HomeNewsTwo fests welcome fall with food, fun and music

Two fests welcome fall with food, fun and music

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.Girardfest.com for info on Girard Fest and www.rivercityfestival.org for info on Fishtown’s River City Festival.

Reporter Hayden Mitman can be reached at 215–354–3124 or hmitman@bsmphilly.com

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