square 2018
November 23rd – December 31st
The Harvard Square Business Association is excited to announce the schedule for Sparklefest 2018!  Sparklefest is a five week celebration of the holiday season in Harvard Square that begins on Plaid/Black Friday and culminates on New Year’s Eve. With stunning holiday lights adorning the trees and street lamps, Harvard Square becomes the perfect festive location to shop and dine during the holiday season. Harvard Square is more than just a world class destination for shopping and dining! Set aside time to enjoy all the holiday events offered this season.
November 23rd – 27th Black/Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday
Come to Harvard Square for all your holiday shopping.  This season, wander from store to store, enjoying the nip in the air, the sounds of street performers and the smell of fresh coffee, fragrant teas and rich hot chocolate wafting from our cafes onto the brick sidewalks.  Shop our unique stores and stay for lunch or dinner.  There is something for everyone and lots of special offers.  The merchandise in our eclectic stores run the gamut from upscale clothing to vintage finery, cigars to gourmet food, books galore, jewelry and just about everything else in between! 
The Harvard Square Business Association has joined the national trend that now commemorates the day after Thanksgiving as Plaid Friday. Nationally, Plaid Friday celebrates independently owned and operated businesses. We are proud that over 70% of our businesses are locally-owned and independent. In addition, several larger retailers add to the dynamic shopping experience found here in Harvard Square - whether Plaid or Black, we encourage you discover the myriad of shopping options available.  In addition, we have included Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday promotions.
November 24th – Tree Lighting Ceremony at Charles Hotel
Presented by The Charles Hotel & Henrietta's Table and in partnership with the Harvard Square Business Association. This year they are honored to benefit Cambridge Family & Children's Services.
Location: Charles Hotel Upper Courtyard outside Henrietta's Table and Legal Sea Foods
4pm - Come decorate the holiday trees while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies from Henrietta's Table and clam chowder from Legal Sea Foods In Harvard Square. Then enjoy story time with The Harvard Coop!
5pm - Santa Claus' Jazz Band begins!
5:30pm - Tree Lighting countdown begins and if you've been good this year, Santa Claus may just make an appearance!
6:15pm - Stick around for a special performance from our friends at Saint Paul's Choir School Harvard Square!
Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, (617) 864-1200,
December 1st –  12th Annual Everyone Loves Latkes Tasting Event
1pm – 2pm Massachusetts Avenue Plaza in front of the Smith Center (1350 Massachusetts Avenue)
The Harvard Square Business Association is delighted to celebrate Hanukkah by serving complimentary latkes on Saturday, December 1st at the 12th Annual “Everyone Loves Latkes” Party!  Hot and delicious potato pancakes will be sampled between 1:00pm and 2:00pm on Massachusetts Avenue Plaza in front of the Smith Center. Harvard Square’s latkes are tasty, diverse in shape, size and texture and are accompanied with creative condiments.  Joe Kessler and his Klezmer band, Klezwoods, will be on hand to entertain the crowd with traditional songs of the season.
December 7th – Old School Game Show’s Holiday Special at OBERON
Break out the eggnog and your favorite ugly sweater: Old School Game Show is back for our Holiday Special. This isn’t your Auntie MiMi’s holiday feast—OSGS is staying on the naughty list with more game show antics to keep your holiday season bright! Whether you’re celebrating the holidays or you just like to laugh, play, and win fantastic prizes, OSGS is the perfect present for you and your friends!
Old School Game Show is an interactive trivia experience like no other. Audience participants can get the chance to play our original pop culture games, competing to win fabulous prizes from local sponsors. Or we invite you to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of live music, special guests, dancers, and sketch comedy. You’ll feel like you’re in the audience of your favorite retro variety show. It’s all the fun of an afternoon spent rolling around in the rumpus room—without the rug burn.
