by Sue Ann Rybak

Thousands of residents flocked to the Chestnut Hill Annual Home and Garden Festival, held on Sunday, May 3, to celebrate the arrival of spring. Everywhere you looked, the Avenue was bursting with blossoming flowers, plants, home goods, art, music, food and hands-on activities for children of all ages.

Martha Sharkey, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, said the festival offered residents the perfect opportunity to be inspired and prepare their yard for spring. She noted that this year’s event featured “more than 150 vendors, along with Chestnut Hill’s retailers and restaurants set up along Germantown Avenue.”

“It was wonderful to see so many familiar and new faces participating in this year’s festival,” Sharkey said. “This year, we welcomed approximately 40 new craftspeople and vendors, in addition to the many who return each year. The petting zoo, kids activities, train ride and music added to the event, creating even more fun for all to enjoy.”

Returning for its fourth year at the festival was Eco Alley. Mt. Airy resident Amy Edelman, president of Green In Chestnut Hill (GRinCH) said this year’s Book FreeCycle “was a tremedous success.”

“Several hundred books were donated and dropped off at the Chestnut Hill branch of Valley Green Bank by residents,” she said. “Festival goers were excited to help themselves to free books.”

Edelman, owner of the Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill, added that donations collected from the books fund GRinCH’s Green Warrior student grant program.

Friends of J.S. Jenks was one just one of many nonprofits that were selling products to raise funds for the school’s enrichment programs.

Chestnut Hill resident Haviva Goldman, president of Friends of J.S. Jenks, said that for the second year in a row Fresh Artists partnered with Jenks to provide students with art supplies and innovative art programs that provide children the opportunity to express themselves and advocate for a quality education.

She said one of the highlights of this year’s program was the Silly Cities project, an innovative program that invites kids to interpret local architectural gems with paint and recycled cardboard.

“In the Silly Cities project, students painted key familiar pieces of Chestnut Hill architecture, including the school and places like Chestnut Hill Hotel, Water Tower, Kilian’s hardware store,” Goldman said. “Part of the program involves a philanthropic focus, where students learn about the value of their art, and how they can use it in fundraising to help not only their own school but art programs in school’s throughout the city.”

The beautiful paintings were then crafted into wrapping paper, made with 100 percent recycled paper, and proceeds of the sales will be used to purchase additional art supplies for Jenks.

“There was exceptional demand for the Silly Cities paper, so we completely sold out of those, but expect to do another run shortly,” Goldman said.

Anyone interested in purchasing prints or wrapping paper can email for more information.

“The Fresh Artists partnership is another example of some of the great programs that Jenks is able to bring to its students, thanks to the support of the community, including the Friends of J.S. Jenks, the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, and the Church of St. Martin in the Fields, all of whom have provided support for the program,” Goldman said.

Whether you were supporting a local nonprofit such as Friends of J.S. Jenks, stocking up on plants for your garden or sampling one of the many delicious morsels at the festival, there was something for everyone at this year’s annual Home and Garden Festival.