The Anchor Looks Back at 2021

Over the last three years, Charlestown’s newest venue, The Anchor, has continued to transform the Navy Yard to become one of the most beloved community hubs and cultural fixtures in the City of Boston. The Anchor defines itself, first and foremost as a public gathering space as well as a performance arts venue, special event setting and wine and beer garden. With its main goal being to create an all-inclusive community for both Boston residents and visitors alike, The Anchor has found success in fulfilling its primary mission to:

• Spearhead over 450 annual, dynamic, free public events, programs and activities

• Orchestrate community initiatives focused on providing opportunities for youth, families and the elderly throughout the Greater Boston region, and;

• Establish The Anchor as a stylish, beautiful and welcoming venue

After enduring and surviving the turbulence faced in 2020 and early 2021, The Anchor has made incredible strides this past season to further establish itself – and its multi-award-winning activation.

In June of 2021, The Anchor and Anthem team were incredibly humbled to be presented with the Resiliency Award for efforts made to retain employees during the pandemic, not only to survive, but grow areas of the business and for persevering through an incredibly difficult time for the events, entertainment and hospitality industries. When asked about this honor, The Anchor creator and Anthem President, Chris Sinclair, stated that the people are the backbone and most important aspect of his company. He commented “with such ambiguity and long-term uncertainty, saving seasonal employees and full-time careers was the most important concern. We did everything we could to cross-train our team, pivot into other duties or positions all together – and made it through”. Shelby Elwell, The Anchor’s lead manager proudly said “we work together as a team and live like a family” when asked about the dynamic in between her colleagues.

The Anchor was also recognized both on the local and national level with one of the most noteworthy 2021 honors being “Best Beer & Wine Garden” in the City of Boston. Not only did the industrious and creative “more-than-abeer garden” model grab the attention of Boston Magazine, but shortly after, Dining Playbook highlighted The

Anchor as Boston’s newest , best and most unique hot spot.

Of course, Boston wasn’t the only city to take note of The Anchor’s unique business model – this summer, Sinclair was invited to present the keynote speech at the Greater Miami Festivals Association Conference to share how The Anchor has combined food, beverage, creative placemaking and community programming – with world class execution of concepts. Cities across the country view The Anchor as the national and global model for outdoor activation.

While The Anchor was able to use its ingenuity to adapt its programming style to accommodate public safety in 2020, leaning on a more demonstrative as opposed to participatory style – the team was thrilled to introduce a fuller and more engaging calendar this past season. Ever expanding in popularity, The Anchor’s daily programs grew in both frequency and scale, a few local favorites being:

– Daily waterfront wellness series featuring multiple classes a day

– Daily live music

– Weekly live comedy shows

– Weekly paint classes

– Weekly salsa and bachata lessons

The Anchor hosted a number of popular special events as well, a few of the more significant including:

– Cultural Fashion and Artist Showcases

– Traditional Chinese Wishing Ball Events

– StepFlix Kizomba Workshop

– Pride Month events and programs

– Live Aerialist Performances

With their growth this year came the expansion of The Anchor’s beloved and renowned holiday installations including the community Halloween activation as well as the return of The Anchor Winter Garden.

This October, The Anchor converted its various spaces into fall and Halloween scenes for patrons to experience and enjoy. For the second year in a row, The Anchor became home to the country’s largest urban Pumpkin Patch featuring nearly six tons of traditional and specialty pumpkins as well as several other thematic experiences. However, beyond the extensive décor, visitors were also able to participate in a full calendar of seasonal programs catering to all ages. A few program examples include pumpkin and sugar skull painting, Halloween ornament decorating, family trick or treat, community Halloween movie nights with the YMCA as well as The Anchor’s annual “Nightmare In The Navy Yard.” While enjoying a cup of clam chowder, Charlestown resident, Kara Patrick exclaimed to the Patriot Bridge “The Anchor decor and attention to detail is beyond amazing. We are so fortunate to have something so unique and fun in our backyard”.

Of course, as another successful Halloween wrapped up, The Anchor spared no time in transitioning its spooky Shipyard into a winter wonderland. The Anchor truly captured the spirit of the holidays. In what is now a Boston tradition, The Anchor welcomed the entire community to kick off The Anchor Winter Garden with the annual holiday tree lighting. This magical event was taken to a new level this year, featuring multiple live ice sculpture demonstrations, live music, aerial performances, winter lounges, boutique local vendors, two brand new curling rinks and family friendly programming, such as holiday ornament decorating.

Closing out the year with their unforgettable “Navy Yard New Year” celebration, Elwell stated that she would like to thank all of its supporters and everyone who made their third season so unforgettable. The team is looking forward to taking a few weeks off to work on a few new facility upgrades and enhancements for the upcoming season. Everyone should be excited to see what The Anchor can do next.

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