by Ruth R. Russell
A wise man once described Chestnut Hill as a cultural mile.
He pointed out its museum, art galleries and historic houses, its fine shops and restaurants, its many church concerts.
Once a year this cultural mile displays its leafy side at the annual Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival in the heart of the community.
White tents of numerous exhibitors and vendors will be going up again along Germantown Avenue for the event on Sunday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. That stretch of the street will be closed to vehicles from Rex to Willow Grove Avenues.
“We will have more than150 vendors this year,” reported Peggy Miller, deputy director of the Chestnut Hill Business Association (CHBA), which is hosting the festival. “Additional spaces are being taken by local merchants, bringing the total to nearly 300.
“All the shops will be open too. This will be day with something for everyone,” she said, adding that visitors will find their old favorites as well as plenty of new attractions.”
New participants will be many and varied. The award-winning Chestnut Hill Garden Club will take part for the first time, featuring flowers and ferns. W. B. School, the city’s agricultural high school, will be bringing a petting zoo for youngsters.
Greenology Organic Living will be here for the first time. “They will be offering plants and sustainable things such a terrariums, and will be opening a shop in Chestnut Hill in May.”
Peters Valley School of Crafts will be coming all the way from Layton, NJ. “They will be doing origami paper flower demonstrations,” said Miller “Another first timer, Jackie Clifton, of Wissahickon Ceramics, located right here in Chestnut Hill, will be displaying ceramics.
“Marano Gardens will be represented for the first time. People here may remember that Marano family members ran Caruso’s Market (where Weaver’s Way is now) for many years,” she pointed out.
Caleb Meyer, of Caleb Meyer Studio on Germantown Avenue, along with Alexis Murray, will be doing metal smithing demonstrations in their booth at this year’s festival.
Many popular participants will be returning such as Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. “They have a shop with their merchandise here at the holiday season,” Miller noted.
Also back again is the Peanuts Express, a miniature train that will run from noon to 5 p.m. in the 8100 block of Germantown Avenue.
Various nonprofit, school, church and civic groups will take part such as Chestnut Hill Historical Society, Awbury Arboretum, Christ Ascension Lutheran Church, and John Story Jenks School.
Returning will be Matt Paul’s Sports, the rock climbing challenge, face painting, crafts and plenty of lively music. Look for Rich Posmontier Ensemble, City Rhythm Orchestra, Dukes of Destiny and Stone Age.
The latter group performed at Fall for the Arts last year and is “back by popular demand,” according to Kate O’Neil, CHBA deputy director, who is in charge of entertainment.
For the hungry visitors, there will be plenty of snacks such as popcorn, cotton candy and pretzels. Also, look for food by Chestnut Hill’s fine restaurants.
Among them will be Campbell’s Place, Fiesta, Green Soul, Brunettes Book Shop & Bakery, Cosimo’s Pizza, Evergreen Cheese, Starbuck’s, King’s Garden, McNally’s Tavern, Mica, Iron Hill Brewery, Paris Bistro, Chestnut Grill, Tavern on the Hill, Cin Cin, Thai Kuu, Roller’s Flying Fish, Bredenbeck’s Bakery & Ice Cream Parlor, Baker Street Bread Company and Night Kitchen.
Each year sponsors help the festival with their support. These include presenting sponsor Sabaru, media sponsor More FM101.1 and entertainment sponsor Bowman Properties. PECO will sponsor Eco Alley.
Admission to the Home and Garden Festival is free and the rain date is May 18. Parking will be available at selected lots for $5.
For more information, call 215-247-6696 or visit www.chestnuthillpa.com.