Organizers believe the annual Tacony History Day festivities are special every year, but especially this year.
On Saturday, the neighborhood will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event and is proud of the milestone.
“We’re really excited to make it to twenty,” said Louis M. Iatarola, chairman of the celebration. “We’re glad to be able to keep the tradition going. It’s a nice tradition to uphold. The neighborhood seems to appreciate it.”
Iatarola is a board member of the Historical Society of Tacony and zoning committee chairman of the Tacony Civic Association. Both organizations co-sponsor the event.
A parade will start at 11 a.m. at Torresdale Avenue and Hellerman Street. Participants will include military color guards, Mummers and the Father Judge High School Marching Band. U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) will be the grand marshal.
The route will travel north on Torresdale Avenue, then west on Princeton Avenue and south on Cottage Street to Disston Street, where the festival will run from noon to 4 p.m.
“We’ve got it back to its original route,” Iatarola said of the parade. “It looks like it’s shaping up as one of our bigger ones.”
The festival, on the grounds of Disston Recreation Center, will mix history and fun.
“It’s right in the middle of the neighborhood,” Iatarola said.
There will be historical and cultural exhibits, live music by the band 7G3, a disc jockey, dancers, sand art, games, contests, a 50-50 drawing and children’s amusement rides, sponsored by the Major Artery Revitalization Committee (MARC).
One highlight every year is a pie-eating contest. Haegele’s Bakery will donate lemon meringue pies.
The food court will be highlighted by vendors such as Sweet Lucy’s Smoke House and South Philadelphia’s Mamma Maria.
Iatarola said the festival is just one of several exciting things happening in the community.
The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia provided a grant for the neighborhood to work toward a proposed Disston Historic District.
In the next couple of weeks, 15 historic plaques will be installed outside houses in the neighborhood. The plaques will depict when the home was built and who occupied the dwelling, and homeowners will be given a chain of title and a short narrative about the history of the house.
In addition, the Tacony Community Development Corporation is trying to revive the Tacony Business Association.
Iatarola said History Day is a way for residents to celebrate what the neighborhood offers.
“We’re proud of our community, and it’s going to stay that way,” he said.
Residents of all Northeast neighborhoods are welcome to attend.
“People come from all over the Northeast,” Iatarola said. “We’re hoping for good weather, obviously.”
In other neighborhood news, rock singer Tommy Conwell has been a victim of poor weather in the last few weeks.
Conwell will be in concert on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m., at Disston Recreation Center. He had been scheduled to entertain on Aug. 25 and Sept. 8, but poor weather forced him to postpone the concert.
At 6:30 p.m., a five-piece band called the Civic Minded Fools will open up for Conwell. Iatarola is the drummer for the band, which will play seven rock cover tunes.
For more information on History Day, call the hotline at 215-338-8790. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org