Gearing up for Dot Day weekend

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Next weekend promises to be a busy and fun-packed one in the neighborhood. Our June 1 edition will have a full rundown on all of the activities, including a preview of the annual Dot Day Parade, which starts at 1 p.m. on Sun., June 4. The parade has its roots in celebrations that go back to the turn of the 20th century and it has always been the highlight of what we consider the unofficial start of summer in the city, Dorchester Day weekend.

Over the years, there has been an ebb and flow to the celebratory events that surround parade day. In decades past, there have been dedicated events for bicyclists and boaters, seniors and youngsters, even ceremonies aboard US Navy vessels, like the USS Porter, a destroyer that steamed into Boston Harbor in 2008 for the express purpose of its captain and crew marching as guests of honor in the Dot Day Parade.

Covid-19 sapped some of the energy out of most everything, but Dot Day returned with gusto in 2022 after a two-year hiatus. This year’s parade — thanks to a committee of volunteers led by Kelly Walsh— is gearing up to be even better. There's also a 5k road race that starts and ends in Fields Corner at the Blarney Stone. The Dorchester Running Club has taken a lead role this year in managing the event along with the team at the Blarney, which hosts a popular BBQ and parade-watching party after the race. Details here.

Last year’s weekend brought to the neighborhood the launch of a terrific new event that will be re-booted on Sat., June 3: DorchFest, the music festival modeled on “porchfest” parties held in places like Somerville and Jamaica Plain. The Dorchester edition that debuted last June was wildly successful by all accounts, with 40-plus homes hosting performers and bands on their stoops, lawns, and driveways.

The crowds that turned out for the inaugural event in the beautiful Ashmont-Adams neighborhood numbered in the thousands— a signal to the volunteer organizers that DorchFest can, and should, mount a sophomore outing. This year’s event – underwritten by Santander and several other sponsors, including the Reporter – will be even larger, with 50-plus homes signed up to host musicians. And, importantly, the sponsors are helping to ensure that this year’s performers will get paid for their talent and effort.

This year’s DorchFest starts at noon and runs to 5 p.m. The festival’s excellent website – – has all the details on showtimes and a map of locations, all within an easy walk from Ashmont MBTA station and Adams Village.

DorchFest isn’t the only attraction worth planning for in our neighborhood on Sat., June 3. Neponset Day – an event sponsored by the Neponset River Watershed Association – will be setting up at 9 a.m. at the DCR’s Neponset II Park, situated along the banks of the Neponset River near Granite Avenue. The free festival, which has been known in years past as “RiverFest,” is focused on the river and fun activities in the park, including canoeing and kayaking, courtesy of Paddle Boston; music, food trucks, and ice cream, and environmental exhibits. Visitors are encouraged to wear their swimwear, bring a blanket and towel, and enjoy the spray deck. It’s set to run until 1 p.m., so that dovetails nicely with the music festival that will start at noon several blocks away.

Of course, Sunday is the main event. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Dorchester Avenue at Richmond Street and marches north up the avenue to Columbia Road. There will be parking restrictions on Dot Ave and Richmond starting early in the morning on Sunday— so watch for signage and instructions. There’s much more to come in next week’s Dot Day edition of the Reporter!

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