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street,, (617) 496-8004
December 7th – Matt & Shannon Heaton: A Fine Winter’s Night at Passim
With engaging stage presence and masterfully-crafted music, Boston-based Matt & Shannon Heaton offer well-travelled Irish music from the heart. Steeped in sessions in County Clare and brewed in the acoustic music scenes of  Chicago & Boston, their flute/guitar/bouzouki instrumentals and sweet husband-and-wife harmony singing draw deeply from the Irish tradition.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street,, (617) 492-7679
December 8th -  Hanukkah Storytime, featuring Jane Sutton at the Harvard COOP
11am – 12pm
Celebrate Hanukkah with a very special Storytime
Local author Jane Sutton will join us for a fun-filled Storytime, featuring her book Esther's Hanukkah Disaster. It's hard to pick the perfect gift, and Esther the gorilla's choices seem all wrong at first. But it all gets sorted out when she invites her animal friends to a joyful Hanukkah party. Then join us for a Hanukkah craft and snacks.
The Harvard COOP, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue,, (617) 499-2000
December 8th – Santa Claus Jazz Band
2pm – 4pm by the Out of Town News Kiosk
Harvard Square Celebrates the Holidays
Join the Harvard Square Business Association as we celebrate the season in grand style. From 2pm – 4pm in the Pit, the Santa Claus’ Jazz Band will be performing holiday classics.  Stop by and enjoy some hot chocolate and treats in between shopping at Harvard Square’s unique stores and pop up holiday art fairs!
Harvard Square Business Association,, (617) 491-3434
December 9th - Yulefest Cambridge 5k
Join us in Harvard Square on Sunday, December 9th for a 5k race that takes the holidays back to their old school roots! Registration includes a cozy knit hat plus a festive block party in the center of Harvard Square!
December 9th - Old 97's Holiday Extravaganza at The Sinclair
featuring CASEYMAGIC (DIY PUNK ROCK MUSICIAN) & special solo acoustic set by Rhett Miller
Doors 07:00 PM, Show: 08:00 PM
Advance: $25.00 / Day of Show: $25.00
18 & Over
The Sinclair, 52 Church Street,, (617) 547-5200
December 9th & 16th Celebrations of Christmas Concert at St. Paul’s Parish
Enjoy this annual event celebrating the season with the music of Saint Paul's Choir of Boys and Men.
December 9th  3pm – 4:20pm
December 16th  3pm – 4:30pm
Choir of Saint Paul's Church Harvard Square, 29 Mt. Auburn Street,, (617) 868-8658
December 8th & 9th, 14th – 16th, 20th – 23rd  Harvard Square Holiday Fair
This is not your average craft fair - it's more like a party where you can buy stuff!  The Harvard Square Holiday Fair, one of the oldest and most popular fairs in Boston, will celebrate its 33rd season in 2018. This year the fair will be held at St Paul's Church Hall, 29 Mt. Auburn St. on the corner of Bow and Arrow Sts. 
The fair is juried and includes a changing mix of New England craftspeople and world travelling importers featuring many wonderful gift items. There is always a great selection of beautiful, original and affordable gifts. Talking to the craftspeople who make what they sell gives shoppers a connection to what they are buying that is just not possible at the mall, through a catalogue or online. It's a high energy alternative marketplace with a great soundtrack, where people see old friends and make new ones - a taste of the old Harvard Square.
Admission is free.
Weekdays 11:30 - 7:00
Saturdays  10:00 - 7:00
Sundays 12:00 - 6:00
St. Paul’s Parish Church Hall, 29 Mt. Auburn Street,
December 11th – The Kelly Girls: Celtic Christmas Show at Passim
The Kelly Girls have quickly gained recognition as one of the most entertaining Celtic Bands in New England. Rousing renditions of songs and tunes rooted in the Celtic traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Canada and America along with captivating harmonies and instrumentation lend to their signature sound.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street,, (617) 492-7679
December 12th -  The Buttcracker at OBERON
It’s the most bum-derful time of the year! Join Madge of Honor and Johnny Blazes at the holey-day clASSic you’ve come to love: The Buttcracker IX! This assiNINE edition of The Buttcracker will have you bent over with laughter for the whole night, delivering enough booty-shaking and butt puns to get your cheeks rosy and your ass clapping. Featuring your favorite anal all-stars along with some virgin Buttcracker contributors, come prepared for drag, burlesque, story-telling, comedy, music, and interactive games. It only comes butt once a year – don’t miss out!
