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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Aalborg Handelsskole Saxogade 3E Group!06-Sep-2018

A group of Danish visitors from Aalborg Handelsskole Saxogade arrived to Boston and homestay on Sep..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Aalborg Handelsskole Turogade 3T Group06-Sep-2018

A group of Danish visitors from Aalborg Handelsskole Turogade arrived to Boston and homestay on Sep..


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Fall Fun: Apple Picking Near Boston!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, September 16, 2018

Fall Fun: Apple Picking Near Boston!

It’s that time of year again – the Summer weather is changing and in just a few shorts weeks it will officially be Fall. If you’re lucky enough to spend this Autumn in Boston, you can’t miss out on a classic New England activity: apple picking. Here are some PYO apple spots that aren’t too tough to get to from the city.


Belkin Family Lookout Farm

Belkin Farm is actually one of the oldest family farms in the United States and has over 180 acres with 60,000 fruit trees.  The farm offers PYO fruit options both weekdays and weekends. What can you pick? They have a variety of apples from Macintosh, to Golden Supreme, or Golden Delicious, as well as Asian pears, peaches, and plums.  After a day spent in the orchards, 21+ visitors can check out the taproom and try some of Lookout’s beers and ciders, brewed on site using the farms own produce.

Directions:

89 Pleasant St S, Natick, MA 01760

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Framingham Line to Natick Center, then take a ride share service or taxi only a short distance to the farm.


Russell Orchards

Russell Orchards in Ipswich, MA also has a large variety of pick-your-own apples, as well as blueberries and blackberries. The Orchard’s bakery offers a fall staple – apple cider donuts. Like Belkin’s Lookout Farm, Russell Orchards has an added attraction for 21+ guests. The Orchard’s winery holds daily tasting hours and serves wines and hard ciders made right on the premises with their own fruit. If you’re an animal lover, be sure to stop by the barnyard to visit the farm animals! Pet the farm’s adorable bunnies or help feed the pigs and chickens.

Directions:

143 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Newburyport Line from North Station to the Ipswich stop. After the farm is only a short ride away via taxi or ride share.


Connors Farm

Connors Farm in Danvers, MA is known for much more than their produce. Aside from apple picking (and other New England favorites like clam chowder), the Farm has a GIANT corn maze built into a different shape each year. This year’s maze is called “Crazy Train” and it looks crazy hard to navigate (seriously, one family got lost and had to call 911 to get themselves out). Connors Farm is also unique in that it hosts special events throughout the season, from “Flashlight Nights” in October to live entertainment and “Hillbilly Pig Races” on the weekends. If you’re into scary movies, you might enjoy Connor’s Farm at Halloween when it transforms into the haunted farm, “Hysteria”. If monsters and evil clowns aren’t your thing, you can always stop by the farm during the day for a much less terrifying experience.  

Directions:

30 Valley Rd, Danvers, MA 01923

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Newburyport Line from North Station to the North Beverly stop. Then, hail a taxi or call a rideshare to the farm.


Smolak Farms

Smolak Farms in North Andover is another quintessential New England Farm. Smolak Farms is probably best known for their farm stand and bakery, which serves homemade goods each morning. On your visit to Smolak Farms be sure to spend time in the pumpkin patch, where you can have your pick at all shapes and sizes of pumpkins. You’ll definitely find the perfect one to display by your front door come October. Smolak Farms also offers daily PYO heirloom and standard apples from their many orchards. They have over 20 different types of apples! Maybe you can try to taste them all…

Directions:

315 S Bradford St, North Andover, MA 01845

Public Transit: Take the Commuter Rail Haverill Line from North Station to the Andover stop, after that it’s only a quick taxi or ride share to the farm.


Are planning to go apple picking with your host family or friends? Share all your fall activities with us by tagging @Globalimmersions or #BostonHomestay on Instagram!

Top 5 Sledding Hills in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, January 19, 2018

Take advantage of the inevitable snowfall this season by planning a sledding outing for your family and international visitor. There are many hills in the Boston area that are perfect for sledding and easily accessible from your own home. Read about some of the best sledding hills below, and remember to bundle up! 


Flagstaff Hill on Boston Commons

Flagstaff Hill is one of the more populated sledding hills due to its convenient location in The Commons. The hill, located near the baseball diamond and next to Charles Street, is only a short distance from either Park Street or Boylston T stops. While your there you can also try public skating at Frog Pond and warm up with a hot chocolate from the snack bar.                              


