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Story & photos by Sue Ann Rybak
Rain couldn’t put a damper on this year’s Chestnut Hill Home & Garden Festival. Despite rain showers in the morning, the Avenue was transformed into a gardener’s paradise on Sunday, May 4. Thousands braved the rain to stroll along the Avenue and peruse the more than 250 community organizations, artists, entertainers and businesses that lined Germantown Avenue.
Marge Davis, of Erdenheim, attended the festival with her friend Melissa Hinds and her 14-year-old daughter, Grace Hinds.
“Despite the rain, I am having a good time with friends,” Davis said. “We come every year. The avenue is filled with many unique and varied vendors.”
Lisa Golluber, of Rydal, Pa., who was shopping at Ecoquett in Eco Alley, agreed.
“I am having the best time,” Golluber said. “I love to come here because I get to shop.”
As usual, this year’s festival had something for everyone. For the kids there was a petting zoo, rock wall, free train rides and other amusements. And for all those foodies, there was a smörgåsbord of tantalizing tidbits: old-fashioned kettle corn, funnel cakes, cotton candy, French fries, lemonade and smoothies.
Karen and Jonathan Schwerger and their 21-month-old son, of Blue Bell, huddled under Zipf’s Candies tent as they bought chocolate-covered marshmallows and old-fashioned candy.
There was plenty of entertainment from various performers, including the Stone Age rock band, City Rhythm Orchestra, Dukes of Destiny, Renegade Morris and Kingessing Morris Men, both of which perform English folk dances.
Scott Higgs, a member of Renegade Morris, said for hundreds of years the English have welcomed Spring with Morris dancing.
“Although, people no longer believe that dancing with sticks, hankies, and bells wakes the Earth and ensures fertility, it is a fun and high-spirited dance,” Higgs said.
New to this year’s festival was Manatawna-Saul 4-H Club’s Petting Zoo starring Daisy the goat, Mr. Lily the bunny, Domino, a five-week-old calf, Basil, a Southdown sheep, and her twin lambs: Hazel and Joe.
Martha Sharkey, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, said Chestnut Hill’s Home & Garden Festival has been taking place along Germantown Avenue for 18 years.
“We were thrilled to welcome back Glanzmann Subaru as our Presenting Sponsor for the Festival,” Sharkey said. “Despite the morning cold and rain, it was amazing to see so many new and familiar faces walking the Avenue. The sun’s appearance in the afternoon warmed the air and energized the crowd. People were excited to be out shopping, listening to live music and enjoying the great assortment of food and drinks.”
For more information about other events in Chestnut Hill go to www.chestnuthillpa.com.