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street,, (617) 496-8004
December 14th  & 15th -  The Sweetback Sisters: Christmas Country Singalong Spectacular at OBERON
Christmastime is here again and so are The Sweetback Sisters with their tenth annual Country Christmas Sing-Along Spectacular! These ladies bring the holidays to life with their vaudevillian theatrics reminiscent of TV variety shows of the 50s and 60s. This wildly popular show delivers a veritable explosion of yuletide splendor, complete with trivia, prizes, and, of course, all the holiday tunes you know and love.
Want to sing, but don’t know the words? Fear not! Songbooks and warm fuzzy feelings are provided. You never know what the diverse musical influences the Sweetback Sisters will bring to the table, but it’s sure to be bountiful feast of spirit and revelry. Buy your tickets early, and come find out why folks are saying, “It’s just not Christmas without The Sweetback Sisters.”
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street,, (617) 496-8004
December 14th – 16th – Shopover Weekend
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and there is no better place to spend it than historic Harvard Square.  With so much to see and do, come for the weekend! Hotels!  Shopping!  Dining!  Ticketed Events! Outdoor family-friendly free events!  Come Friday and stay for the weekend.  Shop until you drop!  Dine on the run or sit down for a luxurious dinner; there are over 100 eateries for your dining pleasure.  When you’ve shopped and eaten your way through the Square, take some time to enjoy a show, concert, movie or a play.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Brattle Theatre
December 14th - 16th
(1946) dir Frank Capra w/Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers [130 min; 35mm]
Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a forlorn small-town banker with a serious case of regret who, while considering suicide, meets Clarence (Travers), an angel in training. Clarence shows George what life would be like if he had never been born, and through this George is able to realize how valuable one person’s life can be. This film, which offers one of the most memorable (and bittersweet) Christmas stories ever, is a wonderful reminder that life may not be what we expected but it is still sweet and rich. Forget about watching this classic film at home on TV, we’re showing it the way it was meant to be seen: on the Big Screen on real-live 35mm film!
12/14 at 7:00pm
12/15 at 12:30pm 3:30pm 6:30pm
12/16 at 12:30pm 3:30pm 6:30pm
Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street,, (617) 876-6837
December 14th – 29th- The Christmas Revels: A Nordic Celebration of the Winter Solstice
at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre
18 Performances - Matinees & Evenings
Directed by Patrick Swanson; Megan Henderson, Music Director
Celebrate the season with family and friends at the 48th annual Christmas Revels!  A holiday tradition for nearly five decades, The Christmas Revels is a joyful theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that travels the world each year showcasing cultural traditions including music, dance, folktales and rituals. This year’s holiday treat takes us to the Northlands – Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden!
Order tickets online through a link at, BY PHONE at 617-496-2222 (Tue-Sun 12-6pm) or IN-PERSON at the Harvard Box Office located at the Smith Campus Center, 1350 Mass Avenue, in Harvard Square (Tue-Sun 12-6pm).
Help Feed Hungry Families! This year Revels will be holding a food drive at Sanders Theatre for The Greater Boston Food Bank. Details at
Cambridge Revels,, (617) 972-8300
December 15th – Holiday Carolers and Hot Chocolate on the Massachusetts Avenue Plaza in front of Harvard’s Smith Center
2pm – 4pm
Join the Harvard Square Business Association as we gear up for the holidays, featuring the joyful stylings of the Figgy Puddin’ Carolers.   Our warm, delicious and free hot chocolate is a nice addition to a day of holiday shopping in Harvard Square!
Harvard Square Business Association,, (617) 491-3434
December 15th - A Coop Kids Tradition ... A Visit with Santa at the Harvard COOP
A Very Special Coop Kids Event! free
Santa will be at the Coop to hear wishes from 11am to 1:00pm. Vist with Santa and Photo Opportunity (using your device). Stories and snacks, also! his is a FREE event, but we appreciate your registration so Santa will know how many Candy Canes he will need!
