What the Fluff?

Deliciously diverse eats, oodles of entertainment and boatloads of family-friendly activities await at the 103rd anniversary of the invention of Fluff!

September 12, 2020
Rain date: September 13, 2020

Union Square • Somerville, MA

Calling All Fluff Fanatics!

What the Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Innovation returns to Union Square in all its zany glory for a 15th year in September and we’re already working on mixing up the sticky fun. New this year, we invite you to submit your most flufftastic ideas for this year’s festival theme! 

The Fluff Planning Team is looking for the most creative, fun, and funky theme that celebrates the spirit of innovation in Union Square in a compelling way. The winner will receive a Fluff Prize Pack including a Fluff tote, Fluff t-shirt, and tub of Fluff, as well as a private tour of the Durkee-Mower Fluff Factory. 

This neighborhood feel-good event has fun for every age and variety of interests. The Festival is always celebrated for its wacky feel, and determining this year’s theme presents an ability to infuse spirit into all elements of the festival including programming, games, vendor products, and more!

Our goal is to create a theme that is: 

Friendly to all ages and demographics
Encourages community participation through costumes, the cooking contest, and more
Can be translated into promotional materials such as posters, t-shirts, stickers, etc.
Invokes the spirit of innovation that the Fluff Festival celebrates
Embodies the spirit of Union Square

How to apply: 

In 150 words or less, please describe your idea and why it would be great for this Festival
Email to Jessica Eshleman at [email protected] (video submissions accepted too!)
Put “Fluff Festival Theme” and your name in the subject line

To see past themes and other important details for entering, click here!

To see past themes and other important details for entering, click here!

Deadline for submissions is 11:59pm on January 30, 2020.

So, What’s the Fluff?

Join in the celebration of the 102nd anniversary of Fluff, invented right here in Somerville’s Union Square in 1917 by Archibald Query.  This madcap, fun-filled festival draws approximately 15,000 people and is one of the reasons why Lonely Planet named Somerville in the top 10 “Best In The US” travel destinations.

The 14th annual What the Fluff Festival will feature musical performances, a cooking contest, Fluff-themed games, activities, antics and escapades for every age, and Fluff treats of every sort.

This year’s theme—Fluff Travels: All Roads Lead to Fluff—celebrates one of the most culturally rich cities in the nation, paying homage to the many roads traveled to Union Square from all over the world. With 50+ languages spoken in its schools, Somerville is home to a mix of neighbors from El Salvador, Haiti, Portugal, Brazil, and beyond.

What the Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Innovation  is presented by Union Square Main Streets and the Somerville Arts Council as part of ArtsUnion.

As seen in Yankee Magazine and Delish!


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Cooking Contest

Come watch contestants who have channeled their inner Archibald Query to create their most delicious Fluff culinary work of art complete in this year's Cooking Contests! The live finalists tasting round begins at 3pm in The Comedy Studio, on the second floor in Bow Market. Winners will be crowned by Mayor Curtatone on the Fluff’n Jam Stage at 5:15pm. The Grand Prize Winner wins a golden ticket to a private tour of the Durkee Mower Factory and their recipe will be posted on the official Marshmallow Fluff website for the world to try!

Award Categories

  • Best Future Chef
  • Most Retro Recipe
  • Most Inventive Recipe
  • Grand Prize: Fluff Travels Winner

Cooking Contest Judges

Thank you to this year’s Celebratory Judges:

Collin Yip: Founder of Rafi Properties and mastermind behind Union Square’s Somernova

Andrea Shea: Senior Arts Report at WBUR

Rick Jenkins: Founder of The Comedy Studio and longtime headlining Boston comedian

Judge Collin Yip
Judge Andrea Shea
Judge Rick Jenkins

2019 Fluff Festival Details


3:00pm Julia Bomfim Brazilian Quartet
3:45pm DJ L'Duke + MC Felicia
4:00pm  Flufferettes
4:15pm Keytar Bear
4:45pm Red Shaydez & DJ TROY Frost
5:15pm Mayor Curtatone crowns
Cooking Contest victors
5:45pm Krush Faktory
brought to by Bull McCabe's


3:00pm Marshmallow Toss
3:15pm Blind Man's Fluff
3:30pm Fluff Jousting
4:00pm Fluff Lick Off
4:15pm Fluff on the Nose
4:30pm Fluff Musical Chairs
5:00pm Fluff Jousting
5:30pm Blind Man’s Fluff
5:45pm Fluff on the Nose
6:00pm Fluff Musical Chairs
6:15pm Fluff Lick Off
6:30pm Fluff Hair Do Contest