Larz Anderson Park in Brookline

The Larz Anderson park is home to a public ice skating rink as well as rolling hills of all sizes, making it a really fun spot for winter activities. The park is a popular sledding area for families near Brookline and Boston, so on particularly snowy days it may be crowded. Nevertheless, it is still exciting. The park is also located near the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and The Putterham School, a one roomed school house from colonial times. 

Arnold Arboretum in Roslindale

The Arnold Arboretum is open year round and is easily accessible from the MBTA Orange Line station at Forrest Hills. The Arboretum, endowed as a department of Harvard University, covers 250 acres around Roslindale and Jamaica Plane neighborhoods.  The best place for sledding at the Arboretum is down Peter's Hill, one of the steepest ad longest sledding runs near Boston.


Danehy Park in Cambridge

Danehy Park was once a landfill that was then repurposed into public recreation area. As a popular destination for area residents from Spring to early Fall, Danhey Park hosts public events, sports games, and even includes a dog park. The 50-acre spot of land is also the highest point in Cambridge. Its tall hills make the park enjoyable in winter months as well.  After a heavy snowfall, the park has excellent terrain for sledding. 

Need to find other hills near you? You can find more info on sledding hills in the Great Boston Area, as well as on the North and South shores here. 

Need a sled? Sleds are generally inexpensive at most department stores, or you learn can DIY here. 

Dining Etiquette Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Many of us likely feel as though we have a strong command on dining etiquette in our respective countries. However, some people may not know that these table manners vary across the world from region to region, and sometimes even within those regions. Some things that we may not even think twice about doing may be considered extremely rude or taboo in other countries. If you are hosting an international visitor or traveling abroad, it is important to keep these in mind!

Asia:

Do not use your chopsticks as a spear: Throughout Asia, it is consistently considered rude to spear your food with chopsticks instead of using them properly to pick up the food. This has to do with superstitious beliefs as usually when on pierces their food with chopsticks you are offering this food to the dead.


Other chopstick rules: There are actually many rules surrounding the use of chopsticks. For example, pointing a chopstick at someone is just as rude if not more disrespectful than pointing a finger. In addition to this, passing food directly from your chopsticks to another's is actually part of a funeral ritual in which the deceased's bones are passed between chopsticks. Also in many parts of Asia placing your chopsticks sticking straight up in your food is a gesture meant for the deceased. It is best to avoid these practices as many Asian cultures as superstitious and doing these is considered very taboo and disrespectful.

Eat the food served to you: Particularly in China and Korea, it is an honor to be served food especially what are perceived as the "best" parts of something. Even if you do not like the food, it is respectful to finish the food served to you.

Paying the bill: In China and other areas influenced by Chinese customs such as Malaysia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, bills are not typically split among diners. Instead, one person picks up the entire check. Usually a several people will put up a fight to cover the expenses, and doing so shows a sign of appreciation for relationships and is seen as polite.

Europe:

Bread: In France, bread is placed directly on the table as opposed to being placed on a bread plate. Bread is not served as an appetizer and should be consumed along with your meal. When consuming the bread, it is important to break it into pieces as opposed to biting them off.

Also, in Russia it is considered bad form to waste bread, as it is believed that when one dies all of the bread they've wasted over the years will be weighed and added to the balance that determines whether or not one is accepted into heaven.

Eating your food as it is prepared: In Portugal and Spain, it is considered an insult to the cook to alter your food by adding salt and pepper to the prepared dish.

Use your silverware: Often times in European countries, it is considered polite and normal use your utensils with what some may consider finger foods, such as pizza.

Middle East:

Don't eat with your left hand: Because the left hand is associated with using the restroom and associated bodily functions, it is considered unsanitary and rude to use your left hand to eat. Instead, eat strictly with your right hand.

Drinking coffee: In Bedouin culture, they will continue to pour you coffee once you have finished it. That is, until you shake the cup by tilting it two to three times when you hand it back. By doing this, you are signifying that you are finished.

Etiquette for eating with your hands: While it differs from country to country, generally when eating with your hands you should use your fingertips to ensure the food does not touch your palms. If you are sharing a large dish, which is common, only eat from your side of the plate. Often times diners will use bread to scoop the food, which the house owner breaks and distributes to guests.

It is important to remember that every country is different and these rules of etiquette may vary! To be safe, look up specific customs for a specific country if you are curious, however these are some general rules to follow for each region.

Experiencing US Culture With Our Japanese Students

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 02, 2017

This Spring we had several different groups of Japanese students visit Boston and experience American culture through homestay. As part of their homestay experience, our hosts engaged in activities with the students to introduce them to life in New England. Many hosts went above and beyond, taking their students on trips to exciting places like Maine, New Hampshire, Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod! Others bonded with their students during fun visits to various locations in the greater Boston area.  From our host feedback surveys we were able to read all about the great things our hosts and students did together. If you're wondering what you should do with your students, here are some highlights from the hosts of our Japanese groups - as you'll notice many of these activities are free!



