Derby and Trenton Ave Fest double fun in Kensington this weekend

The Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Sculp­ture Derby will kick off at Trenton and Nor­ris this Sat­urday

This week­end, Trenton Av­en­ue in East Kens­ing­ton will host the an­nu­al Trenton Av­en­ue Arts Fest­iv­al and the Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Sculp­ture Derby, a tan­dem pair of events that have grown through the years.

This week­end’s events will be big­ger than ever be­fore.

The pair of events have be­come something of a mar­riage of two unique cel­eb­ra­tions since the launch of the Kin­et­ic Derby five years ago.

And it’s been a happy af­fair, said or­gan­izers, thanks to the col­lab­or­a­tion between the East Kens­ing­ton Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation — who hosts the arts fest­iv­al — and the New Kens­ing­ton Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Corp. and its an­nu­al kin­et­ic sculp­ture derby.

Ac­cord­ing to Krista Peel, who with her hus­band, Zak Starer, has been or­gan­iz­ing the arts fest­iv­al for months, the two an­nu­al events have be­come come some­what syn­onym­ous.

The Trenton Av­en­ue Arts Fest­iv­al is in its sixth year.

It will be held from noon to 5 p.m., on Sat­urday, May 21, on Trenton Av­en­ue, between Nor­ris and Dauph­in streets.

“This year, we really tried to make it all one event,” she said dur­ing an in­ter­view on Fri­day, last week. “It’s like we have this huge art fair with this crazy bike race all around it.”

Since its in­cep­tion, the arts fest­iv­al has grown every year and this year, Peel said, it is lar­ger and in­cludes more vendors — of both food and crafts — than ever be­fore.

Last year, the street fest­iv­al — which of­fers a wide vari­ety of loc­al crafts­men and artists a place to present their wares — grew from about 140 venders to 190.  When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, there will be a much lar­ger vari­ety of op­tions this year, as food vendors grew from last year’s measly three to a total of 10.

There will also be a stage with a ro­tat­ing se­lec­tion of six bands.

“I’m ex­cited,” said Peel. “We’ve been work­ing on this since late Feb­ru­ary, early March and we are ready to do it already.”

On top of the many vendors, in­clud­ing new com­pan­ies like the Phil­adelphia Sculp­ture Gym and Little Baby’s Ice Cream that will be launch­ing dur­ing this week­end’s event, Peel said the or­gan­izers tried to bring in a lot of non-profit or­gan­iz­a­tions as well to al­low vis­it­ors to learn about their con­tri­bu­tions to the com­munity.

“We really wanted to make room for non-profit or­gan­iz­a­tions this year,” said Peel. “I’m ex­cited about it.”

But, if the art fair is a pop­u­lar event, a real crowd pleas­er has to be the Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Sculp­ture Derby.

This event will see at least 20 teams take on a 4.1 mile course through the neigh­bor­hood on re­pur­posed bi­cycles, beau­ti­fully hacked and re­modeled to cre­ate new sculp­tures for the wildly pop­u­lar an­nu­al event.

In fact, this year the NK­CDC ob­tained a $20,000 grant — to be spread over two years — from the Knight Arts Found­a­tion in or­der to sup­port the derby.

Angie Wil­li­am­son, the re­cently ap­poin­ted eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment dir­ect­or for the NK­CDC, said the grant will al­low the or­gan­iz­a­tion to grow and re­spond to con­cerns — such as pla­cing much re­ques­ted bleach­ers at key loc­a­tions, like the fin­ish line — for the event.

At 12:30 p.m. racers will be­gin at Nor­ris Street and Trenton Av­en­ue, then, in 10-minute in­ter­vals, they are ex­pec­ted to ar­rive at Frank­ford and Mont­gomery av­en­ues, passing Het­zell’s Field at 12:50 p.m. and hit­ting the mud pit at Penn Treaty Park at around 1 p.m.

After that, the con­test­ants will head to Thompson and Marl­bor­ough streets, then to the Berks El Stop and on to Frank­ford and Le­high av­en­ues. From there, at around 1:40 p.m., they will head to Trenton Av­en­ue at Ser­geant Street and on Frank­ford Av­en­ue at Susque­hanna Av­en­ue to re­turn to the start­ing line by about 2 p.m.

But, there could be delays, said Wil­li­am­son.

“It wouldn’t be a derby without a few break­downs,” she said with a laugh.

Wil­li­am­son, who came to the NK­CDC from Roan­oke, Va., said she was ex­cited to or­gan­ize the sculp­ture derby right when she first came to the city.

“I thought that if this is one of the things I’ll get to work on, this would be the coolest job ever,” she said. “It’s a really unique event … It’s a one day event that has an im­pact that lasts much longer.”


Go­ing to the fest

 The East Kens­ing­ton Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation’s Trenton Av­en­ue Arts Fest­iv­al joins the Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Sculp­ture Derby again this week­end.

This one-of-a-kind fam­ily friendly event fea­tur­ing many loc­al artists, non­profits, busi­nesses, food vendors, and mu­si­cians will be held on Trenton Av­en­ue, between Nor­ris and Dauph­in streets from noon to 5 p.m. The Derby will kick off at 12:30 p.m. at the in­ter­sec­tion of Trenton Av­en­ue and Nor­ris Street.




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