Like backyard barbecues and Red Sox baseball, the Harvard Yard Picnic is an annual rite of summer for the Cambridge seniors who have converged on Harvard’s Tercentenary Theatre for 34 years.
Sponsored by the Office of the Mayor for Cambridge and the Office of the President of Harvard University, the picnic draws hundreds of senior members from the local community to Harvard Yard to enjoy food, friends, and music.
This year’s event saw more than 800 Cambridge residents gather for the baseball-themed afternoon with Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster shaking hands, former Sox great Frank Malzone posing for photos and signing autographs, and a chance to view the Red Sox World Series trophies.
“The senior picnic is just one example of the many programs that bring Harvard and Cambridge together every summer,” said Harvard Vice President of Government, Community and Public Affairs Christine Heenan, when welcoming the attendees to the July 29 festivities.
“Harvard is proud to be part of the great city of Cambridge, and proud of the many partnerships that bring us together,” she added.
Harvard retiree and 17-year picnic veteran Myra McCoy shared her enthusiasm for the yearly ritual: “The senior picnic is one of the highlights of the year for me and a lot of the others, too,” she said. “It gives me an opportunity to see people I don’t see too often; it’s a great summer event.”
Guests were treated to music from the Beantown Swing Connection and an eighth-inning Red Sox-style singalong with the Cambridge Senior Center Chorus leading the assembled in a chorus of “Sweet Caroline.” The summertime revelers also noshed on ballpark hotdogs and snacks served in popcorn buckets to round out the day’s events.
Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons thanked her staff and the other elected officials, as well as Harvard University, for all of the hard work that goes into planning the annual picnic. And in keeping with the day’s theme, the mayor led everyone in a spirited rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Cambridge Postmaster Kathy Lydon then unveiled the U.S. Postal Service’s “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” stamp, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the perennial favorite, written by Jack Norworth.