  • Visited Rockport; explored an art gallery and tried clam chowder
  • Visited a local high school and football stadium
  • Went on a driving tour of Boston
  • Went salsa dancing
  • Went to a rock climbing place
  • Created oragami together
  • Attended a dance class
  • Hiked the cliffs at East Point in Nahant
  • Visited Salem and Gloucester
  • Celebrated Valentine's Day with a special meal and flowers for the students
  • Enjoyed cannolis at Eataly  
  • Visited Long Sand Beach in Maine
  • Played games at our local Church
  • Visited a farm in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
  • Toured Fenway Park



  • Visited the Mapparium at the Christian Science Monitor Building
  • Saw the Cy Young statue at the Northeastern University campus
  • Went to the Skyzone
  • Visited Martha's Vineyard
  • Visited Cape Cod
  • Went to a Celtic's game
  • Attended Winchester High Schools performance of Shrek the Musical
  • Visited a local beach
  • Saw the seals outside the Aquarium
  • Went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston
  • Visited City Hall and the State House



  • Went to the Hyde Park firehouse
  • Explored Woonsocket Rhode Island; went to the train depot to see the statue of Hachiko (dog) and the plaque given by the people of Japan
  • Went to the movies together 
  • Visited Granite Links golf course to see the city
  • Toured Tufts University, Northeastern University, and Berklee College of Music
These are just some of the memorable moments our hosts and students shared together. Overall, the feedback we received from both the hosts and students of our Japanese programs was extremely positive! The students enjoyed spending time with their host families and our host parents liked getting to know their students! 

Happy Earth Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 21, 2017


Earth Day this year is April 22nd (this Saturday!)

Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.

History:

The first Earth Day was in 1970 , when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a national "teach-in" to educate the population about the environment after the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1968.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being the founder of Earth Day. This is the highest honor given to civilians in the United States.

Earth Day Today:

Today, more than 1 billion people across the globe participate in Earth Day activities. 

In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries participated Earth Day, giving the event international recognition. For the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, 225,000 people participated in a climate rally at the national Mall in Washington, D.C. The Earth Day network launched a campaign to plant 1 billion trees, which they then achieved in 2012.


Last year on Earth Day, the Secretary General of the United Nations urged world leaders to sign the Paris Climate Agreement - a treaty aimed at keeping planet warming below 2 degrees Celcius (or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit). U.S. President Barack Obama signed the treaty that day.

The Impact of Earth Day:

Though Earth Day is widely observed, the environment is still suffering. A recent Gallup Poll shows that 42% of Americans believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, and only less than 50% agree that protection of the environment should be given priority over energy production.


However, Earth Day is still significant because it reminds people to think about the importance of the environment, the threats the planet faces and ways to help combat these threats. Every year on Earth day individuals and corporations alike take proactive measures to reduce their carbon foot print- by planting trees, reaching a recycling goal, reducing their energy output,  switching to renewable products, and participating in other "green" activities! 

Source: LiveScience

The 2017 Boston Marathon

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 04, 2017



What: 121st Boston Marathon

When: Monday, April 17th

Where: Hopkinton – Boston, MA. (The finish line is at 665 Boylston Street)

Time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm (The winners usually finish within two hours)

Schedule:

DIVISION START TIME
Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m.
Men's Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m.
Women's Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:19 a.m.
Handcycles & Duos 9:22 a.m.
Elite Women 9:32 a.m.
Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m.
Wave Two 10:25 a.m.
Wave Three 10:50 a.m.
Wave Four 11:15 a.m.

History: 

After experiencing the spirit and majesty of the Olympic Marathon, B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland to the Irvington Oval in Boston was eventually selected. On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York, emerged from a 15-member starting field and captured the first B.A.A. Marathon in 2:55:10, and, in the process, forever secured his name in sports history.

In 1924, the course was lengthened to 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to the Olympic standard, and the starting line was moved west from Ashland to Hopkinton.


Why patriots Day? From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. The lone exception was when the 19th fell on Sunday. In those years, the race was held the following day (Monday the 20th). However, in 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Since 1969 the race has been held on a Monday. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.



Important Spectator Information:

Where are the best places to watch? There is ample space every mile from Hopkinton to Boston for fans to gather and cheer on your journey to Boylston Street. Some of the most famous spots are the Wellesley Scream Tunnel just before halfway; Heartbreak Hill in Newton around Boston College; and the final stretch on Boylston Street before the finish.

