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We are now accepting proposals for free public outdoor events in May and June 2024. 

What is Cambridge Plays?

Come outside and play as warm weather arrives. The Community Development Department (CDD) partners with local businesses and organizations to sponsor free events in squares and neighborhoods across the city. The purpose of Cambridge Plays is to:

  • Activate public spaces like city owned parks and plazas.

  • Build community and increase access to cultural programming.

  • Foster a welcoming and anti-racist environment.

  • Support Cambridge’s local businesses.

  • Celebrate Cambridge’s cultural diversity.


How does this program work?

Want funding to host a free public event in a park or plaza? We are looking for local businesses and nonprofits to submit proposals for outdoor events in May or June 2024. Apply to receive reimbursement of up to $2,000 for your event or series of events. Events must be free and open to people of all abilities and ages. Events should encourage people to visit and enjoy Cambridge’s public parks and plazas. Past events featured activities like group fitness classes, concerts, and craft demonstrations—but let your imagination run wild! 

Cambridge Plays applications are requested by Monday, May 6, 2024 at 8:00 PM and will be considered on a rolling basis as they are received. Please note:

  • Priority will be given to Cambridge businesses and nonprofits.

  • Programs need to be delivered in person and outdoors during May and June 2024.

  • Events must be free to all and open to all ages and abilities.

  • You cannot sell anything to participants or in the public space.

  • The activity cannot be a religious or political event.

  • You must have experience hosting or managing similar events.

  • You need to have enough program staff to manage the event(s).

  • The maximum funding per event or series of event from the City will be no more than $2,000.

  • Organizations must comply with city and state local taxes, licenses, and permits.

  • Projects will be reviewed by multiple city departments to check for no duplication of funding.


How to Apply  

1. Draft your program narrative. What is the objective of your program? Why do you want to offer this free program to the Cambridge community? What experience do you and your organization have providing similar programs?

2. Create your budget. Click here for a budget template. You may use your own template or use one we provided.

3. Prepare your W-9 form. Click here for a blank W-9.

4. Complete the Cambridge Plays application. Include your completed W-9 form, budget, and program narrative. Apply here: https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/fe0293aa33614c32aa31144ab585abd1.

5. City staff will review applications based on:  

a. Application completeness and eligibility  

b. If the proposed program meets the goals of Cambridge Plays

c. Location(s), date(s), and time availability 

d. Funding availability  

Once approved, City staff will work with the organization to obtain all applicable park and entertainment licenses. After the event(s), the applicant will invoice the city for reimbursement. The applicant will also complete a short evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to let us know how the event went and provide feedback.


Please contact the Sarah Jane Huber at shuber@cambridgema.gov or 617-349-4624. 

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