Two fests welcome fall with food, fun and music

Gir­ard Av­en­ue will be rock­ing this week­end, with more fun slated for Penn Treaty Park on Oct. 1.

A brisk, cool chill is in the air as sum­mer gives way to fall.

But, don’t plan on hud­dling in­side for the rest of the year just yet. There still are a few loc­al fest­ivals com­ing up to keep you en­ter­tained out­side be­fore sun­shine re­treats to snow­fall.

This week­end, the second an­nu­al Gir­ard Fest will see the street closed for only the second time in its his­tory, between Front and Second streets, for a fest­iv­al that will be­ne­fit the Grand Army of the Re­pub­lic Mu­seum in Frank­ford.

The event, to be held from noon to 7 p.m. on Sat­urday, Septem­ber 24, will fea­ture two stages with six bands per­form­ing on each stage, a wide vari­ety of foods, hun­dreds of vendors in­clud­ing lots of loc­al busi­nesses and a chil­dren’s play area for little ones.

The Gir­ard Busi­ness and Arts As­so­ci­ation, a loc­al group of or­gan­izers who want to high­light the many ex­cit­ing busi­nesses and artists along Gir­ard Av­en­ue, are or­gan­iz­ing it all.

Also, this year, the fest­iv­al will fea­ture a beer garden of­fer­ing loc­al brews to every­one 21 and older. Un­like last year, when there was one food vendor, this year, Gir­ard Fest plans to have a num­ber of food vendors to provide a wide ar­ray of op­tions for hungry at­tendees.

“This really is grass roots,” said Micki Roz­ario, a mem­ber of the board of the GBAA. “We don’t hire com­pan­ies to come in and do this for us. That’s what makes this a little dif­fer­ent.”

As an ex­ample, the GBAA works closely with the or­gan­izers of the Philly F/M Fest­iv­al — which will be tak­ing place throughout the city, in­clud­ing at ven­ues in Fishtown and North­ern Liber­ties from Sept. 22 to 25.

“They really do a phe­nom­en­al job of bring­ing in world class artists,” said GBAA pres­id­ent and spokes­wo­man Su­z­anne Mooney.

The event will fea­ture two stages, one with loc­al rock per­formers and an­oth­er of world mu­sic.

“We try to get a good mix of loc­al bands,” said Isaac Fre­ise, of Philly F/M. “We want to let people know what kind of mu­sic scene Philly has.”

If this year’s fest­iv­al is any­thing like last year’s, Mooney said, the event should prove suc­cess­ful. Last year saw over 3,000 vis­it­ors to Gir­ard Av­en­ue.

“It was out­rageously suc­cess­ful,” she said.

Asked what she’s most ex­cited for at this year’s Gir­ard Fest, Mooney smiled and poin­ted to Peaches and Cream, a Phil­adelphia-based youth dance or­gan­iz­a­tion that fo­cuses on a mes­sage of an­ti­vi­ol­ence.

“Also, it’s all about giv­ing back to the com­munity,” she said.

The next week­end, in Fishtown, the com­munity will gath­er for the fourth an­nu­al River City Fest­iv­al, to be held Sat­urday, Oct. 1 at Penn Treaty Park, loc­ated on Delaware Av­en­ue at Colom­bia Av­en­ue, from noon to 5 p.m.

Ac­cord­ing to Neil Brech­er, pres­id­ent of the Fishtown Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation, last year, the River City Fest­iv­al saw as many vis­it­ors as the Gir­ard Fest, with 3,000 at­tendees.

“No mat­ter how many times you do it, it gets more ex­cit­ing every year,” said Brech­er.

Brech­er said the River City Fest­iv­al fo­cuses on high­light­ing the his­tory and vi­tal­ity of the Fishtown com­munity. To do this, every year mem­bers of the Lenne Lenape Nat­ive Amer­ic­an tribe per­form at the park and, this year, Fishtown’s Duffy String Band, a mum­mers group, will per­form.

“It really serves to cel­eb­rate the people and busi­nesses of this area in a dif­fer­ent way,” said Brech­er. “It’s im­port­ant for oth­er people to come in and learn about what Fishtown means to the city.”

Along with live mu­sic and loc­al vendors, there will also be a wide vari­ety of food from loc­al res­taur­ants and a hos­pit­al­ity tent with “beer for the adults,” said Brech­er.

Beer will be provided by the Phil­adelphia Brew­ing Com­pany, based in Kens­ing­ton, and Six Points Brew­ery, which is based in Brook­lyn — a place Brech­er called Fishtown’s “sis­ter neigh­bor­hood.”

 ldquo;Fishtown has such a great his­tory with brew­er­ies, as they do, and we want to cel­eb­rate that,” said Brech­er. 

Also new this year is a vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment. Loc­al bars, Brech­er said, have signed up with teams to play in the tour­na­ment; the win­ner gets to cel­eb­rate in the losers’ bars.

“That’s just something fun and new,” said Brech­er.

For more in­form­a­tion and full line-ups for live per­form­ances, vis­it www.Gir­ard­ for info on Gir­ard Fest and www.river­city­fest­iv­ for info on Fishtown’s River City Fest­iv­al.

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmit­ 


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