Lower level, The Childrens Book Department at The Harvard Square Coop.Check-in begins at 10:30 am. We do have room for stroller parking but space is limited so please keep that in mind and travel light if you can!
Please also remember that The Coop is an official drop off for the Toys for Tots Foundation.
We will be accepting donations Nov 11th to Dec 17th. Please donate new unwrapped children’s toys and or books.
The Harvard COOP, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue,, (617) 499-2000
December 15th & 16th - Cultural Survival Bazaar – A Festival of Native Arts and Cultures
10am – 6pm at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
The Cultural Survival Bazaars are a series of cultural festivals that provide Indigenous artists, cooperatives, and their representatives from around the world the chance to sell their work directly to the American public. Each event features traditional and contemporary crafts, artwork, clothing, jewelry, home goods, and accessories from dozens of countries. In addition, the Bazaars offer cultural performances and presentations, including live music, storytelling, craft-making demonstrations, and the unique chance to talk directly with makers and community advocates. The Cultural Survival Bazaar Program goals work to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ articles 11, 20, and 31.
Cultural Survival Bazaar,
December 15th & 16th Mistletoe Art Fair at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Mistletoe Art Fair is the revival of Holly Fair, a holiday tradition for over 60 years at Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Holly Fair, a cherished event, was canceled a couple of years ago, but it has been reestablished and is now called ‘Mistletoe Art Fair’.
Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 42 Brattle Street,, (617) 547-6789
December 16th – 22nd Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride
What has 200 wheels and antlers? The Jingle Ride of course! The 22nd Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride is one of the longest-running Boston holiday sporting events and certainly one of the most colorful. What started out as a simple and fun idea to bring some cycling magic to the holidays has evolved into an annual event that many come to year after year. For those who love a parade, love to sing, or who get a kick out of wearing antlers or a holiday costume, the Jingle Ride is a must for your holiday calendar.
The 22-mile ride (round-trip) follows the Minuteman Bikeway and then heads for Harvard Square, the Esplanade, Boston Common, and Newbury Street. The group makes occasional stops to sing carols for passersby, and enjoys bringing some unexpected holiday cheer to all who witness the group. The most-beloved stop is at Harvard Square, where the Harvard Square Business Association serves cookies and hot cocoa to the group – an especially welcome treat in chilly December! It’s a parade, not a race – so if you have a bicycle, they’d  love your holiday spirit along for the ride! Register here. 
December 18th & 19th – Wintery Songs in Eleventy Part Harmony at Passim
Wintery Songs in Eleventy Part Harmony is a loose collaboration of Boston-based musicians organized by veteran singer/songwriter Jennifer Kimball, who celebrate the holiday season with their delightful annual program of sacred, secular and wintery pop music rearranged, reharmonized, and often just plain turned on its head. Wielding fiddles, cellos, ukes, guitars and glockenspiels, this ensemble re-envisions the sounds of the season by reharmonizing classic songs, reinterpreting pop tunes, composing new songs for the season and bringing unknown pop gems to the lexicon of holiday-ish music.
From Sinatra to Tchaikovsky, Isaac Watts to Ana Egge, this beautifully eclectic mix of sacred and secular music inspires a reinvention of the holiday experience; one where minor keys are as familiar as major, the church has transformed into a club where all are welcome and the season’s darkness is as deep as it’s festive lights are welcoming.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street,, (617) 492-7679
December 21st  & 22nd  - Blue Heron Presents Christmas in 15th-Century France & Burgundy
A captivating mix of mysticism and merriment, from the penitential season of Advent through Christmas rejoicing and the festive celebration of New Year’s Day, with music by the greatest French and Flemish musicians of the fifteenth century—Guillaume Du Fay, Johannes Regis, Josquin Desprez, Jacob Obrecht, Antoine Brumel, and others.
