After more than half a century of holding the NEFFA Festival in high school facilities (with a variety of schools and community halls before that), it is time for a change of venue. The next Festival will be held April 21-23, 2023, at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The difficulties involved in renting school facilities have been mounting for many years, so when we were not able to use Mansfield, and then had three years of online Festivals, we took some time to consider and re-envision our annual flagship event. For a variety of reasons, we have decided that now is the time to try a hotel.
It will be different, no question. Some things will be easier and better, and some changes will require more adjustment. We know how the NEFFA community works: we’ll do our best to organize things this year, and then crowds of folks will descend for the weekend, poke into every corner, and give us helpful suggestions for future years. (We really do read those evaluation forms!) This is a big transition, and it has not been an easy decision, but we trust you’ll work with us as we build a thriving Festival at this new location.
And yes, the hotel comes with on-site rooms for the weekend. Booking as many rooms in our host hotel as possible under the NEFFA contract will help us, financially and logistically, and rooms reserved through NEFFA before March 20, 2023 will be cheaper for guests. More information about lodging is on our lodging webpage.
We are busy working out all the details, and we can’t wait to gather our community in person for a joyous NEFFA Festival!
– Janet Yeracaris
Some Notes About the Venue and Program Spaces
Walking distance between the front entrances of the Trade Center and the Hotel is 1100 feet (0.2 mi). Our test walkers report that it’s a 5-7 minute walk at a leisurely pace, less if you hustle.
Festival dance spaces include a large dance hall in the Trade Center and two ballrooms and two smaller dance halls in the Hotel. Dance performances will be held in the ballrooms. We expect all large dance spaces to have good dance floors.
Folk Music and Song spaces include a large outdoor tent near the Trade Center, a lecture-style seminar room with tiered seating and A/V for livestreaming in the Hotel, and a series of hotel conference rooms.
There will also be both indoor and outdoor spaces for informal jamming.
The outdoor area for morris and ritual dance is part of a large asphalt parking lot, nearly as smooth and level as the Mansfield courtyard. There is a covered space nearby for shelter, but not for dancing. The area will be reserved for ritual dance and closed to traffic.
You can review public information about hotel and trade center facilities here:
NEFFA has lots of food options at our new Hotel and Trade Center venue!
NEFFA 2023 Food Trucks @ Royal Plaza Trade Center
- Trolley Dogs
- Uncle Joey’s Cannoli – inside the Trade Center
- Travelin’ Bones
- Bubbe’s Blintzes
- Off the Hook Roadside Eatery
- Fired Up Pizza – Sunday
NEFFA 2023 Food at the Best Western Hotel
- All-Star Bar & Grill
- Zachary’s Restaurant
- Breakfast buffet
- Hotel concessions providing food all day & evening
Unfortunately, public transit access to the hotel is nearly non-existent. It’s an unfortunate feature of this venue, but there is no place that has absolutely everything we want.
Here’s information about getting to the Festival.
We invite you to post in our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NEFFA if you are interested in finding a ride share. NEFFA has also teamed up with Lyft to provide discounted rides to the Festival site. Register for your $15 discount code at https://neffa.org/lyft-discount.php.