Free funfest set to open Seaport’s Lawn on D

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BOSTON – With sunny skies and warm weather finally arriving, the outdoor interactive space Lawn on D in South Boston’s Seaport District is slated to open this weekend despite fiscal issues that had raised concerns about its future.

The 2.7-acre park, supported by Citizens Bank, provides an adult playground that has become a family favorite and a gathering spot for young adults in the Boston area. It officially opens for the season at 7 a.m. Saturday.

New this year is the Signature Pavilion, which offers a small place for private events, along with a partnership with the Cronin Group, a restaurant operator, to expand menus available both to the public and to those who attend private functions. There are also admission charges set on some events this season, to help cover costs and avoid a repeat of last year’s more than $2 million loss.

Kathleen O’Brien, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority’s marketing director, said by email that the space is ready for “families and friends gathering for a great time together.” She said there will also be new swings and colors coming late next month, describing it as “Swing Time 3.0.”

With brightly colored seating and lounge chairs alongside a public art exhibit, the Lawn also offers free Wi-Fi service. Vendors provide snacks, including grill favorites, salads and sandwich wraps, and some sell beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. As a result, O’Brien said, there will be plenty of time “for families and friends to play, relax, eat and more.”

Although there hasn’t been any mention of food trucks, big inflatable rabbits hopping around or of a major headline act coming to the Lawn, there will be plenty of bocce, corn hole, ping-pong and giant Jenga to go around. The state authority also runs the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center next door. The Lawn is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the season.

This weekend, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, a free children’s festival will include interactive exhibits including the New England Aquarium’s Tidepool, Zoo New England’s Animal Encounters, art-making activities from the Museum of Fine Arts, and Knucklebones’ Innovative Playspace.

There will also be performances by Read Boston Storytellers, Puppet Showcase Theater, Voices Boston, and Steel Rhythm.

“What do you think the kids will love most?” said O’Brien. “Kids will love everything – spending Saturday on the Lawn will be very fun and educational!”

As soon as the sun goes down, the park will transform into an outdoor concert venue with live music and dancing Saturday night, and it’s also free. Boston’s local MB Padfield and Never in Vegas will headline the show with a fusion of pop, rock, blues, jazz, and hip-hop.

If you can’t make it this Saturday, there will be a jazz brunch for families and friends Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. A food buffet will be available and the Berklee College of Music Student Jazz Ensembles will provide the tunes. But getting into this event will cost you: $25 per person.

To end the opening weekend, the lawn will hold a movie night showing “Fever Pitch,” a romantic comedy. It will be displayed on a 40-foot screen like those used in drive-in theaters.

If you’re looking for something off-beat to do this summer, head over to the Lawn, and don’t forget to take a selfie at dusk when the lights come on inside the circular swings.