At Ignite, Food, Fire, Mimes, Magicians and More

igniteThe Boston Circus Guild will be bringing the heat on Saturday. Photo courtesy Somerville Arts Council.

You’ll also get a sneak peek at some yet-to-open Union Square restaurants at Saturday’s fiery festival. And there’s gonna be a glow stick dance party.

You’ll often hear that there’s something for everyone at upcoming festivals, but at Ignite in Union Square (Saturday August 19, 6–10 p.m.), that really is the case.

Fire throwing? Check. Craft vendors? Check. Roving magicians and mimes? Food from dozens of restaurants? Fortune telling? Cooking demos? A Bhangra dance party? Yep, check to all of that.

“It’s kind of grown in scale,” Somerville Arts Council cultural director Rachel Strutt says of the annual international street food and fire festival. “It’s rivaling ArtBeat, which is our biggest festival of the year.”

Strutt says Ignite initially grew out of the council’s Arts Union, the idea of which is to stimulate the Union Square economy through cultural programming. And this year, the festival will pack even more of that programming into one evening than ever before, with everything from dance from Boston Bhangra to music to street performers to children’s activities to cooking demos.

himalayan kitchen

Uttam from Himalayan Kitchen will show you how to make the Nepali Timur sauce they use on their momos.

Those demos will take place from 6:30 until around 7:30 p.m., and Strutt says they’re a great chance to get a sense for the ever-changing food landscape in Union Square. You’ll get a sneak peek at Field and Vine, coming soon to the former Journeyman space; chef Andrew Brady will be making charred corn and ricotta toast with fermented chili oil. (It’s a pretty great fit for Ignite in more ways than one—there’s the blowtorch he’ll use to get the char and the heat from that chili.)

The folks behind Bow Market, which will soon bring more than 30 new shops and restaurants to Union Square, will also be on hand to talk about the project. And you’ll have a chance to check out one of Union Square’s best-kept secrets: Himalayan Kitchen on Bow Street, which has incredible Nepali food hidden under a relatively nondescript awning.

It all adds up to make Ignite the most diverse of the Arts Council’s festivals, according to Strutt, in terms of the food, the performances and the crowd that comes out. It really is an international experience, and you’ll hear people speaking dozens of different languages over the course of the evening. “I think given everything that’s going on right now, this festival is a great opportunity for Somerville to show its pride in its diverse population—and to show unity,” Strutt says.

Besides, this night of food and fire is just plain fun.

“I think what makes it unique is that it takes place at night—it’s a little more loose and, perhaps, wild, than other festivals,” Strutt says.

“And juggling with fire is always a huge hit.”

Click “attending” and find more Ignite info, including the full festival lineup, on Facebook.

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