Dec. 21 (Fri.) at 8:00
Dec. 22 (Sat. Matinee) at 2:30
Dec. 22 (Sat.) at 8:00
Blue Heron, First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, 11 Garden Street, (617) 960-7956,
December 22nd  -  There’s No Place Like Harvard Square for the Holidays!  Hot Chocolate and the Sounds of the Season in front of the Out of Town News Kiosk
Join the Harvard Square Business Association as we hand out free hot chocolate and treats to all of our Harvard Square friends from 2pm – 4pm in front of the Out of Town News Kiosk.  Harvard Square’s very own crooner, Russell Sommers, will be serenading us with traditional holiday classics and songs from the Great American Songbook.
Harvard Square Business Association,, (617) 491-3434
December 24th – Jewmongous at Passim
JEWMONGOUS, a comedy song concert with occasional guests, is the colicky, uncircumcised brain child of SEAN ALTMAN: the golden-voiced song-writing wiz and former leader/founder of Rockapella (yes – of “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” TV fame). Sean was featured in Time Out New York’s cover story “The New Super Jews” and in the New York Times feature about “the Jewish Hipster Movement.” He debuted JEWMONGOUS in 2006 and has drawn press accolades and sold-out audiences in 25 major U.S. cities.
Passim, 47 Palmer Street,, (617) 492-7679
Cambridge Fire and Police Departments Toys-for-Tots and Secret Santa for Seniors
The Cambridge Fire and Police Departments are once again seeking donations for their respective holiday drives to help children and seniors in need.
Cambridge Firefighters Join with Marines in Annual “Toys-for-Tots” Drive
Cambridge Firefighters will once again partner with the United States Marine Corps Reserve in collecting toys in the annual “Toys-for-Tots” drive. In existence for over 70 years, the program was started in Los Angeles, CA when a handful of Marine Reservists distributed 5,000 toys to needy children on Christmas Eve 1947.  Since its inception, 251,000,000 needy children throughout the United States have benefited from the donation of over 548,000,000 toys. Toys-for-Tots is a program that brings all elements of a community together for a common cause for a few weeks each year, dedicated to helping in the development of our children. Toys-for-Tots delivers a message of hope to children who have little reason to have hope for the future. The Cambridge Fire Department is once again proud to work with the Marines in this great endeavor. New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at any Cambridge Fire Station until Thursday December 13, 2018.
Monetary donations can also be made via the Toys-For-Tots Website;  For further information, contact Acting Chief Gerard Mahoney at (617) 349-4970 or visit the Cambridge Fire Department web site at
Support the Cambridge Police Department’s Secret Santa for Seniors Gift Drive
Now in its 12th year, the Cambridge Police’s “Secret Santa for Seniors” gift drive will accept donations now through Friday, Dec. 21. Gifts can be dropped off in the first floor main lobby of the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility at 125 Sixth Street or at City Hall at 795 Massachusetts Avenue in the City Clerk's Office. Additional locations this year include the Cambridge Public Health Department at 116 Windsor Street, Trader Joe’s at 748 Memorial Drive, East Cambridge Savings Bank at 292 Cambridge Street, Mount Auburn Hospital at 300 Mount Auburn Street, Reservoir Church at 170 Rindge Avenue, Trader Joe’s at 211 Alewife Brook Parkway and Whole Foods at 200 Alewife Brook Parkway.  
Over the dozen years of this program, the Cambridge Police and the community have brought joy to thousands of senior citizens. We are looking forward to bringing even more cheer to our seniors this year.
The following suggested items – unwrapped – would be greatly appreciated:
•             Food – non-perishable (e.g. chocolate, tea, jams, crackers, hard candy)
•             Gift cards
•             Socks
•             Slippers
•             Blankets
•             Bath robes
•             Local sport team items
•             Lip balm
•             Cough Drops
For more information, please contact Adam Patten at (617) 349-9354 or e-mail
(617) 491-3434
Harvard Square Business Association
Harvard Square Cambridge, MA 02138