Be aware that if you are watching the Boston Marathon anywhere along the 26.2-mile course you should expect a significant presence of uniformed and plain clothed police officers. In some areas, you may be asked to pass through security checkpoints. The marathon website has a full list of items that are not allowed in the race are. 

The Best Spots for Spring Flowers

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

With the weather beginning to change and Boston’s flowers starting to bloom, the city is will soon be a beautiful place to spend time outside. Experience springtime in Boston with a self-guided walking tour of the area’s best spots to see amazing spring flowers. Here are some locations where you can see gorgeous flower displays.


Back Bay

The Magnolia trees along Commonwealth Avenue, Magnolia Street, and Beacon Hill are one of the most beautiful sights to see in the Spring. Along these roads, you can see huge saucer magnolias in pinks, reds, and deep purples, mixed in with other types of magnolias as well

The Esplanade

Cherry trees planted along Boston’s Charles River Esplanade bloom in April. Unfortunately, these blossoms do not last long but are usually in full bloom in mid to late April. You'll find the highest concentration of cherry trees in the section of the Esplanade bordering Back Bay, roughly between the Fiedler Footbridge (off Arlington Street) and the Mass Ave access ramp.


Kelleher Rose Garden

The Kelleher Rose Garden is located near the Victory Garden’s in the city’s Fenway neighborhood, a short distance from Fenway Park. The roses are most amazing in June, but you can see flowers begin to bloom starting in may.


Boston Public Garden

Boston's Victorian-era Public Garden, right next to Boston Commons, features winding paths and smaller gardens spread throughout the park.  The flowers on display vary somewhat each year, but always include tulips and annuals such as pansies during April and May.  In addition to flowers, spring foliage in the Public Garden is also spectacular, especially the many weeping willows surrounding the pond.  The best way to enjoy close-up views of the willow foliage is by taking a swan boat ride when the boats return in mid-April.


Rose Kennedy Greenway

 The garden sections  of the Rose Kennedy Greenway are filled with beautiful spring flowers. Across from the North End, you'll find daffodils and lilies and as you walk south you can see tulips. Near South Station and Chinatown are the stunning Chinese Gardens. Starting in about mid-May, peonies and rhododendrons bloom, surrounded by bamboo shoots.The best place to begin your Greenway tour is not on the Greenway itself, but a few steps away at the Rose Kennedy Memorial Garden, located near the southwestern edge of Christopher Columbus Park just north of the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.  Here, roses bloom from late May through frost, with especially spectacular flowers during June.

Source

Six More Weeks of Winter

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 21, 2017


On February 2nd, once again, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means another six weeks of winter. If you and your visitor(s) are not sure what to do during these six weeks before the weather warms and flowers bloom, we have some suggestions for fun outdoor activities to take advantage of all this snow! 


Sledding or Tubing
There is a hill to go sledding in virtually every Boston neighborhood. Sledding locations in the city include places like Flagstaff Hill in Boston Common or Marine Park in Southie.
 This article lists great sledding hills all around the greater Boston area, and if you are looking to go tubing, this article provides tubing locations just a short drive from Boston. 


Skiing
You do not have to travel out of state to enjoy a ski trip with your family. Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton has 12 trails and over 60 acres of terrain for both beginnings and advanced skiers.
 This guide can help you can find other nearby mountains open for skiing this winter. Do you prefer cross country over downhill skiing? Check out The Middlesex Fells Reservation. This park has cross country trails and is located a short five miles north of Boston. 


Skating:
Boston has many opportunities for public skating. Visit
 Boston Common's Frog Pond Which hosts weekly "College Nights" featuring discounted tickets for University students. You can also take the opportunity to visit  The Boston Winter skating path at Government Center before it closes for the season on February 26th. 


Snow Shoeing
If you want an outdoor activity that requires minimal skills, you should try snow shoeing! There are many places a short distance from the greater Boston area that are great for exploring on foot.
 Gore Place in Waltham offers snow shoe rentals and features 50 acres of explore-able estate. This article has information about the top five places near Boston to take a show shoeing day trip.


After spending time in the great outdoors warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of these Boston Cafe's. what goes best with host chocolate? Warm cookies :) This list will show you the best best spots to get delicious homemade cookies in the city. Use this snowy weather as an excuse to treat your student (and yourself!) to some of the best desserts the area has to offer!

Everything You Need To Know About Super Bowl LI

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Its that time of year again - time for the Super Bowl!! Excitingly enough Boston's favorite football team will (again!) be playing in this year's Super Bowl, Super Bowl LI (if you're not too familiar with roman numerals LI means 50). Here is everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the big game. Go Pats!!