3:00pm Fluff Travels Parkour with Parkour Generations Boston
. Fear Factor: Do you dare eat this Fluff and....?
. Midway Games Fluff Bowling, Fluff Ring Toss, Fluff Corn Hole, Fluff Constructions + More!
- to - Flufferville Flea with The Somerville Flea
. Flufftastic Pop Up with Culture House
. Touch A Truck with The City of Somerville & Barletta Heavy Construction
. LIVING Statue Ready to Travel with The Statue of New England
7:00pm Live Music with Sally O'Brien's


3:00pm Somernova and its Village of Innovation host the Biggest Innovation Alley yet!
. Greentown Labs Innovators, Somerville High's Robotics Team + Artisan's Asylum Inmates:
- to - Fluff Screen Prints + Printing with Sarah Dudek
. Magnet Making Station with Sarah Kramer
. Robot Demos with Tim Butterworth
7:00pm Scooter Demos on Scooter Lane!



Craft Making with Play Union • 378 Somerville Avenue


Family-Friendly Folk Show on Bloc Cafe's Courtyard • 11 Bow Street


Live Painting at Filomena Demarco Jewelry #24 Bow Market Way


Indian Illustration Coloring with Masala Square 23 Union Square


Disco Dance Party on The Neighborhood's Patio 25 Bow Street


Free Concert at The Jungle Music Club 6 Sanborn Court

Photo/Video Disclaimer

Union Square Main Streets, Inc. reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at the What the Fluff? Festival without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video. Photographs/videos may be used in publications, brochures, postcards, posters, newspapers, social media, television, websites, etc. for the purposes of event promotion and/or portraying Union Square as a destination. To ensure the privacy of individuals and children, images will not be identified using names or personal identifying information without written approval from the photographed subject, parent or legal guardian. A person attending the What the Fluff? Festival who does not wish to have their image captured for distribution should make their wishes known to the photographer, and/or Union Square Main Streets, PO Box 1, Somerville, MA 02143 in writing of his/her intentions and include a photograph of oneself to reference. Union Square Main Streets will use the photo for identification purposes and will hold it in confidence. By participating in the What the Fluff? Festival or by failing to notify Union Square Main Streets, Inc., in writing, your desire to not have your photograph used, you are agreeing to release, defend, hold harmless and indemnify Union Square Main Streets, Inc. from any and all claims involving the use of your picture or likeness. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

2019 Vendors

Fluff Stuff

2019 Fluff Stuff Merch on Bow Street
2019 Fluff Festival T-shirts (onesies, youth & adults)
What the Fluff? Beanies + Trucker Hats 
What the Fluff? Tote Bags
What the Fluff? Magnets 
Fluff Travels Buttons
Looking for a T-shirt from a previous year?
Check out the Fluff Vault online!

Getting Here


We highly recommend alternative means of getting to Union Square including by bike, by bus, ride-share, or walking. We’re just a 25 minute walk from Lechmere, Porter, Harvard, Central or Sullivan Squares. 

By Train

Red Line MBTA: Take Red Line to Harvard Square, then the #86 (Sullivan Square) bus to Union Square. Or take the Red Line to Davis Square, then the #87 (Lechmere) bus to Union Square.

Orange Line MBTA: Take the Orange Line to Sullivan Square, then the #86 (Allston) bus or the #91 (Central Square) bus to Union Square.

Green Line MBTA: Take the Green Line to Lechmere Station, then the #87 (Clarendon Hill) bus to Union Square.

By Bus

86: Sullivan Station – Reservoir (Cleveland Circle) via Harvard/Johnston Gate
87: Arlington Center or Clarendon Hill – Davis Station or Lechmere Station via Somerville Ave.
88: Clarendon Hill – Lechmere Station via Highland Avenue
91:  Sullivan Station – Central Sq., Camb. via Washington St.

Routes 86, 87 and 91 detoured around Union Square from 12:30 PM to 8:00 PM on Saturday, September 22.

If you do decide to drive, it’s recommended to park on the outskirts of Union Square.

By Bike

Rent a Blue Bike bike and park it at the Union Square Station.

Proudly Presented By

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Thank You, Volunteers

It takes a small army to make Fluff Fest possible. From setup to decor to sticky-sweet fluff games and more, Fluff Festival volunteers are essential to ensure a smooth festival experience for all. Thank you to each and everyone of our 100+ volunteers!

Are you interested in volunteering either in the preparation phase or during the Festival?
Let us know here and thanks!