Diverse crowd fought for fun with fluffy weapons

News staff photo/Dan McCarthy

By Maureen Quinlan, News Correspondent

A headrest, a sitting cushion, a weapon. The pillow is such a necessary item to everyday comfort, but is often overlooked and forgotten. Yet, Saturday, April 2, the pillow brought about 1,500 costumed people together in Cambridge Common for International Pillow Fight Day.

Pillow fight is an annual event celebrated in more than 100 cities around the world. The prank-pulling organization Banditos Misteriosos has been organizing the Boston event since 2007. According to its website, the group believes “We all have the capacity for ‘selective immaturity.”

And Saturday, the scene at Cambridge Common was just that.

The event website stated only four rules: No feather pillows, to minimize mess; avoid hitting people with cameras, glasses or no pillow; costumes are encouraged; and try to be as inconspicuous as possible before the fight.

The crowd gathered shortly before 3 p.m. in Cambridge Common, the secret location that was revealed Friday, April 1 by Banditos Misteriosos. Everyone hid his or her pillows in backpacks and bags.

At 3 p.m., someone with a bullhorn and an American flag ran through the square to commence the fight. People from all directions began to fling their pillows at each other.

The middle of the square was full of people fighting one on one or in small groups with every kind of pillow: White bed pillows, decorative throw pillows and pillow pets, a stuffed animal that doubles as a pillow.

“It looked really violent in the center,” said freshman business major Jessica Chiou. “Some people really got into it with their costumes and fighting.”

The crowd was diverse – children, adults and a large majority of college students came dressed in costumes as crazy as Tigger and Winnie the Pooh to prom dresses and eccentric head gear.

Evan Bartle, a middler music industry major, said he wore a blue Power Ranger mask that got knocked off as soon as the fight began.

“There were a lot of kids,” Bartle said. “It was kind of weird, I didn’t want to swing very hard, because there were kids popping up everywhere and I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

The strategies were as diverse as the crowd. Pillows flew over the crowd of fighters, down pillows exploded feathers into the sky, triggering applause, and some people worked in teams with one person on someone else’s shoulders.

Despite the intense fighting atmosphere, the participants were happy fighters with smiles on their faces.

“It was really fun,” said freshman business major Adam Zlatkus. “It was really crowded and hot in the center, but it was really fun.”

Despite Boston’s snowy weather the day before, the weather was fair on Saturday for the start of the fight, though it ended about an hour later when the rain moved in.

Bartle said he was surprisingly happy with the pillow fight, even though there were a lot less people than he was expecting, based on the Facebook event’s confirmed guest list.

“It was a nice little Saturday escape,” he said. “It proved that there is an end to the long, cold Boston winter.”


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