Who: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

What: Super Bowl LI

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

When: Saturday, February 5th @ 6:30pm

How to watch: Super Bowl LI will be televised nationally on FOX. You can also watch it online for free on FOXsports.com on your computer or tablet. Verizon users can watch it on the go with NFL Mobile

Where to Watch: With its plethora of sports bars and restaurants, Boston is an exciting place to celebrate the Super Bowl! Here you can find a list of places throughout the city hosting Super Bowl parties and offering special deals on food and drink. I personally will be watching the game from my favorite venue - my couch. If you're looking for some place less crowded or for a younger crowd, watching the game at home with family and friends may be the best option. 


Who to watch:  This will be the Patriot's ninth Super Bowl appearance and the seventh time for Belichick and Brady. Tom Brady is going for his 5th Super Bowl ring, which would make him the record holder of the most Super Bowl wings of any active quarter back in the NFL. Right now, Brady is tied for 4 wins with Joe Montana. After him, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have two rings each, and are the only other active quarter backs with more than one win. This Super Bowl will pit the No. 1 defense in the league (Pats) against the No. 1 offense in the league (Falcons) which should definitely provide for an exciting game!

What to eat: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Super Bowl is the second largest day of food consumption in America (the first is Thanksgiving). American's are estimated to buy 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, and set to consume 1.33 billion chicken wings. Several local pizza chains have Super Bowl specials that you can find here, just remember to put your order in early - they'll be busy! 

Halftime show: This year's Halftime show will be headlined  by Lady Gaga. This will be Lady Gaga's second time performing on the Super Bowl stage, after having sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 last February. The Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show is the most -watched musical event of the year, attracting more than 116.5 million viewers last year. 

If New England wins, stay tuned for the Patriots Parade in the weeks shortly after. It is tradition for the team to celebrate the big win by parading through the streets of Boston on floats with their families! 


Sources: NFL, Chicago Tribune

Holiday Activities Yule Love!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Its December already!? Crazy, I know.  November really flew by and now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (for real - it snowed this morning.) Once you get past the cold, Boston is a great place to be during the winter. With tree lightings, and carolers, outdoor skating rinks and pop-up markets, the city has so many different winter activities to help you celebrate the holiday season with your international visitor! If your'e getting tired of listening to 106.7's nonstop Christmas music, here are some other festive ways to have a happy holiday! 

(GI host mother and her students looking at holiday lights in Saugus, MA!)

Get in the holiday spirit by taking your visitor to see amazing holiday lights! Tour your own neighborhood or explore the light displays in other areas of greater Boston. Don't know where to go?? This article can help. Check out the places with the best Christmas lights in Boston. Take a trip by car or bond with your visitor during an outdoor stroll. If you would prefer to travel by train, you can do that too! The Somerville Arts Council's Illuminations Tour will take you through the illuminated streets of Somerville via trolley. 


(One of our students decorating her host family's Christmas Tree last year!)

After, take some inspiration from those neighborhoods and decorate your own home! Ask your visitor to help you place holiday decorations inside and outside your house. If you celebrate Christmas, involve your student in hanging Christmas ornaments and lights or even picking out the Christmas Tree. Designate a special ornament for your student (craft or buy one together!) - your visitor will feel like a welcomed part of the family and you will have a memento of the holiday you shared! 


(GI students and their host family building a gingerbread house!)

Speaking of crafts...a fun at home activity is decorating a gingerbread house! If you don't think you have the culinary skills to make one from scratch easy kits can be found in your local grocery store this season. You and your visitor will enjoy assembling and decorating the gingerbread house together and you'll especially love eating it after :)

(Japanese TALK students posing with their gifts and Santa Claus!)

Take your visitor holiday shopping with you! Let them help you pick out gifts for your family and see if they want to get a present for their friend at school or family at home. A festive place for a shopping outing is a Holiday Market. Throughout the Christmas season, Boston offers a variety of holiday stores and pop-up markets for all your gift giving needs! Check out the Holiday Market in Downtown CrossingThe Harvard Square Holiday Fair, The Holiday Shopping Village at City Hall Plaza, or The Christmas in Boston store at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. 

Don't forget about New Year's Eve! Holiday celebrations don't stop after December 25th. Ring in the new year by watching Boston's NYE fireworks display over Boston Harbor. The show begins at midnight on January first, but First Night festivities begin long before that. Bring your visitor to enjoy parades, ice sculptures, music, and dancing on the last day of 2016!