What the Fluff, the oddball annual Union Square, Somerville, Massachusetts, festival celebrating the gooey marshmallow confection is a hoot. My personal history with Fluff includes travels with a tub of it, and I've shared some of my favorite snaps from Europe and the US here.

I love an oddball festival

I love me an oddball festival, and Somerville’s What the Fluff festival is right in my backyard. Going back to 2006, the festival celebrates one of Somerville’s most famous inventions: marshmallow Fluff, an oeey-gooey sweet concoction beloved in the Northeastern part of the US.

My own experience with Fluff includes not only attending the festival since its inception in 2006, but also using a tub of Fluff as a prop in my tourist photos. 

Fluff in Florence
Fluff in Florence

Travels with Fluff

My early travels weren’t entirely solo: I used to bring along a tub of Fluff. A bit camera shy myself, I didn’t take selfies, but used Fluff instead. Fluff traveled to the UK, France, Italy, and a number of destinations in the US, and I had a blast with the project while it lasted. I still have my well-traveled Fluff tub, but, alas, it has sustained an injury and can no longer travel.

Travels with Fluff: a few of my favorite snaps

Fluff’s Somerville origins and the famous Fluffernutter

Marshmallow Fluff’s origins trace back to 1917 in Somerville, Massachusetts, when Archibald Query began selling his magical concoction that he made in his kitchen. After the war, he sold the formula to a company based in Lynn, Massachusetts, where it is still made today. Fluff stars in Fluffernutter sandwiches (peanut butter and marshmallow, and soft white sandwich bread). While absolutely delicious, and my favorite sandwich as a girl, they make me super woozy, now that I’m in my dotage.

History of Fluff
Fluff's Somerville history. Conway Park, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

The very first What the Fluff Festival

One of Fluff’s favorite adventures was to the very first What the Fluff festival in Somerville’s Union Square in 2006, before I moved here. Burlesque Flufferettes, “Archie Query,” and some fun games delighted all.

Fluff proudly posed with its likeness. I still have the t-shirt. A tradition was born, joining other oddball Somerville events.

What the Fluff snaps

2021 Sweet 16 What the Fluff Festival: Onward and FLUFFward

What the Fluff has continued in Union Square for the last sixteen years (last year’s fest was a virtual affair). This year’s Sweet Sixteen Onward and FLUFFward fest runs over five days, from Wednesday through Sunday, September 26. Main festival events are held outdoors, and many of the participating area restaurants have outdoor seating.


What the Fluff
What the Fluff festival 2021. Union Square, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

My friend and I wandered about Union Square yesterday evening; it was a little slow, but I imagine that the weekend will be hopping (Sunday’s looking gorgeous).

Area restaurants have gotten in on the act over the years, offering humorous (and sometimes actually tasty) drinks and dishes starring Fluff. Himalayan Kitchen has Ricotta and Pineapple Cream Cheese Momos, Gracie’s Ice Cream has their Fluff cones, and Machu Picchu has Fluff empanadas, to name a few. Bring on the Fluffy wooziness!

What’s the fun festival in your neck of the woods? Let me know in the comments!

The 2022 What the Fluff Festival is Saturday, September 17, in Union Square, Somerville, Massachusetts.